There's a New Brand of Biker Gang in Indiana

Posted 11/07/14 by Katie Harris in Trail Use

Photo courtesy Mark Stosberg

Two kids—age three and six. Sixty pounds of camping gear. Food, toys and equipment for an overnight in the woods. Pack up the…bikes?

In Bloomington, Ind., Mark Stosberg and his family are doing just that through overnight camping trips done on cargo bikes. With kids in tow, he and his wife hit the road or trail—and off they go to explore the world around them.

According to Stosberg, the inspiration for the camping trips came from how the family usually got around, with grocery shopping, errands and the youngest kid’s daily drop-off at nursery school all being done on two wheels.

Photo courtesy Mark Stosberg

“Cargo bike camping was a natural extension of our everyday bike travels,” Stosberg says. “I thought about bike camping with the whole family…and said [to myself], ‘Why not? We can do this!’”

His enthusiasm for the camping trips is mirrored by his children. Stosberg affirms that his kids don’t care how far out of town they go; what matters is the time away and having a different experience than their day-to-day routine. “It is a discovery that there are beautiful spots close to home,” he explains, “and getting there by bike makes the experience that much better.”

Earlier this summer, Stosberg read a book about a family who traveled by bike around the world and told his kids about their grand adventures. And so, on one of their first family camping trips, they peppered their father with questions: Are we in another country? Another state, at least?

His response? “Nope, we’re barely out of town, but it feels like a grand adventure, doesn’t it?!”

Stosberg says his family isn’t trying to break any records or be extreme in any sense. It’s about fitting the excursions into what’s happening day-to-day. And that integration of bikes and adventure into everyday life is a great example of normalizing the bike culture.

Stosberg moved his family from Richmond, Ind., to Bloomington a few years ago because he wanted to raise his kids in a place where biking was “normal culture,” and of course, trails have been an integral part of the process. Stosberg says he appreciates trails in Indiana, especially now that he is a father.

“Trails have been a great place for my kids to learn how to ride, learn skills [and] learn how to ride with others, where the stakes are much lower,” he says. “It was the first place that we went to practice…[trails] provided a safe environment for them, where they could be comfortable, and where I knew they were safe.”  

Sometimes, they’re joined by other bike-centric families, and the crew cruises out to the campsite. The Stosberg family redefines the phrase “biker gang”—a definition that we can definitely get behind!

Want to hear more about cargo bike adventures and how the Stosberg family uses bikes as transportation everyday? Follow Mark on Twitter: @bikesastrans.

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