Tomorrow brings the first official ride for Kidical Mass NYC, an opportunity for adult cyclists of varying skill levels to hit the streets with their little ones.
As the name implies, Kidical Mass brings together kids and parents for group rides. Many cities — including Washington, Philadelphia, and Portland — have chapters. The local effort was inspired by the relatively recent proliferation of kid-carting cargo bikes in Brooklyn, says Doug Gordon, who founded the group with Alexandra Loxton and Hilda Cohen.
“It used to be that such bikes were rather uncommon in New York, but that’s not the case so much anymore,” says Gordon. “So we started talking about other families who ride with their kids or who have these kinds of bicycles and thought it would be fun to get a lot of them together.”
While the rides are intended to help young cyclists gain experience, Cohen says having strength in numbers is good for parents as well.
“We all three ride with our kids, and as they grow older, they are wanting to ride by themselves,” says Cohen. “We as parents are comfortable on our bikes, but there are many that are not, so we are trying to find a way to make parents more comfortable too.”
Participants in Saturday’s ride will meet up at Brooklyn Borough Hall at 8:45 a.m., then head over the Brooklyn Bridge for the last week of Summer Streets. A second ride is planned for September 20 in Gowanus and Red Hook. “We are all three based in Brooklyn,” says Cohen, “but to have these branch out into other boroughs would be ideal.”
The plan is to do one ride per month through fall, take a winter break, and pick things up next spring.
“Biking is probably the first situation for many kids where they are independent of their parents but able to keep up based on their own efforts,” Cohen says. “We feel that every kid should have this opportunity to experience this, regardless of where they live.”
“The main goal, no matter the location, is fun,” says Gordon. “Hopefully this will grow into something that, much like Critical Mass, becomes an event that any interested parent in the five boroughs can organize without much effort.”
There will be snacks tomorrow, along with stickers and “other goodies.” Check out the Kidical Mass NYC Facebook page, RSVP for the ride here, and if you plan to join, see Cohen’s short list of pointers after the jump.
We require all kids under 14 to wear a helmet, following NYC law.
All kids should be able to stop. This seems pretty obvious, but lots of kids stop with their feet, and our first ride takes us downhill at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge. Kids should be able to stop using the brakes on their bikes/scooters, unless they are scoot bikes.
Kids should practice their directions. Most will be following others, and we will have marshals for our rides, but to know which way is left and right is a good idea.
Don’t cross your wheels with another bike ahead of you or behind you. Know what is around you.