Monday, December 1, 2014

Coming Up: Downtown Winter Solstice Ride

Kidical Mass Tacoma is heading downtown on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, for a short ride on the shortest day of the year. The full route is just 2.9 miles!

Meet at the corner of S 19th and Jefferson (across from The Swiss) around 10:30 a.m. Dress for the weather! Email Matt if you need routing advice on the best way to ride to the start location, otherwise street parking is free on Sundays downtown.

We'll roll-out at 11 a.m., taking the lane past the Tacoma Art Museum and down to Dock Street. Thea's Park is our turn-around point.

On the way back we'll see a few murals, pay tribute at the Sun King sculpture, and cross the Bridge of Glass. There's public art everywhere on this ride. We'll finish up on Pacific Ave with free hot chocolate and cookies with the SOTA Bike Club at the School of the Arts. 

Parents and kids are welcome to join us for lunch afterwards at the Harmon Brewing restaurant for some 2015 ride brainstorming. (Kids eat free on Sundays at the Harmon!) Bring a bike lock if you're staying for lunch. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

For November: 2nd Cycle Shop Ride through Hilltop

Mock up of the new shop at 1205 MLK Jr Way in Tacoma

Join us at the brand new 2nd Cycle shop on Sunday November 2nd to celebrate DIY bikes. Meetup at 10:30 to get ready, roll-out at 11am for a loop ride around the Hilltop neighborhood. We'll return to the shop for snacks and a hands-on tutorial for kids on how to change a flat tire. Let 'em get their hands dirty - that's how they learn!
So long old shop...

2nd Cycle is a community cycle center where you can buy new/used parts and shop time. They help teach you how to use the tools to repair and maintain your bicycle. It's an empowering concept that your kids will love.

Their old shop down the street has been an amazing resource for both the Hilltop community and Tacoma at-large. They are making the transition to this new, permanent space at 1205 MLK Way throughout the month of October.
This is a free event sponsored by the Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club, but donations to 2nd Cycle are appreciated and encouraged. You can support them in-person at the shop or through their IndieGoGo site.

This is our first winter ride, and we're expecting it to be a little chilly and wet. Dress for the weather, or just join us at the shop. The route will be almost entirely flat, 2-3 miles, and rideable for riders of nearly all ages and abilities. Email Matt the ride leader if you have specific questions. 

We love riding in Hilltop!

Monday, August 11, 2014

For September: South Tacoma School Ride

September is Back to School month so we're heading to South Tacoma on September 14 to ride the historic Water Ditch Trail from South Park to Arlington Elementary to get kids motivated about biking to school. And, at the request of several families, this is our first ride on a Sunday! As usual, meetup at 10:30am to get everyone ready then we'll rollout at 11am. 

Some improvements have been made to the trail since we first rode it together last summer. Most importantly, the two No Crossing signs at South 56th Street have been replaced with a new pedestrian crossing signal.

Before, looking south at 56th

Now, looking north at 56th

This is a huge improvement. Our 3.8 mile round-trip ride will start and end at South Park, which has bathrooms, a sprayground, a playground and lots of afternoon shade. 

We'll cross 56th and head south past Edison Elementary and on to Arlington Elementary. We'll stop and play on the playground for a bit, then return to South Park for a snack. 

The Water Ditch Trail is quite flat with a few short hills. Most of the route is paved trail, but we will also be riding in the street. (That's the whole idea - kids are traffic, too!) Kids on training wheels and push bikes are welcome, but be aware there are a few short hills to navigate. 

If you're new to Kidical Mass, you can find out more about our free family bike rides here. Feel free to leave questions in the comments section below or email Matt at kidicalmasstacoma<at>

Sunday, July 6, 2014

August Ride: Waterfront to Ruston Family Fair

On August 9 our monthly ride will head to the waterfront for a 1.7 mile route to the Ruston Family Fair in the heart of the historic Ruston Business District. There will be many free activities for kids at the Fair including old fashioned games and wagon rides, a classic car show, and outdoor music. Something for everyone to see and do!

Let's meet-up at 10:30am near the Copperline Apartments (4760 Ruston Way), where the new Point Ruston trail starts with this Giant Octopus on the sidewalk. If you're driving to the start, there's a big gravel lot across the street (on the south side of Ruston Way) where you can park for the afternoon.

