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  1. #1
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    I am planning on taking my 11 y/o son on a short tour this spring. We plan on riding about 50 miles a day for 6 days.

    Would he benefit as much as I do from bike shorts that are tight fitting and have padding/chamois in the right places, like the PI Attack Short, as much as I do?

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    Yes!

    While I'm sure the Pearl Izumi's are great shorts, I've always found them to be on the expensive side -- not a problem if they last several years. But an 11-year-old is probably still growing. Hence you could do fine with shorts half the price (and sized accordingly for him to grow out of).

    I still have a couple kids-sized bike shorts (and gloves) from when my kids were little, I'd take them out on weekend group rides on our tandem when they were 6-10 years old. The shorts now look like doll clothes.... But both kids knew they were full-fledged Wheelmen.

    -- Mark

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    I strongly recommend the shorts and even more strongly recommend two pair so that one can be hand washed everynight....even 50mi a day can be a misery if he gets a saddlesore. When I started cycling, I swore I wouldn't be buried in that lycra crap. I sort of found out the hard way that there is a reason for it. I have had a good experience with performance brand bibs.sometimes they have a two-fer pricing deal. Another option is mtn. bike shorts with a padded lycra liner. have a fun trip! Wish my dad had been into cycling.

  4. #4
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    Absolutely get your son some padded biking shorts! Remember, regular shorts can have seams that may fall in exactly the wrong spot between a bike seat and your personal property. Bad enough on a 10 mile bike ride but extrapolate that out to 50 miles a day for 6 days and the results could be devastating to your planned parent-son time. Add to this that kids generally have less of a tolerance for continued discomfort than most adults, I think I would consider them not just a wise investment toward the success of this trip, but all trips you would like to take with him in the future.
    I would probably opt for a couple pair of the looser fitting mountain-bike style shorts though. While still affording the protection of "roadie" shorts, these will also protect the average 11 year old from a case of terminal immodesty. He will feel more comfortable wearing the shorts into shops and diners you stop at along the way so he'll be more likely to put them on at the beginning of the day. Just my 2 cents. Enjoy your ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Shorts aside I trust you have read some of the articles about how to take young children on tour? They are not just small adults. I hope he and his other parent are as enthusiastic about it as you are. On the other hand a 15 year old once qualified for and started RAAM. Good luck both of you.
    This space open

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    REI has some bike shorts and Jerseys in kid's sizes. They're not terribly expensive. I bought a pair for my daughter.

    http://www.rei.com/category/4500813....HP_CYCLING_TOC

    Michael

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    Quote Originally Posted by ken cummings
    Shorts aside I trust you have read some of the articles about how to take young children on tour? They are not just small adults. I hope he and his other parent are as enthusiastic about it as you are. On the other hand a 15 year old once qualified for and started RAAM. Good luck both of you.
    11 years old is not that young either... At that age, kids can already take care of themselves for a lot of things. I did my firsts overnight bike camping trips at 12 with a couple of friends of the same age and my first multiple day (2 weeks) tour at the age of 13 with the same friends and each time we took care of ourselves quite well. At that age, I would have loved to go on a bike trip with my parents but they were simply not into that stuff... I think it would be a great experience for most kids!

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    Thanks for the info and words of wisdom. I think I'll get a couple of pairs of mtb shorts, I didn't think of the _modesty_ issue! any thoughts on the brand? I bought a pair of EMS MTB shorts and did not like then, the inner "lycra" part was not lycra, but more of a stretchy mesh. Needless to say, they provided no real support against movement and chafing , but maybe that'll be OK for him.

    As far as Mom and Son and doing my homework. I originally planned on riding from Cape Cod to Vermont myself, but my son asked if he could go after seeing a presentation on a bike tour from Maine to Key West via the East Coast Greenway. So I changed the route and will do loop that doesn't take us more than 3 hours from home by car. This way if things go south, we can bail out easily. Mom is, well she is, well, OK with it.

    I also picked a route that has about 50/50 trails vs roads, chose a variety of overnight accommodations from camping, to staying at a farm, Hotel, and cabins.

    My biggest problem I think will be keeping him occupied during non cycling times. At 50 miles a day, that’s only 5 hours of actual bike time, give 3 hours for stops and meals, 8 hours of sleeping, well maybe 10. Now what to do during the other 6. I've thought about a movie one day, swimming at the hotel, checking out the minuteman national park, any other ideas? I've looked for events/places that might be interesting along the route which is Cape Cod, to Providence, RI, to west of Worcester, Lexington, Boston and home.

