DC Family looking for advice and gear for an abreviated C&O Canal Tour

this was passed onto me from a friend who found this posting on FREECYCLE
a man named Jim Smith is planning a family bicycle tour on the C&O Canal
read the following message and contact Jim directly if you have either advice for him or any of the gear he needs
Jim Smith contact JSmith@infoman.com

I'm planning a Bike-Camping trip for this spring on the C&O canal
with my two son's (8 and 9 years old). We are looking to do a 60 mile

ride, but we have backup pickup points to cut the ride short if the

boys can't make it. I have a rack and a set of panniers (very old

need to test them) for my bike. For my boys 20" bikes I will probably

make a wood rack for the back. They will carry three small bags,

sleeping bag, small extra clothes bag, small food sack.

I posted this last month and got a lot of very good advice, and I'm

looking for more. I picked up a lot of stuff for Christmas and bought

some stuff with Christmas money. But I still need a lot of stuff


1. Advice
2. Panniers (Saddle Bags) for my wifes bike
3. Rack for the back of the bikes.

4. Sleeping bags for camping (need to be small for hiking)
5. Leatherman or like multi-tool knife
6. A hitch receiver. I don't care what shape, a fiend will weld

it to my van.

7. Bike rack for hitch.

8. Child bike gloves
9. Small camping light
10. old retractable dog leash (making a tow line for my kids if

11. camping utensils, plates, bowls
12. Any freeze dried food
13. Spoke wrenches
14. Bungee cords
15. Ideas on how to build a rack for a boys 20" bike.

16. More Advice

Everything you can spare will help. If you have ridden the C&O canal

before please let me know what you think. I'm planning a ride from

Harpers Ferry to DC.

Thanks in advance, and Happy New Year.

jim smith

there are questions... so many questions...
what season are you guys going to do this ride?
and how many days do you plan to take to ride the distance from Harper's Ferry to Washington, DC?
have your boys ever ridden more than 10 miles?
has your family ever camped before?

I have all that stuff... but not to give and not to loan... but I do have some advice

it would be nice if there were a GEAR COOP for such things
how often do I use a tent, a sleeping bag, and all that other hiking crap?
wouldn't it be cool if you could place an order by phone or email and then swing by a store to pick up the gear you need for when you need it
then return it when done?
the GEAR COOP could then clean-repair-and store the gear for the next user

for Jim and his family I have a few tips...
no... I will not make jokes about Jim's multiple wives or his trusting a fiend to do his welding
but rather advise first off not to build a wooded rack for his kid's bikes
and for the parents to carry his kid's gear
endurance riding will be hard enough for the younger riders with their small tires and short cranks
adding more weight to a bicycle that may already be close to their body weight would be cruel and unusual punishment... turning a family adventure into a family nightmare

this also has me wondering about the bicycles for the boys...
20" wheel bikes? hmmm... how old are these kids?
my boys at 4 and 7 are riding 20 inch wheel bikes... I fear that these bikes may be small for them
are the seats raised for them to get proper extension when on the down stroke?
maybe you should add GEARED BIKES WITH 24 INCH WHEELS to the list of needs
then extend that to a need for HELMETS and GLOVES

as far as tools go...
the spoke wrench is an inexpensive tool...
but if you do not have one... it is unlikely you know how to use one
there are some tools you will need
various size tubes and a few patch kits; tire levers; and a decent bicycle mounting pump
then there should also be a Allen set and a knuckle busting redneck wrench (adjustable crescent wrench)
the bikes should leave out ready to roll... so no need for extra gear cables or extra spokes... but some people bring these things when they tour

this request is a bit of STONE SOUP
not sure if it is legit
there is so much being requested... which makes me curious about what is in hand
it sounds like it could be a great trip
trips like this can be over planned or under planned
I come from the camp of under planning
this trip could be the experience of a lifetime
the kids could have a blast...
cross your fingers for good weather
and make sure that you have what you need

camping may not be the best option
going from hotel to hotel will not only give the family a warm place to stay
it would also make it so that less gear is lugged around
it all depends how many days the family plans to ride from Harper's Ferry to DC
60 miles? that could be one long day from sunrise to sunset... in which case there would be no need to carry the sleeping bags and tent
a night's stay and a hot breakfast pushing off from a Harper's Ferry Bed and Breakfast would be my advice

keep me posted.... let me know how it goes!
and in case you are wondering...

here is a reference to STONE SOUP on the WIKI PAGE

1 comment:

chris said...

Me and my dear kristy Gomez left from Harpers too late and the night came fast soo i ...as we were riding the trail to New Brunswick..told her to wait there and I would ride in the dark to Leesburg and get the suv..we had done a real large loop and maybe I GOT TOO EXPLORATIVE...CEST LA VIE...she was a real sport and waited in a market while a clerk flirted with her and I raced in the dark to get the mission accomplished..oh and she had a flat that was persistent and ..we got home but could have been better prepared..Yes Joel one must think ahead.