Kidical Mass Goes Caroling, 2011

If you were on N Mississippi Ave yesterday, you might be wondering who those family-bike-tastic carolers were. They were the Kidical Mass Carolers of course! We were out for our annual ride to bring family-velo cheer to the good people of Portland. In case you missed it, here’s an account of what happened.

We had a tri-generational group… grandma, daughter and granddaughter. Our youngest rider was a 2-year-old on a balance bike who rode the whole 2 miles. Most of the carolers were from that general corner of Portland so we had plenty of local knowledge for safe navigation across arterials. We stuck to quiet streets almost the whole time. One of the “quiet streets” was the alley behind the businesses along Mississippi… it was in a nice paved alley in great shape except for a brief stretch that it was a pot-holed dirt road.

Our first performance was at the food cart pod near Mississipi and Skidmore. A few people walking by gave us a “double-take” glance as they walked past but after a handful of songs we decided to ride to our next performance. We moved to the tree in the courtyard near Laughing Planet and Little Big Burger. People there actually stopped to watch us and sing along. A couple of them even snapped a few pictures and clapped. At the peak there were almost as many people watching us as there were singing. The crowd had places to go and things to do so it disipated and it was time to move on.

Kids on Bikes, Fa la la.
Kids on Bikes, Fa la la.

We got back on the bikes and headed toward Grand Central Baking Co. On our way to the bakery, we side-tripped by a house to see what was rumored to be an impressive garden gnome village display in the front yard. Yay for local knowledge! Unfortunately, the gnome village had been replaced by a sign chastising vandals and thieves who had been targeting the display. No more gnome village. Bummer. The bakery was quiet. It seemed a wise career move to revel in the caroling fame we enjoyed in front of the tree and not do a 3rd performance.

Most of the KM Carolers hung around the bakery to socialize and warm up with a hot beverage.  Me and Mine swung by Little Big Burger for a bite before we pedaled home.

A special “Thanks” goes out to Janine for delivering the song sheets. A hodge-podge of BTA carols and KM originals, it’s becoming quite the collection of bike-themed merriment. At one point we took a request for “Frosty the snowman”, which was not on the song sheet. Without the words in front of us it was a pretty sad rendition with more than an adequate share of humming the melody in place of lyrics. It was one of those “what we lack in talent, we make up for with enthusiasm” type situations.

Overall it was a great family friendly ride on as warm and sunny a day as one could hope for during December.

Kidical Mass Caroling on N. Mississippi

Baby, it’s cold outside… very, very cold.  Brighten up your holiday mood by joining Kidical Mass for a ride (whatever the weather) in NoPo this month!  Reprising last year’s successful ride, we’ll sing carols (Christmas, bikey, and otherwise) for the holiday shoppers on North Mississippi, and then stop in to Grand Central Baking for some hot drinks and a cookie or three before heading home.  Or, hang out for a group supper at Mississippi Pizza!
Meet at 1:45 under the covered basketball courts in Irving Park– we’ll leave at 2 and plan to be back by 4.  Ride is about 2.5 miles and NOT a loop, but it’s an easy ride back to the start from GCB.  Please be sure to bring lights and extra warm layers, so that you and your little ones can enjoy every bikey minute.  Holiday outfits aren’t required, but if you’ve got santa hats, elf suits, or reindeer antlers, this would be a good time to wear them.
We ride slowly enough for young riders– to ride with us, kids should be able to follow verbal instructions, stay on the right side of the road, and stop at lights & stop signs.  Kids must wear helmets & be accompanied by their grown-ups.

Kidical Mass Wants You!

I’m writing today to ask for your help: Kidical Mass needs a team of people leading rides throughout the city. We need to share our knowledge and skills and distribute some responsibility to create an organization that is robust and sustainable, that draws on a variety of community resources and expands our organizational network.

