Family Biking

Family Biking: Join us for Kidical Massive this Saturday (9/15)

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by 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.
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Family Biking: A bike light primer for the approaching season

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by 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: Get ready to bike to school

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by 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

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by 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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Family Biking: Taking kids and bikes on MAX light rail

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on June 5th, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Plenty of room for kids and bikes on a weekend train.
(Photos by Madi Carlson)

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

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by 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!
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Where to buy used kids’ bikes in Portland

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on March 13th, 2018 at 10:21 am

This Lil’ Honey was new in 2012, but is ready for a new owner now.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Six years ago I scored a free 12-inch kids bike from my neighborhood mom group. It was the start of a journey — not just of riding, but of figuring out how and where to get bikes that work and that fit my constantly growing boys.
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Biking with the family dog

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by 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.
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Tips for tackling toddler helmet hesitancy

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on February 27th, 2018 at 10:34 am

Decorations — like these R2D2 stylings for a Star Wars themed ride — make wearing a helmet fun.
(Photos by Madi Carlson)

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

There’s no debate about helmet use for kids (heck, even most kids in Copenhagen wear them!). Opinions aside, it’s an Oregon law that everyone 15 years or younger has to wear one. But that doesn’t mean it’s as easy as snapping a buckle.

Getting a helmet on a kid is one of the toughest parts of family biking.

Over the years I’ve developed my own collection of tricks to take the hassle out of helmets. Today we’ll talk about where to buy them, choosing the right one, how to fit them — and of course, how to have fun while doing it.
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How to keep little bike passengers cozy in the cold

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by 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.
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