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  1. #1
    Junior Member ovenchips's Avatar
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    Touring with a teenager ?

    I'm a single parent with a lad who'll be 15 in May (and is quite capable of 25 - 30 miles in a day) and i'm thinking of taking him camper-touring with me for the first time this coming summer. Maybe / probably up to a week in Holland as it's flat terrain, really cycle friendly and the ferry terminal is a short train ride away. And there'll certainly be no pressures on mileages etc

    Having put the idea to him he's ok about it ..... in that unique sort of 14 year old shoulder shrugging way .....

    I'm just curious if anyones had any good / bad / unusual experiences touring with kids ? Or any issues / problems arise that you'd never even thought of before ?

    Or ..... just any advice / suggestions at all ?

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Ride On!! PanPanX's Avatar
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    i think it depends most on their attitude and their feelings toward this sport. if they're really into it, they're going to have blast, if not.. well.. you could hope they have fun or not. the miles the kid can do in a day is only used to determine how far you can go each day, not how much fun or success you'll have (unless you measure distance traveled as success). but of course, as a parent you probably know this already... problems and issues? if your kid is into it, then the only problem i can think of is him being so sore he wont wanna do it again the next day. if hes not into it and you're dragging him along, then you're gonna have a crap load of problems

  3. #3
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    I don't know a lot about kids, but at the Hostelling International here in Chicago, if you travel with a teen, they block off the entire dorm room for you and the child only, charge you half price for the teen, and you pay the regular rate (members, of course, are charged slightly less than non-members). You don't pay for any other beds, just for yourself and your kids, then the rest of the room is at your disposal. It may be the same for other hostels across the world, so you should check with them if you're wondering where you should stay.

    Koffee

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    Does your teenager like cycling? If he's not a cyclist or used to traveling or roughing it, he might find it mentally grueling to wake up every morning knowing that he has to get back on the bike for another long ride. My advice? Stay flexible and open-minded, and let your son dictate the pace and agenda. Your job is simply to enjoy his company.

    My grandson (then 14 y/o) and I went on a week-long bike tour of Prince Edward Island, Canada, 2 years ago. We had a splendid time, despite getting soaked one night in a torrential rain/thunder storm that blew tents away and despite some mediocre support from the tour company. We averaged about 40 miles a day, which was fine--a former MTB racer, my grandson is a much stronger rider than I am. Moreover, 40 miles a day isn't bad at all when you have the entire day in which to cover it. Of course, my "lad" had a great time, in part, because one of the tour company's support people was an attractive young woman in her early 20's, and my young sidekick was strutting about like a rooster the entire week! I think he had a good time; as for me, it was the second-best vacation I've ever taken.

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    When I was 15, I toured through France with a group of other teenagers. I loved it, but I would hate to be our tour leader! We were fully loaded, and mostly we camped and stayed in youth hostels. It was a great experience.

    I especially liked the chance to meet other kids my age in France. Meeting kids from a different culture was the best part of the ride, along with the landscape. I don't know if I would have had the freedom to do that if I was riding with my parents. The tour leaders were not lax at all, and we couldn't go out at night, but it was great to talk to kids in small towns that we went through.

    Perhaps he could be more involved in planning the trip, so it's his trip, too, not one that he's just tagging along on.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kerk's Avatar
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    I would suggest a weekend trip first. That way you can feel out his reaction to the whole experience. Sounds like you already have done the single day rides. Now add the overnight and then add the week tour if he is up for it. I'm sure you are wanting the time alone with the boy, but as a last resort you might take along one of his friends. I did that to get my boy to do the overnight and it helped a lot.
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    BTW, Ovenchips, assuming nothing here has deterred you , I look forward to your report on the trip. I'm also envious: having gotten a car, girlfriend and job, my grandson (2 years older than your son) has no time for any more bike trips with me!

  8. #8
    Junior Member Binnsy's Avatar
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    Why can't you be my Dad? I'd love to go on a tour around Holland! But then that's just me, I can't speak for your son. My love for cycling has really only cropped up in the last 18 months or so (even though I rode heaps as a youngster).... I agree with kerk. Take him on a shorter trip first, to let him get a feel for the experience. Get his reactions, monitor his fitness, enthusiasm, etc... give him a few weeks' break and then if you think he'd like it, suggest a longer ride. Failing that, I'll go with you...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovenchips
    I'm a single parent with a lad who'll be 15 in May (and is quite capable of 25 - 30 miles in a day) and i'm thinking of taking him camper-touring with me for the first time this coming summer. Maybe / probably up to a week in Holland as it's flat terrain, really cycle friendly and the ferry terminal is a short train ride away. And there'll certainly be no pressures on mileages etc

    Having put the idea to him he's ok about it ..... in that unique sort of 14 year old shoulder shrugging way .....

    I'm just curious if anyones had any good / bad / unusual experiences touring with kids ? Or any issues / problems arise that you'd never even thought of before ?

    Or ..... just any advice / suggestions at all ?

    Cheers

    Im a teen ager, and knowing my friends, i wouldent want to bring another teenager touring.

    It all boils down to resposeability, and Intrest. If he has the attenion span of a squirrel, and he isint resposeable enough to do it, then dont.

  10. #10
    Member BikeLady's Avatar
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    My daughter is currently 15, and has been doing organized tours since she was 11. I credit them for her current love of cycling. Before we started touring, she liked riding okay, but wasn't wild about it. I finally bribed her with a new bike (as in "If you will do this 6 day long tour with us, we'll get you a bike with the same number of gears that Dad and I have!") and she agreed.

