Author Topic: recommended route for cycling with children  (Read 6393 times)

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Offline Ilonka

recommended route for cycling with children
« on: August 14, 2008, 09:14:50 am »
Hi, We are a family of 5 peope (2 adults, 3 children aged 12, 14 and 16). We are considering a holiday in the USA next summer, July/August 2009. We live in Holl,and and will have three weeks to visit the country. We are hoping to get some good tips, advise etc. about nice cycling routes that are suited for us. We prefer a relatively flat terrain, we can cycle for about 70 km (50 miles) per day. We have been cycling in the holidays for many years, but most of the time in Europe and never in the USA, so we don't know what to expect and if it is possible. Of course we can make a bigger tour with a car or camper but we prefer the bicycle. So, if anyone can help us with information, please, and thank you very much.

Offline mlt22193

recommended route for cycling with children
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2008, 05:20:23 pm »
Why not spend some time here in Washington, DC and cycle around the area, seeing the monuments, the Capitol, White House, etc.  It is a very bike friendly town.  You could try the C&O Canal Trail which is a rail trail that goes from Washington to Cumberland MD.  Its 186 miles through some beautiful country.  The kids will like the river, the historical town of Harpers Ferry, and you can camp in areas set aside for camping about every 5 miles.  It is very remote, though.
You need to find something that the kids will like.  I'm sure other posters will have more input.  Good luck with the trip.

Offline brad

recommended route for cycling with children
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2008, 10:39:09 pm »
if you do decide to come to the dc area please let me know - my family would love to help you with the logistics.

unfortunately - the usa is not as bike friendly as holland - we know from living in germany and touring europe for four years!

my suggestion would be to go west - to the desert. see something that you cannot readily or easily find in europe.

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. ~James Michener

Offline Ilonka

recommended route for cycling with children
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2008, 01:50:47 pm »
Thank you both for your suggestions, we'll look into it.

Offline CMajernik

recommended route for cycling with children
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2008, 05:33:02 pm »
The US does not have many long distance separate paths for cycling the
way that Europe does. Here are several ideas you might want to check out
KATY Trail in Missouri,
Erie Canal in New York,

Be prepared for hot, humid weather in the mid-west and east. If you end
up anywhere in the west (not the coast) you'll have hot, dry weather.

Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline John Nettles

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recommended route for cycling with children
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2008, 09:35:42 am »
Can you give a little more info on what type of tour you want.  For instance, do you want mountains, desert (probably not in the summer!), open plains, rain forest, historical, etc.  Can you give a location in Europe so we might get an idea, i.e Holland or southern Italy.

What about temperature?  Since you are from Holland, you probably are not used to our summers where in many parts of the country it can top 33 degrees celsius every day while other areas never get above the upper 20s.

When you say "July/August", do you mean 60 days or 7 days during that time period?

Do you want dedicated cycle paths (most will be finely crushed gravel coverted railroad paths and the longest is less than 500km long), rural country roads, big cities, etc.  When you say "relatively flat", are you talking road grade or geography as the long shallow grades Colorado roads are easier (to me at least) than the lung-bursting thigh-burning short-but-steep roller coaster hills of Missouri.

If you are as strong as a Holland grandmother rider we met (BIG SMILE) you will have not a problem with ability.  I was doing a tandem tour in Holland and one day a 70+ year old lady passed us on a single-speed upright bike into a strong headwind.  That humbled and impressed me.

The answers will help everyone not second quess what you are looking for and hopefully suggest a wonderful ride.

Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!


Offline Ilonka

recommended route for cycling with children
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2008, 12:04:57 pm »

We're not sure what we are looking for exactly. Something different than Europe. We live in Holland and we have been to France quite a few times and to Denmark. What we like is 'small'(that is quiet) roads that are paved or made of gravel, so we can ride our bikes. We have touringbikes with lots of gears but the tires are thin so dirt roads are not possible. We can manage percentages of about 5-7% so really heavy tours in the mountains are no good.
We have three weeks to spend. Another option is to rent a car, put the bicyles in the back and travel with the car from one point to another and make some daytrips at each place. I saw on the internet that it is possible to maken biketours in f.e. Zion Park and Yosimite Park. Most of the parks have guided tours that are very expensive.

It would be nice fot the children to have a swim now and then, in a river, lake or swimming pool.
So we are looking for some spectacular country (whether it be mountains, big trees, canyons) that is not too difficult to ride and not too crowded.
I know the temperature is very different from the temperature in Holland, but we have been in the South of France and in Malaysia ans Bali, and it was hot there too.

TulsaJohn, does that answer your questions?

I heard from someone that in the East of Canada (Quebec, Halifax) there are many abandonded railwaytracks that are used as bicyclepaths now. That should be good, quiet and climbingpercentages under 5%.

So, thank you everone that has replied and more suggestions are still welcome.


Offline John Nettles

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  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
recommended route for cycling with children
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2008, 12:37:53 pm »
I forgot to ask where you are flying into but perhaps your idea of renting a car (mini-van is better)and going to different locations is not a bad idea.  It would give you flexibility but give you opportunities to hit the highlights.  You may need to get a bike rack stateside however with that many bikes.

Look up the website to get a idea of which rail trails are available.

In Colorado between Breckinridge & Vail is a bike path but has a few steeper sections and the 10,000ft (3,300m?) elevation may get you.  Great scenery though.

The pacific northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, British Columbia, is a very pretty area.

California has a wide variety of terrains & scenery and there is lots to do for the kids.

The George Mickleson rail trail in South Dakota is in a scenic area with Custer State Park and its wild herd of bison (buffalo) and is within proximity to Yellowstone & the Tetons which is a nice area to bike can exceed the 7% grades.  Lots of camping and there are special "hiker/biker" campsites so you are always guaranteed a spot if you arrive under your own power (not car).  Remember though when driving out west that "proximity" can be 500k-1000k!

While I don't know much about it, the Route Verte opened recently in Quebec area.  This area might be good as it is scenic, much more European in flavor, and the temps are definately cooler than out west.

Finally, you might post this question over at as there are a LOT of tourists there.

Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!


Offline kbris

recommended route for cycling with children
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2008, 08:32:17 pm »
Hi Llonka,

 Sounds Like the Couer D'Alene Trail in the panhandle of Northern Idaho is exactly what your looking for. It is a paved trail 72 miles long that traverse some of the most beautiful country in the Western U.S. It goes into Montana and connects with another paved Trail called the Hiawatha Trail which is a 15 mile route through the mountains where bike Shuttles are available at each end as well as accomodations. Bicycle rentals are also avaiable for these trails, if you dont want to bring your bikes. This part of the country is just a few hours drive from Glacier National Park and Yellowstone Park. For biking families this is a great vacation area. You can look up this trail on the Rail for Trails website. Hope this helps. Happy planning