Before Saturday’s first Kidical Mass bike camping trip I was a big ball of nerves. Did I pack enough? Would I be able to bail quickly if I had an emergency? Was the route safe enough for the kids? Should I bring a lock for each bike? Would my fellow campers help keep our site clean? Would my jangy non-profit scam that I used to book the youth site actually work upon check in? What if someone couldn’t get the conductors to let them on the Metra with their bikes and gear?
I didn’t sleep a wink on Friday night. I was sure I’d forgotten some essential component to make this trip successful.
I was wrong. The weather was gorgeous. Everyone made it up to the meeting point without a hitch and the ride was smooth as could be. Four kids rode their own bikes and made the distance without any problems.
We were even treated to an air show. Oooh la la, military might and all that jazz.
We met at the commuter rail station at 2pm and set off for a 3 mile journey that was almost exclusively on trails. Because a few of us had ridden from the camp site to the meeting point we spent about 15 minutes playing at a playground next to the station before saddling up. This was just as beneficial for the kids that had spent an hour twiddling their thumbs on the train as it was for the kids whining about tired legs and hunger pains.
Plus, look at the cute kid’s bikes photo opportunity I was given.
After our first merry-go-round wipe out of the day, it was time to hit the trails. Fall is my absolute favorite season to ride and the kids didn’t seem to mind the 68 degree sun either as we rolled along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
I arrived early to check in with the ranger so once we reached the site there was nothing but time to explore our surroundings and set up camp. Take a guess as to who got to explore and who was stuck pitching tents.
We found a pizza joint in town with a great special and were able to cover dinner for 20 and “adult provisions” for less than $50. I brought s’mores fixins’ from home to complete the night. Nothing helps lull children to sleep like high fructose corn syrup.
An overnight rain storm provided white noise to keep my wild animal paranoia away and I only had minimal puddling in my tent come the morning to complain about. In the AM we ate cereal and fruit and eggs and dilly dallied about the site chatting and playing.
After breaking down our tents and packing up it was time to hit the beach. It was too chilly to get down into our skivvies and dive in but the totally empty post-Labor Day beach front was a treat in and of itself.
Soon it was time to pack it in and head back home toward Chicago.
Does “leave no trace” also apply to grasshopper stowaways trying to hitch a ride to the city?
Thanks to Cigdem Tunar for taking many of these great photos.