About Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist)

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist)

Madi Carlson (@familyride on Twitter) wrote our Family Biking column from February 2018 to November 2019. She's the author of Urban Cycling: How to Get to Work, Save Money, and Use Your Bike for City Living (Mountaineers Books).

In her former home of Seattle, Madi was the Board President of Familybike Seattle, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting bicycling as a means for moving towards sustainable lifestyles and communities. She founded Critical Lass Seattle, an easy social group ride for new and experienced bicyclists who identify as women and was the Director of Seattle's Kidical Mass organization, a monthly ride for families. While she primarily bikes for transportation, Madi also likes racing cyclocross, all-women alleycats, and the Disaster Relief Trials. She has been profiled in the Associated Press, Outdoors NW magazine, CoolMom, and ParentMap, and she contributed to Everyday Bicycling by Elly Blue.


Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) Posts

Join us for ‘Motherload’ film screening and bike parade this Thursday

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Eight years in the making, a most exciting film about cargo bikes and family biking is finally here! Fresh off the film festival circuit, the first non-festival showing of Motherload will be here in Portland this Thursday at 7pm at the Clinton Street Theater.
[Read more…]

Meet Skip Spitzer; a carfree, climate-change-fighting, single dad

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Skip Spitzer tows his son’s balance bike behind their trailer.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

This week we’re happy to share a profile of reader Skip Spitzer.

I met Skip on my Bike to School Day bike ride to the ‘Red for Ed’ rally, though I’d noticed his trailer in photos of various bike events around town before. As luck would have it, he was at the Woodstock Elementary play structure a couple weeks later while I was running a bike rodeo and he was nice enough to stick around for a conversation and a few photos…[Read more…]

Family Biking: Oxbow Regional Park is a great bike camping destination

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Kidical Mass PDX at Gresham Main City Park en route to Oxbow Regional Park.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

We just returned from a weekend at Oxbow Regional Park with the annual Kidical Mass PDX bike camping trip and my kids declared it their favorite bike camping site in the area.[Read more…]

Family Biking: Join Kidical Mass for a weekend camping trip to Oxbow Park

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Kidical Mass PDX rides to camp, 2014.
(Photo: Andy Schmidt)

Who doesn’t love a last-minute weekend adventure? We’ve got a few spots left for our annual Kidical Mass PDX family group camping trip this weekend and we’d love to have you come along. There are even still some scholarships available (email kmasspdx[at]gmail[dot]com for scholarship information). Keep reading for all the details!
[Read more…]

These summer bike camps still have a spot for your kid

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Bike camps teach riding skills, bike maintenance, safety, and friendship.
(Photo: Nat Shreffler for Community Cycling Center)

Portland has a wide variety of summer bike camps: Everything from learn-to-ride camps that ease kids onto two wheels to camps that teach advanced riding and repair skills. You might think it’s late in the game to find a spot in one of them, but most area bike camps still have spaces in some sessions.

My son attended his favorite bike camp back when he was five. He decided he wanted “bike racing camp” instead of “regular bike camp” and I found a new camp offered at a bike coaching facility. They started each morning of the week watching Danny MacAskill bike trick videos before pedaling off via multi-use path to a park where the instructor had stashed an obstacle course in the bushes. In addition to the emphasis on riding and tricks, he came home with more art projects from this camp (we still have a precious old bike cranks and duct tape creation) than from the larger, more traditional bike camps he’s attended.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: How to Pedalpalooza with the little ones

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

My kids on the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Happy Pedalpalooza! My kids and I joined over a thousand others on the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride on Saturday and we’re excited for more bike fun! Hundreds of rides with all sorts of themes for all sorts of people will take place this month and a lot of them are kid friendly.
[Read more…]

In front, in back, or at your side? Where should kids ride?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Other than getting confused by Fortnite references, I love riding side by side.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Front, back, side by side — these are all good ways to ride with kids! Different circumstances might call for different positioning during each ride, but I’m curious which configuration is your favorite and why. Non-family bikers, you can play, too, and share your preference(s) for riding with another adult.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: We all fall down

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Staged photo of a bike crash.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Last week I took the corner into my backyard too slowly, caught my front wheel on a flagstone, and slowly tipped sideways against the side of my house. As time slowed down and/or my brain sped up in the heat of the moment, I thought about my crashes of years past.
[Read more…]

Feeling the strength of moms on Mother’s Day

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

We were all smiles for Mother’s Day.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

After re-reading my last year’s post On the exhaustion of motherhood and why I want to bike with other families on Mother’s Day I realize this is a tiring time of year for me. Despite the too little sleep and too much stress, thanks to my bike I still feel now as I did back when my kids were little: capable, strong, and free.[Read more…]

Grab the kiddos and get ready for the Gorge Pedal

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Biking with kids in the Columbia River Gorge.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

As much as I love Portland proper and could happily spend all my days right here, I adore visiting the Columbia River Gorge — the waterfalls, the mighty Columbia, the trees, the flowers, the expansive views!
[Read more…]