Claus Lauter: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of the Ywe Travel Podcast. Today we want to talk about family travels, and there’s many ways to do that. One way is to do on a bicycle. So with that, I have Dale Mayers with me. He has done a lot of trips, , on bicycles with his family, and we wanna dive a little bit deeper into this topic.
So let’s welcome Dale to the show. Hi Dale. How
Dale Majors: are you today? Hello. Thanks for.
Claus Lauter: what was your first experience being a traveler or traveling? So basically your first childhood
Dale Majors: memory. The first childhood memory , we did a lot of camping as kids.
My first bike tour was when I was 18. So do we want to go earlier than 18 or should we talk about the 18 year old?
Claus Lauter: Whatever, , made the most impression on you to get the travel buck .
Dale Majors: Oh, we took a Greyhound bus, so Greyhound is like a, bus provider here in America, kind of low end.
And we took a bus to California and then we rode for. Seven or eight days down the coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and it was just a beautiful, amazing, fun experience. And that’s kind of what kicked off [00:01:00] all of the bike touring.
Claus Lauter: Okay. That sounds amazing. Now, biking , for a lot of people is a sport, , for a lot of people, specifically in Europe.
, it’s a mode of transportation, but really like traveling on a bike is something that not everyone would think of. Give me a bit of an idea what got you into this.
Dale Majors: I have a friend who would always daydream as a kid that. Pack some bags on his bike and run away or go and travel. He exposed me to the idea of, hey, it’s a mix between camping and traveling.
You know, it’s a way to go far for cheap and see things and get exercise. So that just aligned with a lot of the way that I’m wire. When I did that, I just realized, wow, this is like, I need to travel more like this. It just aligned really well with, me.
Claus Lauter: Okay.
So did you start on your own or were you already married and had kids? What’s the history behind that?
Dale Majors: My friends and I, we were 18 and single, just got outta high school. We went on that trip and we said, look, when we get back, we were missionaries for [00:02:00] our church, for two years I lived in Portugal.
, and then when we got back from that experience, we rode from Canada to Mexico and then we said, Hey, if we’re all still single, let’s go to Europe for a few months. And then we were all still single. So we went to Europe for two and a half months and did a, 3,500 mile tour, 6,000 kilometers, , through Europe.
When I got married, my wife luckily likes to do it too, so we got into it together. Okay. So
Claus Lauter: this is not your usual, just around the block tour. We’re talking about some serious mileage here. What kind of mindset do , you have when you plan a tour specifically?
Such a long.
Dale Majors: When I started the mindset was we should ride from Canada to Mexico, cuz that’s like a cool accomplishment. It’s far, there’s gonna be great things to see and to do. It’s epic in some way. But more my mindset now is how could we go and be together for three.
ride bikes every day, see new things, , and just live the touring [00:03:00] life. Even if we just zig-zagged all around. It’s less about , the destination, but more about riding every day, getting hungry every day, making decisions every day that you know to survive and enjoy yourselves. And with my kids specifically now, we want them to have challenges.
We want them to pull together to see themselves doing hard things, if that makes sense.
Claus Lauter: No. Makes perfectly sense for me. And I think that’s why we travel makes perfectly sense in that context because it’s not really getting there. It’s not, I want to get to this specific place, and that’s the purpose of the whole journey.
, there’s much more to it. It’s bonding together with your family, with people seeing new things and having experiences. Now talking about your kids, not sure how old your kids are, but when did you start, , taking your kids with you on these?
Dale Majors: Also going back to your last question, then I’ll answer that.
I’m wired to be more destination focused, so it’s been a real evolution for me , to enjoy the journey [00:04:00] more because , that’s naturally not my way of, being. So we have six kids today that are between the ages of two and 13. , we, with my 13 year old, we took him on 160 mile bike tour when he was 10 months old.
Then we took our one and three year old on a 750 mile bike. , down the Pacific Coast and then we took our one, three and five year old for 1200 miles. Actually last year we took our eight month old, , on a two month.
Claus Lauter: Now for bike touring, , long trips, not everyone has that much of a holiday during the year. Specifically in the us I know people have like two weeks holiday vacation, so how do you do this? Do you work online or how do you put these things
Dale Majors: together? I own my own businesses , and work in a way that allows me to.
