Muted colors of Fall leaves surround us here in the Northeast, and low temperatures let us know the season is transitioning from those long, hot summer days to the upcoming cold, dreary winter season.
This transition time is a great opportunity to reflect on the lively summer days and the teen bike adventures that took place all across the U.S., Canada and Europe. As Teen Treks shuffles through photos, videos, reviews, and recalls countless conversations over the adventures had this summer, we are reminded of the transforming power of traveling to new places from the seat of a bicycle. And we are elated by every story of teens rising to self-sufficiency, personal development and newfound perspectives while creating lasting memories and friendships.
Across America Trek
Our Across America Trekkers travelled long, arduous days from coast to coast, completing many century rides, meeting hospitable strangers, and learning about the American culture from remote mountain towns out West, to classic Midwestern destinations and bustling northeastern cities. They were welcomed everywhere they went and experienced many kind offerings and interactions from impressed audiences across the country. The Across America group tested their personal limits daily, and for 55-days learned what it was like to work together as a team to accomplish a challenging goal. Their celebration in NYC was one of complete satisfaction at a journey that will empower them in future endeavors and likely never be forgotten.
New York- Montreal Trek
New York-Montreal Trekkers faced many rainy days this summer, yet showed resilience as they pitched tarps at their campsites and continuously wore smiles on their faces, looking at every challenge as an opportunity to embrace the spirit of adventure. They experienced beautiful destinations, riding along the Hudson River, camping next to Lake George, scenic Burlington bike paths and explorations around the Montreal City Center. Both Teen Treks’ New York-Montreal groups created tight bonds with their leaders and fellow trekkers, walking away with new adventure buddies and plenty of stories to tell.
Amsterdam-Paris Trekkers experienced the bike-friendly landscape of the Netherlands, Belgium and France, immersed in the youth hostel culture of Europe and visited many interesting museums and historic sights along the way. The Amsterdam- Paris Trek is a great example of how bike trips can be so much more than biking. The group indulged in local cuisine, including Dutch breakfast’s of deli meats, cheeses and bread, Belgian waffles in Bruges, and Dutch apple pie while in Amsterdam. They visited the M.C. Escher Museum at The Hague, slept at a Stayokay Hostel stationed inside a medieval castle and took walking and boat tours in Brugge. They explored the beautiful canals of Ghent, biked to the Palace of Versailles and spent their last couple days enjoying Paris.
Cape Cod & New England Shore Trek
Cape Cod & New England Shore Trekkers spent many dreamy days along the Atlantic Coast, navigating through scenic rail trails and taking advantage of countless swimming and marine observing opportunities. After travelling from the northern end of Cape Cod, down to Martha’s Vineyard, the groups biked through quaint coastal New England towns with another island hop to Block Island. Being so close to the ocean presented many opportunities for learning about marine life. At the Chatham Fishing Pier, groups witnessed a massive fishing operation. As boat loads of dogfish were swooped onto deck, countless seals stood by for accidental mishaps of fish sliding off the boat and into their mouths. On Block Island, trekkers visited the Block Island Maritime Institute and learned about threatened marine species and local watershed concerns. Being surrounded by boats along this trip, a must-see stop along the Cape Cod & New England Shore Trek is the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT, where 19-acres of maritime history captivated trekkers for hours.
All in all, it was a fun, educational, challenging and rewarding summer. After 22 years running self-supported bike trips for teenagers, our post-summer reflections always remind us of this very unique role bike tours play in teenager’s lives. Not everyone can go back to school and say they spent the summer relying on their bike as a form of transportation, learning to maintain their bike and problem-solve away from modern convenience. Not many teens can say they pedaled their way to incredible new experiences that taught them something new about themselves and the world they live in. We hope that these experiences leave lasting marks on every teen who participated in Teen Treks bike adventures this summer.
As you set off into the school year, we encourage each trekker to continuously stroke those embers of curiosity and exploration. Let’s see what other adventurous sparks your future may ignite!