$45 – $65

Dan Beard Off-Road Family Bike Campout

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Date and Time

Location

Location

Heritage Bicycles General Store

2959 N Lincoln Ave

Chicago, IL 60657

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Refund Policy

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Event description

Description

A 3-Day 2-Night Family Bike Camping Adventure from Lakeview, Chicago, to Camp Dan Beard


EVENT DETAILS


Start: Heritage Bicycles General Store in Lakeview. 2959 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657.

Meet: 9:30 am Saturday 5/25; Depart 10:00 am

Ride to and Overnight: Camp Dan Beard, 200 Portwine Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062

Return to Chicago by Bike 4:30 pm Monday 5/27

Registration comes with Guided Tour, Campsite, Meals, & more.

Bring your tent and camping gear on your bike.

Day 1: 29 Miles | Day 2: Exploration | Day 3: 29 Miles

Pace: 10 MPH

Ridership Level: Advanced

PRIOR EXPERIENCE REQUIRED


TRIP DESCRIPTION


Take the kids off-road with a scenic trip on the beautiful Des Plaines River Trail as it winds through northern Cook County to Camp Dan Beard. Yes, Bike The Drive is the same weekend; don’t ride on the freeway when you can ride in the forest! Participants get a taste of off-road touring with a dirt and gravel trail that features scenic passages along the river with spots of sand and sometimes mud. An open-meadow group campsite offers plenty of space for the children to roam and explore. On Day Two, we will explore the River Nature Center, featuring a short kid-friendly walking trail, live animals, interpretive displays, and a great indoor play space.

Due to the rugged nature of the unpaved Des Plaines River Trail, this ride is categorized as advanced in difficulty. Prior bike camping and/or long ride experience is required. Ideal bikes for this ride are longtail cargo bikes with wide (2”+) tires. Nonetheless, past participants have rocked this route on all types of bike: commuter, longtail, single speed, bike with trailer, and one guy even did it on a bakfiets (doable for the superhuman, but not recommended for the average cyclist). If you're up for an adventure, have ridden this distance fully loaded before, would like to ride off-road, and have a positive attitude, you can do it!

We purchase and prepare meals communally. Participants will receive a sign-up sheet to coordinate and plan for group meals. Campsite features a fire pit with cooking grate, picnic tables, full-service bathrooms with showers, dining pavilions with electrical outlets for device charging, and camp store with concessions.


WHAT'S INCLUDED


  • Two-Night/Three-Day Tent Campsite Reservation

  • Meals (Saturday Dinner to Monday Lunch)

  • Interpretative Trail Guides/Ride Leaders

  • Campfire & Camp Snacks


WHAT TO BRING


  • Your kid(s), bike, tent, sleeping bags, and gear

  • Saturday lunch, water, kid-friendly snacks, and adult energy snacks

  • Bike lock, spare inner tubes, bike lights, & helmets

  • Personal Items and changes of clothes


WHY JOIN US?


If you love biking and camping, we offer a supportive communal experience with accessible bike camping rides designed by fellow parents. Our goal is to help you and your kids go from riding in the neighborhood to riding in nature; we provide the organization, logistics, ride support, food, and community of family cyclists to make your bike camping adventure fun, worry-free, and successful.


WHO SHOULD COME?


This ride is designated as ADVANCED. That means it’s suitable for strong cyclists and bike campers with prior experience. This route is difficult; an unpaved trail requires greater energy compared to pavement.

This is a family ride; you should come if you are a parent/guardian with minor child(ren) who will accompany you. If you have a bike in good working order that can carry your kids and gear on unpaved surfaces, can ride for twenty miles or more at a time, are up for a communal family adventure, and possess a positive attitude, then you can complete this ride.

Haven’t joined us before or done your own family bike camping or touring? Cool – this isn’t the ride for you. Please join us on an easy or moderate ride that requires no prior experience (2019 easy/moderate rides are Shabbona Woods – twice – and Pratt's Wayne Woods.) But why? We want to set you and your family up for success, make sure you complete your ride, and have a great time. It’s no fun for anyone if you aren’t well suited for the ride you’re on.


WHAT ABOUT MY KIDS?


Bring them! For this ride, we divide children into three different categories:

  • Full-time Passengers are children who ride on their parents’ bicycles for the entirety of the route. We’ve had kids as young as 9 months and as old as 9 years be full-time passengers. You’ll want a bike seat, trailer, or cargo bike to carry these kids.

  • Little Kid Riders are part-time passengers on their parents’ bikes and part-time riders of their own bikes. There is a designated off-road 5-mile Little Kid Rider Segment designed to let them experience the Des Plaines River Trail. Little Kid Riders are usually age five to eight, typically riding bikes with wheels up to 20”, who can keep a pace of at least 5-6 mph for five miles off road (think Kidical Mass veterans). When not riding the 5-mile Little Kid Rider Segment, these children and their bikes are carried by their parents. You’ll want a tow hitch and/or cargo bike to carry these kids and their bikes.

