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Planning a Round trip tour of the US and parts of Canada

Old 02-26-16, 09:55 PM
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JrneyswthAutism
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Planning a Round trip tour of the US and parts of Canada

I'm planning bicycle tour of the US and Canada for Autism awareness (see my post in the Charity section) and since I've never planned anything like this before, I have some questions I'd like to ask, if anyone could give me some advice. This will be (I hope) a large group ride with Support Vehicles. I'm trying to think of every detail, especial since this will include children on the Autism Spectrum, as well as possibly people with other disabilities. My Daughter has severe nonverbal ASD, and she will be 11 when I plan on starting this trip (in January 2018). I also have a son who will be 9.

My First question is, when you have a large group of cyclist, what is the best way to communicate? Do you use Cell phones with blu tooth, or are there radios like the ones bicycle cops use?

Second, How many Support vehicles should we have? I am hoping to have at least 20 riders at all times, if not more (Since this trip is going to take more than a year, I expect some people to drop out and others to join along the way) and 4 Support RVs (Or 3 RVs and a Pick-up with a trailer for extra bikes and to pick up stragglers). And that doesn't include the children in Tow behinds. One reason I want RVs for Support is because there aren't always going to be places to stop and use the restroom, and I figure if we have RVs, that won't be a problem.

Have you ever done a cycle trip with Special Needs people before? Can you recommend any special equipment, Such as the Cycletote Special Needs Tow behind? Special Needs Bike Trailers - CycleTote Bicycle Trailers

Are there any tips you guys can give me about route planning? I've been using Map Quest for Bikes with Google Satellite overlay to try and make sure we stay on mostly paved roads and maintained bike paths within a reasonable distance of our Support Vehicles. Are there any places you think we should avoid, or any places you think would be worth a side trip?

I'm planning to start the Trip on January 15th, 2018, in Tucson, AZ. I Chose this date because the Weather in Arizona and Southern California at this time will be Mild enough that we should only need mid weight jackets and long pants, and layered clothing. The Course I've plotted so far has us zigzagging through Southern California so that we don't get too far North too early in the year, and we'll hit the Pacific Northwest in Early Spring. I'm still working out the course, but my plan is to continue zigzagging through central California, then stay mostly on the coast through Northern California, then do some more Zigzagging through Oregon, and parts of southern Washington State, then Heading up into Vancouver, BC. From there we'll cut across the Canadian Rockies to Calgary, then back down through Glacier and Yellowstone, down into Utah to Zion and the Grand Canyon, then back up through Colorado and Wyoming to South Dakota and Mt. Rushmore, across the Badlands, through Minnesota, then down into Iowa and Illinois, to Chicago, Up through Wisconsin and around to Mackinac Island. From there we'll cut down through Michigan, then back into Canada to Toronto and Niagara Falls, Across New York to Salem and Boston, then back Down through New York and across to New Jersey, down to Philadelphia. We'll move inland some from there through Amish Country, to Gettysburg, down through Virginia to Washington DC. After that we'll zigzag some more down the west coast to Florida. I'm hoping to be in Orlando in October, so I can take the Kids Trick or Treating at Walt Disney World. We'll make our way down to the keys (Probably renting vans for this part) then back up the Gulf, then cut up through Georgia, Tennessee, over to Mississippi, down through Louisiana, then zigzag up and down through Texas and New Mexico, then be back in Tucson a little over a year after we left.

Since we will be traveling with Special Needs Children, I'm trying to make certain that we have some place to stop every couple of hours, even if it is just to pull off to a side road for a break. I'll probably have a Million more questions in the next 2 years before we begin this Journey.

Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appraciated.

JWA
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Old 02-27-16, 01:52 AM
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Yikes. Don't know where to start with this one. I'm planning my first Solo tour so I don't know anything about supported group tours or touring with children with disabilities. However, I try me best. First off, if you're going along the west coast you want to go North to South because that is the direction the wind blows. Head wind can break even experience tourists let alone kids. Second, you want to be mindful of elevation gains. Steep grades will be encountered in the Sierras, Cascades, and Rockies so it is wise to pick your passes wisely. I recommend looking at the Adventure Cycling Association website for long term route planning. Routes such as the Trans America, Southern and Northern Tiers are good cross country beginner routes. Best of luck. Sounds like a great cause.
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Old 02-27-16, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by JrneyswthAutism View Post
I'm planning bicycle tour of the US and Canada....starting this trip (in January 2018). I also have a son who will be 9....
you have a website or blog or something webby i could visit?
if linked in your post, i must have missed it.

i have friend in north carolina with an adopted son (8 or 9 i think)
recoved from hoskins. they may be interested in joining the
tour a short stretch.

ok, found your charity post. you've got a facebook thing.
can't access without a faebook account. i read their
data policy. spooky. i don't think so.