The ride will follow the waterfront trail north around Point Ruston towards the marina, then up the hillside towards the main entrance to Point Defiance Park. The hill section is a rather steep grade, but the paved trail is accessible to riders on nearly any size and type of bicycle, even training wheels and push bikes. We'll regroup at the top of the hill and ride together through the Ruston neighborhood to the Fair. 

We'll plan to hang-out at the Fair for an hour before regrouping again for a ride back down the hill. You are welcome to ride back with the group, stay longer at the fair, or head back early. (If you are staying at the fair, please bring a lock to secure your bikes!) 

As usual, our pal Jeff's Ice Cream will be along for the ride to hand out a free ice cream treat to all of our riders, courtesy of the Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club.

If you're new to Kidical Mass, you can find out more about our free family bike rides here. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments below or email Matt at kidicalmasstacoma<at>

P.S. The Underwater Music Festival is also happening on August 9, so don't be surprised if you see a ton of boats moored off-shore near Point Ruston. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July East Side Ride: Stewart Heights to Charlotte's Blueberry Park

Let's go berry picking!

On Saturday July 26, we'll meetup at 10:30am at Stewart Heights Park near the playground. At 11am we'll roll-out for a flat ride to Charlotte's Blueberry Park. We'll pick blueberries for a little while (bring a container!) then head back to Stewart Heights.

We'll provide a free ice cream to all riders at the finish, but you may want to pack a picnic or bring your swimsuit to take full advantage of both the Stewart Heights park and pool.

The route is quite flat and there's only one arterial to cross. The road surface through the neighborhood is a little rough, but this should be manageable for riders on smaller push-bikes or even training wheels. Roundtrip is 3.5 miles, but tired riders can make the ride a little shorter by not looping around the southern end of Blueberry Park.

Charlotte's Blueberry Park is a gem. There are TONS of huge blueberry bushes, picnic tables, a short trail, a port-a-potty and plenty of space to run around. The bushes are loaded with berries and should be ripening up just in time for our ride. The picking season continues through August.

Questions? Suggestions on how we can make this more fun and awesome for kids?  Leave us a comment below or email us kidicalmasstacoma (at) gmail (dot) com.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer Reading Starts with a Library-to-Library Ride in June

On June 28, Kidical Mass will ride from the Wheelock Library in Proctor to the Swasey Library in the West End. This will give our riders two opportunities to register for TPL's summer reading program. We'll try to find a few Little Free Libraries along the way.

Meet-up at 10:30am by the Mr. Mason statue at N 26th and Adams. We'll make sure everyone is ready to roll out at 11am. We'll be riding in the road, mostly on residential streets and the Scott Pierson Trail, but there will be times when we cross arterials and share the lane with cars. Here's our planned route:

View Wheelock to Swasey in a larger map

Matt will lead the ride over to Swasey, a 3.3 mile route, riding at a slow pace with stops to regroup. You are welcome to stay as long as you like, but bring a lock if you're planning to stay. If you need food, Pao's Donuts is next door and the Tres Hermanos food truck at 6th and Mildred is just a few blocks away.

After a 20-30minute stop at Swasey, Matt will head back to Wheelock. You are welcome to leave the group and make up your own route home. Roundtrip for the whole ride is 6.6 miles. We usually have free treats at the finish, but this time we may need to break out the ice cream at Swasey. (Jeff's Ice Cream rides along with his ice cream trailer - how cool is that?) We'll play it by ear and see what parents think when we get there.

What is Kidical Mass?
Kidical Mass is a bike ride for families, giving kids and parents an opportunity to ride together safely and lawfully. These rides take place in cities all over the country as a way to give kids (and parents!) the confidence to ride in the street while following the Rules of the Road.

Our Tacoma rides are typically 3-4 miles roundtrip, but please note that this ride is a bit longer than usual. Bikes with wheels smaller than 16" and bikes with training wheels are not recommended do to the distance and a few hilly sections, but feel free to bring younger riders along with kid seats, cargobikes, trailers and trail-a-bikes. Remember, Tacoma has a helmet law so helmets are required for all riders - including parents.

Questions? Feedback? Are you planning to attend? Ideas to make this more awesome? Please post comments or email kidicalmasstacoma(at)gmail(dot)com.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Riding Through Hilltop For Bike Month


May is Bike Month and there are many bikey activities planned in the Tacoma area. Kidical Mass will join in the fun on May 17 with a ride through the Hilltop neighborhood.

