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Biking during family vacations

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Biking during family vacations

Old 05-16-14, 10:55 AM
  #1  
goenrdoug
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Biking during family vacations

Now that summer is coming and my kid is going to be out of school, we have a number of family road trips and 3/4-day weekend trips planned throughout the summer -- most of them here in my home state of California.

Before I got to be an avid cyclist, I used to enjoy the scenery and the family time and kitschy shops and so on. Now, all I can think of is how I wish I had my bike with me so I could ride through this forest or over that mountain or along the beautiful coastline.

My question to the 41 is how you deal with this?

I know family vacation is important family time. I know my child is never going to be this age again and I don't get that time back. I know a healthy marriage requires that I spend at least as much time bonding with my wife as with my bike(s) (my wife doesn't ride.) I know all that stuff.

What I'm looking for is whether anyone can share their thoughts/experiences on strapping their road bike to the back of the family vacation wagon and finding ride opportunities along the way.

Is having the bike with you a pain with regards to the security of the bike while you and the family see roadside attractions or take a hike or squeeze into rental cabins/hotel rooms? Is waking up very early in the morning to squeeze in a ride the only way?
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Old 05-16-14, 11:02 AM
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Too many variables to give you a definite answer.

That said, my family knows I am passionate about my cycling, so we generally take the bike on family trips and I try to sneak out for a ride during "down time" or first thing in the morning.

But it really depends on your family whether this will work.
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Old 05-16-14, 11:02 AM
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My family vacations are typically scheduled around cycling events (charity rides etc). Wife and kids go to parks and bond with here sisters. Bro in Laws go ride bikes.

So far it's turned out pretty well.
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Old 05-16-14, 11:05 AM
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Is there a way I could have my wife hypnotized so I could just say some key word to her to make her go into a trance then take my ride and when I get back I can just say another word or snap my fingers and she would never know I was out riding?
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Old 05-16-14, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Is there a way I could have my wife hypnotized so I could just say some key word to her to make her go into a trance then take my ride and when I get back I can just say another word or snap my fingers and she would never know I was out riding?
Yeah, good luck with that!
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Old 05-16-14, 11:15 AM
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We talk about this stuff when planning the trip and we also take the wife and daughter's bikes. I'll go out early in the morning and be done before the family is ready for the day's activity. Last trip to Tahoe I was out by 7ish, got some good climbs in and still home by 9. No worries. On the road, if we stop someplace, I'll either lock it to the rack or take the wheels off and stuff it in the back of the vehicle.
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Old 05-16-14, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Too many variables to give you a definite answer.

That said, my family knows I am passionate about my cycling, so we generally take the bike on family trips and I try to sneak out for a ride during "down time" or first thing in the morning.

But it really depends on your family whether this will work.
This is me.
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Old 05-16-14, 12:48 PM
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I only started riding last year after vacation. Our vacation of choice is plunking our behinds down on a sandy beach and doing nothing but stare and listen to the waves roll in and our place of choice is Myrtle Beach (more affordable it seems than most other beach places.)

I don't know when the next time we'll be taking a vacation, but I already told Wifey that the bike is coming with us and I'll be riding every morning. I'm up early, hours before anyone else. I normally watch the sunrise over the ocean out on the balcony while everyone else has to decide whether to eat breakfast or just eat lunch because of when they wake up. Thus, I'll have hours and hours to spend in the mornings tooling around Myrtle Beach on a bike. That's my plan on our next trip.
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Old 05-16-14, 01:10 PM
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My wife calls my bike our third child. It goes on almost all our vacations.
You can ride early in the morning, before the family gets up, or when they go to uninteresting attractions like zoos and aquariums.

We did a family vacation to Australia a few years back, and my most memorable part of the entire vacation was cycling through the city of Melbourne and in the rural back roads of Tasmania.
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Old 05-16-14, 01:25 PM
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I'm with Nachoman, my bike always went with us on family vacations. Matter of fact, I usually took my hardtail beater carried on the 4-bike hitch mounted rack with the wife and kid's bikes, AND I took either my MTB or my road bike on a roof rack next to the cargo box. I would get up early and get my longer rides in. and then we would bike as a family at a leisurly pace later in the day. Eventually the kids got older, got better bikes, and began doing the serious MTB rides with me, although neither really became interested in road biking.
Now both kids are out of the house and I miss those rides together. Luckily my wife seems to enjoy it more now so the bikes still go everywhere we do (oor we rent some).

