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First tour ever! Failure report, but definitely a great experience!

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First tour ever! Failure report, but definitely a great experience!

Old 08-04-14, 12:04 PM
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First tour ever! Failure report, but definitely a great experience!

So, after many months of planning, my 7-year-old and I set off on a week-long trip.

Unfortunately, near the end of the first day, my son suffered some homesickness and the decision was made to abort. I did convince him to continue to the end of the planned ride, and I'm glad that I did, because it was at least an accomplishment. 40 miles, much of it stop and go city riding and dealing with cars, traffic, lots of navigation.



First rest stop after crossing the Mississippi:



Second stop, he was hungry and got a roller dog and icee from a gas station. (also, his very own pair of sunglasses).

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Old 08-04-14, 12:36 PM
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Congrats for giving it a go! We've had homesickness issues on a few of our longer trips with our now nine-year-old son (both car trips and bike trips). We've dealt with it in various ways. Redirection always help, refocusing attention on something cool or an outright bribe like a big ice cream cone or something. On our month-long campervan trip last year, we had him call a few of his friends on the days he was homesick and let him talk as long as he wanted. We weren't sure if that would make it better or worse at first, but it really helped. Also, actively solicit advice from him as to what to do at various times of the day. So often kids have all the decisions made for them and don't really "buy into" the adventure because of that. Find places where he can make a choice for things that don't matter to the overall trip, like what fast-food place to eat at for lunch, etc.

I'd also suggest that 40 miles is a lot for a first day for a kid, even one in good shape. Maybe start a little slower next time and then work up to longer days. Plan the first day to be short, but to a very cool destination that will whet his appetite for future days (maybe splurge on a nice motel with a pool, or a cool campground, etc.). Don't lose hope! Give it another shot. I'm sure you were disappointed after all that planning. It's a lot of fun when it actually works out.
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Old 08-04-14, 12:47 PM
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Yea, we planned on this day to end at a hotel with a pool, and he wasn't really that tired (because he wasn't actually contributing much pedaling, mostly in back telling me all kinds of stories while I rode us along). And that's actually what I was most looking forward to, spending time with him getting just bored enough to talk.

I'm slightly disappointed, but really this whole thing was to spend time with him, and that worked well for the day. We'll definitely try again!

The hard part was that he wasn't homesick for home... he was homesick for mommy, and phone wasn't helping.
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Old 08-04-14, 01:45 PM
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Not a failure at all. Just good memories. It'll happen later, full blown, I bet. Anticipation is half the fun. Great pics.
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Old 08-04-14, 02:06 PM
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Yeah, maybe I should classify this as "adjusted success" rather than "failure".

We'll know better what we're in for next time! Also, my wife mentioned a few days later that maybe next year she'll go with. Which is mind-blowing, considering that she's only recently shown interest in bicycling again...
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Old 08-04-14, 02:16 PM
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Damn! That photo has me wanting a hot dog.
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Old 08-04-14, 02:18 PM
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Oh, and I finally discovered in a better way why purpose-built touring bikes are such a good idea. My bike is actually a pretty darn good bike, but for the first time I felt what 'frame flex' means. Apparently, 70+ pounds of gear, plus a trail-a-bike with a 7-year-old changes things! Who knew?

So, when I win that lottery, I should definitely get a long haul trucker.
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Old 08-06-14, 07:41 AM
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Keep your eyes open for a used Burley Piccolo trail-a-bike. Their attachment system to their purpose-built rear rack is light years better than the bikes that attach to the seatpost. You'll notice a huge difference (I did). Almost as good as having a real tandem. Plus, you can still run panniers on the rear rack if needed.

Another thought: try to find a friend and another dad who might be willing to go with you both. Always helps! If you were closer I'd love to do a short tour with you guys and my 9 year old son.
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Old 08-06-14, 08:06 AM
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Maybe you could do more day trips or S24o.
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Old 08-06-14, 08:18 AM
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suggest for next time:

1. mom drives to each day's destination with the luggage (sets up camp?) and is
waiting for you to arrive.

2. pick a nearby state park outside of the city (with campground?) to start from, and
maybe return to. skip the city traffic.
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