Tag Archives: San Juan Islands

10 days, 3 Bikes, 2 Adults, 2 Kids: A Family Bike Adventure

Note: the following is the initial account of our summer family bike tour. If we were good bloggers we would have shared with you along the way. But instead we chose to be good bike tourists and (mostly) disconnect. And then we returned home and started the “back to school” cycle. So we’re a little late (and as you’ll see, there’s nothing unusual about that), but we think worth sharing anyway. We’ll add more installments over the next couple weeks.

The boy is readyIt’s 4:00 PM on August 13th and we’re finally ready to head out on our first substantial (multiple days, 200 mile) family bike tour.

Starting point: our house in Northeast Seattle
Destination: the San Juan Islands, eventually.
Bikes: 1 tandem with front and rear paniers, 1 kid bike with token rear paniers, and a Big Dummy loaded down with most of the gear
Transportation modes: Pedal power, assisted by state, county and private  ferries.

After several days of bike upgrades and maintenance, endless laundry and packing, we were finally ready to roll. Our dog/house sitter arrived and settled in for her week+ stay.

We planned to ride 13 miles to Edmonds, catch the ferry to Kingston, then pedal 12 miles to Kitsap Memorial State Park. We said our goodbyes, then pedaled out of the driveway heading in the direction of Edmonds.Geared up and ready to ride Sure, our departure was about four hours later than planned, but so what. We were on the road.

And we made it about a block and a half. Seriously.

Though we thought we packed light, our bikes felt like RVs.  The kids were moving even slower than usual. Uh-oh. Was this such a  good idea?

That one long block made us realize 5-10 MPH would not get us to Kitsap Memorial before dark, especially with the threat of rain and darkness. Had we been kid-less (or just hauling them on the Xtracycles) we could have made it in time, even with the late start. But as a full pedaling family? No way.

Consider this reset expectation number one.

So now we’re not even out of the neighborhood and we needed a place to sleep that didn’t feel like defeat. Because our dog sitter was at our house, we couldn’t tuck tail and go home even if we wanted to. We had to go forward. Somewhere. Continue reading

Xtracycle Bike Camping (with Kids)

Lopez Island Campsite

For those of you who were wondering, no, the heat wave hasn’t lasted three weeks. We’ve just been lazy bloggers of late!

We recently returned from a fantastic short bike camping trip with our kids. Tim and I haven’t been bike touring in 15 years. Not sure why, I guess we just haven’t made it a priority. Our kids are now old enough to carry some of their own weight (both on and off the bike) so we decided to give it a whirl.

Huge success.

Our destination:  Lopez island in the San Juan Islands, a classic Northwest bike tour. The San Juan Islands are touring gems, and for good reason. Scenery is beautiful, the ferries make it fun and convenient to shuttle between the islands, people are friendly, and if you choose the right islands and the right route, the hills aren’t too bad.  Best of all, once you’ve unloaded from the ferry and lets the high-speed hordes roar past, you’re free to roam on relatively traffic-free roads. Continue reading