Author Topic: Riding w/ kids  (Read 475 times)

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Offline Twitch

Riding w/ kids
« on: May 06, 2019, 08:54:22 am »
Couple of basic questions:  We’re going t tackle the Chicago to New York route via the Phil’s alternate in a couple of weeks. Will have the 11 year old and 13 riding along with me (dad) while mom is driving the trailer up ahead from overnight camping location to location.

1) from an ordering standpoint, I assume you would generally have the kids ride in front of you (you in back) so that you can watch both the kids. Probably the rest way to do it?
2) any thoughts on controlling group speed?  The 13 can and will want to fly. The 11 year old isn’t as fast. They’re brothers so they’ll find a way to argue over it.  Any tips are appreciated.

Thanks

Offline Twitch

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 08:55:22 am »
I should also note we have essentially no experience whatsoever in bike touring.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 09:05:05 am »
Honestly,

I would start on a different route like the GAP/C&O in Maryland or the KATY Trail in Missouri or similar trail where they can't get lost, you can let them zip ahead a mile or two without fear of cars, etc.  This gives the freedom to ride their own pace (within Dad's reasonable boundaries) and you less stress about traffic.  Plus the trail is a lot less hilly which for an 11yo might be a bit much depending on the day's length.  If the kids get tired, then they will hate touring and never give it a fair chance later on in life.

If using the trails, just set a "do not take you bike off the trail" rule so if they go chase a butterfly/squirrel/snake at least you know where they left the trail.  Also, re-group every say hour to count heads.  Buy lots of ice cream!

That said, your plans for who goes where is fine.  Just keep a tight reign due to traffic.

Tailwinds, John

P.S. Wisconsin also has a great network of rail trails and the weather is great typically in the summer.



Offline Twitch

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 11:05:26 am »
John - appreciate the feedback as always. I may have undersold the boys’ ability here somewhat. When they were 8 and 10 years old we rode the KATY trail (we live in St Louis). 10 year old did 50+ miles / day for 3 days in a row and never faded. The 8 yr old did 30+ on a Walmart Bmx bike and did fine.  With 3 years of growth the physical side won’t be an issue for either, they’re beasts.  We had originally planned on taking the TAT but a NJ wedding has moved the starting point of the trip. It does appear to me that the NYC to CHI via philly alt is quite a bit flatter than the TAT, at least for the first ~500 miles or so leaving the eastern seaboard. Am I reading that correctly?

As you mention the bigger challenge is keeping the kids engaged mentally and emotionally. I plan on stopping at every ice cream shop, putt-putt golf course and look out if we ever find a carnival or fair. We’re in no hurry, we’ll cover whatever miles we cover and we plan on finishing a cross country trip next summer.  This summer is NJ shore to OH. Next summer OH to WA.

Thanks again.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2019, 11:24:08 am »
Twitch, since I have not ridden the CHI to NYC actual route, I am relunctat to say which is flatter.

I just know there was a HUGE difference mentally between a 11 & 13 (mine were 12 & 13 and it was still rough).

For me it was the oldest who keeps thinking they were basically an adult.  Now I just worry differently as one is currently in Cambodia and the other in Hungary.  Tailwinds, John

Offline Twitch

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2019, 12:54:09 pm »
The kids are completely different humans too. One can go all day and never blink, the other not so much. Certainly something that needs to be monitored and managed (may that’s a good chunk of parenting?). 

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 02:01:25 pm »
My major concern would be traffic safety.  People don't seem to develop any understanding of automobile behavior until they start driving.  That said, what I have done is to seek out good routes, low traffic, wide shoulders, moderate hills, etc.  Further, to let the rockets go, set close reunification points; they can fly to there and wait for the rest of the group.  Also for short, tricky passages, impose a close order, and a little talk before tackling it.  Making the stronger riders carry more gear can slow them down, although the sag wagon may defeat that tactic.  Maybe soft tires on the faster rider and nice, hard ones on the slower? 
For off  the bike, frisbees and other energy absorbing toys, and cards, etc. for a rainy day.
Sounds like fun

Offline Twitch

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2019, 04:41:31 pm »
When we ride as a family we’re generally with 10-15 yards of each other.  No one rides ahead separates. On longer trips I assume this will be a bit more challenging but we’ll figure it out.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2019, 02:56:23 pm »
You are going to need appropriate bikes and tires for the portion of the route that is on the GAP and, more importantly, the C&O, which can be quite muddy after periods of sustained rain.

Traffic on PA 234 heading into York, PA can be quite heavy during rush hour. PA 462 into Lancaster, PA was also pretty busy on a Friday late morning. It's difficult to ascertain from the interactive map the exact route east of Lancaster, but it looks like it uses PA 23 east of New Holland, PA until PA 100. If so, I wouldn't go that way. I cringe when I see Amish kids riding it.  The section through Elverson has no shoulder and can be quite busy thanks to the nearby shopping center that includes a Walmart. There is also need to stay on PA 23 unti

There is a much nicer alternative that parallels PA 23 until a more bike-friendly stretch that includes a covered bridge. It also takes you through French Creek State Park, which has a large campground with some electric sites. (Reservations for a weekend night might be a good idea. The place can fill up on weekend.) Likely more climbing, but infinitely better riding.  I can map it for you if you'd like.

Offline Twitch

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2019, 05:09:20 pm »
You are going to need appropriate bikes and tires for the portion of the route that is on the GAP and, more importantly, the C&O, which can be quite muddy after periods of sustained rain.

Traffic on PA 234 heading into York, PA can be quite heavy during rush hour. PA 462 into Lancaster, PA was also pretty busy on a Friday late morning. It's difficult to ascertain from the interactive map the exact route east of Lancaster, but it looks like it uses PA 23 east of New Holland, PA until PA 100. If so, I wouldn't go that way. I cringe when I see Amish kids riding it.  The section through Elverson has no shoulder and can be quite busy thanks to the nearby shopping center that includes a Walmart. There is also need to stay on PA 23 unti

There is a much nicer alternative that parallels PA 23 until a more bike-friendly stretch that includes a covered bridge. It also takes you through French Creek State Park, which has a large campground with some electric sites. (Reservations for a weekend night might be a good idea. The place can fill up on weekend.) Likely more climbing, but infinitely better riding.  I can map it for you if you'd like.
That’s extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. Any addition route into or guidance would be great. I’ll take the information you’ve already provided and adjust accordingly.

Thanks again.

Offline neil

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2019, 05:18:41 pm »
I've led over 40 holidays for families in the UK for the Cycle Touring Club
- Staying behind them is a good idea so you can keep an eye on them
- The offer of a hillier but quieter route is a good idea. Children like hills and 11 year olds are pretty strong
- Feed them frequently, children can't mobilize fat like adults can, so get tired/cranky faster. Carry chocolate/sweats
- It's a bug bear of mine but sticking children on rail for trails etc isn't good experience for later life. I find that children quickly learn how to cope with traffic and even better that they do at an earlier age under supervision. After all they are going to cycle as adults in traffic.

 Most of all have fun, don't overdo the mileage, but 11 year olds are quite capable of 50 miles, eat lots and have a great time. We found it to be an incredible bonding experience for all families and many many children have turned into cycling adults.

    Neil

 

Offline Twitch

Re: Riding w/ kids
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2019, 10:20:27 pm »
Neil - appreciate the feedback and advice. We’re off in 10 days or so, so we’re getting excited. Thanks.