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Old 03-09-10, 03:10 PM   #1
legot73
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Looking for feedback on kids and distance

My kids are really excited to take a "bike camping" trip with me (Dad) this summer. I'm probably more excited, but I really want to make this a good trip, so I'm concerned about distance.

The kids: 7 and 9 years old. They ride Electra 20" cruisers, single speed. We're having fun planning it together, so the attitude is good. They've done 6 mile rides on these bikes several times and had energy to spare.

The ride: Approx 30 miles each way, nearly all of it flat, paved bicycle trail and 2 miles of small town/state park roads. One full day of beach and camping fun in between rides. Kids are unloaded other than front basket with water, snacks, and personal items (i.e. stuffed animal or favorite flashlight). I'll haul everything in a trailer. There are towns every 6-8 miles along the way with food, treats, playgrounds, etc. for rest stops and plenty of time to stop and play.

Worst case, we do have mini-van backup from Mom if needed.

I'm interested in feedback from parents who've "been there, done that".

Thanks!
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Old 03-09-10, 03:52 PM   #2
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I don't have any rugrats yet, but if I ever do, I hope I can get them as excited about cycling as yours seem to be.

I haven't even really done any bike touring yet, but I'm looking to try a couple 2 or 3 days tours this summer to get my feet wet, so I've been starting to poke around the Touring forum more (I've generally spent more time on the commuter and clydes forums myself) and reading accounts on crazyguyonabike.com.

Was just looking there again, and came across this section, which I thought you might find helpful.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/c...octype=journal

I'm sure other BFers will have some firsthand experience to share, but wanted to shoot you this link.

Cheers and enjoy the bike camping!
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Old 03-09-10, 04:08 PM   #3
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Here's another helpful link:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/foru...p?topic=6154.0
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Old 03-09-10, 04:25 PM   #4
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I've been there and done that - and am still doing it! I think your plan is perfect! Take your kids out cycling as much as you can before your "big day" to really build up their confidence. Our boys were doing 25 miles in a day before we took off on our first tour and they were so proud of themselves! Take is slow. Slow, slow, slow. Take breaks every mile or so until they feel they can go farther. The first few times they make it 2 miles (or 5 miles or 10 miles - you set the distance to aim for) CELEBRATE! High fives! Congrats! There is nothing like success to drive the little ones on.

We are traveling with our 12-year-olds and just did a 95-km day in the desert with 45 of those kilometers against a stiff headwind. The kids were exhausted (as were Dad and I!), but they did it. Kids are amazing creatures and can do quite a lot when given the opportunity!
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Old 03-09-10, 05:09 PM   #5
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Bring lots of fruit and energy dense foods. My 6 y/o son did 26 miles, bonked hard around mile 14, that was the hardest part for him.

It took us nearly four hours to do it, since he was on a single speed. 9mph was his max comfortable speed.

Most he'd done prior was 10 miles, he surprised me, to say the least. He had moments where he was getting fed up though. Keeping the support up and keeping it fun does a lot.
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Old 03-09-10, 05:41 PM   #6
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Totally agree with the food issue! Kids go through food much more quickly than adults do, so pull out snacks at each break. They don't have to eat a lot - but a little will keep them going. We used to joke about hooking the boys up to a food drip!
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Old 03-09-10, 06:06 PM   #7
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Been there done that

Let the weakest rider set the pace. I toured with another family along with my two kids. When the whole crew rode we had 4 kids and 3 adults. The youngest was 7 the oldest 10. All of the kids did have multi speed bikes. IRIC the 7 year old rode a 5 speed BMX type bike, it does help to raise the average MPH. Stop often and eat at every stop, and enjoy the ride! The longest single day ride we ever did was 42 miles. IIRC it took almost 7 hours.

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Old 03-10-10, 07:07 AM   #8
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My experience with 8 year olds along a MUP is they like to stop every 5 miles/half hour. Cold fruit and juice from a iced cooler was a great pick up for them not to mention a store with ice cream at the end. At that age I really could not get them to go more then 20 miles a day but that's without any pre-training rides.
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Old 03-10-10, 09:03 AM   #9
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I took my daughter for her first "tour" when she was nine. We both rode three speed bikes:
Two days, and I told her it would be 25 miles each day (actually closer to 40, but I didn't tell her that until later). Plenty of stops for snacks and wading at the beach. Since then, we've done longer tours --up to 400 miles-- mostly on a tandem.

We camped behind some friends' house --actually my neighbor's son-- and since my neighbor was going there to babysit anyway, she took our camping equipment there beforehand, so we didn't have to carry much.

Kids don't know how tough they are, but once they start thinking "I'm tough!" they like it. Even so, I occasionally tour without them, to make sure they feel suitably left out. This way, they whine "I want to come too!" rather than "do I have to?"
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Old 03-10-10, 10:00 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the great feedback! Great tips that will make the trip even better.
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Old 03-10-10, 07:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by legot73 View Post
Thanks for all the great feedback! Great tips that will make the trip even better.

Make sure to let us know how it turned out, pictures would be great!

Aaron
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