Family Biking

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


Family Biking: It’s bike-to-pumpkins season! Here’s where to go

Posted on October 2nd, 2018 at 11:32 am.

Pumpkins on a bike!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

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Family Biking: Time to plan for Walk and Roll to School Day

Posted on September 25th, 2018 at 9:27 am.

Our May 2017 Woodstock Walk and Roll to School crew, after the walkers had already set off for school.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

If you’re like me, you love to celebrate active transportation (a.k.a. walking, bicycling, using a wheelchair, skateboarding, scootering, etc). On October 10th we’ve got the perfect opportunity to party because it’s Walk and Roll to School Day! With about two weeks until event, there’s still time to organize something at your school.
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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: Join us for Kidical Massive this Saturday (9/15)

Posted on September 11th, 2018 at 12:34 pm.

Kidical Mass is for families. Kidical MASSIVE is for even more families.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Kidical Mass PDX has a special event coming up this weekend: Kidical MASSIVE. I’ve written about Kidical Mass before and how much it means to me. Even as a seasoned family biker, there’s nothing I love more than riding with a big, slow, rolling, bell-dinging parade of kids on bikes.

What’s special about this particular Kidical Mass is that all 50 or so of the the Kidical Masses around the world host will an event on the same day.
[Read more…]

Family Biking: A bike light primer for the approaching season

Posted on September 4th, 2018 at 12:15 pm.

My boys riding home from a Portland Pickles baseball game in Lents Park after dark.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Kid bedtimes are getting easier now that the blazing orb of discomfort is leaving the sky well before 10 p.m.; but with that comes the need for little manufactured orbs of light. As much as it pains me to say it, the days are getting shorter and now’s the time to prepare for darker mornings and evenings.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I can tell from our packed school bike racks that there are a lot of new bike riders this year and I hope they’ll keep it up as the temperature drops and daylight hours lessen. I also bet a lot of them don’t have lights yet. If you need some help seeing the light (hardy-har), this week’s post should help you out…

➤ Legal lighting requirements
Legally, you only need a front light and a rear reflector when it’s dark out. Per ORS 815.280, “during limited visibility conditions” one must display a white light visible to the front (on your helmet is OK — it doesn’t have to be attached to your bike) from at least 500 feet away and a red reflector visible from the rear at least 600 feet when lit by car headlights.[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.
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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…
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When moms escape: Tackling the unpaved Trask River Road route to the coast

Posted on August 10th, 2018 at 10:23 am.

Team Sundress ready to hit Trask River Road (after an hour-long ride on the MAX).
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

“It was by far the hardest thing either of us have ever done, but we’d both do it again…though only after some rest and time to forget some of the details.”

While the kids are away the moms will play.

For me that means riding my bike much farther while carrying a bit less stuff than when I have the kiddos in tow. And ideally with a mom friend at my side. My friend Elle of Tiny Helmets Big Bikes came up from Sacramento, tasking me to find us a multi-day bike trip. I decided we’d take Trask River Road to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast.

Here’s the scoop on the route via Oregon Bikepacking:

While not technically easy, this the most straightforward, easiest dirt route to the coast from Portland. Starting from the end of the MAX line in Hillsboro, we route you through the least pavement possible to Mount Richmond and then on gravel up to the Barney Reservoir and along the North Fork of the Trask River directly into Tillamook.[Read more…]

Family Biking: A cautionary tale of kids riding too-small bikes

Posted on August 7th, 2018 at 2:45 pm.

Sitting on one’s rear rack looks pretty cool, but it doesn’t look comfortable.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

As a kid I rode a succession of wrong-sized bikes and loved them all. Heck, as a teenager and adult I’ve also had a lot of bikes that weren’t perfectly sized for me, including the bike I rode with my first-born (which was two sizes too big). However, my knees and my back appreciate that my current bike is the perfect size for me.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

As a parent I’ve learned the hard way to keep pace with growing kids.

It started last winter, without my really noticing, when my younger son stopped sitting on his saddle because his bike was getting too small.

That morphed into doing a lot of riding on his rear rack for fun, since it was so easy to reach on the too-small bike, plus it provided him a spot to sit more comfortably (or so he said) than the saddle.
[Read more…]