As someone who has never gone on a self-supported bike tour, I
harbor perhaps a somewhat distorted image of such an endeavor. I
imagine a lone figure against the dusky horizon, with panniers holding
only the barest of necessities: tent, sleeping bag, change of clothes,
some cooking utensils. Spare, self-sufficient, autonomous, economical.
Add a spouse and two school-age kids, and the picture changes radically.
Two, count'em, two BikeFriday Family Tandems being readied in our garage.
I have done car camping with my family. We have all the stuff.
Regardless of the duration of the particular camping trip, you just
throw all the stuff into the car, and go. It doesn't matter that we're
only going for two nights. The car always looks like we're going on a
cross-country road trip. But we don't care, because the car doesn't
We have read about and admired families that travel together by bike. Ironically, even though (or is it because?) we own a bike shop, we have never tried this ourselves.
So now that our youngest child is seven, we had this idea that we would go on a camping vacation by bike. A short little trip, just to get our feet wet: bike the I&M Canal to Starved Rock, camp a couple of nights and come back. You wouldn't think we need much for a trip like this; just the essentials.
Unfortunately, most of our car-camping equipment is unsuitable for towing in a bike trailer, and our planned 4-day trip has resulted in a mountain of equipment that had to be bought, begged, found and borrowed.
I have a feeling that with all the stuff we need, our bike tours will be no different that our trips by car: even if we're only going overnight, we'll look like we're ready to go around the world.
Maybe one day, we will.