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Messages - bill

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Youth Bicyle Travel / taking the family across the country?!?
« on: March 31, 2012, 11:36:52 pm »
My wife and I have four sons, currently ages 16, 12, 9, and 4.  I have this dream of taking the whole family across the country by bike.  Not this year, not the following year, but maybe the year after that.  I mentioned it to all of them for the first time today.  My wife is skeptical.  Here are some issues:

(1) Bike equipment.  I've got a nice road bike; my wife and the three older boys each have multi-use bikes; the 4-year-old has a trailer.  Add a couple years to each of their ages . . . what sort of equipment would we realistically need?  Should the 18-year-old have a road bike?  Could the 14-(or 15-)year-old and the 11-(or 12-)year-old handle the cross-country trek on their own, or do we need to consider getting one or two tandems?  The 14-(or 15-)year-old is on the scrawny side and is the least athletically inclined.  I'd be more worried about him than I would be about the 11-(or 12-)year-old, who has spent his whole life trying to surpass his elder brothers in just about everything.  What about the 6-(or 7-)year-old?  What would he need?  What would be the best way to do this?

(2) My wife is concerned about excessive speeds on downhill stretches.  She's worried about safety - one of the kids losing control of their bike.  How can I address this?

(3) Physical ability: I don't have any doubt that I could do this.  I don't have any doubt that my eldest son could do this.  My wife is not in the greatest shape but she's not bad.  (She'd rather go to yoga than ride a bike, but she's trying to be a good sport about the fact that the rest of us really seem to enjoy being on our bikes.)  What about the three younger boys?  Could they pull it off?  Am I completely nuts?

(4) Any general suggestions about how to get a reluctant wife to get excited about this idea?

(5) How long should we plan for?  I'm thinking at least three months and probably more like four.  I have my eye on the Trans-Am route.  One advantage: we homeschool.  That gives us some freedom and flexibility; we don't have to rush back for school.  Just my job, but I think I might be able to arrange to be gone for four months.

Thank you. . . .

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