Family Biking Column

Family Biking Column

We’ve had four authors of this column since it debuted in 2008: Marion Rice (Apr 2008 ~ Dec 2009), Madi Carlson (May 2018 ~ Feb 2019), Becky Jo (Dec 2019 ~ May 2020), and Shannon Johnson (Jul 20201 ~ current). View their posts below.


Is bicycling a ‘liberal’ thing? (Should it be?)

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) by on September 15th, 2021 at 11:24 am

The author and her children in downtown Hillsboro.

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I never want to be a Suburban Soccer Mom

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) by on September 8th, 2021 at 9:07 am

Destination unknown.
(Photo: Daniel Lobo/Flickr)

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How I learned to quiet my demons and keep biking while pregnant

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) by on September 1st, 2021 at 10:38 am

Shannon Johnson, who’s due in December, with two of her kiddos. (Photo: Jacob Johnson)

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Family Biking Column: My modest resolution for a weekly bike adventure

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) by on August 25th, 2021 at 9:24 am

That look.
(Photos: Shannon Johnson)

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A family biking film for when it’s too hot to ride

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) by on August 19th, 2021 at 9:08 am

Staying cool.
(Photo: Shannon Johnson)

This past week was a rough week to be the pregnant family biking columnist at BikePortland. Heck, it was a rough week to be a human being in Portland.

Like many Pacific Northwesterners, our home doesn’t have AC, so we just roast and try to figure out survival strategies. Cooling off with young kids is more difficult since the pandemic has shut down the majority of kid-friendly indoor spaces or forced them to close their air-conditioned play areas. We tried riding the bike a bit in the mornings at the beginning of the week, but by the end of it, I was actually making up excuses to drive our van around, just for the needed respite of cooler temperatures via car AC. I even went shopping, with four children, in actual stores, just to avoid sweating it out at home. We visited the library to cool off and volunteered to cook dinner at a friend’s house who had air conditioning.

Even with our best efforts to make the best of things, by the week’s end I was beat, hot, tired and even bored. I was too hot to do chores, to accomplish any projects, to exercise, to ride a bike, or lift a finger. At last I took a cold shower and began to fantasize about winter biking in drizzle, rain, and blustery cold.
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Voices from Dairy Creek Park: Listening to the houseless in Hillsboro

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) by on August 5th, 2021 at 12:30 pm

(Note: This is part two of Shannon’s story. We posted part one on Monday.)

Martin. A resident of Dairy Creek Park in Hillsboro.
(Photographed with permission by Shannon Johnson)

This post began with my scouting of a new park for our family to visit on our bikes. It resulted in me coming face-to-face with homelessness in Hillsboro. Which is a unique reason why I think biking is so valuable: it increases our intimacy with our own neighborhood and local community. Biking opens our eyes to what is right around us, but that we might otherwise (in a car) never see.

My original intention was to check out the bike route and amenities at Dairy Creek Park. But after reading reviews that warned about various encampment-related ills (such as trash, feces, and unwelcoming encounters with campers) I was encouraged to also scout out park cleanliness and safety. But even more importantly, I was prompted to take an active interest in the needs of the houseless community near me — because this can’t just be about me. Yes, I want a clean and safe park for my children to play in, but I also — far more importantly — want my fellow neighbors to have a clean and safe place to live.[Read more…]

Homeless campers and family biking fears

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) by on August 3rd, 2021 at 2:27 pm

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Hello from Hillsboro, I’m your new Family Biking columnist!

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) by on July 29th, 2021 at 3:02 pm

Shannon and her kiddos at a park in Hillsboro.
(Photo courtesy Johnson family)

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Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: Where to buy a bike and get it ready for fun season

Becky Jo (Columnist) by on May 12th, 2020 at 9:08 am

Evansville, Indiana Target’s bike wall

Bike sales are through the roof — in Portland and across the country. Isn’t that great? Only downside is basic bikes can be hard to come by. And then there’s the need for repairs and maintenance.

An old mom-group friend posted this photo of the bike wall in an Evansville, Indiana Target. That’s pretty amazing. There was recently even a BikePortland Forums post asking about where to buy right now. I also just started following Portland Bicycle Emporium on Instagram. The owner of that shop is pulling 12-plus hour days and can’t keep low-priced, starter bikes in stock (his posts crack me up, so worth a follow).

It’s sort of weird but I’m suddenly a veteran now in comparison to all the new cyclists. JK. I still have no idea what I’m doing, so I’m going to ask you:
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Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: Bike Culture Happy Hour and school bike parades

Becky Jo (Columnist) by on May 5th, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Just a couple 8th grader moms.

I’m pretty good at being reclusive and introverted, but even I’m starting to feel the strain of quarantine.

I was truly looking forward to all the local bike rides for spring and summer to get to know all of you IRL (in real life), and for getting my kids a bit more into biking. You know, plant those life-long cycling seeds. I’m hoping today we can each share a bit of what we’re doing to help both new people like me find “virtual” social biking options and help each other stay connected. [Read more…]