  • Big Kid Riders are full-time riders who plan to ride the whole 27 miles. They are usually age 8 or older, ride a bike with 20” tires or bigger, have previous experience doing 20+ mile rides, and can keep a pace of 10-12 mph (think Critical Mass). Prior long ride (20+ mile) experience is required for Big Kid Riders. (Join us on a Family Day Ride to get your Big Kid Rider in shape!)


THE ROUTE AND SCHEDULE


  • This ride is categorized as advanced. It features a route that is half off-road with a designated section for Little Kid Riders. Please see custom map here.

  • Generally, from Welles Park we head up to the North Branch Trail then cut through the neighborhoods to the Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT). The distance is about 27 miles from our start at Welles Park to Camp Dan Beard, with half of that distance off-road on the unpaved DPRT. We will have regular stops for water and bathrooms as well as a lunch stop on the way.

  • Alternate route: if the DPRT is flooded, we will take the North Branch Trail most of the way and then head west.

  • The Little Kid Rider segment is the last five miles of the ride and will start on Saturday at the River Trail Nature Center and continue to Camp Dan Beard – primarily on the unpaved Des Plaines River Trail with occasional road riding and street crossings.

  • We expect the whole ride to take about five hours including breaks. See an example weekend schedule here.


THIS IS BIKE CAMPING


Bike camping offers a total sensory experience, where the journey is as important as the destination. It’s like backpacking by bike; you carry your camping gear and kid(s) with you on your bicycle. With this adventure, we offer families an opportunity to experience bike camping beyond the city.


ABOUT THE GUIDES


Family rides usually have a 1:5 guide to participant ratio to ensure a safe and smooth experience. Guides will have a bike tool kit, an air pump, a presta/schrader valve adapter, tire lever, chain breaker, and a crescent wrench (for those older bikes), a multi-toolkit, lights, and an emergency packet. Our guides will help you with any needed repairs. *If you have any of the above items please bring them along at your own convenience.

Our guides work with historians, biologists, forest rangers, and leading people in their fields to deliver a one-of-a-kind story to remember. They have setup multiple break points along the way in all the right places to ensure you and your kids can go the distance.


TESTIMONIALS


  • “What an AMAZING weekend!!! Thank you all for always stepping up to help, even when I didn’t ask for it. I couldn’t have gotten through the trip without every one of you - and your fabulous kiddos! It was great to meet other active, adventurous families. Thanks for making our first family bike camping trip absolutely PERFECT!!!”

  • “I loved that I really thought I was not going to be able to do it when there where like 10 miles to get to the campsite and I did it. I loved the feeling of being part of a community where everyone took care of each other.”

  • “It was our kids' first time camping and they were so excited about sleeping in a tent! The ride/hike to the beach on Saturday was super fun too. I loved the way everyone looked out for each other and worked together.”



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


How much are tickets?

  • Adult tickets are $65.

  • Child tickets are $45.

What’s included in the registration?

  • Tickets include a two-night group tent campsite rental, ride marshals, food for all meals from Saturday dinner to Monday lunch, guided activities, trip planning, firewood, and s’mores.

  • Participants bring their own tents, sleeping bags, clothing, and other gear.

Tell me more about food.

  • We purchase food and prepare meals communally Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Participants will receive a sign-up sheet to coordinate and plan for group meals and shared cooking equipment.

  • See an example meal calendar here. Campsites feature a fire pit with cooking grate and picnic tables. We will also use camping stoves and pots to cook. Family-style cooking fosters community and becomes a real highlight of the trip.

How do I get to the start point if I don’t live nearby?

  • It’s up to you to get to the start point however you can. A few options: 1) store your bike and gear near the start/end point in another participant's garage before and after the ride; 2) Load you bike and kids on the nearest CTA train to get there – in non-peak hours; 3) meet the group on the route. Please confirm prior to the ride with the organizers for any of those scenarios.

Do I need to bring my own tent and sleeping gear?

  • Yes! Check out a sample packing list here. If you already own camping equipment, you can use what you have. However, if you’re looking to invest, buy gear intended for backpacking; it’s lighter and more packable than car camping equipment. .

  • Don’t own any camping equipment? Our two Cook County Forest Preserve destinations (Camp Dan Beard and and Camp Shabbona Woods) all rent camping gear. See here for more details. Out Our Front Door now also partners with the Chicago Park District to rent gear free of charge. Let us know what you need and we may be able to arrange a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camp stove, etc.

Do you transport the tent and camping gear to the destination?

  • No. There is no SAG vehicle. Participants transport themselves, their kids, plus tent and gear to the campsite on their bike. That’s what makes it bike camping! Please pack lightly and find a way to load your bike with your family’s essentials.

