Almost Fearless

The Logistics of Traveling by Bike with Two Small Children



We have no idea how this is going to work. Thankfully we’re doing a test run this week up the coast of Spain, in Costa Brava. I emailed the Girona tourism board about our trip and they offered us bikes to use for the week, which is perfect, because we can test the baby trailer with two kids (one child 4, the other 15 months) and see what else we’ll need before we buy our bikes.

bikingwithbabies-1

I’ve read that the trailer is actually safer than the rear mounted seat because if you get hit by a car, the trailer disengages and you’re less likely to send your child flying through the air with your bike. I have some concerns about it, namely when we buy ours I want to put a big orange reflective sticker on the back and maybe have one of those flags so it can be seen. But for this week, it’ll be fine, the biking here is so ideal, it’s a very easy place to start. There’s hardly any cars, lots of trails, and plenty of beautiful coastline to check out.

camping in La Siesta, in Costa Brava, Spain #incostabrava

Ah but what about our stuff? Well we got two backpacks, a 28 L and a 40 L and it’s just barely enough room for our laptops, clothes and art supplies. JUST BARELY. The 28 L bag is so heavy with all the computer gear. We’re going to have to find a way to mount it to the bike, but it was critical to us to have a way to remove our valuables from the bike and walk around town, so we went the backpack route, rather than a second trailer or panniers.

What have we learned so far? We will definitely need panniers anyway, those bags that sit either on the front or back tire, so we can store the things we don’t have room for, like the toiletries and kitchen gear. Also since we’re staying at camp grounds with bungalows for this portion of the trip, we haven’t needed our camping gear, but that will have to go on the bikes too: one tent, four sleeping bags, plus some blankets. So we’re pretty far from figuring this all out, but at least we’re getting an idea of how much we can carry and how heavy the bike feels with what we have so far.

camping in La Siesta, in Costa Brava, Spain #incostabrava

Oh and the best piece of gear? This 10 W solar charger that will recharge our laptops, iPhones and cameras as we go, as long as we get 12 hours of sun a day. It’s so awesome. I didn’t even know that they existed until I started following Darren Alff’s biking blog. I was going to buy one, but saw they run a monthly contest (you can enter too! look at their website for details) and I won the 10 w laptop charger, normally $339 (I never win things! Yay!). Between this and Girona tourism offering us bikes for the week we were like: woah now we have to do this.

This thing is amazing!

Of course, like all epic adventures, this one started with mishaps, in our case it was rain, cold, cold rain. So we stayed inside for the first two days. And ate paté:

bikingwithbabies-5

More actual biking, coming soon.

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”

THERE ARE RARELY HAMMOCKS.

http://christinegilbert.com

8 comments

  • Even without real biking pictures this trip already sounds really cool. What a adventure with to kids.

  • I’m so envious! I so wanna do this — okay I’m not wanting to go back in time and have more kids…its the bike adventure I never had!….and I don’t wanna do it alone 🙂

  • What a great adventure! Working the kinks out is half the fun of it!

    Chariot kid trailers are the bomb….gold standard. Plus it can be a pram to push around town(s) too, with a quick adjustment. They have a big pouch on the back too for gear, sun shade, waterproof….we’ve done a 5 day bike trip with our 2 yr old with our chariot.

    I know they make panniers that have straps too, so they can easily become a messenger bag. Don’t forget sleeping pads too. I just read a guys journey on euro velo 6 and the one thing he wished he’d brought that he didn’t was a sleeping pad. Inflatable waffle ones fold up pretty small and insulate great!

  • +1 on a good sleeping pad. I used to have an ultra-light (read: ultra-thin), 3/4 length sleeping pad and spent my bike tours constantly sleep-deprived, because I shivered while others slept. Getting a thicker thermarest revolutionized my attitude to camping!

    About carrying stuff with you – I normally use my handlebar bag for that, since it already contains my frequently-needed items. Mine (an Orlieb) has a shoulder strap attachment. It’s a pretty dorky look, but it works.

    That being said, the handlebars on your bikes might not work for mounting a box-like handlebar bag (like Ortlieb’s); you can get a floppier ones that attach with velcro, not sure if there are any that convert easily to shoulder bag.

    Another option is to keep a super lightweight backpack with zero padding that rolls up into a ball, like a windbreaker. I use a child’s backpack that I got 20 years ago while travelling in Italy for 5 bucks. Pull it out when you’re ready to walk around, and dump your essentials in there.

    Whatever you do, I would avoid carrying backpacks while riding (exception: camelback). That’s one of the joys of touring, compared to hiking: your bike or your trailer hauls your stuff, not your body. It’s easier on the back & shoulders, and also easier for bike stability, since the weight is low down

  • I assume you’ve consulted with or read the accounts of Family on Bikes? Not completely analogous as your kids are much younger but the gear issues should be similar (i.e., what bike parts you should bring, etc.) Also, have you considered whether Cole will get restless in the trailer? He might benefit from a trail-a-bike where he can see what you see. And potentially even “help” pedal.

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  • My first thought on this post is how ADORABLE Stella is. 🙂 Seriously, a doll. Sounds like things will get going soon and I’m looking forward to following along.

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