Dear supporters of Kidical Mass PDX:

This October would have been our one-year anniversary of taking to the streets of Portland.  You may have missed us; if so, I’m sorry.  My world of family biking has evolved in the past few months, bringing me a new baby as well as increased pressures in my personal life.

Kidical Mass has to survive and expand in Portland to give bike-riding parents and kids a chance to connect with each other, to reassure bike-curious families that people are out living the family bike life every day, and to give newbies a chance to join and learn from those of us who ride all the time.

But it can’t survive in its current form: having the ride depend on my getting my act together every month is not working.

I’m writing today to ask for your help: Kidical Mass needs a team of people leading rides throughout the city.  We need to share our knowledge and skills and distribute some responsibility to create an organization that is robust and sustainable, that draws on a variety of community resources and expands our organizational network.

I face a number of challenges in planning Kidical Mass.  First is ride routing: I want the ride to be welcoming to all interested families and so try to move the ride around the city every month.  But I’m only familiar with so many parts of town, and exploratory rides are time-consuming and will never give me the familiarity of someone who lives there.  In addition, ride turnout declined notably throughout the summer, and while I’m not sure whether the problem lies in poor publicity, poor timing, or unappealing events, having more voices in event planning would add more diversity to the mix and mean fewer rider-less rides.  Finally, I’d like to see rides tied in better with neighborhood schools, daycares, swap & plays, etc—I think these are natural places to ‘recruit’ new riders.  Kidical Mass needs better connections with these community hubs.

I propose that we split the city into six sections, roughly correlating with high school districts.  Each section will have a volunteer ride leader to take responsibility for planning, publicizing, and executing two rides a year (or a team of leaders collaborating on those rides).  We can coordinate via in-person meetings and a ride leaders email list, and I am more than happy to support and mentor new ride leaders—you won’t be on your own unless you want to be.  I am in the process of assembling a ride-leader’s manual, a document that can also develop as we grow as an organization.  Our funds will continue to be managed by Umbrella, and we can work together to fundraise for the group.

Right now, I’m looking for volunteers from each of these districts.  I’m attaching a draft schedule for when rides go where—this is open for revision and trading, but it gives us a starting point.  If you can take responsibility for one or two rides a year in your neighborhood, please get in touch with me at katie.proctor@gmail.com and we’ll get this new organization underway.

I’m really looking forward to this next chapter!

Keep on pedaling,

Katie

January/July Cleveland

February/August Grant

March/September Lincoln

April/October Madison

May/November Franklin

June/December Roosevelt

Kidical Mass is For the Birds!: Ice Cream and Oaks Bottom Ride

If you’re a kid, September means back-to-school. But if you’re a bird, it means fall migration. Take a break from hitting the books and join Kidical Mass on September 17th on a ride for the birds—and for some ice cream! We’ll start at 3 pm at Oaks Pioneer Church (SE 5th & Spokane), and first head north to Staccato Gelato for some icy treats. Then we’ll roll back down to the Springwater Trail, which we’ll take up to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to take a peak at the birds passing through Portland on their way south. The ride will finish with our bird walk, but the starting point is just half a mile back down the trail. If you like, bring binoculars, scopes, and/or birding guides—or just bring your sharp eyes and curiosity! Kids must wear helmets, raincoats are a good idea this time of year (just in case!), and you should have a couple of bucks for ice cream. We ride slowly, but kids should be able to stay on the right side of the road, stop at stop signs, and follow verbal instructions. Rain or shine!

If you’re a kid, September means back-to-school.  But if you’re a bird, it means fall migration.  Take a break from hitting the books and join Kidical Mass on September 17th on a ride for the birds—and for some ice cream!  We’ll start at 3 pm at Oaks Pioneer Church (SE 5th & Spokane), and first head north to Staccato Gelato for some icy treats.  Then we’ll roll back down to the Springwater Trail, which we’ll take up to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to take a peak at the birds passing through Portland on their way south.  The ride will finish with our bird walk, but the starting point is just half a mile back down the trail.  If you like, bring binoculars, scopes, and/or birding guides—or just bring your sharp eyes and curiosity!  Kids must wear helmets, raincoats are a good idea this time of year (just in case!), and you should have a couple of bucks for ice cream.  We ride slowly, but kids should be able to stay on the right side of the road, stop at stop signs, and follow verbal instructions.  Rain or shine!