What happens if it rains, is the event cancelled?

  • No. We will make every effort to put the event on and would only cancel in the event of biblical extreme weather or the zombie apocalypse. We strongly suggest you bring rain gear (especially for the kids as they get much colder faster when not pedaling) and if it looks like rain, garbage bags double wrapped over your gear with some tape where necessary can good-enough waterproof almost anything.

Bike Rentals?

  • If you would like to rent a cargo bike suitable for hauling kids and gear on one of our rides, please contact Four Star Family Cyclery. The owner, Elsbeth Cool, is a veteran family bike campout participant, and can talk you through what might work best for your needs.

What kind of bike do I need?

  • Cargo bikes, especially longtails, are perfect for bike camping. However, whatever you already have will likely work. Can your bike comfortably haul you, your stuff, and your kid(s) if they don’t ride yet? Bring it! Check the event description for more information on the route and terrain.

  • See some photos and videos here from our past trips for examples and inspiration on what other family bike campers ride. Your solution could be as simple as adding a new-to-you trailer to your regular bike to haul your kids and gear.

  • Past participants have done family bike campouts on bakfietsen, longtails, midtails, adult bikes with trailers, recumbent tricycles, and all sorts of standard adult bikes.

What happens if my bike breaks?

  • We’re family and we’re cyclists and we are here to help. We will have dedicated ride marshals in the group who will make simple repairs and help you out in any type of breakdown in order to get you rolling again.

  • This is frontcountry camping, which means we’re never that far from a bike shop if things are serious.

What happens if I’m too slow or the kids get too tired to complete the trip?

  • We aim for no rider left behind! If you can keep pedaling and have a positive attitude, we won't leave you. We will lash kid bikes on a cargo bike, squeeze children on/into another cargo bike, rotate a pair of fresh kid legs on their bike while they catch a ride, take breaks, etc. Plus, we ride slowly, usually 8-12 mph. Most routes feature a designated kid-friendly section where the little pedalers can safely ride.

  • If you just can't complete the ride, bug out alternate options include Metra, CTA, rideshare and phone a friend, depending on location.

Are there other family rides or groups for family biking?

  • Yes! For 2019, there are five family bike campouts: Dan Beard, Shabbona Woods (twice), Pratt's Wayne Woods, and Indiana Dunes.

  • We also now offer Family Day Rides of 10-20 miles. This is a great way for you and your kids to go on longer rides to build strength, endurance, and know-how without the pressure of having to bring all the camping gear. Check out our upcoming ride schedule for a day ride near you.

  • Shorter neighborhood rides are organized by Chicago Family Biking and take place in a dozen Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs. They all feature kid-friendly routes - usually 2-4 miles total - and often have fun themes and destinations.

  • The Chicago Family Biking Community is a wonderful resource to talk all things bikes, kids, routes, and gear with fellow Chicagoland parents.

How fun is it riding with your family?

  • Adventures create memories that last a lifetime so be prepared to have some fun and bring your swimwear. Even if we’re not going to the beach, there’s likely a pool along the way.

What's the start point?

  • Heritage Bicyucles General Store, Chicago (2959 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657). Restrooms, water, and complimentary coffee for riders will be available.


REFUND/CANCELLATION POLICY:


Individual/Participant Cancellations: No Refunds. No Transfers. | We are a small organization and due to the small group size of our rides, a ticket cancellation/no show has a real impact into the planning of the tour and as such, we cannot provide any refunds for a participant cancellation. By registering you acknowledge and agree there will not be a refund if you cancel or do not show up for the event. Tickets are non-transferable and can not be resold. Please contact the ride organizer if you are no longer able to attend.

Organizer Cancellation: Full Refund | Nobody wants an event to be cancelled. But in the very rare case the organizer does cancel the event at their discretion due to unforeseen circumstances, then registered participants will receive a full refund. To date this organizer has never cancelled an event.

Weather and Rain: We do not cancel an event for rain or a storm. | We ride rain or shine. Understand that Chicago weather is typically passing, if it gets intense we will wait it out in a provided shelter then continue biking. FYI-Some of the best views and greenery are after a rain storm.


ABOUT US


We're the Out Our Front Door Organization, a Bike Camping Community For Chicago and The Lower Lake Michigan Basin. Learn more about the people behind these all-volunteer adventures here. Want to help? Fill out this form, meet us at one of our monthly hangouts, and join us on a bike overnight.


See Our Full Schedule Of Events Here


We provide exploratory adventures by immersing and educating in the history, architecture and the uniquely beautiful natural habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan.

Drop us a friendly visit at: www.outourfrontdoor.org

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Date and Time

Location

Heritage Bicycles General Store

2959 N Lincoln Ave

Chicago, IL 60657

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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