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Old 02-27-16, 11:34 AM
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I am not qualified to provide much advice here, but I will offer one suggestion. If your route is only tentative and preliminary, you might consider using some of the routes that a lot of touring cyclists use. If you follow routes that are used for the Adventure Cycling Assoc maps, you will be in places where people often see cyclists on the road. And those roads were in part picked as being a bit more bicycle friendly than average.
https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...e-network-map/
https://www.adventurecycling.org/cyc...re/route-maps/

If you really need a trailer that can haul bikes, if you consider a custom build, I attached a couple photos of trailers that were used by a couple tour companies in Europe that I rode with. They could haul a lot of luggage down in the compartment where it was not exposed to the weather, bike racks on top of the trailer. I have no clue what a trailer like that would cost, but I would consider something like that.

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Old 02-27-16, 01:14 PM
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Wowsers!

First off, don't let my comments be taken as negatives. If you wind up doing it my hat is off to you. I'm planning a ride this Sept. to raise awareness about dementia and find a modest 2400km's to be a big enough challenge. With that in mind these are a couple of thoughts.

1 - 1 1/2 years is a long commitment for anyone involved. I understand that riders can come and go but you will need a core of committed riders, drivers, coordinators etc.. regardless, and it may be hard to find people who can afford to do that. People may say yes yes yes but when it comes down to crunch time they may have some sober second thoughts and pull out and that could scuttle your plans. Happens all the time.

As a supported tour the costs of RV's, gas, food etc... will be huge! Many people on longer tours can do so by being very self sufficient with low economic and manpower inputs. Your plan will be neither. Even if you fund raise it may appear to be self serving to spend such a large portion of funds on the tour itself rather that research etc... In my case I am not doing any fundraising (awareness only) and funding myself so the messaging is not conflicted. People tend to get overwhelmed and a bit jaded by dubious charities (not saying yours is, just being aware of perceptions). Personally I prefer to avoid any conflict that way but you have to think of how an outsider will view your intentions. This almost sounds like a lifestyle choice rather than a specific goal which some may find less appealing to fund.

Boredom. Don't underestimate it. People worry about pain and suffering but plain old road weariness can be just as bad. Even though smaller kids may be enthusiastic to start it can be really really boring to tour for hours every day, day after day, when you are passively participating (in a carrier). Even I get bored and irritable and I am the one doing what he likes. What may seem like fun to the rider may become torture to the kids. Try sitting on a greyhound bus for a month!

I really don't think you would gain anything towards your goal (awareness wise) by doing such a long tour. People will forget and move on before it is over, except for the few who are personally involved but they are not your target audience. News agencies may pick up the beginning and end if you prepare press kits but not all the stuff in between. It's sort of a long nebulous winding course. People's imagination tend to get sparked by shorter, clearly defined goals like across the US or the PCH which would generate just as much buzz and achieve the same ends without the incredible logistical, time and economic overhead. Doing such a long tour may even generate a negative backlash if people perceive it as being hard on the kids. Again, not being negative, just thinking of perceptions, which are important in an "awareness" campaign. You always have to be thinking of how the stranger will see what you are doing and not just those who already are in your "camp" as it were.

You may also want to work on an informational website so people can learn about your idea. FB may be a hot social media but it kind of sucks in some ways because the feeds drop off and get forgotten in a day or two. If you post every day or two this far out people will get viewer fatigue. Your own WS will remain constant, contain all your info and you can link it in forums, news reports and even FB. I am including a link to mine (which is not yet completed and I have not started promoting externally) but you can at least see an example. Before broadcasting to the public it's a good idea to get your plan in place so you look like you have thought seriously about the goals which translates into more appealing to support as you may actually carry out the plan and succeed. It takes a while and I have people who proof read and give me feedback. Right now I am tweaking how it is viewed in tablet form. I prefer PC's but recognize that many use smart phones for viewing now. That may sound like work but in my case, I am wanting to represent a cause so I feel it's my obligation to do so in a proper manner.

WECANRIDE 2016:Cycling across Western CanadaTo Raise Awareness about Dementia - Home

Best of luck with your plans!
Dale.
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Old 02-28-16, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JrneyswthAutism View Post
This will be (I hope) a large group ride with Support Vehicles.
Let's stop right here.

