Family Biking

Below are stories about biking with your family. Click on a headline to read the full article.


Family biking profile: Sara Schooley is sure you’ll like e-bikes too

Posted on July 17th, 2018 at 8:24 am.

Four-year-old Holly rides her own bike alongside mom Sara and passenger Tobin (two).
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

We had so much fun with our profile of Kathleen Youell last week that we’ve decided to do another one.

Some of you wondered whether or not Kathleen continues to ride through the rain and cold of winter, so I’ve decided to ask all future profile subjects about how they deal with weather. And just for the record, Kathleen doesn’t buy a car each winter, she keeps biking!

This week we chat with Sara Schooley, a mom of two little ones who lives in north Portland.[Read more…]

Family biking profile: Kathleen Youell moved to Portland to live carfree

Posted on July 10th, 2018 at 2:22 pm.

Kathleen Youell, her kids, and my suitcase, in her bakfiets.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

This week on the column we’re going to share a profile of one of our readers.

Kathleen Youell has been a fixture in the Portland family biking scene for a long time. I met her seven years ago — three days after I got my first cargo bike — and have been riding with her ever since. I caught up with her recently to learn more about her family and how cycling fits into it.
[Read more…]

Grab the kids, load up your bike, and cool off at a local watering hole

Posted on June 26th, 2018 at 12:51 pm.

Bikes and summer: just add water.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

We love biking to water in the summer — whether it’s to a beach, lake, river, spray park, or swimming pool. Summer days are long and free activities that hold the kids’ attention for long periods of time are my favorites. I can’t be the only parent who happily hangs out in the shade while my kids dig in the sand or throw rocks into water for hours on end, with the occasional break from my book to play catch or help with sandcastle building.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

The main things I pack for the beach are snacks, swimsuits, towels, beach toys, and shade (if we’re not heading to a site with its own shade). I strive to demonstrate family biking as fun and easily replicated, but I also tend to fill all available storage space with stuff. Once on our way to the beach a couple flagged us down to ask if we were at the tail end of a cross-country bike tour. Beach stuff is bulky but light so it looks impressive, but is still easy to lug around.

Whether your plans call for a quick jaunt to your local park’s splash pad, the new Poet’s Beach downtown, or a more ambitious destination like Broughton Beach on the Columbia River, here are some tips to help make the day go smoother.
[Read more…]

Talking about family biking (and why I want to share your stories)

Posted on May 15th, 2018 at 11:24 am.

I want to learn something from everybunny out there!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Do you remember the first time you saw a family biking together?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

For me, it was while visiting family in the Netherlands as a teenager. I knew then and there I would someday bike with my babies and the rest is history. A lot of people have had similar experiences — they saw family biking in action in a bike-friendly city like Amsterdam or Copenhagen and found a way to replicate it back home. Nowadays you don’t have to leave the country to see kids on parents’ bikes and kids on their own bikes at a young age, and a lot of people have their “a-ha moment” when they spy their first bike seat or cargo bike right here in Portland.[Read more…]

On the exhaustion of motherhood and why I want to bike with other families on Mother’s Day

Posted on May 8th, 2018 at 12:16 pm.

Resting a mere 2.5 miles into a big day.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Ah, motherhood!

What’s that saying again? “The toughest job you’ll ever feel too guilty to complain about because everyone else makes it look so easy, but they’re probably silently struggling, too.”

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I’m exhausted, and have been for 11 years and 21 days. Not quite as much these days now that my kids are older and more independent, but I vividly remember the days we were together nonstop, day-in and day-out (actually, day-out and day-out as we spent most of our time outside). And while I didn’t appreciate it at the time, my bike saved me. Being able to carry myself, my kids, and our stuff far from home to places of peace and to do it via my own pedal power — versus the expense and hassle of using car or bus — made me feel capable, strong, and free![Read more…]

Bluetooth speakers and a “Rolling Jackass”: These are a few of my favorite things

Posted on April 24th, 2018 at 12:16 pm.

I adore my Rolling Jackass centerstand.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

There are so many terrific bike products — big and small, ready-made and DIY — that make life easier for me.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Of the many bike parts and accessories I’ve had and loved over the years, my favorite has to be my double kickstand. My cargo bike sports a Rolling Jackass centerstand that makes it possible for the kids to clamber on and off the bike with no worry of tipping, I can load heavy cargo one side at a time with the bike staying upright, and we can even stand on the deck to reach high-up things.

Do you have a favorite accessory or a beloved piece of bike gear?

[Read more…]

Come to the Kidical Mass planning meeting and help us build an all-ages bike network

Posted on April 3rd, 2018 at 2:05 pm.

Help us have a banner year.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

Thank you for your responses to my question last week: What prevents you from biking with your young children?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

It was eye-opening to read all the comments, Facebook posts, Twitter replies, and emails. I can’t wait to share them in a future column and dive into the barriers people face when they think of biking with kids.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I had assumed the responses would all be about the expense gear or uncertainty as to what to buy. I hadn’t anticipated anyone would write about bike infrastructure. Not that Portland’s infrastructure is incredibly better than what my boys and I left in Seattle (though it is better!) and there aren’t a lot of point-to-point routes that are suitable all ages abilities (aka “8 to 80”). It’s just that I see so many more families biking here in Portland than I have in any other city (except Dutch cities I’ve visited) that I didn’t realize there were so many of you who aren’t riding.[Read more…]

A big, all-ages turnout at annual Kidical Mass Easter ride

Posted on April 2nd, 2018 at 7:27 am.

The group reconnected after the spiral ramps over N Going.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

First of all: next year there will be 1,000 eggs for the egg hunt at the end!
[Read more…]

Biking with the family dog

Posted on March 6th, 2018 at 10:43 am.

Pixie at the helm.
(Photos by Madi Carlson)

What’s a family biker to do when the kids have graduated to riding their own bikes? One way to conquer the empty [bike] nest doldrums is by joining the #carrypupolympics.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I was born into a household run by cats and didn’t know the love of a dog until I was nine and we got Mandy, a mid-sized Shepherd mix, from the animal shelter. Mandy and I logged many miles on foot, but I never thought to combine playing with the dog with biking or skateboarding.

When I left home I became a small dog person and ended up with Lyle the chihuahua. My boyfriend at the time had wanted a chihuahua ever since, having been attacked by what he mistook for a woman’s fur while working at a taco restaurant drive-thru. Fortunately, Lyle had a lovely personality and I was delighted by his portability. Back then I rode a hybrid bike with a backpack so I tucked Lyle in front, between my t-shirt and sweatshirt, and brought him to college classes with me. This system worked well except for one time when a friend hailed Lyle from the sidewalk and Lyle leapt out of my sweatshirt. He got a bit scratched up, but luckily didn’t hold it against me or the bike and we lived to ride another day.
[Read more…]

How to keep little bike passengers cozy in the cold

Posted on February 20th, 2018 at 10:40 am.

Lots of layers is a good start; but there’s much more to keeping them comfortable.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

You’ve decided to start biking more with your little ones. You’ve found routes that work for you. You’ve got your bike set-up figured out.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

And then you look outside and realize it’s 35 degrees.

Pedaling my heavy bike keeps me warm, but it’s a different story for my non-pedaling passengers. They need at least one extra layer when it’s cold outside. That’s one of the many things I’ve learned over the years.

As we get our first major snow storm of the year, this week’s post is all about how to stay warm and dry while biking with kids. First, I’ll go over the things you can put on your bike, then I’ll share the things you can (hopefully) put on your kids.
[Read more…]