    I am carrying the bulk of the gear. He is going to carry his sleeping bag, and some clothes in some small panniers. I also got him a handlebar bag so he can carry and get to easily his own snacks, juice, etc. I also plan on giving him his own bike computer. And just to throw it in there, his bike is a Jamis Ranger XL that I‘ve put a rack on and 26X1.5 street tires instead of nobbies for this trip

    Any thing I might be missing or taking for granted?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfortier
    My biggest problem I think will be keeping him occupied during non cycling times. At 50 miles a day, that’s only 5 hours of actual bike time, give 3 hours for stops and meals, 8 hours of sleeping, well maybe 10. Now what to do during the other 6. I've thought about a movie one day, swimming at the hotel, checking out the minuteman national park, any other ideas? I've looked for events/places that might be interesting along the route ... [...]

    Any thing I might be missing or taking for granted?
    Lucky kid, there. 'Course he may not realize it till he has kids of his own

    Four comments if you'd like any advice from a dad who's been there....

    First, though, you know your son better that we possibly could, so any advice might be hit-or-miss.

    1) Get in a few test rides with all the new equipment. I know when I first put a cycle computer on my kids' bikes, they rode around for a week with their eyes on the display. Much to their parents' consternation.... Don't know how they didn't hit anything.

    2) I'd suggest you make it an all-outdoor excursion. All the 11-year-olds I've known (including myself -- a long time ago) will absolutely thrive in a situation where they can explore unknown and exotic (for them) environments. Knowing that an adult is there to guide them -- for most kids 11 is the exact age where they need both freedom and guidance. I don't mean to camp every night (but if you can handle it, I'd say go for it); but skip the movies and malls and mini-marts. Instead, stop whenever you see a hike to a beach, or a trail up a cliff, or a swimming hole. Take a birding guide, or "edible plants" guide. Of course, county fairs and kite festivals are what makes a summer, so you gotta stop; but usually you need to break a day off your trip for these. Campfires and marshmallows are a heck of a lot more fun than Nintendos and XBoxes. If you choose popular campgrounds, there will be other kids around for those times when he gets "bored". I really wouldn't worry about keeping him occupied. (You know him, though -- this might be a "miss" on my part.)

    3) I doubt you'll do 50 miles fast enough to have 8 extra hours on your hands. If you find that this is the case, the easiest way to waste time is to get a slow start in the morning (in fact, this is usually the biggest problem when touring, for me). The first couple of days, you might find your pace slower than you expected, so keep an eye on your timing and adjust your daily schedule.

    4) If you've toured before, you know this: Make sure your son eats and drinks enough. First-time tourers usually overlook this in planning. It's easy to expect a "normal" eating schedule, and then bonk at mile 40. This'll ruin it for both dad and son. He doesn't have the knowledge or experience to avoid this by himself.

    You're doin' good!! Good luck!

    -- Mark

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    I have done a few tours my my eldest daughter and one with both daughters (who were 9 and 5 last Summer) on a tandem + trailercycle. So the speed was fairly much my speed.

    Still, except on "perfect" terrain, riding 80-100 km (50-60 miles) took close to 7-8 hours. Add a couple of hours when riding through mountains. If your son rides his bike, you may need to ride two blocks of 25-30 miles rather than 50 miles in one shot.

    Apart from that, we stopped once or twice at playgrounds (which my city kids prefer to sleeping by a lake), picked nice rocks along the road. I generally like to stop around 4-5 pm at a campground so the kids have some time to swim and play in the sand with other children.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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    I forgot to mention that this trip is over the memorial day weekend in May. The issue with that is going to be campgrounds are probably deserted, too cold for outdoor swimming, and other kids will be in school.

    I'll probably have to revise my ride times, but since we do plan on taking a couple of long day trips before hand and even an overnighter, I should have a good idea on what our pace will be.

    The movie and hotel are just for a change of pace, and I know he'll enjoy both as much as he'll enjoy the outdoor stuff.