I would go on several week long trips, but when I did my first two month trip, I think I had 25 employees and [00:05:00] they were able to keep things going while I was gone. Okay.
Claus Lauter: With these kids different ages, I might need a lot of preparation to get going.
, what’s the process there?
Dale Majors: Ha ha. My wife is the pro at that, we’ve traveled with, , all ages of children and people usually say like, well, when my kid gets bigger, or, Hey, when they’ll remember the trips, we’ll start doing things or whatever. We haven’t lived that way. . This summer we’re in a position to go for two months.
We’re going to go and sure the kids are one, three and five. It’s like probably the worst age to go and travel for two months. , but in preparation, , really good gear. Probably the first like polyester good sporting material. Apparel and rain gear for them to stay, , warm and protected from the elements is probably, priority number one.
You need good shelter , like a good tent and rain fly with a good vestibule. I think That’s underrated having a good vestibule for more space for gear storage and things. Decent gear and the [00:06:00] route, one of the most important preparations with kids is you need, and we’ve experienced this cuz we’ve had several, , botched, not botched attempts, just harder trips.
For the, here’s probably two things that we’ve learned among all of our trips. , access to grocery stores is really important. Frequent access, meaning every 10 or 15 miles, not 50 miles stretches where you’re having to bridge gaps. we can ride 30 miles a day with kids. Our six year old can ride 30 miles a day.
So that’s, I think, really important. The next thing frequent access to grocery stores. We did a trip in Missouri that did not have that, and that was the one thing we realized we’re too stretched. I guess three things. The second thing is trail system away from cars.
That’s why we use the Euro velo networks in. , there are a couple, the Katy Trail in Missouri, the great Allegheny Passage in Pennsylvania. , the Erie Canal Trail, we haven’t done that one yet. There’s several [00:07:00] bike paths, the Mickelson Trail in South Dakota and Utah that are dedicated paths.
But in Europe, the whole Euro of L oh six, the lair of, you know, the lair and the Rhine and the Danube are all covered in bike paths. So that’s really, I. And then the third is elevation. The minute you start pulling a trailer, it’s bad enough carrying gear, but that’s not that bad. When you carry a trailer up a big steep hill, it becomes very difficult.
So riding along the coast is kind of terrible because you’re being passed by cars quickly and you’re going, uphills going two miles an hour. make sure to find dedicated bike paths with small kids.
Claus Lauter: You did a lot of trips.
Now YOLO is one that, that you mentioned going all over Europe. You did, , Mexico, Canada, in the us. Where are the sort of, Regional differences. Being on a bike, traveling by a bike, is there places where you are more like an alien and people look at you [00:08:00] like, that’s a crazy person? What’s your
Dale Majors: experience there?
Yeah, it’s not as common in the US but you’re still not an alien per se. When you go with six kids on by bike, you’re an alien everywhere because you don’t really see a family with six children riding bikes along. So we get a lot of people wanting to take our pictures or talking to us.
but Europe, it’s a lot more normalized. People riding bikes and just being outside more. Okay. What’s
Claus Lauter: the feedback from your kids on doing
Dale Majors: these trips? They want to do it again. My six year old daughter until for the first few years, she’s like, I hate bikes. I don’t wanna do a bike tour.
But she would do it and it was fine. , on our first tour that where she rode a mile into it, she threw her bike down and started crying and said, I’m not gonna ride. We’re like, well, we have to ride uphill. Actually today, 20 miles. , we’re going, we left the car, we’re going, and then she fell in line and figured it out, and now they’re all excited to go again.
[00:09:00] So there are enough, , perks. We make sure to make it enjoyable for the kids by, we eat well, we have snacks, we see things, there’s enough that they like about it that if they had to choose to do it or not, they choose to.
Claus Lauter: Okay. A bit more of a technical question or organizational question is like, obviously you’re not starting from home and then traveling to Europe, so you have to go on the plane before you start riding your bicycles.
How do you do this? Do you take your bikes with you or are you buying bikes at the destination?
