How to keep little bike passengers cozy in the cold

Handlebar mittens come as sets of two and work fine with shifters and brakes, though my kids like keeping their shifters visible.
Bundled-up bike passengers
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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Product review: The Islabikes Beinn 20 children’s bike

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When a kid has the confidence to do little tricks, it’s a good sign they trust their bike.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When he was finally ready, his bike was more than up to the task. That’s how I think about my five-year-old son Everett’s evolution to becoming a confident bike rider.

It wasn’t easy. He first learned to ride a regular pedal-bike (after learning on a balance bike) over two years ago. But for some reason he didn’t keep it up. He parked the bike and seemed afraid or nervous about it whenever we urged him to get back on the saddle. Even getting a shiny new red bike didn’t inspire him! I was completely at a loss. I was so frustrated that I just stepped back and stopped even talking about riding (absent dropping a few hints here and there).

Then one day while I was out of town, I got a text from Juli. It was a video of Everett riding his bike. “This just happened,” she wrote.

He got his bike out and just started riding it. All on his own. I guess he was finally ready.

And thankfully, his bike was too.

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Reform school: PSU will host a free ‘Summer Transportation Institute’ for girls

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It’ll be an introduction to transportation careers.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re a female high schooler with a yen for understanding how cities work and how to help them evolve, Portland State Unviersity has a deal for you.

PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Center is offering its first-ever Summer Transportation Institute, a two-week course designed to introduce young women (rising into grades 9-12) to the possibilities of a career in shaping streets. It’ll be divided between (a) guest lectures from prominent women in Portland’s transportation world and (b) “field tours of Portland’s transportation infrastructure and public spaces.”

Here’s how the course description puts it:

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Driving to school hits a new low in Portland after 15 years of ‘Safe Routes’

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(Graphs: Portland Bureau of Transportation)

Portland pupils keep riding cars to school less, and walking and biking more.

Survey data released by the city Wednesday show a continuing upward climb in active transportation to school. Among Portlanders in kindergarten through fifth grade, walking, biking and otherwise rolling to school became more common than traveling in the family vehicle sometime around 2010 and has more or less kept climbing since.

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15 years later, woman reunites with her first wheels thanks to Hillsboro student bike club

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Left, Layton Fishback’s old bike; right, Fishback, her
daughter Jubilee and Sean Hagebusch of the
Poynter bike club.
(Photos via Hillsboro School District)

A Hillsboro woman will get a chance to pass her childhood bicycle on to her daughter after a chance reunion made possible by Poynter Middle School’s bike club.

Hillsboro School District posted the one-chance-in-10,000 story on its website Monday.

It begins from the perspective of John Sarrazin, an adult leader in the Poynter Middle School after-school bike repair program, who was promoting the program at the Proud to be HSD Festival in downtown Hillsboro on May 30:

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Comment of the Week: The real cost of having unsafe streets

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On her own.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland is, thankfully, a relatively safe city to get around. Even the United States in general, with our 30,000 road deaths every year, is full of hundreds of millions of people who aren’t getting physically hurt.

But the real cost of Vision 30,000 (as I saw a local transportation planner put it the other day) isn’t broken bodies. And it doesn’t have anything to do with biking in particular. It’s the fact that almost all of us spend our entire lives in a constant, low-level fear of losing our daughter, our son, our spouse, our best friend, to traffic.

How does that perfectly reasonable fear shape our lives? How does it lead us to shape theirs?

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Kidical Mass PDX invites biking parents to join family ride planning for 2015

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From Portland’s first Kidical Mass in 2008.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Kidical Mass PDX, the tradition of family bike rides each month exploring neighborhoods around Portland, will hold its annual planning meeting one week from Saturday and is inviting anyone who might have ideas to join in.

“We’ve had a pretty stable leadership the last few years, and that’s been great,” said Katie Proctor, who took the handlebars of Kidical Mass in 2010. “But we also are feeling a little set in our ways, so we’re looking for new blood to come in and shake things up.”

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This is what happens when you ask Portlanders to build balance bikes

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Balance bikes for bid. See more photos below.
(Photo: CCC)

From the Bike Mechanic Challenge back in June to their successful Transportation Trivia Nights, the northeast Portland based Community Cycling Center has a knack for dreaming up great ways to support their cause.

But this one might take the cake.

In the spirit of the season when little kids dream of their first bike, the CCC challenged five of its staffers to compete in a “Balance Bike Build-Off”. For the uninitiated, a balance bike is a tiny bike for toddlers without pedals or gears and a seat so low it can be powered by running instead of pedaling. They’re simply the best way to learn to how to balance, and ultimately ride, a bike.

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Portlanders celebran ‘Dia de los Muertos’ con paseo en bicicleta

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Líder del paseo, Elizabeth Quiroz de Mujeres en Movimiento y Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

To read this post in English, see below. Le pedimos disculpas por cualquier error de traducción. Por favor nos dice acerca de ellos y vamos a solucionarlos.

Con la cantante oaxaqueña Lila Downs canturreando desde un equipo de música de remolque, 35 Portlanders de varias edades se reunieron domingo en Cully para un viaje para celebrar el Día de los Muertos.

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Portland needs to invoke the lifeboat rule

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kid on bike

Amsterdammers are made, not born.
(Photo in Amsterdam by J. Maus/BikePortland)

America's Next Bicycle Capital

Part of our series, America’s Next Bicycle Capital, where we share community voices about the future of biking in Portland. This week’s guest writer is A.J. Zelada, who chaired the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2013.

The lifeboat rule needs to be invoked: parents and children first.

I returned from the Netherlands a few weeks ago and I was struck, of course, by how different it was. I admit, I am not so sure it is reproducible here as much as I’ve hawked it in the past. My partner and I bicycled from Bruges, Belgium to Amsterdam up the North Sea coast line but catching Ghent, Delft, Leiden and many other towns along the incredible segregated bike lanes that simply connect everything. [Publisher’s note: Follow Jerry’s adventures here.]

What struck me was that Americans have a missing childhood developmental stage of being an infant, a toddler, and a child on a bike before they get on a bike independently. And even though little Americans are propped up in a baby trailer or behind the rider’s seat, they still miss what parents in Belgium and the Netherlands teach their kids.

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