I met Andy Schmidt and his family on a Kidical Mass ride. He was sporting an Xtracycle with flag so, naturally, I found myself hanging out by his bike, checking out his self produced kid seats for the back of the long tail.
Andy’s family recently returned from a bike camping trip to Milo McIver With Cycle Wild. Andy was kind enough to share his tale as inspiration for future bike camping, and most certainly–cargo camping. Thanks, Andy.
They say that the first step of a journey is the hardest. In this case that “first step” was going to be getting to the meet-up in Gresham by 10am. Since it was relatively early on a Saturday we contemplated bending the rules and taking the longtail on the MAX (light rail). After weighing the options, we decided to just ride the 12-miles to the the meet-up.
For many regular bike riders, riding 12 miles by 10am is a normal occurrence. This was a little different though, we’re a family of 4 headed out for an overnight camping trip. And 2 of the 4 of us are pre-school age. We packed the bikes the night before and went to bed early to be sure to make our 8:30am departure time. The alarm clock sounded and we got ourselves together enough to get the family out the door and down the road to the meeting place a few minutes early.
When the group was all gathered and we rolled out of the MAX Station, we were an impressive convoy of 17 adults and 5 kids ranging in age from 10 months to 5 years. We rode the Springwater Trail to it’s end in the town of Boring. We stopped for a break under drizzly skies at what will soon be a nice little park. The restrooms are built and the grass is planted but it’s all still taped off. We used the Honey Bucket that was on-site for the construction crew. After our little break and re-grouping we rode through and beyond Boring on shoulder-less roads to the wide-shouldered but heavily traveled Hwy 224, which brought our group into Estacada.
The families made a bonus road side stop just before we got to Estacada along Hwy 224 at the decorative lawn in front of the sewage treatment facility. It was an unlikely place to stop for a break but kids and parents alike needed a break from the noise of the highway. I can’t imagine it was ever intended to be a road side park but it was there when we needed a break , so we stopped for a bit and enjoyed it. The faster part of our group… the folks on touring bikes waited for us a few miles up the road in Estacada.
Once everyone was rested, refreshed and re-grouped in Estacada, we rolled out for the last leg to Milo McIver State Park. Thanks to the organizer’s familiarity with the area (familiarity and local knowledge is a huge bonus of traveling with Cycle Wild), we mostly avoided the main road. Instead of riding on a busy road we had a pleasant cruise along a river grade dirt road through the forest. It was a marvelous way to end the ride.
We found our camp site and everyone went about getting camp set up: tents were erected, wood was purchased and chopped, coffee was brewed, and at least one fishing pole was rigged. The guy with the fishing pole disappeared for a while. He returned with stories of fish on the line but… well… you know about fish stories.
It was great to have several kids on the trip. The activities and opportunities around camp kept the little ones entertained until dinner time. After dinner there was some corn popped over the fire and the tikes were in bed by dark. I heard a little bit of stirring in the wee hours but for the most part everyone got a good night’s rest and was fresh and ready to go in the morning.
Overnight the clouds cleared and the rising sun was bright. it was the usual morning scene around camp… coffee, pancakes, fire, oatmeal. The kids were up to their kid shenanigans while adults got to the task of packing up for the ride home. People left camp in grups as they got packed. The family/ cargo bike group was last.
The ride home followed a different route to avoid a hill we had descended on the ride there. One family had to call friends to come get them in Estacada due to a knee injury. And my cargo bike got a flat tire from a tiny piece of wire. Other than those 2 things the ride home was uneventful. Which is a good thing in a “no news is good news” sort of way. Everyone made it home safe and from the follow up conversations I’ve had with people, it sounds like everyone had a good time. My 3-year-old has already asked when we’re going bike camping again.
Andy … looks like you had the same camping spot that Ruhiyyih and I did, but much (MUCH) better weather than we had for our ride in March.
The Proctors were also in attendance, sporting both a cargo bike and folding bike. Diversity!
July’s Kidical Mass ride (July 21) will be a bike camping trip. Load up your bike, cargo bike, and trailer and join us. Head over to the Kidical Mass web site and sign up to be notified of rides.
Do you have a cargo bike story to tell? Let us know. For us, it is like stamp collecting. We are in search of the beautiful and want to collect.
For more photos, check out Russ Roca.