Planning our first Edmonton Kidical Mass

Planning our first Edmonton Kidical Mass

The Kidical Mass logo, via Totcycle.

We’ve been talking among our circle about organizing a Kidical Mass ride in Edmonton for ages now, and decided that this is the year it’s going to happen! Our planning team includes me and Angel, and our friends Karen (who might not be able to come to this one since she’ll be caring for a newborn, but will be a regular in the future) and Erin (who has just moved here, and was an enthusiastic participant at Victoria’s Kidical Mass events).

Kidical Mass is a lighthearted family- and kid-centred group ride that is now running in most North American cities. For more information, check out their About and FAQ pages.

When: June is Bike Month in Edmonton, so it seems like the best time to hold our first one. Since the 3rd Sunday was clear of rides last year, we chose June 16th and checked with the Bikeology Festival organizers to ensure we wouldn’t be overlapping with any of their major events. They gave us the all-clear, and search engines gave us nothing to be worried about on the date, so: Sunday June 16th it will be!

Where: We wanted a central location, so we chose Hawrelak Park. It’s nice and big, there are picnic facilities and a playground, any vehicular traffic moves at a speed slower than typical residential roads, and there are lots of unpaved bike trails if anyone wants to take their kids for a different sort of ride, in addition to the official KM ride. For anyone who needs to bring their bike quite a distance, there’s parking, and the ride there from the closest LRT station is pleasant (well, hilly, but pretty!) if you prefer to go multi-modal. Before we announced it, a couple of us met at Hawrelak to try out the route and do some brainstorming.

We have booked Picnic Site #1 for 11am-3pm, with the intent being that our route around the park includes a stop at the playground beside site #3. The whole loop is 2.53km, and takes about 20 minutes total, with the playground stop about halfway (so, 10 minutes of riding, stop and play for 30 minutes, 10 minutes of riding). Here is the park map with our picnic site and route highlighted:


Promotion: We will be promoting it on Twitter using the #yegbike hashtag, a Facebook event page the Bikeology festival organizers created, fliers made by our kids (see below), and getting our rides listed with the official KM page and the Bikeology Festival page (where all the fantastic local events during Bike Month are listed) and maybe a couple of the local parenting blogs (update: City and Baby kindly included us in their roundup of Fathers’ Day events!).

A poster my daughter made, which we're photocopying to post in a few key places.
A poster my daughter made, which we’re photocopying to post in a few key places.

Food and Activities: We agreed that the best idea this time around is to keep it relatively simple. Bring your own picnic; we’ll provide some fresh fruit, bottled water, a lemonade stand, and peanut-and-tree-nut-free ice cream and popsicles. We will also have a craft table for making sparkly spoke cards, a bike decorating area, and face painting! Update: there will be face painting and balloons by Wonderstuff, and a booth by Pedalheads childrens’ bicycle camps.

Safety Thoughts: For liability insurance purposes, all participants (not just children) are required to wear helmets, and we’ll go over how helmets should fit. We’ll also remind everyone how to do hand signals. We will assemble for the ride in the parking lot beside Picnic Site #1, which we will close to traffic while we’re getting ready. We will be riding on the road as a group, but traffic within the park is restricted to a 20 km/h speed limit, so it will be a very safe introduction to riding on the road. Our ride leader will keep our speed moderate, and our ride sweep will make sure nobody gets left behind; both will have signs and flags on their bikes and high-vis sashes.

Other Housekeeping: Picnic Site #1 does have shelter and washrooms. We will doing the ride rain or shine. Need to find the organizers? We’ll be wearing high-vis sashes and balloon hats, and I’ll be the one in the polka-dot helmet.

Followup: During the event, we will also do an informal survey of our attendees to gauge interest in a smaller monthly Kidical Mass ride and in an annual Fiets Of Parenthood event, and to get a sense of the proportions of new vs experienced cycling families in attendance. If we get enough interest, we will do a second family event in the fall, then might set a monthly schedule starting next spring.

Want to organize a Kidical Mass in your community? Check the Kidical Mass site to see if one already exists, then read this how-to post from Simply Bike.

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