    On the first tour she got sunburned, developed an allergy to her bike shorts that made her legs break out in hives, fell off a trail into a swamp during a rainstorm, and did 40-60 mile days with virtually no training. She cried when it was over and couldn't wait for the next one. I'm pretty sure it was because she had successfully done something she never thought she'd be able to do.

    Try it...you never know what might happen!

  11. #11
    Senior Member denisegoldberg's Avatar
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    Your proposed tour in Holland with your son sounds like a good way to introduce him to touring. If you're interested in stories of other parents traveling with kids, you may want to take a look at these journals:

    http://feldmannkootenay.crazyguyonabike.com - the Feldmann's took a trip back in 2002 with their then 7 & 10-year-old sons. And this year they are taking off on a tour across Canada

    http://ew2004.crazyguyonabike.com - Cliff & Lisa Davis toured across the US in the summer of 2004 with their 10 & 14-year-old daughters.

    http://www.pedal2paradise.com/cgi-bin/pedalindex.cgi - Mark & Griff Goehring rode across the US in the summer of 2001 with their 13-year-old daughter Zoe and her friend Nora.

  12. #12
    klondike300 klondike300's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovenchips
    I'm a single parent with a lad who'll be 15 in May (and is quite capable of 25 - 30 miles in a day) and i'm thinking of taking him camper-touring with me for the first time this coming summer. Maybe / probably up to a week in Holland as it's flat terrain, really cycle friendly and the ferry terminal is a short train ride away. And there'll certainly be no pressures on mileages etc

    Having put the idea to him he's ok about it ..... in that unique sort of 14 year old shoulder shrugging way .....

    I'm just curious if anyones had any good / bad / unusual experiences touring with kids ? Or any issues / problems arise that you'd never even thought of before ?

    Or ..... just any advice / suggestions at all ?

    Cheers
    Check out the multi sport tours that REI provides. They have lots of tours all over the US and world that are bike friendly without killer miles. If he doesn't want to bike all day, there are plenty of tours they provide that combine biking, hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, etc. Plus, they full support and provide most meals with their tours. My wife and I did one in Maui and everything was provided once we got the Maui. It's nice to see the area without always stressing reservations, where to go etc. www.rei.com. look for the adventures/travel section on the website.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ovenchips
    I'm a single parent with a lad who'll be 15 in May (and is quite capable of 25 - 30 miles in a day) and i'm thinking of taking him camper-touring with me for the first time this coming summer. Maybe / probably up to a week in Holland as it's flat terrain, really cycle friendly and the ferry terminal is a short train ride away. And there'll certainly be no pressures on mileages etc

    Having put the idea to him he's ok about it ..... in that unique sort of 14 year old shoulder shrugging way .....

    I'm just curious if anyones had any good / bad / unusual experiences touring with kids ? Or any issues / problems arise that you'd never even thought of before ?

    Or ..... just any advice / suggestions at all ?

    Cheers
    I'm 15 and will be touring from Paris to Rome this summer 75mi a day; so if your son is motivated I see no reason why he would not be able to. Just make sure he is modivated, if he doesn't want to ride he wil make your trip aweful.

  14. #14
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    My son at age 16 and his friend also 16 and I rode our bikes down the oregon coast in summer of 2002. We had an incredible time. So much so that this same son and friend and the friends dad and I biked from Canada to Calif this past summer. I can say I have done a lot of cool things but that was awesome. I think having his friend come made it alot more fun for him. You can see pictures and commentary from the last trip if you follow the link in my signature. At the time we did the first trip my son wasn't sure whether he really wanted to go. But I think we are all very glad we took a chance and it paid off with memories that I will always hold dear. I know the other father and son feels the same way.

    MBD

  15. #15
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    DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT !!!!!!
    I did it many times with my son of first, after with my doughter, I can say these tours were the happiest time of my life ..... Soon kids grow up and do their tours without us ....

  16. #16
    Spring is overrated. Sylvan's Avatar
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    My boys are doing a tour this summer. My BIG boy (husband) bought a book entitled "Hey Mom! Can I ride my bike across America?" written by a Social Studies teacher (John S Boettner) who took 5 students TransAm with his wife and wrote a book about the experience. (Available through Amazon or Adventure Cycling)

    Our son (my "little" boy) was lukewarm to negative about the idea BEFORE we started reading the book together, but now that we're 3/4ths of the way through the book, he's getting excited, practicing riding, making stove recommendations and the like for the trip this summer along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

    If you're interested, you can follow my boys' trip preparations at www.melwade.com.
    Never put off until tomorrow anything that you could postpone indefinitely!

  17. #17
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    I went on trips like that as a kid, led them as a young adult, and about five years ago took my nephews, 11 and 14, on a weeklong bike trip in Nova Scotia. Those trips stand out in my memory as highlights of my youth. Most kids love the independence, self-reliance, and adventure. Even when it's cold and wet and miserable, the next day you look back and say "I did it!"

    Selling the trip in advance is key -- involve the kid in route selection, gear selection, preparation. Most kids love that kind of stuff. The more excited they are the more positive they will be. Have goals along the way, things to see and do. Showing pictures of where you're going is very effective for generating interest. Some kids will turn negative and get difficult, which is no fun for anyone. Have a contingency plan that is more than packing up and going home if that happens.

    The biggest wild-card is the parent/child relationship. Since I've become a parent I've learned that children behave differently toward their parents than toward anyone else in the world. You have to look at the particulars of your own relationship.

    Get the kid excited, and go! You will create memories you'll both treasure for a lifetime.

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