Family Vacations, Summer 1996
Can your kids handle a bike tour? In cycling--as in life--different kids are up to different challenges. However, a rule of thumb is that fit ten-year-olds can usually ride 30 miles of relatively flat roads in a day, while energetic 12-year-olds can handle 40. Plan to use low-traffic roads and be conservative with each day's mileage. A 50-mile Saturday spin followed by a lazy Sunday is one thing; it's something else to ride 40 miles, then do it all over again for three more days. Let the youngest or weakest rider set the mileage standard, then plan for lots of contingencies--nearby roads will lead to civilized pleasures like ice cream, dry socks, and Big Macs. Let the stronger cyclists splinter off on side trips to burn a little tread. For the younger kids, hitch a trailer to your bike, scatter its floor with books and toys, and take off for hours.
The trips we cite let you either go it alone or enlist some help. If you're concerned that your ten-year-old might suffer midtrip meltdown, consider hiring an outfitter. It's more expensive, but they'll map out the route, provide food, and supply a support van to carry your belongings. This could be a lifesaver: It also picks up tired riders (don't kid yourself--that rider may
Copyright 1996, Outside magazine