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Old 06-24-09, 09:24 PM   #1
Cra1g
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Parents Hesitant About Bike Trip

So I'm planning on biking to Sandusky, OH with my roommate, which is about 140 miles and then we'll bike back so the trip would be 280 miles total, which really isn't all that bad. I'm new to road biking though so it might be a bit of a challenge. We're planning on doing about 50 miles a day, which I know that I can do that with ease.

Thing is my parents, mom especially, is worried mostly about my safety. She is recommending that I go on a shorter trip so that I'll still be "closer to home". I told her that that's not any fun and a bike trip is for exploring. So far, talks are still going on so we'll see.

What kind of arguments do you guys suggest that I use to convince my parents?
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Old 06-24-09, 09:28 PM   #2
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Old 06-24-09, 09:58 PM   #3
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How old are you?
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Old 06-24-09, 10:04 PM   #4
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19 years old....and my parents treat me like I'm 13.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:19 PM   #5
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Have you put some thought and planning into your route, stops, meals, and sleeping accommodations? If so, have you shown these plans to your parents? If you're just planning to "wing it," I'd be concerned for you too. Experienced bicycle tourists can substitute road miles and experience for a certain amount of planning detail but you should have a clear idea of what you're going to do and how.

I rode around Lake Erie a couple of years ago following the Adventure Cycling Association maps and route. It was only near Sandusky, OH that cars were menace to me and refused to share the road. I attributed it to families preoccupied with getting to the Cedar Point amusement park. Lots of motor homes near there didn't want to move over much either.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:19 PM   #6
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Maybe they should have a look around Crazyguyonabike to get an idea of just what a great adventure it can be? I'm sure you can find a few journals of people touring around OH.

The only part of OH that I toured through last summer that I would not want to do again is Cleveland. The rest of my time in OH was event/drama free.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:33 PM   #7
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19 years old....and my parents treat me like I'm 13.
Aren't you an adult at 19 in your country?
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Old 06-24-09, 11:01 PM   #8
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hey, I'm 21 and ran into the same problem with my parents when i went on my first tour this year. I found that the key was showing my parents I had a detailed plan, route, and backup plan.

A lot of others including myself replied in detail on a similar thread a few weeks ago:
Advice about Parents
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Old 06-24-09, 11:06 PM   #9
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I guess it is good to have a some sort of plan. We do have a map that shows our route, but we don't really know where we're going to stay really.

Is Sandusky, OH really a horrible place to ride? That's kind of a bummer.

And yes, 19 is considered adulthood, but I still live with my parents due to not having a job (Livin' in the county with the highest unemployment rate in the US) and until I can support myself, I am under their authority so you can imagine how much I want a job.
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Old 06-24-09, 11:22 PM   #10
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Old 06-25-09, 12:09 AM   #11
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19 years old....and my parents treat me like I'm 13.
One of the aspects of being an adult is making reasonable actions and dealing with the consequences. Don't act like you're 13. There NOTHING you can do to make your mom feel differently. They will feel what they feel out of concern, what you can do is be considerate and take this opportunity to cut apron strings on your terms as an adult not a whiny teenager. Out of consideration for her feelings give her a call to let her know you haven't been creamed on the highway, have a destination in mind. You've got this resources you're tip tapping on. Pick a destination for a camp, if you don't make it at least you started with a plan.

If you don't know where you're going to stay and don't have experience finding places it's reasonable she's concerned.
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Old 06-25-09, 12:16 AM   #12
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She is recommending that I go on a shorter trip so that I'll still be "closer to home".
Since you are new to road biking and touring, a quick overnight trip isn't a bad idea anyway. Gives you a chance to iron out the bugs in your bike and gear preparations. Gives you experience riding a loaded bike. Gives you experience doing two long days of riding back to back....


...and, it allows you to demonstrate to your mom you're responsible and experienced. You'll then both be more comfortable taking your longer trip.
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Old 06-25-09, 12:41 AM   #13
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I guess it is good to have a some sort of plan. We do have a map that shows our route, but we don't really know where we're going to stay really.

Is Sandusky, OH really a horrible place to ride? That's kind of a bummer.

