Kidical Mass Reading Songsheet

If you’re reading this blog you probably agree with me that humanity needs to change how we do transport. Active travel and public transport must replace a large proportion of private car journeys.

If you’re human you probably agree with me that this isn’t going to be an easy task. Kidical Mass Reading campaigns for infrastructure that will help make active travel a more viable option for families in our area.

We also aim to build community with existing cycling families, and to normalise cycling as a mode of transport with the next generation. It is with these latter two goals in mind that we offer you the “Kidical Mass Songsheet”, in which we have rewritten well known nursery rhymes to be all about bikes. We hope you (and your kids) enjoy singing them!


Kidical Mass Reading First Birthday Ride


Kidical Mass Reading launched in April 2022. This means that if it were a person it would now be old enough to sit in most child bike seats, even the ones without extra suspension. An exciting milestone to be sure (less importantly it might also be thinking about walking and talking soon, and there’s some walkie talkie news further down this post).

About 35 people gathered at Thames Lido for the ride – despite the fact that many of our “regulars” were away for the holidays. Before setting off we were reminded that the rides aren’t just “cute little fun rides”, they are also a statement that the next generation deserve space to move safely in our cities, and a chance to learn from other cycling families. Not going to lie though, we were also pretty cute and fun – my favourite was the passerby who said wonderingly, “Wow, it’s like a parade!”


On previous rides we’ve made use of a few helmet communication devices – one on the leader, one on the back marker and one on the ride coordinator who then moved through the ride instructing marshals. My husband Simon, who plans and leads the Reading routes and really loves a gadget, decided it was time for an upgrade. He acquired a large set of walkie talkies and every marshal was armed with one for the ride. It meant that as he approached pinch points he could call for extra marshals up front and they would appear almost immediately (thanks guys, you’re all amazing – special shout out to Nick with his cowbell which was great at grabbing attention and caused many smiles).

This was pretty handy, because it was our most complicated route yet. Kat Heath, our fearless leader, has been clear from the start that she wants the rides to be very visible – they work far better as a campaigning tool that way. However, safety is paramount. It is only now that we are a rather more experienced organising and marshalling team that we felt comfortable leading a ride through the town centre. If that’s not a clear sign that infrastructure needs to change, I don’t know what would be!


We were grateful to the bus drivers parked on Station Road who were all very polite to the marshals and smiled and waved as the group rode past. We used the bus lane under the railway bridge to swing through to the Caversham side of the station (only possible going North), where I saw two reminders that change is possible in Reading.

The first is the traffic light where I used to have to wait on my bike for a taxi or bus to join me before it went green. I reported it, and it was adjusted so that it can now see me. The second was the station tunnel, which the council has voted to open up to cyclists. We very much look forward to taking a ride through there as soon as it is legal to do so.


The award for Most Gratifying Kid On The Ride goes to the child who asked at the finish line, “Can we do that again?” We happily told him the date for the next ride (Sunday 7th May, 2pm, meeting by Thames Lido) but it transpired that he actually wanted to go again immediately. Sadly he had to settle for cake and playing with the other children on the nearby grass, but I hope we’ll see him (and you, dear reader) next time.


April 2023 ride

Today was our 12th ride, and our one year anniversary! Remember when we started it back in April 2022? We do!

We tried a new route today, going through Reading town centre, to add a bit more visibility and fun.
Have a look at the pictures below, and join us for the next one!


The people behind KM — Stefanie

What is your current family bike setup?

We have two adult bikes that my husband and I share: his regular bike and an Urban Arrow family cargo bike. Our daughters (4 and 6) both have bikes with pedals.

We also own a trailer and a bike seat although we use both very rarely these days and prefer the cargo bike.

We have a special pannier bag on the cargo bike that allows us to attach kids bikes if they get tired, increasing the range for all-family cycling trips.

How does cycling fit into your life?

Years ago, when I started university, I didn’t like cycling much, rather preferred my inline skates. During my time at the university I gradually used the bike more and more, to the point when I used it for almost everything in my daily life.

Once I actually got frustrated with my husband when he recommended I should not cycle any more on the icy roads using my half-broken bike at the time, while being pregnant with our second child and towing a toddler in the trailer. (Retrospectively I absolutely see his point but back then, it felt like he was taking away my freedom).

Long story short, since then we moved to the UK and I needed to look for a new bike. At the beginning of the first COVID lockdown, we decided to buy a cargo bike. At that point it felt like we got our freedom back. We were able to go on cycle tours and with very few cars on the road, we felt safe even on lengthy cycling tours on country roads.

We now use the bike every day for school runs. It’s nice being able to pass all the cars waiting in traffic – making the commute time a lot more predictable in the morning.

Why did you get involved in Kidical Mass?

Since lockdowns ended, we could see a steady increase in car traffic and felt less and less safe on the roads. Our kids would love to cycle themselves to school more often. But having them this close to heavy traffic is a stress factor for me, in particular along the horrendous Shinfield Road.

We learned about Kidical Mass from friends who organised the first Reading Ride. Thanks to our great marshals, I can relax and enjoy a bike ride together.

What is your role in Kidical Mass?

I have since joined the organiser team as the regular baker, making sure the kids (and adults) have a little treat at the end.


The people behind KM — Hilary

What is your current family bike setup?

We have a Tern GSD, an electric long tail cargo bike which can carry both of our kids (aged 6 and 3). This is mostly my bike.

My husband has his single bike (with one child seat) and a tandem. The tandem is set up for a child stoker and has a child seat on the back, so he can carry both kids on that.

The 6 year old has a bike with pedals and gears now, and the 3 year old still rides a balance bike.

How does cycling fit into your life?

We don’t run a car, though we do have co wheels car club membership for longer distance weekend trips where train logistics don’t work. So we use our bikes for pretty much everything on a day to day basis – school runs, music classes, trips out to Henley/Beale Park/Bracknell etc.

For logistics the children are mostly on our bikes as there usually isn’t provision for them to ride their own bikes safely on the roads, but they both enjoy stoking the tandem when they get the chance, and riding along the river to the local park.

Why did you get involved in Kidical Mass?

We got involved in Kidical Mass because we intend to carry on doing our family logistics by bike, and by the time the kids are mature enough to go places on their own we don’t want them to be limited by the quality of the cycling infrastructure. It’s been easy to stay involved because our kids really love the rides and look forward to them each month!

What is your role in Kidical Mass?

Ride write ups, back marking and (very) occasional marshal