Kidical Mass is a bike ride for families, giving kids and parents an opportunity to ride in the street together safely and lawfully. Tacoma has a helmet law, so helmets are required for all riders - including parents. Rides are typically 3-4 miles roundtrip with a stop in the middle to play. Bikes with wheels smaller than 16" and bikes with training wheels are not recommended, but feel free to bring younger riders along with kid seats, cargobikes, trailers and trail-a-bikes.

For this ride, we'll meet at Peoples Park (South 9th and Martin Luther King Jr Way) between 10-11am on Saturday, May 17. There's a great playground here and we'll have some supplies on-hand for decorating and personalizing your bike. We will roll out at 11am on our way to McCarver Elementary and Zina Linnik Park, a 1.8 mile route.

The pace will be rather slow (about 4-5mph) so that a rider on a 16" wheeled bike can stay with the group. We'll hang out at McCarver for 20 minutes or so before heading back to Peoples Park for a free snack. The return route will be more direct and we'll decide from a few options based on how comfortable riders are with traffic.

We should be back at Peoples Park around noon, so feel free to pack a lunch and have a picnic if the weather is nice. We'll still ride in a drizzle, but extreme rain will cancel.

Questions? Feedback? Are you planning to attend? Ideas to make this more awesome? Please post comments or email kidicalmasstacoma(at)gmail(dot)com.


What a great turn-out! The skies parted just in time for us to meet at People's Park. The kids and parents mingled, decorating bikes and finding lots of creative ways to personalize those I Bike Tacoma bandanas. TV Tacoma was there to capture the chaos for an upcoming segment on their new Urban Green program (can you spot the helmet cams?) and a reporter from The News Tribune finally rode along as well. 

There were box bikes, recumbent tandems, trail-a-bikes, kid seats, long-tails, mid-tails, and a few young and determined riders on push bikes and training wheels bringing up the rear. We even picked up another father and daughter pair of riders as we reached McCarver Elementary. And no rain! 

I lost track of how many Little Free Libraries we spotted along the way; at least two but I think the kids saw one that I didn't.

FabLab Tacoma surprised the kids by rolling their FabLorean pedal car to People's Park so the kids could take their one-of-a-kind time-machine for a spin. Thanks Billy!

It was just a great day. There were a few minor mechanical issues with a few kids' bike, but we had no problems navigating Hilltop by bicycle. I'd say Hilltop is actually the most bike-friendly neighborhood in Tacoma. 

Thanks again to the Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club for sponsoring the ride, to Jeff's Ice Cream for bringing along frozen treats for everyone, to Carla Gramlich for taking photos, and to riders from VeloFemmes and TWBC that came along to help out. We'll see you on another ride in the future!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Let's Ride in the Junior Daffodil Parade

To kick-off to our 2014 season, Kidical Mass Tacoma will be participating in the 53rd annual Junior Daffodil Parade on Saturday, April 12. While we typically ride in the streets with traffic, this non-motorized parade is a mere four blocks long and will give even the youngest riders a chance to show off their cycle skills.

We will be riding at a walking pace, showcasing all the ways that kids and parents ride on Tacoma's streets - trailers, trailer-bikes, cargobikes, kid seats and two wheelers. (Training wheels and coasting bikes are even ok for the parade.) Bike bells, noise-makers, and costumes are encouraged. The theme of the parade is Ready, Set, Grow!

Plus, it's televised! TV Tacoma will be broadcasting the event and also rebroadcasting afterwards, so this is your opportunity to ride bikes on tee-vee.

Here are the details:

The parade starts at 10am in Tacoma's Proctor District. We are position number D-4 and will be staging at the east end of the Mason Middle School track near N 28th and Monroe Street (the yellow bit on this map.)

We will begin staging around 9:30am so we can decorate bikes with our allocation of daffodils. We must be in position on the field, ready to roll, no later than 10:20am. Helmets are required for all riders. Parents, you are welcome to walk or ride with your kids, but you must remain with them at all times.  

Here's the parade route: 

We finish at the Wheelock Library parking lot and will disband after that. We'll have a snack at the finish for all participants.

Due to street closures several blocks around the parade route, I highly recommend walking/riding to the Proctor neighborhood. If you are driving in, plan on parking at least 4-5 blocks away in the neighborhood. Here are the details about parking from the parade organizers:

Questions? Comments? Great ideas? Please leave a comment below or email kidicalmasstacoma(at) See you there!

