Hosting a Family & Bike Touring With Kids
Editor’s Intro: Introducing MyWHaT’s newest guest contributor, Bob Otwell. Bob is well-known as the former Executive Director of TART Trails. He is also a licensed civil engineer and is scheming to sprinkle those skills on engineering projects in the region. We’re scheming to keep him busy applying his multimodal perspective as a guest contributor. Bob is a dedicated walker, biker and front porch sitter.
The House Guests
Guest Contributor: Bob Otwell
Recent house guests reminded us of the versatility that is the humble bicycle. Heidi, Reuben and their two toddlers arrived in Traverse City last Friday as part of their 2-week bike tour of Michigan. They live in Hamilton, Ontario, and were practicing for a year-long cycle touring adventure starting in the spring. We got connected with Heidi and Reuben as members of Warm Showers at Warmshowers.org. Warm Showers is a site that connects people for reciprocal hospitality while on cycle tours.
When our children were young, we were pretty good at dragging them around town on bike seats and a bike trailer to fulfill our family obligations. But when we left town, we drove. Our guests have created a way to travel with two toddlers (1 and 3 years old), and keep everyone happy and comfortable. At the same time, they are traveling long distances.
It’s Simple, Really
Reuben has an Xtracycle with two handmade seats for the kids, along with touring bags. Heidi has panniers and pulls a trailer. With this set-up they are able to accommodate all of their needs, including cooking, camping equipment, and kid “stuff”. Finding new friends to grab a warm shower is a bonus, not a problem.
They are strictly about the journey; seeking adventures and embracing challenges along the way. However, these parents aren’t afraid to change plans and be flexible when someone needs a nap, or high winds and rain dictate a different option. Heidi and Reuben are not trying to log huge miles per day or post breakneck speeds. They simply want to hit the road and enjoy being together as a family. They have thoughtfully put together the needed bicycles, child seats and gear, and made it work.
Follow them at www.pedalpoweredfamily.com.
It was inspiring to talk with them and to hear about their plans and dreams. Any possible reason we could think of for not undertaking an adventure like theirs (or even biking across town), now seems trivial in comparison and totally doable.
EDITOR’S ADDITION: This gives me an opportunity to share related link I’ve wanted to share for a few weeks, “Post-Car Adventure Guide Books.” It’s a fledgling publishing company looking for some peer assistance.
- Two Wheels to Freedom-Part II: Gearing Up for a Bike Tour (artofmanliness.com)
- Two Wheels to Freedom-Part I: Thoughts on Bike-Touring (artofmanliness.com)
- Convert Your Bike Into a Cargo Bike with an Old Bike Frame [DIY] (lifehacker.com)