Family Biking

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


Family Biking: Can’t ride? What’s your backup plan?

Posted on September 18th, 2018 at 9:05 am.

Used the school bus for the first time yesterday!
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

What’s your backup plan when you can’t bike somewhere with your kids?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I jinxed myself by deciding on this topic last week and woke up sick Monday morning. I biked with my 4th grader one mile to Woodstock Elementary School for his 8:15 a.m. bell, but didn’t feel up to biking four miles to escort my 6th grader to his middle school’s (Hosford) 9:15 a.m. start time.

Enter, the school bus!

The middle school bus is very convenient — it picks up two blocks away from our house and we didn’t even need to sign up for it, just show up when you want to take it. This first time I walked with him and got the lay of the land from two of his last-year classmates who ride regularly (pro tip: try to sit by the front because the 8th graders sit in the back and play bad music and scream about boys when the bus goes by the high school, and the trip home is much worse than the trip in).

I got my work shift covered and slept all day, energetic enough to fetch my 4th grader at 2:30 p.m. and learn that he wants to start biking home alone this week — yay! Less to worry about for future sick days. Then I towed my 6th grader’s bike to middle school (cargo bikes are very handy, even when kids are mostly pedaling on their own) to meet him at 3:45 p.m.[Read more…]

Family Biking: How was the first day of school?

Posted on August 28th, 2018 at 10:02 am.

Obligatory first day of school photo.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

This question is for everyone! Portland Public Schools started back up this week and this affects many more people than just biking parents like myself. Did you see anyone biking to school and get a warm, fuzzy feeling? Did you bike to school or bike with a kid to school?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

We had a great first day of biking to school, despite my not doing a heck of a lot of planning and figuring out how long things would take. One of the things I like about biking for transportation is being able to just wheel my bike outside, hop on it, and go…versus walking to a bus stop at an appointed time. This works fine for making a trip to the grocery store in the evening or using Google maps’ time estimate when I’m riding somewhere alone using the most direct route, but getting kids to school on time for the first day ideally gets some practicing and number crunching.[Read more…]

Family Biking: Get ready to bike to school

Posted on August 21st, 2018 at 10:43 am.

Many Portland schools have great bike racks.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

We love biking to school.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

With Portland Public Schools starting in less than a week (!), this week I’ll share a bit about my family’s commute and then get into biking to school more broadly.

My two kids attended the same elementary school last year, a tad less than a mile from our house. It was a perfectly flat ride, but with two busy crossings that meant I always accompanied the kids, though they sometimes zoomed ahead of me once we got to the quiet part.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: Sidewalk cycling can be a savior

Posted on August 14th, 2018 at 9:24 am.

Riding on the sidewalk on the “wrong” side of the street to get to the MAX station.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

When I lived in Seattle I often said the best pieces of bicycle infrastructure were sidewalks.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I stuck to streets for the most part, but there were several places we regularly biked that required covering a couple blocks where I didn’t feel safe in the street, and in those instances, thank goodness for sidewalks! These were fast, four-lane streets with no bike markings whatsoever. No bike lanes. No sharrows (not that sharrows on arterials are great, don’t get me started).

As I’ve written previously, my routes differ whether I’ve got the kids with me or if they’re riding solo or attached via a trail-a-bike or cargo bike. This also affects the amount, if any, of sidewalk riding I do.

Here are more of my thoughts and experiences on sidewalk cycling…
[Read more…]

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…]