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Posts Tagged ‘Bicycling’

mail-1The fall issue of Adventures Northwest magazine is out and about now, chock full of inspiring writing and good looking photos. My article on family bicycling, Smiles Per Hour, details how we’ve been cycling together over the years – starting with one kid and a trailer of diapers, but eventually becoming a family of four on parent & child tandem bicycles. We have pedaled thousands of miles, a number of different countries (USA, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg), and up to six weeks on a single trip (the US Pacific Coast). We sure have had amazing experiences together.

You can even read the article¬†right here if you don’t live where you can pick up a copy of the magazine. Let me know what you think, or if you have questions.

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P7240482We’re heading out on our 10-day family bicycling trip towards Olympic National Park, returning home via Vancouver Island and Lopez Island to visit friends. We may name it the Bike & Ferry tour. Or the Stay Near Water Because It Has Been Incredibly Hot tour. Or the Tour de Changes, because our 13-year-old is, well, a teenager, and that changes things.

He’s going to ride his own bike instead of tandem with a parent this tour. So we’ve scaled our mileage back to 30 miles a day, figuring we can adjust from there, depending on how it goes. This puts mom on a single bike and one tandem as the dad-daughter team. Dad wants to haul most of the weight, but we’ll have to see how that goes too. It is also possible Noah will be so speedy we’ll have to weight him down a little to keep up with him.

I like the adjust-as-you-go flexibility that seems to happen while bicycle touring. So we’ll pedal on into the changes, and see what we notice as we travel.

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P6230314With dad calling in every other day to tell us of his progress across the USA on his solo bike trip, Noah thought of making a “Tom is Here” sticky note and moving it along our wall map of North America. The kids learned that Havre, Montana is said “Haver,” and wondered about all of the town names that are replicating places in other parts of the world, like Malta and Glasgow. He rode through animal-named places like Wolf Point, geographically influenced places like Cut Bank, unusually named places like Brainerd, and famous person-named places like Voltaire.

We love following his trip with the atlas and wall map, but it also makes us a little ancy to get out adventuring too…

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p7220170On Thursday night, we presented “Seastacks, Sandcastles, and Saints: Bicycling 1500 miles of the Pacific Coast with Kids,” through our town’s bicycle travelogue series. Not only did we get to relive our trip while preparing the photos and getting our information together, we got to inspire the 60-some people who came. At least they seemed inspired when asking questions afterwards!

For me, another terrific benefit was hearing the kids speak about their experiences. They each took a couple areas, like elephant seals or the Redwoods, and added their perspective as well as what they learned. It was a series of proud parenting moments to hear my daughter telling everyone about why elephant seals have big noses and what she was thinking about while building a particular sandcastle. Likewise, when my son explained how it felt to bicycle the Avenue of the Giants among those huge trees, and how he got to see a hammerhead shark at the Monteray Bay aquarium.

If you ever have a chance to relive an adventure in this way, do it. Presenting to inspire others is a worthy contribution, and revisiting your trip helps you learn something new about the experience. I learned from my kids during our presentation, and they learned about how to speak in front of a group. The adults did more of the speaking, but the kids made the trip – and the show.

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imagesI met a future bicycle touring adventurer today. She’s graduating from high school this June, and inspired by my friend Jennifer Bradbury’s young adult novel Shift, is planning a three-week bicycle tour. We had only met thus far in the virtual world of e-mail, so it was great to see her for real in a coffee shop. We dissected Bicycling The Pacific Coast: A Complete Guide Canada to Mexico, and spent time detailing gear, thinking about routes, talking fitness goals, and getting her connected to resources.

And there really are a bunch of great resources out there for the first-time overnighting self-contained bicyclist. The Adventure Cycling Association has a number of worthwhile on-line articles, plus great photos and maps, and the Crazy Guy on a Bike website inspires with information and trip blogs. In our community, there are workshops to help bicyclists learn gear and maintenance put on by local shops as well as the city’s program encouraging folks to bicycle, Everybody Bike.

Now that I’m an official mentor for my teenage mentee’s project (yes, complete with signed paperwork for her Senior Project filed at her high school), I am reminded of the value of each one teach one. Sure she can read up on bicycle touring, but it helps to know someone who’s ahead of you on the road, so you can ask questions and think out loud with someone. Or see their gear. Our next meeting will even include a tour of my garage for that purpose.

I love that she’s dreaming of adventuring. And that she’s inspired to grow from someone who has bicycled 14 miles in one day, to someone who will successfully ride hundreds of miles down the coast, camping along the way. And sometime later, her enthusiasm and can do attitude will probably inspire someone else to give an extended bicycle trip a try. I love that too.

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