By Pico Triano
Photos: Pico Triano
I can’t just ride for the sake of riding. Neither can I ride just for exercise or recreation. I’m not alone in that. If you want to take your family riding, you have to make it interesting and enjoyable. Going for the same mind numbing training run regularly to prepare of a trip will potentially turn it into a detestable chore. Travelling by bike and only worrying about making mileage each day will not be much fun either. There is a key to making it great.
Starting with training, change it up. Work in other chores and activities. I view my bicycle as transportation. It takes me where I want or need to go. Before embarking on our first tour we trained as a family for more than a month. We did our shopping, and other errands. We visited every nook and cranny of the city where we lived that was in cycling range. Regular trips to the library and local parks were included. Our training schedule never got boring. The biggest challenge was scouting our safe riding routes for our very young group of riders. Detailed maps of the area made that possible. The key to our success is that we are constantly doing something besides riding.
Guess what. This holds true on longer trips as well. Before going on your bicycle tour figure out what you want to see and do. The same kind of planning that goes into any other successful vacation is needed for a bicycle trip. The only difference is your mode of transportation. Mileage is not a goal. It is a restriction. I don’t mean that negatively. When your mode of transportation is a car you still can’t be in two places at the same time. No you can’t travel as far as fast but you can see things from a bicycle in a way that you would never see them from a car. Plan to do things that the group can reasonably do in the time that you have.
Our first multi-day family tour was a huge success. We visited several extended family members, visited sights along the way, camped, enjoyed good meals, played photo tag with a newspaper sports photographer and rode more than eighty kilometres together. All of this worked within the abilities of the group. We’ve followed that formula with success tour after tour.
Before we leave, we not only train but plan. We choose where we want to go based on what else there is to see and do. We research everything that we can do along the way. Our days end up being full. Yes there are long boring stretches of road but we know that there will be something fun or somehow enjoyable right around the corner.