A bike vacation is the perfect family adventure to do with your teen this year. There are many types of biking vacations from multi-day bike tours. to mountain visiting biking meccas. and bike-trail destinations. Read below for details on planning an amazing biking trip with your teen and get out for an adventure of a lifetime.
Why a Biking Trip with your Teen is the Perfect Adventure
There are many choices when selecting a biking trip with your teen.
So why choose a biking holiday when there are so many other adventures?
A biking adventure gets you outside and active while giving you the time to explore. You can cover much more ground than a hiking or backpacking trip, but you also get to take part in the experience in a way you simply can’t from a car. Biking is also a great entry level sport, meaning that most people already know how to ride a bike! A bike trip with your teen can be as epic as a cross country bike trip, or as simple as a day of family mountain biking and is a fun trip for teens.
While planning a biking trip can sound intimidating and this growing sport seems to have a lot of jargon, it is also a great way to balance fun, challenge and exploring beautiful places.
Choosing the Best Type of Bike Trip
Biking from location to location with your gear on your bike is a great way to tour a new place with your teen. You can organize your own trip as a biking camping trip, or bike from hotel to hotel so you don’t have to carry as much gear. You will need some specialized gear to keep things light and packed onto your bike including either a trailer or a panniers. See more information below about choosing the right gear and the best bike for your teenager and your family.
Another way to enjoy bike touring without all the extra gear is to sign up for a family bike touring program/company. There are many programs around the United States, Europe, and the world that cater to biking treks with teenagers and their families. Most of these programs will transport your gear from place to place so you only need to carry enough for the day and some will provide a guide or additional support during your ride. Finally, it is sometimes possible to arrange transport of your gear with your hotel to the next destination although this does take some planning ahead.
Many mountain biking destinations also have bike rentals available and this is often the best way to start out since mountain bikes range from just a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
Mountain Biking destinations are becoming more and more popular and many of these destinations are large enough to provide days of new trails and challenges. While mountain biking can be technical, it can also be as simple as riding your biking on an unpaved trail. The best mountain biking destinations are found in areas where you can bike one day, hike the next, or jump in a lake at the end of the day, so your teen mountain trip can become a multi-sport adventure.
While mountain biking and bike touring involve planning and specialized gear, it is also possible to plan a bike-focused teen trip with day rides. Choose a destination that is bike friendly and book a hotel or rental property as a base for your adventures. You can bike to different activities each day, or make a day of linking bike trails together. All you need for this adventure is a bike. These are generally easy to rent or for a basic cruiser relatively inexpensive to buy.
Choosing the Best Biking Gear
The perfect bike for your teen depends on the type of bike adventure you are planning. Bike gear is pretty specialized and you will need a much different bike for a mountain bike adventure than for a day trip or bike tour. If this is your first time planning a biking trip with your teen, renting a bike may be the best option.
You can also purchase a bike – Find the Best Bike for Teens.
Don’t forget in addition to your bike you will also need to purchase a helmet. You should also consider these items regardless of the type of biking trip you are planning:
- Repair Kit
- Water Bottles or hydration kit
- Cycling Computer
- Shoes and clip in pedals (optional)
- First Aid Kit
Bike Touring Gear
Bike touring does involve some specialized gear in addition to the general bike gear. Below are some of the different bike storage options:
- Handlebar Bag
- Cargo Rack
- Saddle Bag (goes under your seat)
General Camping Gear
If you are planning to camp while you’re bike touring, it’s incredibly important to pack light, so even if you have some of this gear for backpacking or car camping, you may need to get more light-weight gear. Here is a list of some of the items you will want depending on your climate:
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Pad
- Toilet Paper
- Food (it’s often easy to find a place to get food, but you should always have some essentials)
I’m always amazed at how many options there are for buying bike clothes. Depending on your teen, you may need to select your bike clothes carefully. Some teenagers love to gear up and will be happy in bike shorts and spandex, while others may appreciate more general outdoor clothing. You do not need fancy bike clothes for a bike family bike adventure, but you should have clothes that can handle the elements and are comfortable on a bike including:
- Sun Glasses
- Bike shirt/t-shirt (non-cotton)
- Bike Shorts (padded ones will feel better)
- Bike Gloves (full length for cold weather)
- Arm and leg warmers if it’s cold
- Bright Vest for visibility
Choosing a Biking Destination
There are many amazing biking destinations around the world for planning a biking trip with your teen. Here are just a couple suggestions for an epic bike adventure.
The hardest part about planning a bike trip may be deciding where to go. Start by asking yourself a few questions about your plans for a bike touring trip with your teen.
