Conclusions and Observations: Best for professionals on a closed course - Grampies Go Panhandling - CycleBlaze

July 13, 2013

Conclusions and Observations: Best for professionals on a closed course

Children work best when they have a routine, and clear boundaries about where they can go and not, what they usually eat and not, what behaviour is acceptable and not, etc. From the security of the routine and boundaries, their world can be enriched and expanded in small steps: a birthday party, a visit to the zoo, visiting with some new people, etc.

Adults work best when they have time for quiet contemplation and time that is free from constant activity and alertness. Periods of intense activity or attention, like being in meetings or driving a car are fine if followed by resting time.

Touring bicycles work best when lightly or reasonably loaded, and checked often for chain lube, tire pressure, bolt tightness, etc.

On this tour, all three components - the children, the adults, and the bikes were knowingly pushed beyond their comfort zone.

The children faced highly variable hours, physical spaces with literally no boundaries (such as camping in an open field), unfamiliar and high carb food, long hours of sitting on a bike, limited books and toys, absence of momma and daddy, high daytime temperatures with limited shade, etc. In addition, they were presented with lakes and rivers, myriad flowers, deer, beaver, moose, and other animals, gold mines, silver mines, museum tours, trolley tours, new streets, mountains, waterfalls, and any number of other forms of new experience.

The adults had to be alert for the children's safety, health, and entertainment, 24 hours a day, while cycling with heavy loads. On the other hand, they were with their beloved grandchildren 24, for 7 (or more).

The bikes had loads about 3x normal, and were running on worn out rims and tires, fresh from the Grampies' suicidal Coastal run. On the other hand, they demonstrated that little folding bikes could turn into quick release tandems and descend a rough trail like mountain bikes.

For those who think this tour and blog are pretty trivial: just 166 km and just 8 days, think again. The young male cyclist heading around the world with minimalist gear definitely has challenges, and can definitely write an interesting blog. However he will never (or should never!) have pee pee in his sleeping bag.

The powerful Grampies team, in fact, completed the tour, but had we run in to any rain at all or any hills at all (and that means any), the outcome would have been much different.

The powerful Avi and Violet team, in fact, completed the tour, but had momma and daddy not appeared at different points on the trail, or had that Walmart not been in the just the right place to supply watermelon and scotch tape, the outcome would have been much different.

So what is the conclusion, would we do it again? You bet! In fact, in some fits of delerium we are now talking about the Erie Canal trail and the GAP (Great Allegheny Passage) for next year, or maybe it's just Plummer to Mullan - and back, effectively doubling the ante.

As with anything that stretches your limits, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And we think we, and Avi, and Violet (and momma, and daddy) are stronger. We also have this blog, which we hope Avi and Violet will read in future years. What will they think of the whole thing?

If you enjoyed this blog (or even if not), check out Grampies Go In Circles. In 6 days the Grampies will be dropped in and leave Amsterdam, and will spend 84 days and 5000 km trying find their way back!

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