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Old 05-16-14, 01:30 PM
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This past summer my wife and I had our first real vacation in almost 10 years. I took the bike and road in the morning while she slept in a bit. We were gone for 10 days. I road in three states and four never ridden by me towns. Was very good vacation for both of us.

Take the bike!
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Old 05-16-14, 09:31 PM
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I grew up in a family that cycles, and we often had our bicycles with us on our holidays. Some of my fondest memories as a child were cycling with my family through the Canadian Rockies and other places.

For many years, my father was the strongest cyclists of the family, and he wanted to log some distance ... so he would head out early in the morning. A couple hours later, my mother, brother, and I would follow. My father would go out to a certain point, then turn around, and at some point we would all meet. Then we would cycle together to our destination. He got his longer, faster ride in, and we all got to cycle together ... good day all around.


goenrdoug, you mention that you want to bond with your child. Bring your bicycle and your child's bicycle and go ride to explore places. Have fun!

You might also be able to arrange something where you and your child cycle out to a particular tourist attraction, and your wife drives out there. You explore the tourist attraction together, and then either drive or cycle back.
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Old 05-16-14, 09:58 PM
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Leave work, home, chores, and hobbies behind. Enjoy the wife and kids for who and what they have to offer.... and give of yourself what you have to offer. This isn't a rehearsal... this is the show.
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Old 05-16-14, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Leave work, home, chores, and hobbies behind. Enjoy the wife and kids for who and what they have to offer.... and give of yourself what you have to offer. This isn't a rehearsal... this is the show.
Well said.
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Old 05-16-14, 10:21 PM
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I haven't done it myself but you can probably rent a bike for a day or 3 at your destination. just bring your own saddle, pedals, shoes, and helmet.

this will eliminate the transporting/security issues. The shop will have insurance against their property being stolen while in your care.
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Old 05-17-14, 02:26 AM
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I'm happier when I am getting my rides in. Being even happier is awesome while on vacation. Plus you can come back home having stayed in shape, or conceivably even advanced your conditioning! Last Xmas I did a bunch of hard 15-20 minute sprints and one hard mutha of a climb, and came back stronger than when I left! I rented that bike.
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Old 05-17-14, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Is there a way I could have my wife hypnotized so I could just say some key word to her to make her go into a trance then take my ride and when I get back I can just say another word or snap my fingers and she would never know I was out riding?
Ambien or trasadone in her coffee.
OP, good question. I think family time focused on others trumps all else. I do bring my bike but I leave my obsessiveness home. My rides will be less frequent that week and not as long. Often if we are going some particular place I ride and leave a bit early and meet up with them at the destination on my bike. When my kids were younger they loved this and waved and yelled as they passed me on the road. It worked out well that way but each family is different.
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Old 05-17-14, 05:33 AM
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To me it depends up on the type of vacation, who is with you, age of your kids, on and on. If it is an "on the go" vacation with daily sightseeing or activity goals, I would have trouble fitting a ride in. An example would be a trip to a major city or attraction like Washington, DC or Colonial Williamsburg or some city in Europe. There is just too much organizing and executing activity to take care of with kids and /or grandkids to leave it all to my wife and grown children. But if it is a "relax and unwind" vacation where we shift our daily lives to another place like a beach or mountain resort and veg out, that is entirely different. In my experience everyone has their "together" activities, and everyone has their "alone" activities. Riding fits perfectly into this scenario, usually either first thing in the morning while the sleepy-heads are still in bed or during the early afternoon when young ones are napping.

