Friday, May 29, 2009

bicycle touring - with kids?

Right now I'm reading this book - it came to me by way of a latent endorsement from a friend and fellow bicycle enthusiast.  I'm really really enjoying it.  I've tried a couple of books as my "before I fall asleep books" and none of them stuck.  I had kind of been in a rut since reading East of Eden - which is so amazing that it's somewhat difficult to immediately transition to another work.

There is something so honest and endearing about Barbara Savage's account of her bicycle trek across the world with her husband.

Then when I read on the back of the book that she had been tragically killed while training for a triathalon... it quadrupled the "sieze the day" - ness of the book.

The one issue I continually think of when reading this book and considering whether or not Ashley and I could do something like this is, "what do people do with their children?"

Obviously adventures aren't just for the childless - so what are we to do?  While the once in a lifetime trip might have to wait untill all the little-ns are out of the house - how can we/I scratch the bicycle-touring itch with young children?

Paul Cooley over at CarFree Family has taken several-day trips, with his two children, with much success.

I'm kind of hoping to get out as soon as the end of the summer on a little overnight bicycle trip.  George will only be 5-6 months at this point, so it will need to be something pretty mild.  But by next summer you can count on a real hum-dinger of a trip.

Just wanted to get this out of my system cause I've been thinking about this a lot lately and when I put it in writing, somehow... it makes me more accountable.  Stay tuned.


Dawn D. Lion said...

I know the feeling. Just got my bike fixed up. We are poised for a little trip. You guys could come visit and do the Katy Trail with us sometime - "family friendly."

Ben & Carly said...

I had a boss in college who had taken every one of his 6 children on a bike trip from the california coast to New york. he would take off a couple months each summer (he owned his own bussiness) and they would take off across the country with a video camera and their bikes. the videos were extremely inspiring, and he said that it completely changed his relationship with his teenagers. it has been a goal of mine for a long time to do this with my kids. judging from the way my kids handle the car trip to Utah I'm thinking that I may have to wait awhile. I know he started doing weekend trips when they were younger. you actually might be in a good place to do it because you have only one little one, take advantage of the fact that he probably sleeps a lot and doesn't have any siblings pinching him in the trailer...once you have a few more the whole game changes.

Dawn D. Lion said...

I agree with your friend above - it gets harder when they are riding themselves, but don't yet have the endurance for any big kind of trip. The trailer years are a good warm-up.

Susanna said...

Hey David, it's Susanna (from Denver). I know this isn't totally on topic of the post, but I've been curious. So I read somewhere that because of the jostling causing micromovements to the spine, babies shouldn't be biking until they're one.

Is that a load of crap? I've been patiently awaiting my little boy's first birthday (coming in a month)and have been reading your recs on trailers etc. But I'm curious. Have I waited in vain? Next time around can I get started earlier? What do you think?

david said...

a lot of people recommend 1 year as the safest age, because they can wear a helmet then. but then other sites knock that down to 10-12 months.

then you have scores of anecdotal evidence where people have been putting their children in/on bicycles since a week old.

the vibrations and all of that make sense, but how much different are they than what your baby experiences in a jogger/stroller?

what i'm going to do, is at about 5-6 months, take it very slow, and ride on some smooth streets, nothing serious. when he gets older i'll feel more comfortable about going on longer excursions, and not sweating bullets over the bumps in the road.

Susanna said...

Cool. Thanks. I played it on the safe side for the jogger and waited exactly the 3 months recommended. But that has been a fun way to wait out the time. He loves it, but can't keep his little fingers off our bikes, so I'm glad he's finally hit the mark. I guess like everything, you have to do your research, then follow your gut.

Rachel said...

We recently took our 23 month old son on a 7 day tour. It went really well, despite the 48 hours of rain at the end of the week! You can see some photos at People in Europe start riding with their kids before they are 1 year old. I wonder what the research there says!