Kidical Mass Rockville Kick-Off – Ice Cream for All!

Join Rockville Kidical Mass for our first kick-off ride of the season on June 20! We’ll be meeting at the Thomas Farm Community Center (700 Fallsgrove Dr, Rockville) at 10 AM right near the bike rack. We’ll be riding to local favorite Carmen’s Italian Ice and back. To RSVP ahead of time (much welcomed), check out the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee Meetup group.

The route is 1.5 miles each way and will use multi-use paths, quiet residential streets and a short distance on a bike lane. Check out the interactive Google Map of the ride. We welcome families with kids in trailers, bike seats, box-bikes, tag-a-longs and on their own two wheels! The pace will be at the speed of the slowest rider (probably about 6 mph), so don’t worry about being left behind. Be sure to bring helmets for everyone, water, spare tubes, ID card, and anything your kid needs.

We hope to make this a great launch for the season, so please come and bring your kids and friends. Family biking in the suburbs is not just possible, we’re making it straight-up fun!

May is Bike Month and There’s Plenty to Do!

May is Bike Month! With the month is almost half-way over, there have been some great activities in Rockville with more to come. While Rockville Kidical Mass doesn’t launch until June, some of our regional sister rides do kick off this month.

Start of the Tour de Cookie

Bike Month started out with a tasty celebration in the form of the Tour de Cookie to benefit the Treehouse Child Assessment Center of Montgomery County. More than 500 cyclists – a 75% increase from last year – came out to eat homemade cookies and benefit a great cause. Family biking was very well-represented, with plenty of parents towing little ones in trailers and accompanying kids on their own bikes. Even the mayor participated, with her own team of riders!

To follow up, the next day, the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee held our annual Bike Month kick-off ride to show off our local infrastructure. More than 40 riders saw as many highlights as we could fit in a six mile route.

Refurbished children's bicycles

Refurbished bikes for the awesome kids in the TERRIFIC Kids program!

Later that week, the City of Rockville, with the help of the new Rockville Bike Hub community bike shop, continued to support youth cycling through its TERRIFIC Kids program. First through third graders who complete six “responsible acts” can receive a free refurbished bicycle through the program. Along with the proclamation of May as Bike Month, the City Council meeting also congratulated the young recipients of the bicycles. However, the kids haven’t picked up their bikes quite yet. The Bike Hub is still looking for volunteers for this Sunday, May 17 at the King Farm Barns at Picard and Grand Champion from 10am-12noon and 1-3pm to help kids pick out their bicycles. Contact the Bike Hub though their Facebook page or Twitter to volunteer.

For the rest of Bike Month, there are two more Bike Rockville-supported events coming up. The nationwide Bike to Work Day is this Friday, May 15. With three stops in Rockville (two run by the city and one by JGB at Twinbrook) and weather predicted to be beautiful, we should have a great turnout. Be sure to register to get great swag and help Rockville beat Frederick in our annual Bike to Work Day showdown. The international Ride of Silence is on May 20 and honors all bicyclists that have been hurt or killed by motorists. The Rockville ride is especially in honor of Jamie Roberts, a Rockville native who was killed while riding across the country to raise money for cancer charities.

Because of the vast array of activities in May, the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee generally doesn’t start its regular rides until June, including the Tuesday night rides, Millennium Trail rides, and Kidical Mass rides. However, that hasn’t stopped our sister rides from starting this month! Kidical Mass Gaithersburg had its first ride in the beginning of the month and Kidical Mass Arlington has its season launch ride this Saturday at 5:30 PM. Later this month, Kidical Mass D.C. is doing a “bike-to-storytime” ride with the D.C. Public Library on May 31 at 1:30 PM at the Petworth Library.

With all of the great events going on, there’s no reason not to ride!

A Great First Season of Kidical Mass Rockville, Plus A Family Biking Town Hall!

Kidical Mass Rockville’s first season of rides wrapped up last weekend with our Fleece and Tweed joint ride with Kidical Mass Gaithersburg. Though the weather was brisk, the leaders of both rides and their kids met up for a short one-mile jaunt. Winding through the Kentlands with kids in tow, we ended our ride at the Saturday Gaithersburg Farmers Market.

Overall, the season was a great start to our Kidical Mass Rockville program. We held five different rides in a variety of neighborhoods, with only the October ride canceled because of weather. We rode to one of our favorite ice cream shops, ate popsicles at the pool, started and ended at Croyden Creek Nature Center, and explored the Twinbrook neighborhood. Along the way, we climbed hills we didn’t think we could, tackled riding on quiet streets, and went further than we imagined. Most importantly, we had a lot of fun! Thank you to all of the families that participated in this year’s Kidical Mass rides and the enthusiasm for biking you shared with your children.

But family biking isn’t quite over for the season. While our rides are done, the Washington Area Bicyclists’ Association is running a Future of Family Biking Town Hall on December 14 from 1-3 PM. If you ride with your kids, they want to hear from you! We’d love to see you there.

Kidical Mass Rockville will be starting up again next spring. The Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee has a whole slew of activities for Bike Month in May, so we hope to start the season off right.