August Ride: Caravan to Fiets of Parenthood

This ride has two parts. First, a two-mile stint from Peninsula Park to Irving Park, followed by a three-mile leg from Irving Park down to the event. Peninsula Park meet-up time is 10:30; we’ll leave from Irving Park at 11:15. If either of those is on your way (or even if it’s not) come join us!

The second annual Fiets of Parenthood, Portland’s premiere test of skill for parents on pedals, will be held at Clever Cycles on Sunday, August 21st. To get there in style, join Kidical Mass in a caravan of family bike fun!

This ride has two parts. First, a two-mile stint from Peninsula Park to Irving Park, followed by a three-mile jog from Irving Park south to the event. If either of those is on your way (or even if it’s not) come join us!

Ride is 5 or 3 miles, depending on where you start. Meet at SE corner of Peninsula Park at 10:30, or by the Irving Park playground at 11:15. Kids must wear helmets. Bring water, snacks & sunscreen.

June Kidical Mass: Pedalpalooza Hoedown

Join Kidical Mass, Squaredance Paul and a couple of feisty musicians for a wild & crazy family square dance in a top-secret location, just for us! We’ll meet at Overlook Park at 1:45 and proceed to a top-secret square dancing location. After some dancing and lemonade, we’ll ride on to a park for some potluck goodies, then we’ll loop back to Overlook Park to finish! Bring treats & sweets to share, and come ready to dance!

Join Kidical Mass, Squaredance Paul and a couple of feisty musicians for a wild & crazy family square dance in a top-secret location, just for us!  We’ll meet at Overlook Park and proceed to a top-secret square dancing location.  After some dancing and lemonade, we’ll ride on to a park for some potluck goodies, then we’ll loop back to Overlook Park to finish! Bring treats & sweets to share, and come ready to dance!

Kids must wear helmets. We ride slow enough for little ones, but kids should be able to stay on the right side of the road, follow verbal instructions & stop at stop signs.

THIS RIDE HAS SPONSORS!  Thank you to:
The Bike Realtor
Splendid Cycles
Sellwood Cycle Repair
Clever Cycles

If you or your business would like to help sponsor this ride, or support Kidical Mass rides in the future, please contact Katie Proctor: katie.proctor@gmail.com.

May Kidical Mass: Sunday Parkways Celebration!

Portland families LOVE Sunday Parkways– and we bet they’d love Kidical Mass as well! For May’s ride, we’ll start at Lent’s Park on Sunday morning making signs and decorations for our bikes– then we’ll ride the north-most leg of the Sunday Parkways route together, sharing our “Kids are Traffic Too” message, with stops in Ed Benedict Park to try out the Bike Skills Track and finishing at the Gilbert Heights Kids’ Fair.

Meet at Lents’ Park Playground for bike decorating at 11, ride departs around 11:45. Ride will NOT be a loop, but you can return to the start in either direction along the Parkways route. We will ride rain or shine, though sign-making activities may be hindered by rain. Kids must wear helmets. FREE!

Portland families LOVE Sunday Parkways– and we bet they’ll love Kidical Mass as well!  We’ll be spreading the word on May’s ride, starting at Lents Park on Sunday morning. First, we’ll make signs and decorations for our bikes, then we’ll ride a leg of the Sunday Parkways route together, sharing our “Kids are Traffic Too” message with Parkways riders.  We’ll stop in Ed Benedict Park to try out the Bike Skills Track and finish at the Gilbert Heights Kids’ Fair.

Meet at Lents Park Playground for bike decorating at 11, ride departs around 11:45.  Ride will NOT be a loop, but you can return to the start in either direction along the Parkways route.  We will ride rain or shine, though sign-making activities may be hindered by rain.  Kids must wear helmets.  FREE!

