Touring - Bike camping with kids- round two
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08-01-10, 06:09 PM
After the great time I had taking both of my kids bike camping last weekend ( http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?665998-Xtracycle-camping-with-kids ) I decided to try something a bit more adventurous this weekend.
I left my 5 year old at home, with my Xtracycle, and just hooked up the tag-a-long to my cross bike so my 7 year old could join me. We invited the neighbor and his daughter and we had a dads and daughters bike weekend planned. Last weekend my total distance with both kids was about 25 miles. This weekend with a faster set up we did somewhere between 75 and 80 miles.
There's a nice campground ( Blue Mound state Park) west of my house that is accessible by bike trail (Military Ridge bike trail) so we never had to worry much about traffic or cars. The girls were good for the distance, but we weren't ready to have them foray too far into traffic or busy roads- nor were our wives. ;) so, we kept our trip limited to only campgrounds we could reach by bike trail, which we seem to have a lot of in this part of the state.
I'm researching ideas for future trips, but my son has informed me that the next time I go bike camping I NEED to bring him with me. Dragging two kids and full camping gear will work on shorter jaunts, but I'm not up for lugging all this around on longer excursions. I guess I need to think about a tandem, but I don't think I have any more room in the garage for another bike.
Here's a few pictures from this week's adventure:
08-02-10, 01:03 AM
Wow, another Madisonian! Have you considered trying to rope your wife into the trip? That way you have two adults pulling two tag-a-longs, and everybody wins! Additionally, I BELIEVE there is a campground out in Lake Mills which is accessible via the Glacial Drumlin state trail. However, you would need to take Cottage Grove Rd to get from Madison to the trailhead in Cottage Grove if you weren't up to driving out there.
Additionally, you could look into the Badger Trail which goes southbound out of Madison. I don't know of any campgrounds in that direction, but only because I haven't looked. Apparently there is a 7 mile uncompleted stretch of the trail at some point before Belleville, however.
Lastly, you could look into taking the kids up to Devils Lake State Park. I don't know that there are any trails that'll take you there, but it looks like mostly quiet county roads, so not too tough to have the kids on.
08-02-10, 06:49 AM
I LOVE it! I love how your son insists on going onthe next one - you've got a couple of die-hard converts now. I know you will figure something out - and will be very glad you did!
08-02-10, 06:53 AM
I tried to talk my wife into it, but she has the excuse that she needs to stay home and babysit our 14 year old lab. When the dog dies she'll think about coming along with us. I did bump into a couple yesterday that each had their own bike/tag-a-long/trailer combo so they could carry all of their gear.
I've seen the campground out side of Lake Mills and had that on my agenda as the next place I'd like to try. I've ridden the stretch on highway BB and am not real thrilled about taking my kids on it. I know the DNR has been working on connecting the final part of the trail for some time now, but there are some land owner hold-out issues that are blocking any progress on that front. I guess it would be OK if my daughter was on the tag-a-long, but I'm not ready to let her ride her own bike on something like that.
The Badger state trail is being worked on right now. I checked out the entry point, which is right off of the Capitol city trail, yesterday when I rode by it and saw that the have the Borges in place and the ground is graded to put either gravel or pavement on. It should be done by the end of this month. Once they finish that last section there is a whole new area opened up all the way down to the state line.
Have you ever camped at Mendota Park? I know it's in the city, but it would still be a 15 mile ride from my house and my daughter could ride it on her own bike. It may not be the most pristine place, but there seem to be bike trails that go almost all the way there.
08-02-10, 07:49 AM
Capital Springs/Lake Farm is nice, and very close since it's right off the Capital City Trail. They're still in the process of merging the state and county parks. It's dog accessible, so there's probably some way to finangle things around the elderly Lab.
New Glarus Woods is a tougher trip, but should mostly be accessible via state trails (Sugar River, Cap City and Badger State).
Governer Dodge is further yet, but it's on Military Ridge so it ought to be doable as the kids get older.
I keep looking at the state trail map and wishing that they'd finish linking Madison and Milwaukee and La Crosse. That'd make a lot more state parks accessible via bike, and it'd allow some more unconventional touring.
06-15-11, 09:25 PM
Now that summer break has started I had a chance to get out with both of my kids again. My daughter decided to ride her own bike the 17 miles to Sandhill campground- just south of Rock Lake. I rode my Xtracycle with all of the food, camping gear, and my 6 year old son.
We had a pretty nice time, but I'm hoping to have a front rack on my tandem before our next trip. I have the stoker kit, tag-a-long, and pannier sets I just need the front rack to make it complete. This will make things easier on m daughter and allow for some longer distances.
Here's a few pictures from yesterday:
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