A great socially and physically distanced trip idea to challenge yourself and your family unit.

Getting the whole family to agree on a vacation can be a challenge. Luckily my amazing wife and kiddo are up to the challenge and adventure of bike packing. With limited travel options due to the COVID-19 and the need to get out of our house for fresh air and exercise family bike packing can be a great option for many. Though I’ll admit it may not be for all. We recently rode from Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee to Nagawaukee Park.

Planning a Route

map of bike routes from milwaukee to nagawaukee
This slow and constant uphill and into the wind heading west really stinks! Although the wind at your back and downhill to get home is pleasant ending to the trip

The first thing you’ll want to do is find a destination and a route. This can be done on Google maps or on a paper map like the ones we sell here. From our family’s experience we know about 30 miles is near our capacity, particularity with that uphill and into the wind! We prefer to stick to routes with as much trail as possible. Your family comfort levels with routes and roads, or trails, should be considered in the planning process. Also consider what water, bathroom, and food stops may be along the way. Carrying lots of food the whole way may be an unnecessary burden if there happens to be a Kwik Trip 3 minutes from your campsite. Definitely have some snacks and plenty of water on board both to not only keep the adults satisfied, but also the kids who apparently need snacks every 15 minutes.

Don’t forget to buy your trail passes ahead of time!

Gear

Any semi-experienced outdoors person will tell you gear options are limitless. Everyone has their opinion on what is the best tool for the job, what bike is best, what shoes, tent, etc. So my list is merely what we have found to work for us over the years. Use it as a guide, but don’t feel its the end all be all, and make adjustments as you see fit.

My and the daughter’s bike:

  • Larry Vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike
  • Frog 55 Kid’s Bike
  • FollowMe Tandem Cycling Trailer (allows for any kid’s bike up to 20″ wheels to be towed easily, take it off the hitch to let them ride alone on the trail or at the campsite!)
  • Topeak rear seatpost clamping rack with panniers
  • Plastic tub and ratchet straps make for easy cargo hold.
Cargo bike with kids bike on trailer

Camping Equipment

  • Family tent
  • Sleeping bags (although could have gone without it was so hot this time!)
  • A large compact-able water jug and personal water bottles
  • Sleeping pads
  • Just enough clothes for weather conditions and maybe one extra pair of socks and underwear
  • Bike Fed padded bibs
  • Percolating coffee pot, fry pan, silverware, aluminum plates and cups, can opener, trusty knives
  • Towels for beach
  • Length of rope for a drying line
  • AM/FM battery powered radio
  • LED re-chargeable camp lantern
  • TOOLS FOR YOUR BIKE. Extra tubes, allen wrench, mini pump, screwdriver. Last thing you want is to be out on the trail and have to call a friend to drive to help you out!
bikes parked outside a coffee shop
We love stopping at Mama D’s Coffee shop in Wales.
beach at sunset
Due to a late start and tough ride in the heat and humidity we made it just in time for a sunset dip in the cool waters of Nagawicka Lake. The perfect end to a long day in the saddle!
bikes at trail crossing
The Oak Leaf Trail new signs! at the confluence of the Oak Leaf Trail and New Berlin Trail.
selfie riding with kid behind
The Followme trailer is expensive but we really loved the versatility and the sturdiness of it.
bikes and tent on campground
A walk-in campsite provides extra privacy and feeling of seclusion

COVID-19 Precautions

This type of trip can easily be done with minimal contact with strangers. We had masks on board and used them when going into the Kwik Trip or Mama D’s for coffee. We also carried an easily accessible bottle of hand sanitizer.

Have you been Bikepacking more now lately with many things cancelled and wanting to get out and enjoy some nature by bike? Share your pics with us. Tag us on social media! We love to see the different styles, and gear, and places you can go by bike!