Friday, September 2, 2011

Family Bike Tour 2011

We’ve been talking about taking the kids on a short tour for a couple years now – mostly to engrain a sense of adventure and what can be done on a bicycle. They already know well enough what can be accomplished within the city limits, but we wanted to expand that horizon.

Finally Amanda just set a date, booked some cabins at Pike Lake Provincial Park, and that was that – we would go rain or shine!

Here are some pics of our brief tour….

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Loading up in the back yard.

On our way.

Many options were considered for how we would haul children and sundry items on said tour. Amandas favourite idea had us on the tandem, towing Finegan on the trailerbike, and Keira in the chariot trailer… I didn’t like the idea of personally having to haul the entire family AND all our stuff… Eventually we settled on me hauling most of our stuff and the girl, and Amanda hauling a few things plus the boy (who, in theory could help out a bit).

Age: 5
Bike Tourist and Lady of Luxury

Keira was frequently telling me I should slow down and wait for Mom and Finn. I had thought of getting a rearview mirror – not just for seeing what vehicles might be coming up from behind, but also to keep tabs on how far back Amanda was… next time I’m getting one for sure!

Rolling down Valley Road.

Me and Squirrelly Girl

The ride is about 40Km from our door to the park. We did it in about 3 hours of riding (but there were a few breaks along the way…)

I swear I’ve never met anyone who had to pee more frequently….

We also stopped at a Deer Farm operated by someone Amanda knows. The kids got to feed some orphaned baby deer.

The also had a crazy looking (but very friendly) half-blind geriatric dog….

And a LOT of kittens.

Finally we made it to out cabin.

After supper we spent the rest of the evening reading Castle Waiting.

The cabin, it turned out was a good call. We kind of wanted to ease the kids into bike touring and camping and stuff. The first night there was a thunderstorm and it oured rain and hailed!

The next day we just spent hanging around the park.

Took a walk around the “nature trail”

There was a fair bit of Poison Ivy along the trail, which we thought we should point out to the kids - lest they go rolling around in the stuff.

Unfortunately, the thought of something "poisonous" that affected you if you simply touched it, terrified the girl....

...who spent most of the walk crying…

The boy was a little less concerned.

Later we made it to the beach and everything was much better. Lacking actual pails and shovels we furnished the kids with empty juice tetrapacks, and castles were built.

It was windy and a bit nippy… Amanda and I were sitting on benches in the relative shelter of trees at the edge of the beach wearing sweaters and windbreakers?! How the kids did not freeze I just don't know...

I have to say my childhood memories of camping and days at the lake in August are filled with horseflies, deerflies and wasps… On this trip I didn’t see a single one….? I definitely took note of this while we were there and thought it rather nice. Afterwards, however, this caused me some concern – wondering if that’s because they’ve been spraying mass amounts of chemicals to eradicate them…?! Hmmmm….

Second night, more rain and reading.

Day three we got up, cleaned up, packed up…

…and rolled on home.

We had a bit of a tail wind and completed the return journey in a bout two hours and twenty minutes (plus an hour and a half break at the Berry Barn where Amanda and the kids gorged themselves on waffles). (Also the only thing in Amanda’s panniers was empty juice containers…).

Overall I’d call it a success. No one was traumatized. I was a bit exhausted – I didn’t sleep so well on the fold out futon bed… But we’ll definitely try again next summer – maybe go for a couple more trips… stay a little longer…. Try tenting!?


Prairie Voyageur said...

Looks like you had a great time! We hope to do something similar when the kids are a bit older.

The tandem bike + trailer bike + chariot trailer would have been a "bike train" to behold, if only for a great photo op.

tim said...

It was a pretty good time.

You can get a pretty good idea of what the train would hav elooked like over here:

(or check out Joe Kurmaskies's Mud, Sweat, and Gears!)

Doug D said...

We used our car to get to and from our bike tour, but we had some similar ideas.