Biking Heroine: Madi Carlson

This month, we will feature several JSIS ‘Biking Hero(ine)s’–parents and kids who use their bikes to get to school, work, soccer practices, the grocery store, etc…(this week’s heroine, Madi Carlson, was recently spotted hauling a second bike to the repair shop on the back of her big pink cargo bike!). Read on to find out how much fun ‘kicking the car habit’ can be!

Biking Heroine: Madi Carlson

Madi, is your big pink bike as heavy as it looks?!
Yes! I think it’s 70 pounds (without the kids and their stuff). I just tried to weigh it at the bike shop, but the bike scale didn’t go up high enough.

How did you get started using your bike for transportation?
When Brandt was one, I put a front seat on my husband’s beach cruiser and rode to nearby places: library, swim lessons, and playground–just for fun. We gradually started riding more and more and I eventually realized I was happier on the days I biked. Now we bike every day, just about everywhere.

Do you use a car?
We still have one car (we used to have two) and I use it about once a month.

What’s your favorite kind of rain gear for biking?
For smaller kids, I love the one-piece rain suits. We have a Newt Suit from MEC, which is similar to the Muddy Buddies at Kids on 45th. Over 4T we use REI rain pants and jackets. As British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes said, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

What’s your favorite neighborhood bike route? How do you get to JSIS?
I LOVE our Neighborhood Greenway along 44th. I often go out of my way, uphill, to use it. I also love how close we are to the Burke-Gilman Trail. Anything along the trail feels easily accessible. We are lucky to live three flat blocks away from school so we just come along 42nd. I’d like to start collecting kids for a bike train, but that will require getting out the door earlier and venturing farther from home. Soon!

Do you worry about showing up at work all sweaty?
I get a little sweaty, but I wear multiple layers and shed them as I go. If I was more worried about being sweaty, I’d leave home a bit earlier and ride slower–that makes a big difference.

What do you like the best about using your bike?
I love the way biking enables us to interact with the community. We call hello to walking friends, smell the Theo Chocolate Factory, make note of changes in building construction, talk to other bicyclists at red lights, bark at leashed dogs. It really makes any trip feel like an adventure.

What question do you wish I had asked you about biking?
How can I get started biking more?
Come talk to me! I love talking to people about getting out on bikes, whether it’s solo or with kids. Seattle has a lot of wonderful resources, like Cascade Bicycle Club, Family Bike, Kidical Mass, and the Seattle Family Biking Facebook group.