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    A couple overniters with camping gear will let you get acquainted with all the stuff and how the bike handles with a load.
    Our youngest son was 11 years old when he rode his first full century . . . and yeah, he was leading a pack of older riders . . . he just turned 46; dang, we can't have kids that old?!
    Enjpy!

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsor
    I strongly recommend the shorts and even more strongly recommend two pair so that one can be hand washed everynight....even 50mi a day can be a misery if he gets a saddlesore. When I started cycling, I swore I wouldn't be buried in that lycra crap. I sort of found out the hard way that there is a reason for it. I have had a good experience with performance brand bibs.sometimes they have a two-fer pricing deal. Another option is mtn. bike shorts with a padded lycra liner. have a fun trip! Wish my dad had been into cycling.
    Three (or even 4) sets of bike clothes would be better. That way you aren't doing laundry every night. Look at cycling jerseys also. They are much better for sweat management than a cotton tee shirt.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  14. #14
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfortier
    Thanks for the info and words of wisdom. I think I'll get a couple of pairs of mtb shorts, I didn't think of the _modesty_ issue! any thoughts on the brand? I bought a pair of EMS MTB shorts and did not like then, the inner "lycra" part was not lycra, but more of a stretchy mesh. Needless to say, they provided no real support against movement and chafing , but maybe that'll be OK for him.
    Think about comfort before modesty. If you didn't like the MTB shorts, why would he like them? If they chafed you (an adult male primate with thick skin) why wouldn't they chafe him (a juvenile primate with skin more like a female adult primate, i.e. not as thick and tough )?

    All scientific mumbo jumbo aside, a regular lycra cycling short does its work by being tight fitting. If you need modesty, carry a spare pair of hiking shorts and put them on before you go into a store. Comfort is of prime importance. You don't want to be 3 days out and have to call for rescue because your child can't sit on a saddle anymore. If you've never experienced chafing, you wouldn't believe how painful it is!


    Quote Originally Posted by jfortier
    As far as Mom and Son and doing my homework. I originally planned on riding from Cape Cod to Vermont myself, but my son asked if he could go after seeing a presentation on a bike tour from Maine to Key West via the East Coast Greenway. So I changed the route and will do loop that doesn't take us more than 3 hours from home by car. This way if things go south, we can bail out easily. Mom is, well she is, well, OK with it.

    I also picked a route that has about 50/50 trails vs roads, chose a variety of overnight accommodations from camping, to staying at a farm, Hotel, and cabins.

    My biggest problem I think will be keeping him occupied during non cycling times. At 50 miles a day, that’s only 5 hours of actual bike time, give 3 hours for stops and meals, 8 hours of sleeping, well maybe 10. Now what to do during the other 6. I've thought about a movie one day, swimming at the hotel, checking out the minuteman national park, any other ideas? I've looked for events/places that might be interesting along the route which is Cape Cod, to Providence, RI, to west of Worcester, Lexington, Boston and home.
    50 miles a day is a lot, even for an experience touring cyclist! Remember, you are carrying more stuff than you normally would and you don't 'know' the terrain. Expecting an 11 year old to keep up a 10 mph average pace could be asking a bit too much. I did a 3 week tour with my 20 year old daughter last summer and there were days when doing 40 miles was all we could manage in 8 or 9 hours. Look for stuff as you ride. If you find someplace interesting, stop! You aren't racing! Plan to find suprises along the way, not for events at the end of the day. Throw rocks in a creek. Eat berries off of bushes. Talk to the cows. Kids love that kind of stuff! (Adults do too but they are too cool to say so )

    Also, make regular stops at regular intervals. I force myself to stop every hour wherever I am. I take a 5 minute break in the first hour and a 15 minute break in the second hour and repeat as much as needed. For him, you might want to do 45 minutes. Eat and drink at each break.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfortier
    I am carrying the bulk of the gear. He is going to carry his sleeping bag, and some clothes in some small panniers. I also got him a handlebar bag so he can carry and get to easily his own snacks, juice, etc. I also plan on giving him his own bike computer. And just to throw it in there, his bike is a Jamis Ranger XL that I‘ve put a rack on and 26X1.5 street tires instead of nobbies for this trip

    Any thing I might be missing or taking for granted?
    You need to train him. If you haven't thought of it before, I'd suggest regular rides with weight similar to what he is going to carry. (Use my favorite: rice) And work up the mileage gradually. That way he gets a feel for how the bike handles. I'd suggest getting front lowriders instead of putting all the weight on the rear. The bike handles better.

