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Where Baby Sleeps When We’re Bike Touring

Posted December 13th, 2012

When we began camping and bike touring with our son he was just a few months old. One of our biggest concerns was finding a way for him to sleep safely and comfortably.

Baby Asleep In The Tent

Most advice online was targeted to people travelling by car. Hauling a large and relatively heavy travel cot around by bicycle was not an option.

Since we co-sleep at home anyway, we didn’t actually feel the need for a travel cot. If we had, we probably would have gone for something like this Samsonite Pop-Up Travel Cot. Someone gave us one of these and we were impressed by how lightweight and compact it is.

Samsonite Cot

For overnight camping you’d have to add an insulating layer (the ‘mattress’ that comes with it is pretty thin) but otherwise it seems quite handy for a very young baby that can’t roll over. Older babies will not be safe in this cot as they can easily tip it over.

We never used the Samsonite cot. Instead, we started with a Z-lite mattress, folded up to suit Luke’s proportions. We put it between our two camping mats, and it turned out to be pretty good for changing diapers as well as sleeping.

Sleeping Arrangements

At night, we covered the mattress with a soft blanket. Luke was dressed in PJs, a down sleep sack and a hat. We had another blanket that went over top of him as well. Since temperatures were close to freezing at night, we added a hot water bottle for good measure. As you can see, Luke was a pretty happy camper.

Camping With A Baby

When Luke was 5 months old, we decided to ride our bikes to France. This was a 2-week journey and we wanted a more compact sleeping mat than the Thermarest Z-lite mattress. We invested in the short version of the Thermarest NeoAir. The NeoAir is wonderfully light (just 230g) and we hope Luke can use it for camping until he’s 4-5 years old.

Thermarest Neo Air

By this point, Luke had made it clear that he didn’t like sleepsacks so instead we invested in a sleeping bag that would cover both mum and Luke at the same time: the Vaude Sioux 500 XL.

Vaude Sioux 500 XL

This set-up worked really well for us, and we’ll use it again next summer.

Now that we’re off to Cuba, we’re planning to do exactly what we do at home: co-sleep. Obviously not every family will be comfortable with this but for us it’s the most pleasant and practical arrangement.

Want to know more about bike touring with a baby? Here’s a video of our summer bike tour to France:

And one made by our friend Blanche, which tells more about our set-up.

 

Love On A Bike (And A Kickstarter Campaign Worth Supporting)

Posted November 1st, 2012

Last week an email dropped into our box from fellow adventurer Tom Allen.

“Would you be up for doing a review of ‘Janapar’?” he asked. We didn’t have to think long. Absolutely we would! Ever since we saw the trailer a few months back, we’ve been waiting anxiously for the film to be released.

It didn’t disappoint.

We’re not film critics so we won’t launch into a detailed review. We’ll simply say that this is the stuff of bike touring dreams and hard reality all rolled into one. It pairs breathtaking landscapes with moments of intense self reflection, and then there’s an unexpected romance with a charming woman…

The film is just barely out of the starting gates (it’s been shown at some film festivals and will soon be released on DVD and as a digital download). You’d think Tom might be ready for a break but instead he’s launched straight into the mammoth task of producing a book as well.

To do this, Tom is asking for your help to finish it via a Kickstarter campaign so if your interest is piqued, take a look. We’ll be pledging our support. Here’s Tom to tell you about it in his own words:

The World’s Only Suspended Bicycle Roundabout

Posted October 7th, 2012

This blog mostly focuses on bike touring but occasionally we get a bit carried away with the bicycle bliss in the Netherlands and feel compelled to share it with you.

On that note, here’s a short video that shows what we did today: travelled to the world’s only suspended bicycle roundabout. It’s the Hovenring in Eindhoven!

And just in case you were wondering, it takes about 50 seconds to bike around it on a Brompton folding bike, while towing 25kg of baby + trailer.

Video: Bike Touring In Ukraine

Posted September 28th, 2012

Ukraine isn’t the best known of bike touring destinations, so it’s especially nice to see a new video from keen cyclist and film maker Blanche that looks at cycling in this ex-Soviet state.

If you like what you see here, you can follow Blanche on Twitter, where she also regularly promotes other videos from the bike touring world.

Ukraine from Blanche on Vimeo.

A Bike Tour Powered By Local Food

Posted September 9th, 2012

This is a quick update to let you know about a group of Canadian bike tourists, currently touring the province of Manitoba and fuelling their journey only with local food.

The 17-day trip will cover about 1,200km. Daily video updates are being posted to their website: TailwindTV.

Here’s a summary of their trip…

…and an update from Day 8.

Posted in Map, Video