The Next Generation of Touring Cyclists
I love seeing parents riding bikes with their children.
There's a hundred reasons to love it: exercise for kids that are growing up with less opportunities to play outside, exercise for their parents who are working long hours at a desk, a mode of transport that doesn't add to congestion or pollute roadways, time in nature, the empowering feeling of moving yourself where you want to go... It's a win-win-win-win.
You can start 'em really young, too. My boss at Hilo Bike Hub puts his toddler in a bike seat on the back of his mountain bike, and they ride around their neighborhood in Hawaii. He says his son is mesmerized as they cruise down the road. And, on some days, the not-yet-two-year-old will grab his helmet and bring it to his father to let him know it's time for a ride.
I recently read an article on Adventure Cycling's website about a man taking his special needs daughter on a bike tour overnight adventure. They started riding on bike paths from their home in Chicago, stayed the night at a hotel with a pool, and rode home on bike paths. His eleven-year-old daughter is beaming in every photograph. Here's a link to the full story: A Special Bike Overnight with My Special Needs Daughter.
There's also support for young people to try touring, even when they're fresh from high school. Adventure Cycling's Greg Siple Award, open to adults age 18 to 30, provides gear and skills to young people who want to travel by bicycle. In return, they perform outreach in their communities and promote bicycle travel to the world. I love it.
I know that bicycles are a popular fashion icon a the moment, but this movement is far from a flashy trend. Thanks to the upcoming generations, bicycles are here to stay. And I couldn't be happier.