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Whatever children love (and children love an adventure, especially one in which they play an equal part), there is nothing quite like cycle camping. Children as young as ten can ride their own bikes and carry some of their own equipment. They can even have their own tents or at least help set up the family tent.
Children younger than nine can go on a tandem with an adaptor for the cranks so the whole journey is possible without a car. And every child knows that they too have to reach the destination under their own steam. No more staring out of the back window of a car - they are in the fresh air from the moment they wake up to the moment their head hits the pillow - and they will want their sleep!
Taking younger children on trips:
The best way if possible is to use tandems and “tag-alongs” until are they ready for their own bike. The National Cycle Network and other off road routes will provide plenty of scope for a journey that will allow children to cycle along safely (see the Sustrans link). On minor roads, by cycling behind the child, the parent is able to provide protection from traffic coming up from behind. Busier roads should be cycled on the pavement. Get to the campsite each day early and predictably (booked in advance) before exhaustion rears its head! Keep daily mileage down to about 20 - 25 miles.
Taking older children on trips:
For children in between parental dependence and fully ready to go out into the world, say from age 13 to 16, cycle camping makes enormous sense. They know they will probably holiday with their parents but now they are acting as equal partners in an exciting enterprise - and their parents don’t know any more than they do how the day will turn out. What many parents find however is that their teenagers’ sheer involvement in the fun and putting themselves on a level pegging with their parents means that many carry on enjoying cycle camping as a family for longer than other types of holidays. It is a great bonding experience as well.
Letting older children go on off on their own adventures:
Not very long ago it would be usual for boys and girls of 14 to go off on their own trips and adventures. Perhaps not abroad or not too far away and certainly with a small group of friends - camping and youth hostelling was the norm.
Cycle camping provides a way of letting teenagers travel off to find their way in the world but remaining within reach. Their own local area – maybe just ten miles away - opens up in a completely new way when they are on their own and responsible for finding a campsite and setting up their tent – perhaps in the rain and the dark!
This is a precious age just before they will probably own a small car and when the bicycle represents their means to establish a certain distance from their parents.
Cyclecamp is creating a predictable network of campsites that young people are able to plan a trip around knowing that they have destination within reach for each day’s cycling. This makes cycle camping a more realistic possibility for young people.

The great family adventure starts with cycle camping!

Want to raise any of the issues you’ve read about here? Why not see what other people think on the cyclecamp forum?


The cyclecamp forum

Cycle camping with children

Whole families can go cycle camping together