I took my break apart (first custom S&S and later Ritchey Breakaway) bike to Lake Tahoe for several years to enjoy on our multi-week stays. Most of my riding occurred in the afternoon when the temperatures had warmed nicely and the young grandkids were napping. Finally I concluded it was too much aggravation. Being a flat-lander I just never could get enthused about climbing, so I sold the last break apart bike and just use the municipal fitness center where we stay. But of course, YMMV.
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Old 05-17-14, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Leave work, home, chores, and hobbies behind. Enjoy the wife and kids for who and what they have to offer.... and give of yourself what you have to offer. This isn't a rehearsal... this is the show.
Or better yet, share your hobbies with your wife and kids. They might just fall in love with them too. My wife was not all that active before we met. Yet she and my kids now love to ski, bike and hike-- because that's usually what we did on family vacations. Contrary to what most Americans think, the best way to see a National Park or even a city is not in your automobile... it's on a bicycle or walking.
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Old 05-17-14, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by redcon1 View Post
Or better yet, share your hobbies with your wife and kids. They might just fall in love with them too. My wife was not all that active before we met. Yet she and my kids now love to ski, bike and hike-- because that's usually what we did on family vacations. Contrary to what most Americans think, the best way to see a National Park or even a city is not in your automobile... it's on a bicycle or walking.
+1
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Old 05-17-14, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
To me it depends up on the type of vacation, who is with you, age of your kids, on and on. If it is an "on the go" vacation with daily sightseeing or activity goals, I would have trouble fitting a ride in. An example would be a trip to a major city or attraction like Washington, DC or Colonial Williamsburg or some city in Europe. There is just too much organizing and executing activity to take care of with kids and /or grandkids to leave it all to my wife and grown children. But if it is a "relax and unwind" vacation where we shift our daily lives to another place like a beach or mountain resort and veg out, that is entirely different. In my experience everyone has their "together" activities, and everyone has their "alone" activities. Riding fits perfectly into this scenario, usually either first thing in the morning while the sleepy-heads are still in bed or during the early afternoon when young ones are napping.

I took my break apart (first custom S&S and later Ritchey Breakaway) bike to Lake Tahoe for several years to enjoy on our multi-week stays. Most of my riding occurred in the afternoon when the temperatures had warmed nicely and the young grandkids were napping. Finally I concluded it was too much aggravation. Being a flat-lander I just never could get enthused about climbing, so I sold the last break apart bike and just use the municipal fitness center where we stay. But of course, YMMV.
Well said, except for the climbing part. I like climbing.

If it's a destination vacation, rent a road bike for a week while you're there.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by redcon1 View Post
Or better yet, share your hobbies with your wife and kids. They might just fall in love with them too....
I sure agree with that! I've encouraged my wife to join me cycling more than once. I've even bought her two bikes over the years. But people grow, change, develop new interests.... abandon old activities and hobbies. Apparently the OP has been through all that too.

Originally Posted by goenrdoug View Post
...... I know a healthy marriage requires that I spend at least as much time bonding with my wife as with my bike(s) (my wife doesn't ride.) I know all that stuff.....
Traditional family's live in close proximity and know each other intimately. But they don't create meaningful memories on a daily basis. Memory's are created in those special moments.... like vacation. I wouldn't want my kids memory of "special time with Mom and Dad" to involve Dad getting up early and running out to spend time alone with his bicycle. And nether Mom or the kids want to be "held captive" to more pressures to ride with Dad (they have all heard us before.... over and over). Just... MHO.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:41 AM
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I don't think there is anything wrong with finding a little time on family vacations to enjoy your personal hobbies. Especially if you utilize down time when people are sleeping/ lounging or are busy with their own personal things. When I am on vacation the time I spend biking or surfing etc. makes me feel good and makes me more fun and energetic during the time I am spending with my family. I am a believer in a balanced life, family time is crucial but a bit of time for hobbies is healthy as well.
If your family members are into the same activities as you then by all means include them, the scenario Machka described above is a good example
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Old 05-17-14, 09:30 AM
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My family has been going to the Outer Banks forever, and my bike gas made every trip. My wife understand my need to ride, and even with 2 kids she still understands. I will normal be up an riding before they are out of bed. We then have the rest of day for family. Now that my son has the bug it better, we ride and they shop.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:30 PM
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Our last family vacation my wife and I took our tandem and did an old favorite ride.

Next vacation, the tandem and the kids bikes are coming along, we'll all be riding.

It's good to share hobbies as a family.

Semper Fi
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