April Kidical Mass: Piedmont Parks & Picnic

This month, our 3.5 mile loop is all about playing in the sunshine– we’ll loop from Woodlawn City Park to Penninsula Park, then up to Farragut Park and back to Woodlawn for a picnic supper! Bring a main dish for your family and something to share with your new friends.

This month, our 3.5 mile loop is all about playing in the sunshine– we’ll loop from Woodlawn City Park to Penninsula Park, then up to Farragut Park and back to Woodlawn for a picnic supper!  Bring a main dish for your family and something to share with your new friends.

Kids must wear helmets.  Please dress for the weather and bring lights for the ride home.  We ride slowly enough for little peddlers, but kids should be able to stay on the right side of the road & stop for stop signs.

Celebrate Spring with an Urban Farm Adventure!

Starting at Rigler Elementary School, we’ll celebrate the coming of spring with a 3.5 mile loop including visits to the Rigler school garden, Harvey Scott Elementary, the Handmade Gardens edible forest, and the in-progress Cully Cycle Track. Special surprises may include mud, seeds, and chickens!

Meet at 2:45, ride at 3. Meet at Rigler Elementary, 5401 NE Prescott Street. We ride rain or shine, so come prepared for the weather and bring lights for your ride home. Kids must wear helmets. Ride is FREE!

On Saturday, March 19, Kidical Mass PDX will make a tour of urban farms and springtime gardens in the Cully neighborhood.  Starting at Rigler Elementary School, we’ll celebrate the coming of spring with a 3.5 mile loop including visits to the Rigler school garden, Harvey Scott Elementary, the Handmade Gardens edible forest, and the in-progress Cully Cycle Track.  Special surprises may include mud, seeds, and chickens!

Meet at 2:45, ride at 3.  Meet at Rigler Elementary, 5401 NE Prescott Street. We ride rain or shine, so come prepared for the weather and bring lights for your ride home.  Kids must wear helmets.  Ride is FREE!

Ride Recap: Bikes and Banjos, Pedals and Puppets

by Meg Hartley
Saturday, February 19, 2011

Do you want to know the best way to spend a sunny February day in Portland? A Kidical Mass bike ride! We were a collection of parents with kids in bike seats, on longtails, on/in trailers, in wooden buckets and on their own bikes. The ride started in the southeast hills near Mt. Tabor, at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church, and from there we headed down the hill to Laurelhurst Park. On the way, we saw a collection of plastic zoo animals chained to a horse ring in the sidewalk, a fake leg coming out of the attic of a house, huge, old trees, and an occasional chicken, dog or cat. Of course, we stopped off at the Laurelhurst playground for lollipops, snacks, and some swinging and climbing. There might have been a collective kid uproar if we hadn’t!

With the promise of more playground fun and a pig and chicken visit, we jetted away from Laurelhurst en route to Sunnyside School Park. This route took us through the Sunnyside neighborhood where we saw clowns painted on buildings, an old firehouse, a bicycle rickshaw, camilia bushes in bloom, and a funky house truck painted like a tiger. After visiting Poppy the resident pig and the chickens, no eggs were laid today, at Sunnyside School, we jumped on our bikes for the ride to see a puppet show by Mudeye Puppets, and dance to kid centric banjo music by Professor Banjo! (Thanks to Clever Cycles for providing ticket discounts to all.) YAY!

We had the support of many pedestrians, cyclists and motorists along the way, with many waves and exclamations of “Look at all the bikes!”. We even had a man with a movie camera film us go by! This part of the ride promised a rather steep hill, but we persevered, and despite mud and hills, we made it to our final destination and lunged inside for the puppetry and musical fun! After sipping steamers and coffee, dancing and singing, we all parted ways, with full bellies, warm hearts and a spectacular sunset, it was official that we had chosen the best way to spend this Saturday.