10 Tips for Bike Touring With Kids
Scoot Charles has been going for cycling trips with his children, and recently Kate Arnolds caught up with him to get a clear picture of what was involved in the tours.
Before 2008, Charles Scott had never gone for any cycling holiday until when he went with his son Sho, on a 67 day, 2,500-mile, self-supported ride through the whole of Japan. Scott who is 45 admitted to being intimidated after taking an unpaid leave of absence from his place of work at Intel. He chose a remote terrain where he had to cross ten mountains with the steepest climbs. To add on to this, Scott was pulling 80 pounds of gear on a trailer cycle together with his son. He admits that his heart hammered hard but once you decide to keep on it becomes more straightforward.
Two years later, Scott quit his job at Intel and followed his passion for riding with his children full time. In a week he had left for Iceland with his son and four-year-old daughter to go around the island on a bike for 46 days. Since then, the trio has toured across Europe.
The next major adventure is which Scott and his friend are planning on going for once in a lifetime cycling tour. They are following in the footsteps of Clark and Lewis, and it will be a two-month trans-Rockies ride. They will go by car up to St Louis which is in the west then north along River Missouri to North Dakota. While there, they will switch to bikes and cycle 1,700 miles for six weeks over the northern Rockies to the coast and do everything they can to avoid bicycle accidents.
Being a master of these long cycling trips, Charles Scott has been able to know the things require, and those a person should not do. He says being on a bicycle creates so much bliss as every moment is part of the journey. Here are some of the suggestions he gives on how you can make long distance cycling trips with your kids a moment worth reliving
- Listen to music-While cycling, you can banish the long-haul with a cycling sound, this is a portable music speaker that can be onto the seat, and connected to an iPod or iPhone and the children will be able to listen to their favorite album.
- Carry light luggage-Especially if you have more than one child, you can bring along 100 pounds of gear which include clothes, repair kit, sleeping bags, and tents. With cycling, a person becomes efficient, and it is advisable to pack all your panniers before loading them on the bicycle, to reduce pressure on the clips and risk breaking them.
- Start small-If it is your first time with children cut yourself some slack and begin with simpler trips. You do not need to fly off to Europe to cover a lot of mileage. Instead, you can pick a campsite near home and start with the children.
- Choose your route wisely-As often as possible stick to quiet roads as whenever you go cycling with kids, safety should be a priority. Knowing the dynamics of the road you are using is imperative by ensuring the number of motorists on the road is low. You can go as far as vetting routes with locals to have a clear picture of the expectations.
- Have the courage to do it alone-If you do not have any person to go on a biking trip with, bring the kids along for a liberating experience. If you want to bring up children who are resilient then what a better way than cycling for many kilometers? Kids grow up with what is instilled in them.
- Ride as a team-When kids are on a trailer cycle, they get to choose whether they want to pedal or sit back and enjoy the trip. Either way, making them feel like part of the team is crucial as they will be able to adjust slowly. As long as you are reasonable and loving with your expectations, the kid will rise to the challenge.
- Invest in bomber ride-You will need a fixed gear bike that is strong enough to carry panniers and tow both a trailer and cycle. Ensure you have a low granny to assist you to pedal up steep climbs without toppling over. Whichever choice you make, leave out a carbon fiber frame as it will not sustain the rugged terrains.
- Take a break every hour-It is good for the kids to get off and play for a while before commencing on a trip. Children are known to get bored with endless activities, allow them some time to indulge in a different exercise.
- Skip the tandem-If a child is under 12 years it is not a great idea to put them on a tandem, instead avail to them an equal pedaling power. A burley piccolo is a perfect way to start them off, to minimize wobbling.
- Give the kids camera-Nothing beats boredom unlike when a kid has a camera in their hands. Their perspective is always refreshing and different from that of an adult.
Once all these are followed to the latter, you are assured of the kids having an amazing adventure whenever you go out on a cycling tour.