Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bike camping at its finest

Bike camping at its finest, originally uploaded by stoutag.

We took our first bike camping trip with the kiddos this last weekend. It was beautiful, fun, and a lot of work ;)

We rode up Lefthand Canyon past Jamestown and hit a singletrack trail up over the crest around 22 miles up from Longmont, 8,400ft elevation, and rode down to where we setup camp.

A couple years ago when we first braved backpacking with out older child, our first trip was unforgetable on more than one front, but the one that comes to mind is the overpacking first time parent, who in this particular case happens to be be carrying *everything* on their own back. Thus we were propelled into the lightweight backpacking age after lumbering up a 6 mile hike in with somewhere around 70lbs worth of stuff for an overnight stay in a mountain meadow. By the end of that summer through many steps we'd widdled our weight down to a much more manageable 30lbs or so for food and gear for the whole family

Now after last summer off from mountain adventures from a then pregnant wife, this was our first time back up, and this time, with two kids and doing it via bike as a now car free family.

In some ways it definitely reminded me of that first time backpacking. There's just no way around it, riding up 3,500ft with a load of kids and gear is not easy. Is it worth it? I suppose that depends on who you talk to. To us, yes, although it makes me think about getting that electric assist up and running on the llama sooner than later ;)

When we got back on Sunday, after settling back in and unpacking a bit the first thing we did was reevaluate the loads, and start to trim the fat. After much calculation and brainstorming we figured ways with a bit of gear making and a bit of creativity to pare our loads back by around 16lbs, which leaves our current total gear/food weight for an overnight at somewhere around 45-50lbs for the whole family.

We'll hopefully get in another overnight camping trip at least once in the next two weeks just to iron out a few more details before we head out on a 2 week bike tour with the kids up through the Rockies.


The DINKs said...

Super-James on an Xtra with 2 kids on wooden seats, and camping gear. Beautiful! Also nice to see another Xtracycle family in the Boulder Area. I've had mine for about 3 weeks, and my husband will pick his up at our LBS on Thursday. Keep an eye out for us!


Nickie, Anthony, Samuel, and Anders said...

Wow, great to hear of another family with a long-tail! :) Hope to see you around town soon!

Tor said...

Great blog! I'm building a Big Dummy right now to haul my two kids around and run errands. Can you give me some feedback on your NuVinci? How's climbing with a load? I'm also looking at getting the Bobike Maxi for my younger daughter and having the older one ride behind it - you guys mention considering this in your blog, but it doesn't look like the route you took.

Nickie, Anthony, Samuel, and Anders said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nickie, Anthony, Samuel, and Anders said...

The Nuvinci is awesome. I suppose I could sum it up by saying, it just does what you want it to do. I know that sounds vague, but really, its just always in the gear you want, its totally silent, totally smooth, one of those invisible parts that just works. The other two main strengths that others mention that are worth saying again, you can shift while stopped and being evenly dished and large flanged makes for a VERY strong wheel.

As for the kid seats and bobike. Our older child isn't really old enough to ride on the snapdeck. Point and case, just look through our flickr account and try to find a picture where he's awake ;)

Consequently we decided we needed a dual seat setup that the kids could grow into a bit, and figured we could make something for the job.

Camping said...

This is an amazing blog. I hope you post more with a high quality pictures. Thank you for sharing.