And yes, 19 is considered adulthood, but I still live with my parents due to not having a job (Livin' in the county with the highest unemployment rate in the US) and until I can support myself, I am under their authority so you can imagine how much I want a job.
Elkhart to Sandusky is a terrible ride. Seriously. Going up into Michigan would be sooo much nicer. Out of curiosity why did you choose Sandusky as your destination?
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Old 06-25-09, 03:57 AM   #14
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being an adult, you mom and dad have no so in what you do..

teka a ew shorter rised, get ued to the touring thing, have fun.... plan your route well.... and take responsibility for your decisions.

Acting like an adult, taking responsibility will help you parents realize they have raised you well.


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Old 06-25-09, 06:26 AM   #15
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Research the world of touring on here and at crazyguyonabike.com. Work out a definite plan on paper, with her input. Letting her help you plan the trip will ease her mind some.

For safety, wear a high visibility top, a helmet, and mount a slow moving vehicle sign on the back of your bike. I know, a bit dorky, but very effective for warning motorist to stay clear and for showing your mom that you will be responsible on this trip.

Considering what another poster had to say bout your route, best to change it to more rural areas with less traffic and more places to camp. You are planning on camping?
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Old 06-25-09, 06:43 AM   #16
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Being an adult at 19 is a funny thing. If your 19 living at home or going to school on a parents dollar are you a true adult? I don't know if the OP is on his/her own or not. But until the plate is broken I would think he/she would/should listen to the wishes of of parents with a little more understanding.

If the above is true. Make a real plan of places your staying. The route your taking and the present it to them. If this does not work ask your parent/parents if they would consider sagging/support vehicle your trip. Might allow them to say yes while still feeling more comfortable.

Don't know if any of that is possible but it could be an option that would allow them to feel less worried.

my 2 cents....
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Old 06-25-09, 06:50 AM   #17
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hey, I'm 21 and ran into the same problem with my parents when i went on my first tour this year. I found that the key was showing my parents I had a detailed plan, route, and backup plan.

A lot of others including myself replied in detail on a similar thread a few weeks ago:
Advice about Parents
Sorry, that bears repeating.
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Old 06-25-09, 06:55 AM   #18
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>...is worried mostly about my safety. She is recommending that I go on a shorter trip so that I'll still be "closer to home".

Well, since that argument is totally illogical, your issues have nothing to do with cycling and everything to do with parents. Good luck with that.
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Old 06-25-09, 07:02 AM   #19
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Tell you a little story OP. I'm old enough to be your parent at 44 as of a few days ago. I ride between 5 and 10K miles a year. I had done many trip/tours of a few days to a week many times and commute by bicycle. I had never taken something as time consuming or as long as my cross country last summer.

I still shared my plans with family. I still listened to the concerns of others and I still checked in with them every time it was possible with a text message or phone call. It is very hard for non cyclists sometimes to understand what you want to do.

Your doing something they consider dangerous/unsafe. You really need to do all you can to assure them that you are ready. If you have very little experience I can see why they would feel this way.

At the end of the day you may or may not do what you want. Consider all things before going.

Is having a mother worried about your welfare a bad thing? I think it's kind of nice.
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Old 06-25-09, 09:37 AM   #20
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I'm 52,moms 90 and I have the same problem with my mother,that's what mothers do.

Like everyone else,make a plan and show it to you parents.Get them involved in it.Show them your not crazy.
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Old 06-25-09, 09:51 AM   #21
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I'm 58, but I still like to keep my parents happy. My mom's disapproval of a venture wouldn't stop me, but it would be a consideration. I'd at least put forth a little effort at allaying her fears.

If you're new to biking you may be less safe than someone who has thousands of miles under his/her belt. There are skills and techniques you tend to develop over time. The more you practice them, the more they become ingrained and you don't have to think about them so much, although I always pay attention to safety.

