madi carlson

Family Biking: First impressions of the Surly Big Easy electric cargo bike

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on March 12th, 2019 at 11:40 am

Pretty sure this is the first time I’ve smiled at the thought of carrying two kids and an extra bike up a hill.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

I’m borrowing a Surly Big Easy, the brand new e-assist version of my beloved Surly Big Dummy longtail cargo bike. It’s been with me for a week now and we’ve been having a lot of fun with it. I’ll keep it another week or two before giving it back to Surly and writing a full review.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Before my full review, I’d like to offer some quick first impressions. Even more importantly, do you have any Portland-specific tests I should make a point of running? I’m thinking of things like:

➤ Biking up to the Zoo carrying a kid?
➤ Time 100 laps around Ladd Circle in Turbo mode?
➤ Carry 200 doughnuts from VooDoo to VooDoo 2 and see if they’re still warm upon arrival?

What are your ideas?
[Read more…]

Family Biking: Author and illustrator Alison Farrell comes to Storytime March 10th

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on March 5th, 2019 at 9:14 am

Portland author and illustrator Alison Farrell will join us at Bike Shop Storytime this coming Sunday, March 10th.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

And please note: We’ve moved the remaining Storytime events from Mondays to Sundays to attract more little listeners. We’re also shifting from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. We’ll probably keep it going beyond March, but check the BikePortland.org calendar or Kidical Mass PDX website for the latest event info.

Alison will read read and offer signed copies of her amazing book, Cycle City. You might recall we profiled Alison last year.
[Read more…]

Family Biking Column: My recap of the Worst Day of the Year Ride

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on February 27th, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Cargo trailers make for easy decorating, and easy carrying of three kids and three bikes (one had a flat tire, two were tired).
(Photo: Jen Regan)

After having such a great time last year celebrating a friend’s 8th birthday on the Worst Day of the Year Ride, we had to do it again! In fact, it was so fun that our friend rescheduled his birthday by two weeks to work around the rescheduling of the event — that’s dedication!
[Read more…]

Carfree travel with kids: Taking the family around L.A. by transit

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on February 26th, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Taking light rail to the beach was a blast.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

It’s easy to survive winter in the Pacific Northwest. Just escape to somewhere warm and sunny for one week in November and one week in February — or so I was instructed by a wise friend upon moving here.

It sounds like a lovely method, but until this winter I was never able to put it off.[Read more…]

Biking through Vancouver BC’s protected intersection

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on February 19th, 2019 at 11:07 am

Separated bike lanes, curb bulbs, so much green paint!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

— Madi Carlson is our Family Biking columnist.

It’s been three years since I visited Vancouver, Canada (with my cargo bike via BoltBus) and while I was very impressed with the bike infrastructure back then — it’s even better now. The most notable new thing was a protected intersection. [Read more…]

How to throw a winter bike-to-school party

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on February 12th, 2019 at 9:07 am

Pretty great turnout for a near-freezing morning in February!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

It may not feel like it right now, but spring is right around the corner, and not long after that comes Bike to School Day (May 8th). Why not throw an “off-season” bike-to-school party to celebrate the winter bikers, walkers, and rollers, and build excitement for those better days on the horizon?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

At Woodstock Elementary, we just threw a party, very much like our October Walk to School Day Party. My co-conspirator Carolyn and I chose our date to fall close to the Worst Day of the Year Ride, which seemed like a terrific idea on a balmy Wednesday two months ago, though I admit I went into the morning a little anxious about making people hang out in the 29-degree cold for 20 minutes before the schoolday started. (Spoiler alert: it was fine!)[Read more…]

Family Biking: Learning to ride a pedal bike

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on February 5th, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Baby’s first pedal stroke!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Hey kids, how’s it going with those new Christmas bikes? For some of us, it takes a while to get pedaling — my younger brother started riding without training wheels long before I was able to. But fear not, I have some tips for you!

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Remove your pedals
Turn that bike temporarily into a balance bike! Even if — actually, especially if — you’re graduating from a balance bike, your new pedal bike is going to be bigger and heavier and you’ll appreciate getting used to its heft before you need to add a new skill.[Read more…]

Family Biking: No, you don’t need an e-bike (but you’d love having one)

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on January 29th, 2019 at 11:50 am

On a rental e-bike in the summer of 2016.
(Photo: Cory Poole)

Last week’s profile of the carfree Kurten family sparked some great comments about e-bikes. In the near future, I’ll write about various types of e-assists, where to test ride, rent, buy, and have them serviced. But today I’m going to write about the opposite: not having an e-bike.
[Read more…]

Family biking profile: For the Kurtens, the right bikes helped them go carfree

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on January 22nd, 2019 at 6:34 am

One of the Kurten kids and one of the trusty family vehicles.
(Photos: Jonathan Kurten)

This week we’ll share a profile of the Kurten family.

Portlanders Jonathan and Tracy Kurten have been able to replace tricky transit trips and car trips with joyful bike trips — thanks in part to their useful new bikes.[Read more…]

Join the family biking fun at Kidical Mass planning meeting

Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) by on January 15th, 2019 at 12:03 pm

Kidical Mass kicks off in April with the annual egg hunt ride.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Want to help more families ride bikes?

We’ve just scheduled the 2019 Kidical Mass PDX planning meeting (details below) and everyone’s invited.

[Read more…]