My wife and I have eight children. Even with my adult children out of the house, a bike ride for the whole family invariably involves not just my kids but their friends as well. On the Fourth of July we decided to go up and visit my father and brother-in-law in Cedar Falls. Cedar Falls was one of the first cities in the country to get serious about bike trails and for a city of its size, it has an excellent trail network.
Unfortunately it takes a lot of work to get seven bikes ready for a ride. the first problem was that we didn’t have enough bikes in the right sizes. My son’s friend was coming along so his dad loaned us a bike. The loaner bike and my three bikes (road, fixed gear and mountain) all had clipless pedals of one sort or another and I was the only one in the group who knew how to ride with them. So, I had to swap pedals on a couple of bikes. Next I put the boys to work inflating 14 tires.
Of course the other difficult part of taking the whole crew on a ride is getting the bikes there. We have a Pointiac minivan that has the distinction of being one of only a few vehicles that neither Yakima nor Thule roof racks can fit. We have a Saris two bike rack that my wife and I use. Fortunately for big events we still have our Ford 15 passenger van. I have Yakima’s largest roof rack for it but as you can see on the right it is rarely necessary. With three of the seats removed we can fit 8 people and still have room inside for 8 bikes. It is hard to tell but the picture above shows seven bikes in the back of the van.
The expedition was a success. We rode along the Cedar River on a tree-lined bike trail. The teenagers rode on ahead while my wife and I rode with her brother. Her brother hasn’t been on a bike in at least twenty years so we took it pretty easy. We probably rode about 7-9 miles. All in all it was a good ride. Her brother is interested in buying a bike since his house, in the Chicago suburbs, is surrounded by bike trails. We’ll have to make an expedition to go and ride with him.