**Update May 16, 2014** We’ve had an overwhelming response to the call 2 weeks ago for signups for FLCC’s 2014 Young People’s Bike Tour, and therefore have decided to stop accepting additional signups. We have 90 people confirmed for the tour and about 20 people on the waiting list. We are currently discussing dinner arrangements with several companies to provide catering for our very large group. Once those arrangements are locked down, we are hopeful that we can accept everyone on the waiting list, and we will contact directly those families to confirm their status. Thank you to all the family members, family volunteers, and adult volunteers that have signed up, and we look forward to a great weekend tour on June 21-22, 2014.
Announcing the opening of sign-ups for the June 21-22, 2014 weekend bike tour along along the car-free Pine Creek rail-trail, organized by the FLCC Touring Group. Its the 6th Annual FLCC Young People’s Bike Tour!
This trip is especially for kids, teens, families, and adult chaperones. Last year’s participants included 48 kids ages 5-17 and 53 adults, and we biked along the Erie Canal towpath trail near Rochester. This year we head south to the beautiful Pine Creek rail-trail, starting near Wellsboro, PA, where we will travel 30 miles of the most stunning section of this trail (60 total miles for the weekend). For those who have gone on previous tours, we will follow the same route as we used in 2011.
This is a great opportunity for first-time bike tourists and campers to experience the fun and utility of bike touring. We will drive to Wellsboro early on Saturday morning, and then bike along the Pine Creek trail to the campground in Cedar Run where we will share a group dinner. We have a beautiful creek-side group campsite reserved at a campground with showers, toilets, etc. There should be plenty of time on Saturday to stop at the nearby General Store for ice cream before dinner and perhaps even take a dip in the Pine Creek. On Sunday we will bike back to Wellsboro, and then drive back to Ithaca, returning Sunday mid/late afternoon. Carpooling from Ithaca to Wellsboro is encouraged, and we can help facilitate this.
Attention parents: while this is nominally a car-free trail, there are several roads that cross the trail, so we all need to be aware of the usual challenges and hazards of bicycle travel, and keep an eye on the young people in our family groups, particularly at the cross roads. Also, if you choose to swim in the creek at the campground (and maybe even at the lunch spot) please be aware that there are no lifeguards, so you must provide supervision for those in your family group.
Our goal this year is, of course, to have a fun and safe tour, but also to try to break even in terms of cost. The FLCC has been very generous for the past 5 years, heavily subsidizing the tour, but currently our club funds are quite low, so we will be raising the cost of the tour to reflect the actual cost. For reference, last year the trip expenses totaled $32 per person: we charged $15 per person, received $7 per person in supplementary voluntary donations, and the club kicked in approximately $10 per person.
We anticipate very similar expenses for 2014, and therefore we will be charging $35 per person. I believe this is still a very good value considering that this event includes 4 meals (Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast, Sunday lunch), 4 rest stop snacks, and camping. The meals are kept simple: typically pasta and salad for dinner, cereal for breakfast, and sandwiches for the lunches. We will also provide vehicle transportation of personal supplies and camping gear to the campground, although we are encouraging kids and adults to carry as much gear on their bikes to highlight the fun and utility of bike touring. For anyone who would like to try to carry some of their gear on their bike, the club has a large quantity of loaner bike panniers that mount to most any rear rack to help get you started — these are suitable for both kids and adult bikes.
Another goal for 2014 is to try to improve the experience for everyone on the tour, including the volunteers that are essential to the success of the tour. We will try to attract more volunteers, so that we can limit the volunteer shifts to just one day (Saturday or Sunday), so that everyone will get a chance to bike ride on at least one of the tour days. The size of the tour will initially be capped at 75 participants, and we will give signup priority to volunteers and volunteer families. If a sufficient number of volunteers signup, then we will consider raising the cap. The signup period will span from May 1 to June 2.
Sign-up for this trip is simple: just download the tour information packet by clicking here , complete the form on page 1, and mail it in along with your payment (the mailing address is provided in the tour information packet). The tour information packet is a 7-page pdf document with Signup/Emergency Contact form, Trip Details (Where to Meet, What to Bring, etc), a driving map to Wellsboro, a map of the meeting point, a Pine Creek trail map, and a draft cue sheet. Copies of the final cue sheet will be handed out at the starting point.
Please note that to participate in this bike tour (and any other FLCC organized overnight bike tour) we require everyone to be a FLCC member. Joining is easy, go to: http://tinyurl.com/FLCCmembership . The cost is $12 for an individual membership, or $15 for a family membership. These funds are used to support all of the club’s activities and club insurance.
As previously mentioned, signup priority will be given to volunteers and volunteer families (a volunteer family is a family with at least one adult volunteer). Standard participant families will be signed up for the tour as the forms are received. You will receive a confirming email message once we receive your form and payment. If we exceed the trip size cap, then you will be placed on a wait list, and that will be noted in the email. Please remember that this tour is an all-volunteer run endeavor and we will do the best that we can to accommodate as many people as possible within the constraints of our cadre of volunteers. This is precisely the reason that we are trying to induce more people to volunteer — the more people that volunteer, the more total people that we can accommodate on the tour.
Volunteers will signup using the same form as the participants. Volunteer positions include staffing the rests stops, lunch stops, campground setup and meals prep, and driving several support vehicles including a U-Haul truck. Most of the volunteer positions will require a full day time commitment. Volunteer preferences can be noted on the signup form, but it would be great for everyone to be flexible and be willing to accept alternate assignments if needed. Bicycles for volunteers will be transported by truck on their work day, so that they are available for bike riding on the other day of the tour. Since we are trying to structure the trip so that all volunteers can bike ride for one day, and we are trying to break even cost-wise, the fee for volunteers will be the same as everyone else. The advantage to being a volunteer is that you and your family receive priority signup for the tour, and your volunteer participation will allow us to accommodate more people on the tour.
We also welcome adult club members without families to volunteer for this event. Many of the young people and families on this tour are bicycling relatively long distances for the first time, and it can be very rewarding to know that by volunteering you have a played a key role in enabling this event to take place.
**Scholarships Available** The FLCC will provide scholarships covering the trip cost for needy individuals or families. Please contact me directly regarding scholarships or any other questions regarding this bike trip.
Looking forward to a great 2014 Young People’s Tour in June!–Steve Powell email: firstname.lastname@example.org