UPDATE: Read more about the parade in The News Tribune.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bikey Things Happening and Dates to Save

Just a quick post to let you know about some upcoming events and a few things going on during these last days of winter. We're looking forward to the sunnier days of Spring!

March 1 South Sound Sustainability Expo
We will have a booth at this free event at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. Stop by to learn more about Kidical Mass and ask us about riding bikes in Tacoma.
This public event is intended to provide residents and business owners in the greater Tacoma metropolitan area a place to discover services, products, companies, and agencies in our region that address sustainability needs in our community.
If you're driving to the event, I suggest parking at the Tacoma Dome Parking Garage and taking the LINK lightrail directly to the convention center. Kids love to ride the LINK!

5th Grade Bike Poster Contest
Have your 5th grader enter this Washington Bikes poster contest for a chance at prizes, fame, and a chance to go to the national competition.
The contest asks 5th grade students to create a poster around the famous John F. Kennedy quote, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
Entries are due March 7. Maybe your student's whole school would like to participate? It looks like there were no entries from Tacoma last year. You can put us on the map!

April 12 - Junior Daffodil Parade
Kidical Mass Tacoma will be riding in this non-motorized parade in the Proctor District. More details will be posted here on the blog soon, but plan on meeting us the morning of the parade at Mason Middle School to decorate bikes while we wait for the parade to start. The parade moves at a walking pace, so this is a great opportunity for younger kids on push bikes and training wheels. The theme for the 2014 parade is Ready, Set, Grow!

May 3 Tacoma Bike Swap and Kid Bike Rodeo
Bike Month kicks off with a huge bike swap event at the University of Puget Sound Field House. Kidical Mass Tacoma will be there to host a bike rodeo for kids who want to test their riding skills on our obstacle course.

May 7 National Bike to School Day
Now is a great time to talk with your PTA and start organizing a Bike To School event at your school. There were Walk To School Day events hosted at several Tacoma elementary schools last fall and the turn-outs were eye-opening. There is tons of information at Let us know in the comments if you're planning an event at your school.

May 17 Kidical Mass Tacoma in the Hilltop
Our first official ride of the season. We'll ride from Peoples Park to Zina's Place at McCarver Elementary and back to Peoples Park. There's a playground stop in the middle and a free snack at the end. We're working on a few additional surprises, too.

New #Bike253 Calendar on
As part of a grassroots effort to promote bike riding in Tacoma, the folks at local blog have created a special events page on their site where you can post upcoming bike ride and activities. Posting is free. Our events will be listed there as well. Check it out!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Kicking Off 2014: The Year of the Horse

Welcome to the new Kidical Mass Tacoma site!

After six fun events in 2013, it's time to get organized for another fun year of riding bikes with kids in Tacoma. We will post details on our upcoming ride calendar here soon, but you can also get updates through our new Facebook page ( Mass Tacoma) and Twitter handle (@TacomaKidical). Follow us!

As a final send-off to 2013, Kidical Mass was invited to First Night Tacoma, a New Year's Eve arts and music celebration downtown. We rode as part of the World's Shortest Parade that launched the evening's festivities. I (Matt, ride leader dad guy) had never been to First Night and was excited to check it out. Since it was dark, my daughter and I decorated our bikes with lots of lights. This is actually a great way to stay visible on any night ride year-round!

Cargobike in tow-bike mode
The weather was damp and cold, so both paraders and spectators waited until the last moment to arrive at the start line near the Old Elk's Lodge. One man with a bull-horn was all it took to get this motley crew in formation. It was like being part of a flash mob!

Only a few kids rode with us in the parade, but many others lined the 1 block route to watch. A towering, illuminated Trojan Horse quadracycle led off the group of pyrotechnic mini-floats, street performers, bikes, unicycles, a drumline and even a Back To the Future pedal-car made by Tacoma's FabLab.

It was a blast!

The parade ended in front of a large outdoor music stage on Broadway where the crowd of revelers slowly dispersed towards the many venues hosting performances and activities of all kinds, both indoors and outside. (Post Defiance has a great article on what you missed!)

On my way back up Broadway, I found Josh setting up The Really Big Table Project in front of the Pantages. It's a 24' long portable table with its own custom bike trailer, which he towed in the parade. The table is available to rent for community events and is meant to help spark conversation and bring people together.

It turned out to be a great night to ride bikes and enjoy the outdoor festivities. We're looking forward to participating in First Night Tacoma again in 2014!