Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kids Bike Tacoma: Tacoma's First Kidical Mass

Over 55 riders joined the inaugural Kidical Mass Tacoma ride. Families, kids, friends, co-workers, neighbors, infants, and toddlers all took to the streets together as we rolled through North Tacoma to Jefferson Park.

We decorated bikes, installed some bike bells, blew some bubbles and generally reveled in a little bicycle chaos before departing the Proctor Farmers Market. Everyone was so excited that we shrugged off concerns about exactly how this was going to work. I'm pretty sure we were all first-time Kidical Mass riders.

Kris and Terry, our volunteer crossing guards, were indispensable on this first ride. At each of the main arterial crossings, we regrouped, they blocked traffic, then the whole Mass rolled across the street. Everyone would ring-ring bells as they crossed the streets, many of the kids thanking Kris and Terry every time. One young rider was awed and impressed to find out that our crossing guards are year-round bike commuters. 

Taking the lane (and then some...)
The Jefferson Park sprayground was turned on for the first time this year, which gave us a chance to cool off on an exceptionally warm May day. (I think it was near 80°F when we finished the ride!)

Parents had a chance to talk bikes at the park, too. Finding safe, comfortable ways to haul your precious cargo is important. There was a little bit of everything: trailers, trail-a-bikes, (trail-a-bikes with trailers!), box bikes, longtail cargo bikes, recumbent tandems, and folding bikes that fit kids and adults.


Metrofiets and another EdgeRunner!

Thankfully we had Jeff of Jeff's Ice Cream along for the ride. The prospect of a cold treat at the finish was the only way we convinced some of the kids to hop back in the saddle and ride back to Proctor.  Jeff donated the ice cream for the event and we're looking into ways to sponsor him and other treats on future rides. (Contact Matt if you are interested in sponsoring a ride.)

Thanks also to the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club for sponsoring and promoting this event for Bike Month. The ride prompted some helpful on-road discussion with kids about how to ride in traffic, which is exactly what I was hoping for. We'll continue to make the routes accessible for most young riders, with a little more riding on bike lanes or low-traffic lane-divided streets (I'm thinking S. 15th St. as an example.) We were moving at 4-5mph, a good pace for our 16" and 20" wheeled riders, but challenging for our lone training-wheeled rider. Our youngest rider, on a push bike, used every ounce of determination to scoot the 2.5 miles to the finish. (Thank you, ice cream incentive!)

Our next ride will be June 8 starting at People's Park in Hilltop. More details will be posted here soon. Please leave a comment if you have questions or feedback about the rides. I don't know if we're doing this right, but I think it's working.

1 comment:

  1. We found some kid water bottles at the finish line. Let me know if they are yours!