Spooky Fall Rides with Rockville and Gaithersburg Kidical Mass!

We’re doubling the fun on our next two Kidical Mass rides, which will be joint rides with our sister group in Gaithersburg!

Our October ride will be an early celebration of Halloween. We’ll be meeting on October 11 at 10 AM at King Farm Village Center, 403 Redland Blvd, Rockville. To span both the Rockville and Gaithersburg groups, we pedal a slow four mile route to Crown Farm, near the Washingtonian Center. Unlike past Rockville Kidical Mass rides, this will only be one way, so be prepared to ride or drive home from the destination. We encourage both parents and kids alike to come in costume. Be sure that your costume is bicycle safe by securing any pant legs, not having any hanging pieces that could be caught in your wheels or gears, and not having any head-gear that will prevent wearing a helmet. Please RSVP for the ride on the Bike Rockville Meetup group!

If the weather cooperates, we’ll also have a joint November ride with the theme of Tweed and Fleece. Dress warmly for the brisk temperatures! On November 8 at 10 AM, we’ll meet at Lakelands Park, 1409 Main Street, Gaithersburg, MD. We’ll be ending at the Falls Grove shopping area, which also a one-way four mile ride. Check out the Meetup group to RSVP.

Beyond the Kidical Mass rides in Montgomery County, be sure to check out the others around the region (listed in the right-hand sidebar). The Greater DC area actually has the highest density of Kidical Mass rides in the country! In addition to rides, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) recently held a number of family biking events, including a family biking workshop and parent/kid Confident City Cycling class. Much thanks to WABA for their support for family cycling and Kidical Mass in particular!

September’s Kidical Mass is Almost Here!

With school back in full swing, September’s Rockville Kidical Mass is coming up! Come join us this Saturday at Twinbrook Community Center (12920 Twinbrook Parkway) for a laid-back two mile ride.

This time, we’ll be riding through beautiful Rockcrest Park, a long, narrow park through the neighborhood that has a great off-road path. The very beginning and end is steep – we’ll probably walk it – but the rest is flat. In the middle, we’ll take a short break at the playground at the end of the park before we turn around and head back to the community center.

We had a small turn-out for our last ride, but we did have an awesome young rider. On the ride out of Croyden Creek Nature Center, she did better than even she expected on the tough hills. We had a great time and it showed how we can often do more than we think we can.

As always, I’ll bring snacks if you bring water, helmets, your own bikes, a sense of fun, and of course, your favorite kids!

Swim Center Kidical Mass Ride Goes Swimmingly

The Swim Center was the perfect place to meet for Rockville Kidical Mass’s second ride, as the weather was quite sticky!

We took a leisurely 1.5 mile ride around the neighborhood surrounding the Swim and Fitness Center. The town maintains some very handy multi-use trails that connect the Swim Center with nearby residential streets, as well as the skate park, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields and playgrounds in Welsh park.

Kidical Mass Rockville Swim Center ride

This time around, we had twelve riders, with four kids on bikes and one in a trailer. While one of our little riders wasn’t quite ready to venture out on the street, we appreciate her and her mom’s willingness to try something new. We know that children are all at different levels of comfort riding on the street and completely understand if a kid needs to go very slow or even drop out. The Kidical Mass rides are meant to build confidence by riding in a group, not force kids into a situation they aren’t ready for. If you aren’t sure if your kid is ready or not, we invite you to come and see how your child reacts. Even if you can’t ride with us at the moment, you are always welcome back for future rides!

We also had the pleasure of having a family travel all the way from Washington D.C.! They hadn’t been able to make the D.C. rides, so they thought they’d visit us up in the suburbs. If you can’t make our rides or just want more family biking opportunities, check out our sister groups in Gaithersburg, D.C., Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria and if you want to make a day trip of it, Baltimore. If you have older kids capable of riding longer distances (8-15 miles) or have some adult biking time, be sure to see the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee’s Meetup group, webpage and Facebook group.

We wrapped up the ride with orange and raspberry ice pops, slurping down the cold goodness to beat the heat. We hope everyone had a great time and enjoyed riding with us.

Our next Kidical Mass ride is on Saturday, August 9 at 10 AM. We’ll be meeting at the Croyden Creek Nature Center to ride to Rock Creek Park and back. Hope to see you there!

Join Us this Saturday for Pedaling, Popsicles and Pools!

Are you ready for summer? Like it or not, summer is here, so join us for the second Rockville Kidical Mass bicycle ride this Saturday! We’ll be meeting at 10 AM in front of the indoor entrance to the Rockville Swim and Fitness Center (355 Martins Lane). The ride will be a munchkin-friendly 1.5 miles on off-road, multi-use paths and quiet residential streets. We’ll pass the baseball fields and Skate Park, where we can watch the older kids show off. We’ll end the ride back at the Swim Center with popsicles for everyone. If you want to stick around for swimming, day passes are $6 for adult residents, $5 for kid residents, $7 for adult non-residents and $6 for kid non-residents.
As always, riders of all ages and skill levels are welcome.  We will be going at the pace of the slowest rider.  Rain at the start will cancel the ride, but wet pavement will not.  Helmets are required for everyone and lots of water is highly recommended. We would love and appreciate it if you RSVP on our Meetup page for the ride.
We hope to see you this Saturday on two wheels!

