Baltimore Family Bike Party is a safe and fun bike ride for kids and families. We are inspired by Kidical Mass – a group bike ride for families first held in April 2008 in Eugene, Oregon. Kidical Mass has grown to over a dozen communities throughout the United States and Canada, now including Baltimore!
All types of bikes, trailers, longtails, bakfiets, Long Johns, tandems, folders, trikes, or whatever rolls are welcome! The Baltimore Family Bike Party is about providing a great excuse to pedal around town with your family while introducing kids and parents to the idea of getting around Baltimore on a bicycle.
Is it really that safe to ride as a group?
Absolutely. The more cyclists the safer the roads, so keep on riding!
How long are the rides? Also, are kids on training wheels or tricycles allowed?
Our first few rides are planned for 2-3 miles and best for kids who already ride two wheelers. Families are welcome to bring along a “balance bike”, trike, or small bicycle for their kids to ride around the park with but then when it is time for the ride they will use a trailer, cargobike, or child’s bike seat. Check out this great post from Totcycle on “Family Biking, Ages & Stages” for some ideas on different kinds of family bike set-ups.
Are helmets required?
Yes. By law in Maryland all children must wear a helmet, and the ride leaders strongly encourage all riders to wear helmets. We like to see parents and caregivers modeling that behavior as well as safe riding practices for the kids.
Will my kid get left behind?
No. We have a volunteer ‘sweeper’ who rides at the back of the group to make sure no one is left. Also, the ride leader will stop as many times as necessary to make sure the group stays together since it’s safer and more fun that way! Since we are not stopping traffic or blocking traffic this may mean it’s the slowest ride you’ll ever take- but it makes it more fun and festive!
What if I have more than one kid to keep track of on the ride?
Ride leaders encourage all parents to take responsibility for all young cyclists so you should feel comfortable in knowing there are many eyes and ears on the road helping out. We sometimes have volunteers to ride with us who do not have kids as well as a ride ‘sweeper’ who stays in the back of the pack. However, you should still be very aware of your own child’s location and behavior as you are ultimately responsible for your child’s safety.
What if we need to stop or leave the ride?
You can stop at any time and walk your bike to the end location. Let the sweep rider know you’re leaving the ride so we don’t think we lost you! Sometimes meltdowns happen and you just have to tend to it. We understand! We’ll do our best to let you know the best route to meet up with us at the end point and maybe even find a volunteer to ride along with you if we can.
Are we allowed to ‘take the lane’?
Absolutely. When it’s the safest place to ride, take the lane. Otherwise, ride as far right as ‘practicable’ unless you are making a left turn, avoiding hazards, or the lane is too narrow to share. Also, ride in the lane furthest to the right, unless it’s safer to ride in a middle or left lane. Your ride leader will give clear instructions on where you should be.
“Speaking of ‘liability’, is there a waiver to sign?
Some Kidical Mass community rides are using liability waivers but we do not. Not having a waiver keeps it a little less formal. Remember, we are organize a meeting spot and snacks but when we ride “together” each family is responsible for their children and surroundings (stop at all stops, ride with traffic, stay to the right, and no swerving).
Adapted from the Kidical Mass FAQ.