As soon as you put a large group of cyclists on the road, and especially if you're going to have slow moving support vehicles, you've got to start looking into permits. You'll have to contact each and every council you go through to ensure you have the appropriate permits. You'll have to contact the police to ensure you've got the appropriate permissions.

Start looking into that now because the availability of permit, or the ease of acquiring them may determine your route.



Next you mention that you'll be travelling with special needs children. You will have to ensure you have all the appropriate insurances for that.


You also mention special equipment for special needs children ... that is something you'll have to consult with the appropriate medical personnel about. We can't advise you on what a specific special needs child might need. That child's doctors and carers are in a much better position to advise. But nevertheless, you will need medical personnel with you all the time. If anything should happen to one of those children, you need a professional right there to deal with it. You're not talking about strong, able-bodied, adults who can take care of themselves and make their own decisions ... you're talking about children with special needs.


Do a little bit of research on the area of law called "duty of care".
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Old 02-28-16, 05:10 AM
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I would encourage you to start experimenting with tandem bikes. Have you gotten your daughter to ride a tandem or an afterburner/trailerbike?

Get the kids to be active rather than just riding in a trailer.

There are quite a few different designs and configurations for example the Kidz tandems are designed for kids on front.
Brown Cycles of Grand Junction, Colorado

There are also child stoker kits (stokid)
Precision Tandems - Pictures of you stokids!

And the weehoo trailer for the youngest kids, with the largest for kids up to 9.
Bicycle Trailers for Kids by Weehoo | Let the adventure begin - kids love it!

Tandems can be made for 2, 3, or 4, or perhaps even more riders. There are also side-by-side tandems (bike cars) generally not used for long-distance riding, but they could be fun nonetheless.

And, for an interesting "special needs" group, perhaps consider the Blind Stokers.
Welcome to the Blind Stokers Club Blind Stokers Club
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Old 02-28-16, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I would encourage you to start experimenting with tandem bikes. Have you gotten your daughter to ride a tandem or an afterburner/trailerbike?...



first tri-bike is awesome home-made bike is laos.
fork and frame made of recycled rebar.
wheels are recycled 26" scooter wheels.
stem seems to be made of scrap plumbing bits.

the green ball behind the bike? garbage can made
of old tires.
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Old 02-28-16, 07:11 AM
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I'm not sure I understand the goal of this ride. You said it is to raise awareness. I am somewhat skeptical of awareness campaigns especially for something that is well known such as Autism, cancer, heart disease etc. Is this self funded or are you looking to raise money to pay for this? I think most people would rather donate money to research or to schools for Austic children. With that said, I am not questioning your intentions but wondering if this is too ambitious. The benefit does not seem proportional to the cost.

Two years is a long commitment and if some of these children are along for the entire ride, I question if that is in their best interest. You could get just as much bang for less money with a one or two month tour across a state or region.

Machka makes a good point, the permit effort alone is a huge undertaking.
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Old 02-28-16, 04:28 PM
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Thank you all for the replies. You brought up some things I hadn't even thought of. Perhaps I should revise my start date out a couple of years to do more research on things I didn't think about. I wasn't aware that any type of permit would be required for anything other than camping and camp fires.
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Old 02-28-16, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JrneyswthAutism View Post
Thank you all for the replies. You brought up some things I hadn't even thought of. Perhaps I should revise my start date out a couple of years to do more research on things I didn't think about. I wasn't aware that any type of permit would be required for anything other than camping and camp fires.
If it were just you and your child, with perhaps another person driving an RV, it is not likely that permits would be required. Even if you had maybe half a dozen people on bicycles, spread out along the route, it is not likely that permits would be required.

But as soon as you get into anything remotely like a "large group", and especially if the "large group" is going to be travelling more or less together, and especially if there are going to be slow moving vehicles following the "large group" or anything like that, that's when many areas do require permits.

I think they usually fall under parade permits, but as with most of these sorts of things it probably varies from one area to the next and will likely need quite a bit of research. Don't assume that because this city, or county, or state does not require a permit, the next city, or county or state won't either. You'll have to check each and every place you want to go.

And one of the things you may need to show, in order to acquire the permit, is that you have the appropriate insurance in place ... whatever that may be.

This will be made more complicated by the fact that you're planning to ride in two countries.


And speaking of which ... your route has you crossing the Canada/US border a couple times. If you are planning to cross the border with children, you will need to look into what is involved with that. This might be a starting point: Children - Travel.gc.ca
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