Kidical Mass Rockville is On a Roll

Thank you to everyone who participated in and helped promote Kidical Mass Rockville’s launch on June 14! The ride had 6 families show up for a total of 17 people. We pedaled 1.5 miles each way to Carmen’s Italian Ice, where we enjoyed some sweet treats.

Kidical Mass Rockville launch photo at Thomas Farm Community Center

While the lure of ice cream was strong, our littlest riders were even more excited about being out on their bikes. I heard yells of, “This is awesome!” and “I love this” as we went along. They were even troopers going up a challenging hill, as one said, “We’re gonna have strong legs going up this hill!” I would especially like to recognize that the kids on their own bikes did an excellent job of demonstrating their on-road biking skills, by following the leader and acting predictably.

The other big shout-out is to Joe and Jennifer Allen, the leaders of our sister ride Kidical Mass Gaithersburg.  They came out to show support and Joe acted as sweep for me. While several of our summer rides overlap, we plan on holding a joint costume ride with them in October.

But in the meantime, our next ride is only a few weeks away on July 12 at 10 AM. We’ll be starting and ending at the Rockville Swim Center, taking a leisurely pedal around the surrounding neighborhood using multi-use off road paths and quiet residential streets. This is a short one  (about 1.5 miles) without any major road crossings, so it’s especially good for little kids on their own bikes. It’s probably going to be hot, so if you bring water, I’ll supply the popcicles!

If you need even more family riding goodness, the Washington DC Kidical Mass ride is having two rides this month, conveniently on the first and third Saturday of the month.  Also, if you can make it on the second Saturday but not in the morning, Kidical Mass Gaitherburg is having their ride at 6:30 PM.  In addition, check out Kidical Mass’s other nearby rides in Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church.

Another revolution forward in our quest to make biking in Rockville cuter two wheels at a time!

Join us this Saturday for the launch of Kidical Mass Rockville!

Join us this Saturday, June 14, for the launch of Kidical Mass Rockville!  We’ll be meeting at the Thomas Farm Community Center (700 Fallsgrove Dr, Rockville) at 10 AM right near the bike rack.  We’ll be riding to local favorite Carmen’s Italian Ice and back.  We may also stop at the park across the street from Carmen’s if there is interest. The route is 1.5 miles each way and will use multi-use paths, quiet residential streets and a short distance on a bike lane. We welcome families with kids in trailers, bike seats, box-bikes, tag-a-longs and on their own two wheels!  The pace will be at the speed of the slowest rider (probably about 6 mph), so don’t worry about being left behind.

We hope to make this a great launch, so please come and bring your kids and friends!  Also, congratulations to our Virginia neighbors and their successful launch of Falls Church Kidical Mass, which had more than 30 people show up to their inaugural ride.

With so many family biking events – six different Kidical Mass series in the D.C. area alone! – we are really showing that it is possible to make our cities bike and kid friendly.

 

The ABCs of Family Cycling

If you aren’t going to make it to Rockville’s Tour de Cookie this Saturday, definitely check out The ABC’s of Family Biking in D.C., put on by our sister Kidical Mass D.C. group! This free event, like all of the Kidical Mass events, is celebrating the joy of biking with kids.  It’s focused on introducing local parents to the tools, skills, and equipment to help them bike with kids.

What

The event will offer:

  • A Show & Tell by area parents who bike with children of all ages
  • Bicycles and equipment available at local bike shops to help parents bike safely with their children
  • Free Youth Bike course with WABA instructors to teach basic riding skills to children.
  • Parents & Kids Riding class to help parents bike alongside their kids, either alone or in a “bike train” group.
  • Balance bike races for our youngest riders
  • A cargo bike obstacle course where interested parents can test demonstration bikes and experienced family cyclists can pits their skills against one another in the East Coast’s first-ever “Fiets of Parenthood” competition
  • The opportunity for parents to “Swap or Sell” their gently used family biking equipment
  • Free bike repair clinics from The Bike House

When: Saturday, May 3 from 11 AM – 2:00 PM

  • Show & Tell, Swap & Sell and Fiets of Parenthood course 11am – 1pm
  • Youth Bike Course 11am – 12:30pm (Kids’ bikes & helmets will be available, or bring your own! Parents must sign a waiver in order for kids to participate.)
  • Balance bike races at 11:30am
  • Parents & Kids biking class begins at 1:00pm (All participants are encouraged to bring their own bikes & helmets. All participants will be required to sign a waiver.)

Where: The parking lot behind Capitol Hill Montessori School at Logan, 215 G Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. You can access the parking lot from either G Street or 2nd Street. The location is easily accessible from the Union Station Metro and Capital Bikeshare stations.
For more information about The ABC’s of Family Biking and Kidical Mass DC, check out the Kidical Mass DC webpage or e-mail Megan Odett, organizer, at KidicalMassDC AT gmail DOT com.