Dale Majors: How does that work? I guess I’ve done it three ways and we’re about to do it four ways. , we’ve flown with our bikes in bike box. , we’ve flown and put our bikes on a pallet and shipped it by boat. We have flown there and rented bikes along the lair, , for a 10 day ride.
And then next summer, we’re going to take a cruise boat in the spring from New Jersey to Rome. We don’t know how we’ll get our bikes over. We may take them on the cruise boat or we might send [00:10:00] them, a lot of these trips you can’t figure out all at once, so you kind of plan as you go.
So we committed to do a trip this summer. We’ve booked a cruise to get to Rome. We still don’t know, and there’s several options, but we still don’t know a lot about the.
Claus Lauter: I think that’s , the major difference between a traveler who has to solve problems on a daily basis and a holiday maker, a tourist where everything is planned through and it’s smooth sailing.
Dale Majors: possibly that’s a good distinction, we build it as an adventure. We want the uncertainty. We want to solve problems. We don’t want all of our problems solved for us. We don’t want to go to a travel agent and. Take us on an amazing experience. We want to create the experience.
Claus Lauter: What would you recommend to a family or a person who hasn’t done that? What would be sort of the homework they have to do before they really should venture off and do the trip?
Dale Majors: You should take a small trip. You should ride your bike to the store with your. And then you should ride your bike to the store in the [00:11:00] town next to you along a trail system with your kids, and then you could graduate.
So I just like, I believe a lot in the law of the harvest and the idea of everything needs to grow organically and develop. it’s gonna be hard for somebody that never does any adventuring to go and do a two month a. . I think it’s important to, do an overnighter on your bike in the town next to you, go and ride your bike to the campsite.
That’s how all of our stuff happened. We did smaller trips even with our kid. It was a three day bike tour at first, I had done six months of bike. So I would just say the recommendation is start small,
Claus Lauter: What are your next plans, your next destinations? Where do you go next?
Dale Majors: So we’re gonna go to Rome in May, and from there we’ll either ride to the Rhine River. and then take the Rhine to Amsterdam and maybe go up to the Sweden, or we’ll go to Spain and then up the French Coast across, , France to the Rhine and then , to Amsterdam.
Okay, that sounds
Claus Lauter: like a [00:12:00] great trip. One question comes to mind, \, are you taking your kids out of school or are you homeschooling? How do you do
Dale Majors: our younger kids are going to miss, , three and a half weeks of school and they’re just gonna miss it.
Our eighth grader is, we’ll do online school to finish up.
Claus Lauter: I understand , you also providing something in that space. You mentioned Grand Trunk. Can you give me a little bit more of background,
Dale Majors: what that means? Oh yeah, Grand Trunk is a, , outdoor product gear company. we are one of the original manufacturers or makers of nylon hammocks.
so we make hammocks and, , camping chairs and. , , outdoor products , for traveling. my partners and I bought that company two years ago, my background is in internet, retail, bicycle parts, cycling. I spend probably 20% of my time working on Grand Trunk.
My brother runs it a hundred percent. Now, my other partner. He took a sailboat from Panama to New Zealand for a year. He will have been gone for a year. He gets back [00:13:00] in like March, I think, . so my brother runs Grand Trunk and then I run a company called Venture Anyway, where I do, , executive coaching and I coach entre.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Yeah. Very similar to things that I do and I think the big advantage living in the internet age, that we can all work if we really wanna go that route, can work online and combine that with traveling, so mm-hmm. big with the advantage of the time we live in Dale, where can people find out more about
Dale Majors: you?
I’m on linked. . and my website is dale majors.com. D a l e m a j o r s. I am compiling a bike touring guide for people that want to tour with kids. And if they connect with me on LinkedIn, , or email me through the. Then I will send that guide to people. I just give it away.
someday, maybe we’ll make it a book, but right now we like to help people get into bike touring. Awesome.
Claus Lauter: I will put the links in the show notes. Then you just one click away and whoever has a question, then they can approach it directly. And I think that was absolutely great. Lot of, , insights in there.
, hope a lot of people get an appetite to do [00:14:00] what you do with your family. I think it’s a great idea , thanks for your
Dale Majors: time. Awesome.
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