I have some advice for your consideration.
  • Chose "safe" roads for your trip. That means either a road with little or no traffic, or a road with wide shoulders, or both. I don't mind riding on busy roads/highways, if they have a wide shoulder. I've been on some roads that scared the pants off of me - I avoid those at all costs. You can find the safest routes by asking on this forum, checking with locals in bike shops, using ACA maps, or maybe going to your state's department of transportation and looking for statistics on traffic. However, those sites usually focus on number of autos per hour, rather than whether or not there's a bike lane.
  • Get a rearview mirror. Do a search on the pros/cons of the different kinds. I don't check my mirror constantly, but it's good to be able to check out what's behind you easily - easier than turning your head and taking your eyes off of what's in front of you. If I'm on a road with no shoulder and I see that a car from behind will pass me at the same time as a car from ahead (so there's no room for the passing car to swing wide) I'll pull off the road. I've had too many close calls. I don't mind losing a few seconds and being inconvenienced in the interest of staying safe.
  • Think safety first and don't be in too big of a hurry. If you think there's time to ride through an intersection, but aren't 100% sure, stop and wait until you are sure. Left turns across traffic are the most hazardous. Sometimes I'll get out in the lane and wait, hoping that no one runs me down. Other times I'll pull off the road on the right, stop, and wait until I'm sure it's safe to cross. It doesn't hurt my pride. (I'll even push the button to trigger the pedestrian crossing signal. Why not?)
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and don't worry about being a dork. When someone is driving along with their mind a million miles away, you want them to notice that you're there.
  • Don't listen to music if you're on a dicey road, especially if you don't have a mirror. Don't chat with your friend on a dicey road. You need your full concentration.
  • Unless there's no traffic or a really wide bike lane, ride single file.
  • Anytime you feel threatened by traffic, be willing to pull off the road, wait, and assess the situation.

My 2 cents.
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Old 06-25-09, 10:01 AM   #22
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Some suggestions:

1. at least appear like you're listening and realizing concerns. In fact a shorter trip closer to home could be a really good idea. It gives you the chance for a shakedown, plus it tells mom, "Hey, I listened to you, tried your suggestion, and now I want to expand on that for myself a little bit".

2. tell them you appreciate their concerns, and openly acknowledge them. Help to mitigate any of their apprehensions by:

3. showing your parents all the planning, maps and what you're prepared. Remind them you are with someone.

4. take a mobile phone. Even a cheap pay as you go can be had for $20-$30 and put $10 on it. Charge it up and take it with you and say you'll call at least once every 48 hours and talk or leave a message (just in case you're in an area of bad reception).

5. showing them your safety equipment (e.g. reflective vest, good lights).

Having said all that, as an adult you absolutely don't need to do any of the above things; however since your parents are providing a roof (and living expenses?) over your head, I think it is wise (and thoughtful and respectful) to do so.

Even when you're out working and living in your own place, I think accommodating your parents in some way(such as an occasional phone call or email) -given most sacrifices parents make for their kids -is a nice thing to do. It can make family relationships nicer and more productive with little effort.

Of course, if your parents "forbid" this thing (or are they funding this? If so, they can choose what to do with their money!), that's a whole other issue that perhaps touring boards aren't best equipped for. It's basically then up to you to take the plunge, be independent and fly the nest.... Be aware of what this entails though, and what effect it will have on you and your family. However, I think in this situation it's rarely actually about a bike tour, it's more about control in your adult life, and you have to sort that out with you and your family.

Oh, and one last thing -I don't know anything about Sandusky, OH, but I'd take the advice of other posters to obtain a nicer route by the sounds of it.
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Old 06-25-09, 10:07 AM   #23
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Thanks for the tips and help. I guess it would be better to start off easy and work my way up.
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Old 06-25-09, 02:28 PM   #24
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If you're just planning to "wing it," I'd be concerned for you too.
I can see planning the route, but I never plan where I will stay or exactly where my stops will be. I suspect that most tourists don't. Too much planning defeats the whole idea of what touring is to me. I would advise picking a rural route and staying away from cities.

Also some short trips are fine and may be a good idea, but lots of folks do a Trans America as a first tour so short ones are not a necessity.

For what it is worth I am 58 and mom still worries about me when I am on tour.
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Old 06-25-09, 06:49 PM   #25
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Can't see why you would want to reassure your parents, unless they're going to physically stop them. Scare them. Come back and tell them what a great time you had. Do it again. They'll get over it.
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