We’ve received official confirmation that our family is registered for PALM XXVIII. Whew-hoo! The paperwork recommends bringing the following items on the tour:
- Rain fly
- Sleeping bag
- Extra clothing
- Rain gear
- Bike tools for normal biking emergencies
- Bicycle lock
- Personal hygiene articles
- Water bottle(s)
- Sun screen
Touring alone or with other riders who are accustomed to this sort of thing is entirely different than touring with a family, especially one with children as young as ours. (They will be ages two-and-a-half and nine-months at the time of the tour.) I am interested in what those of you who have toured before, and those of you who ride regularly with kids, would add to this list (as well as any general advice you’d offer with respect to quality of life issues over the span of six days roughing it together).
Tent and rain fly go hand-in-hand, so that’s covered, and I would probably include a ground cloth also. With four of us in the tent and it being late June, I’ve been wondering about other options in lieu of bulky sleeping bags. Clothing, yes, but how much and of what sort? Would “bike tools for normal biking emergencies” entail anything more than the multi-tool and tire levers I already carry on the bike and some extra tubes? To their suggested hygiene items I’m adding aspirin or ibuprofen, Icy Hot for sore muscles, bug repellent, sunburn treatment, and Blistex.
Can anyone think of anything else? How many “creature comforts” and entertainment options will the kids need, especially with everything that will be going on during the day and around camp in the evening? Are there any tricks to make things easier when it comes to things like setting up and breaking camp, getting little ones cleaned and fed, etc.?
Even though my wife will have the car, I’m trying very hard to convince her that we can get all our gear into two standard issue Army-style duffel bags so we can dodge the temptation to take more than we need. Am I being realistic?
What about on-bike gear; on the daily rides, what do I need in the way of stowage (e.g., handlebar bag, trunk bag)? Can I get away with only my under-seat bag and jersey pockets? My under-seat bag holds my toolkit and cell phone, which leaves my pockets with a camera and snacks. But what about rain gear, cue sheets, nifty little souvenirs nabbed along the route? I want to travel as light as possible.
Lots of questions. Lots to figure out. Four months to go.
Finally (for now), I’ve got a big question for those who ride with kids: how do you deal with helmets (particularly with kids two-years-old or less), especially in colder months when they have to wear some sort of cap underneath? I tried to take my daughter for a quick ride this afternoon. She gave me two tries to get her helmet on and properly adjusted. When I was unsuccessful, she let me know in her own special way that we would be having no more of that today. Honestly, I can’t say I blame her. These helmets are such a pain in the butt to adjust, and they frequently force the kid’s head into an awkward and uncomfortable position, e.g., when they’re in a trailer. Any suggestions?