- Will you be planning this trip yourself or looking for a group tour?
- Will you be camping or staying in hotels?
- How far do you plan to go each day? If you choose shorter distances, you can always add on other activities or create longer routes. If you choose a too much distance you will end each day tired and frustrated!
- Do you need to fly to your destination? How will you transport your gear?
- What type of riding do you want to do? (Road? Trail? City? Are you ok with busy roads?)
Here are a few suggestions for bike touring destinations, but really, choose a place you want to go and plan from there: Ireland, Australia, New England (US), Spain, Italy, Across the US, Japan, South Korea, Baltic States.
Mountain Biking Destinations
Here are just a few mountain biking destinations, but there are so many more and chances are some pretty close to your home. You will also want to decide what is important to you when choosing the best bike trails and destinations – do you want scenic, challenging, downhill, easy?
Moab, Utah: Mountain biking has been a huge draw in Moab for years and every year they add more terrain with stunning desert views. This is a great and easy place to put together a mountain biking adventure.
Lake Tahoe, California: There’s plenty to do in Tahoe and plenty of mountain bike trails to ride. The backdrop of the mountains and stunning water makes this a great destination
Crested Butte, Colorado: Think amazing Colorado Mountains as the backdrop for you Crested Butte Mountain bike adventure.
East Burke, Vermont: The Kingdom Trails in Vermont make for amazing east coast riding: great riding with a growing number of trails, and quintessential Vermont landscapes.
Asheville, North Carolina: There are lots of options for trails in Asheville including Bailey Mountain Bike Park and Pisgah National Forest.
Sardinia, Italy: With water and mountains, this is a beautiful backdrop to mountain bike through, and a fun place to explore off bike as well.
The Andes, Peru: There are many tours that offer mountain biking trips through Peru and this is an epic way to see this amazing country
Other Places to consider: Whistler, BC, Norway, Bend, Oregon, Jackson, Wyoming, Austria
Bike Friendly Destinations for Day Riding
The best destinations for casual biking include areas with bike paths, rail to trail paths, or low traffic/wide roads. These destinations are perfect places to explore by bike, visit nearby attractions and return home each night. Many cities offer bike-share programs where you can pay to hop on a bike from location to location. You can also consider a bike tour in many locations that focus on the history or environment of a place.
A few bike friendly cities(some of these have bike-share programs) include: New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Austin, Boston, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Montreal, Strasbourg, Tokyo, and Berlin.
If you are looking for rail trail options, check out Trail Link: https://www.traillink.com/activity/bike-trails/
Finally, for great destinations for biking with your teen and the whole family, check out: Hilton Head, SC, Cape Cod and Nantucket, MA, Mackinac Island, MI, Newport Beach, CA, Jekyll Island, GA, Grand Cayman Island, Amelia Island, FL. There are so many other destinations as well that offer great bike paths and easy roads to bike that it is worth looking into almost anywhere you plan to travel.
There are an amazing number of wonderful tour companies offering bike trips around the world. You can start with a destination and then look for a tour group, or select a tour group and read more about their amazing trips. Keep in mind a few things when looking for a tour.
- What’s included? (airfare? Meals? Bike rentals?)
- Are there hidden costs? (tips, etc?)
- Do they often do tours with teens? Will there be other families on the tour? A number of tour groups focus on adults and it’s no fun for your teen to be the only one at dinner with 12 adults
Here are a few companies that offer bike tours for families, but chances are if you’re looking at a specific destination there may be other options
- Trek Travel
- Classic Adventures
- Escape Adventures
So you want to plan a biking teen adventure holiday – how do you keep you and your teen safe and still enjoy your trip with your family? Like any outdoor sport, biking comes with risks. You should always make sure you are prepared with a plan, safety precautions and insurance.
One of the benefits of biking with your teen (or doing ANYTHING with your teen) is it gives you the chance to teach how to keep adventures fun and safe. Here are a few trips for keeping your biking safe:
- Always wear a helmet
- Make sure you are confident if your current skills before trying something new
- Road biking means you rely of drivers not to hit you – make sure you and your teen know all the biking rules of the road and hand signals
- Have a back-up map in case your phone breaks so you don’t get lost
- Have extra water and food
- Know the weather – protect yourself from the sun and the cold!
- Ride together and tell someone your route
- Limit distractions (cell phones, music, etc)
Planning a Biking trip with your teen is fun for your entire family and is a great way to build lasting memories. Follow along to learn more about creating meaningful travel experiences and memorable adventures with your teens!
Have you planned a Biking trip with your teen? Leave a comment below!