Filed under: Entertaining Kids at Camp, Entertaining Kids at Camp, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Summer 2011
One of the great things about summer is that it is time to bring out the people-powered modes of transportation. With the warm sunny days, and the kids out of school, you see a larger number of these people-powered machines on the road, in the campgrounds, on the trails, and just about anywhere else you can imagine.
Naturally the most common are the bicycles in all their forms (racing bikes, off-road bikes, stingrays, stunt, tandems, recumbent, and many others), but you will also see things like skateboards and in-line skates. But, as we have traveled around the country, we have seen a few others that are very interesting.
Yes, we have bikes; an 18-speed “hybrid” (sort-of a light-duty mountain bike or a heavy-duty road bike) for me, as well as a 7-speed folding bike that is easier to carry. But we have also added a couple of more items to our people-powered fleet of vehicles. The first one we picked up came from our stay just outside Lancaster, PA—in Intercourse.
What we learned was that the Amish in this part of the country are not allowed to ride bicycles because of the gears; so, they make do with scooters that are functional and a lot of fun. We saw so many of the Amish riding these scooters that we just had to ask if they were for sell; and we found out that a local Amish family made them for the tourists (in pretty colors). We looked up the family and made it out to their farm where we were able to buy the scooter that we wanted. You were able to choose a variety of colors, different size tires and frames, and different types of wheels (we chose the metal spokes), and you could add extra items such as front-wheel hand brakes, a basket, and a matching kickstand (we added all the extras).
We enjoy riding our scooter around the RV Parks where we stay; and it fits (although sort of upside down) on the bicycle rack on our ladder. At one park I was putting the scooter on the rack as we were getting ready to go and I heard a voice say, “there seems to be some parts missing from that bicycle.” The scooter is always good for starting up a conversation; so you need to plan that into any ride you are taking in the park (you will end up stopping to chat several times).
The next item is one we discovered in Las Vegas, NV—a couple came riding toward us on the oddest contraptions we’d ever seen. Naturally we had to stop them and ask about their rides. They told us it was a Trikke—it is sort of like a scooter, but not quite.
The one thing I have to say about the Trikke is that I was not able to just jump on and start “carving” (the Trikke is called a 3-wheeled carving vehicle). It took some time and patience (as well as reading the instructions, watching the videos, and finding as many additional videos online that I could) before I was able to ride around the block. I started slow, but it was not long before it was comfortable—and much more fun than a bicycle. I think that having a coach would have helped (someone who knew how to ride it), and many larger locales offer lessons.
Also, had I done more ice-skating and cross-country skiing, it might have been easier (my wife was able to ride initially much faster than I was, and we think it was because she used to cross-country ski). The way the Trikke works is that you shift your weight to your outside foot while leaning toward the inside foot—which is not a “natural” motion (at least for me). Once you create a rhythm, it all fits together—but, while creating that rhythm, any distraction wreaks havoc. I think that the most frustrating part of trying to learn to ride the Trikke was seeing all those videos in YouTube of kids jumping on and taking off on their first attempt!
So, as you travel around the country this summer, remember to keep an extra eye out for the people-powered modes of transportation—in all their forms! And, do not forget about the small motor-assisted items out there, such as small motor scooters, motor-powered skateboards, Segways, and even motor-powered Trikkes, because they also do not do well in accidents with automobiles. And, please let me know any time you find additional people-powered modes of transportation that might fit into my collection.