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Bike camping with a kid: The best one yet

And we're off

And we’re off

You know it’s been a good bicycle camping trip when your five year old asks when we can go again and asks if we can stay longer.

Luci and I ventured out for our third and most successful bike camping trip yet. We returned to Catalina State Park, but this time we tried out a new route, new gear and different bikes.

The route: 

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We decided to try a new new and longer trip to get to Catalina State Park from our house near Campbell and River. The last time we camped there, we went up Via Entrada, Christie and Oracle Road.

This time however we rode the Rillito bike path to Camino de la Tierra north to the CDO bike path northeast back to the park. The section of the CDO path between La Cholla Boulevard and La Cañada Road is not completed so we took a couple dirt roads, that a Bicycle Tucson reader suggested, to connect back up with the path on the east side of La Cañada all the way to Catalina State Park.

The river paths were perfect. They added a few miles, but the elevation rises were much more gradual and not having to worry about cars made allowed Luci and I to chat and enjoy the surroundings.

On the way home we decided to take the more direct route home, which was quicker, but way less pleasant. Check out the loop below:

The Bikes: 

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This is the first time we’ve done a bike camping trip on anything other than a cargo bike. My bike is a Surly Long Haul Trucker sporting albatross bars and a CETMA Halfrack, which was important because I had to rely on the front rack a lot since Luci’s Burley Piccolo makes the top of the rear rack unusable.

The Gear: 

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A stuffed animal peeks out of the top of a front pannier.

The gear we took has changed a bit since our first trip bike camping. Here’s a list with links to the gear we took. I’ve included some Amazon Affiliate links for some of the camping equipment, but all of the gear can be purchased locally.

Bags:

Food and drinks:

Gear:

We picked up a little desert flair for our return trip.

We picked up a little desert flair for our return trip.

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All smiles as we return home.

All smiles as we return home.

6 comments
chubasco
chubasco

Looking forward to the Bicas campout in March too!

chubasco
chubasco

That Piccolo will take a full rack & bags all day. I'll try to remember to upload a pic tonite, I've got a full rack and bags on my son's version of that (cheapo weeride one). It's super-cute.

I used my first walmart rack from the '80's. The magic part for these kinds of installations is to go to Ace hardware (like the big 'ol one @ 22nd & kolb), and find their rubber-sleeved pipe clamps, they are probably in electrical. It's a standard one-hole pipe clamp, the small ones are dipped in rubber, the big ones have a rubber boot over the metal band, they come in sizes to fit every possible dia. of bike tubing. Two little ones for the seat stays, and two big ones on the bottom bar near the rear wheel and you can angle the rack all over to fit. You just stick the nut from the rack through the one hole clamp and when you tighten it, the rubber keeps it right in place, I've carried a lot of weight in ours before. Might want some nylon-insert metric nuts and fat washers to make it nice if that doesn't come with the rack in question. I admit this all was not my idea, a nice new Jandd rack came with some once (I love Jannd, no funky plastic pieces, they get their hardware where I get my hardware :)


Steve

Red Star
Red Star

Missing from the gear list is harmonica and, (most important), ukulele! Red Star has obtained good results with these two devices car-camping (sorry) and at home. The silliness distraction, time-passing, engagement thing.


Can Luci's Burley Piccolo be fitted with a small rack and small bags? Because, eventually, they like to emulate the grownups.

MikeMcKisson
MikeMcKisson moderator

@Red Star One of Luci's friend met us up there and that helped a lot with the entertainment part. 

As for the rack, it doesn't seem like an easy fit for a rack, but I think there are some options like an Old Man Mountain rack that might be able to work. 

Red Star
Red Star

@MikeMcKisson @Red Star 

Burley is a very clever and innovative bikey company. Maybe, ROI permitting, they will add little kid racks and little bags as accessories to the Piccolo line.