Our little clan is not yet in the habit of taking family vacations. This year, we’re going to give it a shot. I’m going to register to ride 28th Annual Pedal Across Lower Michigan (PALM) tour, sponsored by the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB).
PALM is a very family-friendly ride. They emphasize “the social and recreational aspects of cycling,” and part of their mission is to introduce people to bicycle touring. As a result, the riders cover a very wide spectrum of ages, riding styles, and experience levels. Every year, a third of their riders are first-time tourers. I absolutely can’t wait.
Here’s the plan: My daughters and I will register as riders, and my wife (Meredith) will register as a non-rider. (NB: Even though neither of the girls will actually be riding a bike, they must be registered for insurance purposes. Registration for child riders is the least expensive option, and it gets them each a swanky PALM 2009 t-shirt.) She’ll be our family’s own personal SAG vehicle, taking care of our nine-month-old, schlepping our gear site to site, and sincerely enjoying the peace and quiet away from our older daughter and me. She looks forward to wandering about the small towns and to reading feverishly. My oldest daughter, who will only be two-and-a-half by then, will do full- or half-day rides with me in the pull-behind trailer (provided I can get her “trained” and comfortable with riding that many miles). Meredith and our youngest will meet our oldest and me at lunch stops, sites of interest, and for other side excursions. She’ll have her bike with her at camp so we can all ride into town for dinner meals or ice cream in the evenings.
I’m going to chronicle on this blog our adventures as a family preparing for and then taking this trip. Hopefully, we’ll learn a lot along the way that will inspire and help other families who might one day try something like this. There are so many families who already do this sort of thing. I look forward to meeting and learning from many of them. Perhaps a few will even comment on the posts.