Planning a Family Mountain Biking Getaway

By: Emily Sandberg

Planning any type of vacation can is fun and exciting as the possibilities are endless and you can do whatever you want! If what you want to do is go on a mountain biking vacation, there are many things to keep in mind to ensure you and your family have a great time.

Equipment: At bare minimum, you'll need a bike for every member of your party. Where you intend to ride will determine what type of bike you want to have--off road adventures require a mountain bike with big knobby tires, shocks, and a sturdy frame. For long trips on paved roads, you'll want a sleek road bike with skinny tires. Depending on the technical nature of your planned trip, or possible weather conditions, you'll want to check out specialized biking clothing which will allow you to be comfortable longer in the elements.

Other items you should consider taking include these:

Bike carrier: If you are responsible for getting your bike to a destination, you'll need a bike carrier. Consider a roof top carrier, a rack for the back of your pickup, or, my favorite, a hitch mounted bike carrier which can be mounted to the hitch receiver on the back of your van, truck, SUV, or RV. You can also find bike carriers that will mount to the bumper of your RV or attach to the ladder or spare tire on the back of your vehicle.

Maps: You should pack extra maps of all of the areas and bike trails that you want to explore along with a compass or GPS system.

First aid: Always pack a small first aid kit with all of the necessities: bug spray; bandages; first aid ointment; aloe vera gel; pain relievers; etc.

Safety: Biking can be dangerous. Be sure to pack all safety gear including helmets and pads. This includes safety equipment for the adults also.

Water: Bring plenty of fresh water for the trip and any snacks and meals that you want to eat while out on the trail.

Camping gear: This is if you want to camp out or if the trail you have chosen is exceptionally long that it will take more than one day of riding to complete.

Choosing a Destination

Choosing a mountain biking vacation destination is the most exciting part about planning a biking adventure. Be sure to do plenty of research and bring all that you've found to the table, so the whole family can have a part in deciding where you will go. Pay especially close attention to the difficulty level of each trail. Take this into consideration when taking young ones. The length of the trails that you choose will also limit the other activities that you will be able to squeeze in on your vacation.

Another consideration that you will have to make involves guided or non-guided courses. If you choose a guided trail, you will have a professional tour guide with you the whole step of the way. This can help you avoid dangers, but it may not afford you the privacy and family time that you want.

Whatever type of bike trip you plan, remember to have a positive attitude and have fun! Vacations are a time to let loose and try new adventures; a bike trip will offer you the chance to do both!

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Emily Sandberg is an outdoor enthusiast who takes her truck off road every chance she gets. When she needs to transport her bike, she uses a hitch bike rack from Trailer Hitch Universe.

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