Get Out!: A Spring Bike Ride | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Get Out!: A Spring Bike Ride 

Published March 18, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. | Updated April 4, 2022 at 8:03 p.m.

click to enlarge Tristan pulls 16-month-old Elise on the Cross Vermont Trail - SARAH GALBRAITH
  • Sarah Galbraith
  • Tristan pulls 16-month-old Elise on the Cross Vermont Trail
The spring-like weather last weekend drew my family outside at every opportunity. We drank our morning coffee in the yard while playing fetch with the dog and took a walk down our quiet dirt road to our neighbor’s sugar house where the sap was flowing like crazy. Of course, being the tremendous biking enthusiasts that we are, we also went on a family bike adventure.

My partner, Tristan, and I are planning to do a few bikepacking trips this summer in which we ride 10 miles from our front door to Groton State Forest, where many miles of trails and five campgrounds await us. The plan is to pull our 16-month-old daughter, Elise, in a trailer, and to pack our gear into frame bags and a second trailer. Our goal is to be self-supported, so we’ll need to carry a tent, sleeping bags, food and more on our bikes. In preparation for these upcoming adventures, we took a shakedown trip on our fat bikes on the Cross Vermont Trail in Marshfield.

The day was warm and sunny, with clear blue skies and a light breeze that seemed to call out, “Get on your bikes!” We obliged by packing our bike trailer and gear into our Subaru, loading our fat bikes onto our hitch rack and heading to the parking area on Rail Road Bed East/East Road in Marshfield, a few miles above Marshfield Village, from where the Cross Vermont Trail enters Groton State Forest. Although our plan is to someday ride from our front door to our campsite – no car involved – we decided that on this day we would use our car as a base camp.

We parked in a pull-off by Bailey Pond. Elise had fallen asleep in the car, and we had hoped to quietly load up and transfer her to the bike trailer without waking her so that she could continue sleeping in the trailer. One challenge we’re expecting with family bikepacking is keeping an active toddler happy for hours in a bike trailer. A strategy we think will work is to do most of our miles during her nap times. But on this day, we woke her accidentally as we loaded her in. We tucked her into her blanket and handed her a favorite stuffed animal, and hoped she would go back to sleep.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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Sarah Galbraith

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