Bike Touring with Kids- micro adventures with micro size people

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  • There's a few people like me on here who have got old, given up the fixie dream and now ride sensible bikes for hauling kids about, but don't want to give up on the micro adventure idea.

    Might be useful for people who have some experience of this to share any tips/useful resources/good equipment you have used.
    Myself- only done one trip so far with 1.5 year old boy but planning more once if stops being wintery. My tips are

    1. cooking- choose a stove that's stable as a priority- I abandoned my tall but packable coleman stove for a lower unit with seperate fuel tank so it's less likely to get knocked over
    2. navigation/route planning- obvious but people forget, kids like lots to look at rather than 'nice views' and dislike generally when it's windy/exposed so stay low, plan lots of stops
    3. packing in your own separate or colour coordinated bags is quicker and fun for kids- they get to pack their own dry bag or stuff bag
    4. camping pods have proved successful for me- saves carrying a tent, bit more regulated temperature and a deck to cook on

    My bike is a fairly bog standard 26 inch mtb converted to a tourer/kids hauler- Orange gringo running 1x9, surly front fork and rack, currently a wald basket strapped on top, topeak kids seat on the back and a frame bag on it's way to up the carrying capacity. Just changed the crazy gatorskins to schwalbe marathon plus 1.5 and it's much plusher now.

    I'd appreciate anyone's tips on good routes you've done, meals you made successfully with little people helping on limited kit and sleeping kit you used with the kids- I plan to use a ready bed this summer with a growbag inside if needed when it's cold.


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  • Good post :)

    Last time we went camping and wee man loved it, but it was a big tent with the car. Now that there is a kids tandem hopefully I'll can use some tips myself.

  • Here's V1 of my setup for the boy and me to get away for some camping.

    Now the gearing's not there yet, gonna be much more tour-y eventually. Thinking I need a front porteur rack for putting tent stuff on, and possibly a frame bag for assorted bits.

  • Nice set up, he looks like he's having fun.
    Anyone got tips on kids sleeping bags? I feel guilty buying him a go outdoors special when I'll be snug in my range of down to -10 snugpaks! I don't mind investing as we plan to camp and tour a fair bit in coming 18 months

  • Anyone got tips on kids sleeping bags?

    We've just got a g.o.s. for 4yr old but be good to know if there was something that was lighter & smaller & warmer & not too pricey...

  • I got my daughter (3.5YO)a Deuter bag and it seems like a quality bit of kit. Option to scrunch up the toe box to reduce the size.

    Just waiting on my brackets for the front rack before we do our first 'tour'.

  • That sounds good @mi7rennie
    Do you have a link? Let's have a picture of it loaded up ready?
    I'm considering a trailer at the moment as my boy is pretty big now so trying to get some weight off the bike, but trailer would limit our routes and stop us jumping on the train into the peaks

  • That's the puppy. Great bag for kids. I've actually just got a weehoo trailer for our next stage adventures.

  • Deuter looks ace, good call.

  • Hi,
    Anyone need a child bike seat/carrier?
    I've got one for sale here.
    It's a Yepp Mini.

  • Deuter arrived and looks good
    Also OEX 3/4 air mat from go outdoors looks good, comes in a dry bag with strap loops so is ready to attach randomly wherever there is space on the bike

  • We did a small tour with the kids (2 and 5 yo) on the cargo bike. Quickly planned, two nights in rental cabins and last night in a hotel, so credit card touring really. We wanted to do a trip while both the kids still fit comfortably under the canopy, might not be the case next summer. Not sure I'd cleared all the hills if kids were bigger, either :) Need to figure out a new setup then, but I feel the cargo bike will be useful for family touring even when both the kids are big enough to ride on their own. Haul all teh gear.

  • Great set up! Tag along next maybe so you get some pedalling help? I really want a cargo bike for trips like this but not sure the peaks is the place for it!

  • First mini tour in progress. Rockhopper was a beast of burden!


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  • ^ looks great location!

  • Not sure if missed this, but what sort of routes are people doing? How long? Where? How many stops etc? Next summer my little maggot will be 18mo, so might be ready.

  • Yes, everything worked really well and the kids seemed to be having a good time (tip: bluetooth speaker with a couple of audio books loaded on the phone came to rescue a few times). My summer holidays are over, but we're thinking of doing a single night trip on some weekend. Of course a cargo bike is a logistics problem if you can't start the trip from home. We've got the benefit of ferry routes to a few destinations. Like you say, tag along might be the next step.

  • It was great, full write up to follow.

  • I've been planning a #miniadventure since last year but never really got round to it. I knew I wanted to do it before Lana lost interest and realised that I'm not cool, she's 3.5, so that may be soon!

    A few improvements to the bike had to be made before it was ready for our arduous journey, including fitting of mudguards and Surley front rack and this was achieved with a minimum amount of swearing and fettling bits to fit.

    Friday night was spent looking out camping kit and packing it, unpacking, repacking and realising that even the relatively flat 8 miles I had planned each way were going to be a challenge for my legs and the structural integrity of my dads 30 year old Specialized Rockhopper. I could barely lift it once laden and that didn't include Lana on top!

    I went to bed full of anticipation for the following day's adventure and having slightly strange vivid fear of the dark dreams, hopefully not a bad omen.

    Saturday came and a late start was enforced as my wife was sleeping off a night shift, around 15:30 were ready to set off for Tentsmuir forest.


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  • The bike felt pretty unhappy making low speed maneuvers for photos but nothing seemed like it was going to fall off, so we set off tentatively, despite the shouts of; "Go fast daddy!"


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  • Only two miles of our planned 8 were on quiet-ish roads after that, we were onto the cycle path, this lead us all the way to the boundary of Tentsmuir forest, where I had roughly planned for us to sleep for the night.

    Road and bike path succesfuly navigated without the bike snapping in half we arrived at Tentsmuir.

    Into the woods we battered, fighting to control the buckling, overloaded rockhopper, riding singletracks with never before felt terror and fighting to keep the bike rubber side down.

    Roots that would have been unnoticed on any normal day in the woods now saw me tense up as I awaited the inevitable pinch flat that never came

    Camp sites were discounted on grounds of ground conditions; too bumpy, too slopey or too woody, according to Lana.

    On we rode, we were onto paths that I hadn't ridden before and with large dark clouds looming overhead I was starting to lose confidence that a suitable pitch could be found, was this all a terrible idea? Why didn't I just drive like a normal person?


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  • Success, right at the boundary of the nature reserve a flat spot with stunning views over the estuary, far enough from the water to not worry about the tide and close enough to the trees for the hammock, it was perfect!

    The sky was darkening so we set to work making camp as quickly as possible, Lana ferrying the bags and passing pegs as I pitched the tent. Everything went together easily and soon we were unpacking our sleeping kit inside, a quick test snuggle in the sleeping bag and it was time to cook.

    A new gas canister foot for my MSR pocket rocket and a pizo igniter were rock solid upgrades, making cooking on the stove much more stable and easy to light. The wee pocket rocket performed like a champ with our pasta cooked in double quick time and ready to serve as the rain started to fall.

    We retreated into the tent to shovel tasty fusilli pesto with chopped tomatoes into our gobs by the sporkful, the rain battering of the flysheet of our tent was the perfect soundtrack to dinner.


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  • That looks brilliant! Chapeau

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Bike Touring with Kids- micro adventures with micro size people

Posted by Avatar for Tallboy @Tallboy

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