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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get this new organization underway.
I’m really looking forward to this next chapter!
Keep on pedaling,