Bicycle touring: A family-friendly adventure
Blog written by Kathryn Brookshire Brown, a BikeTours.com repeat traveler who loves to bike tour with her family.
This is a story about our family taking a shot in the dark and happily ending with “We did it!!!” We took the opportunity to try something totally new and different with an overseas bike trip for the family — and we loved it!
While most people are happy to bicycle down the bike path in their own home towns or on vacation at the local beach, what about overseas? Taking the family on an international cycling tour seemed stressful and downright daunting to me. (Eek!) Add two children and a husband to that scenario and my travel anxiety nearly hit the moon.
We had never taken a bike trip anywhere, never mind with our family, and to add to my stress, BikeTours.com was new to us as well. It was a shot in the dark, and yet, we were willing to take a leap for a once in a lifetime trip.
A Smile in any Language
Our children were delightful companions who found new friends and conversation at every turn. In any language, we could understand a smile and a hearty “thumbs up” from passers-by as my eight and five year-olds pedaled their bikes with us down the Danube River path.
Along the way, we were invited for bratwurst in a beer garden, met an old soul traveling with a donkey, wandered the beautiful cobblestone streets of a few small towns, and sipped Gruner Veltliner with an older German couple at the end of one of our days. (We used sign language and a small notebook to communicate–our German was as bad as their English.) Despite our minimal conversation, we exchanged emails and promised (I think) to keep in touch.
Abundance of Grapes
We noticed the Gruner Veltliner grapes were coming off the vines during our stay and many vineyards we biked passed had wreaths on front doors inviting us in for a sip of their recent harvest. The wind blew our hair, we laughed, we raced, our legs ached, we had a few scrapes, and at the end of each day, we were so confident that we did something real, made a mark, took rubber down the road, pedaled uncharted territory…we were having that “once in a lifetime” trip that was planned one snowy Saturday afternoon many months ago.
“We did it!” my kids would say as they lay their sleepy heads down each night. “We did it, mom…”
The best part of our trip (besides feeling so proud of my children’s efforts) was freely exploring each day on our own. Even though BikeTours.com had our back, we were free agents from sunup to sundown. We felt like pioneers, explorers, students (of maps and German phrases), and formed a stronger bond with our fellow man as well as the members of our own family.