When it’s been in the 30s and raining or snowing for a week, and the next week has 2-4″ of snow predicted, 40° and sunny might as well be 75°, because we’re going to spend it outside. For Easter sunday this year, we spent a lovely 4 hours or so biking 48 miles to the end of the Gateway Trail and back home again. We started off with Ella on the trail-a-bike behind me, and Fiona in the Burley behind Autumn. Malte rode my mountain bike, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. As usual for our family rides (an usual for any teenager, i think), he didn’t seem to think that the ride was worthy of cycling clothes or his road bike.
We’ve done a few of these long rides with the kids before, so we were pretty well prepared with a mini picnic, lots of water, some toys, and warm clothes for the 30° noon start. The first few miles were a lot of starting and stopping to adjust things or add more clothes because of the headwinds. Once we were heading past Roselawn cemetary into the woods everybody’s moods picked up, at least partly due to the wind-blocking trees, and partly due to the fun twisty descents.
The first few miles of Gateway trail are honestly kinda lousy. The trail crosses so many streets that you’re stopping at least every 1/4 mile or so, or so it seems. It’s especially hard when you’re pulling a load, but these crossings are bigger streets with 35-40mph traffic, so they always warrant a stop. It’s not all that picturesque either, as this is a rails-to-trails route, and we’re following the rail line through the backsides of old industrial areas. I like these kinds of views though, it’s mainly the stopping i don’t like.
A little further out though, and trail becomes really lovely. You’re passing through farmland, with occasional marshes or creeks, there’s a horse trail alongside the paved trail and Malte gets a few dirt miles in for a change. We stop a lot less often now, just a quick bathroom and snack stop with lots of running around from the girls. Then we settle into a nice rhythm and decent pace, listening the choruses of spring peepers, spying a rabbit dashing along the edge of the woods. Before we know it, we’re at Pine Point park for the turnaround @27 miles. We stop for a break here, the kids run off to explore while we stretch a bit and eat.
Ella had been in the trailer for the last 15 miles (we traded, me pulling both kids), but she got back on the trail-a-bike for the ride home (trading back again – the trail-a-bike is too wriggly for Autumn’s bike, the hitch needs adjustment). What a trooper; by the time we got back home, she had put in 30 miles of trail-a-bike riding, and very happily riding along until the last 2 miles when the cold and fatigue caught up. Then it was back to the Burley (Autumn with both now, me deadheading the t-a-b) for the final stretch home. The ride home was considerably warmer, with less wind and stronger sun, but it was a long afternoon to be outside in the cool air, and we were all ravenously hungry.
The final tally was 48 miles, just under 13mph average, but lots of fun. I finished in pretty good shape; Malte looked beat and he didn’t pull a trailer, Autumn was tired at the end but with 2 kids in the trailer, it’s hard NOT to be tired. A really nice ride overall. No pictures, but just imagine being surrounded by the sound of peeping frogs, the warm sun and cold breeze, and you’ll have most of it anyway.