Laurie Gillard's dad drinks a beer after a day's riding on the 2005 RAGBRAI.
Kevin Purdy and daughter Madi take a break
along the Route of the Hiawatha.
Tell Us ...
In July, we asked you to tell us how you first got your kids or grandkids out on the trail?
Laurie Gillard — River Forest, Ill.
My father took my two sons on RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) when they were 12 and 13 years old. My brother brought his 12-year-old son; they live in Australia. That was seven years ago. My then 12-year-old son is now 19 (he'll turn 20 on RAGBRAI at the end of this month) and he'll be riding with me this time. There's nothing like spending seven consecutive hot summer days on a bike to form a lifelong bond!
My father was an avid cyclist and rode 13 or so RAGBRAIs. He was orginally from Des Moines, Iowa, but lived most of his adult life in San Diego. He would come out to Iowa just to do the ride, many times by himself just camping along the way. Then he got smart and let someone else carry his gear. Over the years all my sisters (I have three sisters) rode with him, and then as I mentioned my brother and nephew and my own two boys. In fact, his blind brother (who still lives in Des Moines) rode it with him on a tandem bike!
I rode RAGBRAI with my dad for the first time in 2005. My brother again flew in from Australia just to do it. In 2006, my dad died after a sudden illness. I was so, so glad I'd done the ride with him the previous summer. In 2007, we did a memorial ride to honor him.
I love to ride, and I hope my joy in cycling is inherited by my children.
Kevin Purdy — Louisville, Colo.
My daughter Madi's first experience with rail-trails was at the tender young age of one, when I pulled her, in a bike trailer, through the tunnels on the Route of the Hiawatha in northern Idaho. She actually preferred the dark tunnels over the lights at the end of the tunnel.
A few years later, we took a break from the theme parks of Orlando to pedal the Withlacoochee State Trail in Florida. Our memorable experience on that trail was to rent a tandem recumbent bike from one of the trailside purveyors. Madi enjoyed allowing me to do most of the pedaling while she watched for turtles along the path. It helped that the trail was as flat as a proverbial pancake, without all the pesky airholes.
And finally, our most recent experience was to take an Amtrak train to Glenwood Springs, Colo., and ride Segways on the Glenwood Canyon Trail. If you make the trails fun and memorable, you'll likely raise a tribe of trail rats. And what could be more healthy, environmentally friendly and economical than that?
Jeanne W. — Sarasota, Fla.
I was able to get our oldest granddaughter, age 15 at the time, out on the Legacy Trail here in Sarasota, Fla., by telling her that her grandfather said she would never be able to finish the ride. Of course, that made her call her grandfather halfway through and say she was on the way back.
Then when our 13-year-old grandson came down and found out his cousin did it, he of course he had to finish it also. My husband then took out our grandson for the ride.