    Get him some bar ends and teach him how to use them. You don't want to have numb hands which are a real problem with mountain bikes. You may want to get clipless pedals (they are really easier to use than clips for newbies) and real bicycling shoes. They are much more comfortable for longer distances.

    Get him a Camelbak and teach him how to use it while riding. And remind him to drink often (you do the same ). Kids have problems getting bottles out of cages while riding so the Camelbak is a bit safer. Carry Gatorade or a sports drink in the bottles.

    Finally, and most importantly, have him write about it. Have him write letters home and, in a regular conversational style, tell his mom about everything that he thinks was important. No topic should be taboo. Have him draw pictures or take pictures. Make him do it every night. In 5 or 10 or 80 years, he will thank you for it!

    [edit] It wouldn't hurt you to do the same If, in a year or two, you can't talk to someone about your adventure without getting all teary eyed, you didn't do it right.

    Damn! I'm having troubles seeing the screen!
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  15. #15
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    WOW, cyccommute, there’s a lot to chew on there, thanks.

    As far as the shorts, He and I, as most adults and young males are not proportionally the same. The chaffing I felt was due to excess movement, which he probably does not suffer from. I cannot ride one mile without my tight fitting shorts, I also have some fox mtb shorts that are fine. He on the other hand has done 10-15 miles in jeans and sneakers without a complaint, as did I as a kid. The Fox shorts are pricey, I'm sure there are other brands that are just as good. I'll try him in something other than the ems shorts, something a little tighter.

    He already wears wicking type t-shirts when we cycle, hike, or just as a regular shirt.

    Like I said, after a few long day rides and an overnight, I'll revise the mileage, and route if needed.

    I didn't think of the bar ends, but I do have some and will put them on, thanks. I have thought of the camel back myself, I wouldn't like it, but I'll try him with it. I had not thought about the front rack, if I can find a cheap one that will fit his susp forks I'll pick one up. I originally was only going to have him carry his sleeping bag, but funds are low and I cannot afford larger front panniers, and I saw some cheap ones on nashbar - $39, I thought they would be perfect for him.

    Yes, Yes, Yes on the journal!


    Jon

  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfortier
    WOW, cyccommute, there’s a lot to chew on there, thanks.

    As far as the shorts, He and I, as most adults and young males are not proportionally the same. The chaffing I felt was due to excess movement, which he probably does not suffer from. I cannot ride one mile without my tight fitting shorts, I also have some fox mtb shorts that are fine. He on the other hand has done 10-15 miles in jeans and sneakers without a complaint, as did I as a kid. The Fox shorts are pricey, I'm sure there are other brands that are just as good. I'll try him in something other than the ems shorts, something a little tighter.

    He already wears wicking type t-shirts when we cycle, hike, or just as a regular shirt.

    Like I said, after a few long day rides and an overnight, I'll revise the mileage, and route if needed.

    I didn't think of the bar ends, but I do have some and will put them on, thanks. I have thought of the camel back myself, I wouldn't like it, but I'll try him with it. I had not thought about the front rack, if I can find a cheap one that will fit his susp forks I'll pick one up. I originally was only going to have him carry his sleeping bag, but funds are low and I cannot afford larger front panniers, and I saw some cheap ones on nashbar - $39, I thought they would be perfect for him.

    Yes, Yes, Yes on the journal!


    Jon
    I'm stuck in a clean room weighing extremely small amounts of stuff (micrograms about the daily output of a constipated gnat ) all day and have to do something to keep from going crazy, so I sit here and write a lot of verbosity

    Whenever I rode with my kids at that age, we just put them in the same clothes as we were wearing which was bike clothes. It made them feel like they were part of the adventure. I rode, very long ago...about the time they invented dirt, in 'touring shorts' which were padded hiking shorts made for bicycling and I never liked the way they moved on my legs. I guess that's why I've never even looked at the baggy mountain bike shorts. I just like the way that lycra moves. It's more like a second skin. So we just naturally put our kids in the same stuff.

    As for the Camelbak: he's a kid! What does he know? You can dress him up as a vegetable and put him in a play so just put a Camelbak on him and he'll never know the difference Same goes for the lycra, put him in it, take lots of pictures and have something with which to embarras him with when he starts dating
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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