Friday, May 23, 2008

Traveling by Train or Bus/ Driving to Trip Departure Point

Some Teen Treks trippers take a bus or train to their departure point. The information for “Airport Pick-Ups” also applies to pick up from a bus terminal or train station. Make sure to book all travel arrangements for pickup between 4 and 7 PM on the afternoon or evening before the trip departure date. Email your teen’s travel itinerary and $60 pickup/overnight fee to the Teen Treks office by June 1.

A few weeks prior to your trip you will receive an email with the address and time your teen’s group will meet to depart for their trip. Most trips meet at 8 a.m. on the morning of the trip departure date, and leave from the departure point between 9 and 10 a.m.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Meet our Leaders: Tony

I fancy myself a player in the struggle. I believe in the power of people and the spirit of community. I'm self employed, first as Founder and Creative Director of DTR45/DeepThinka Records ( I also manage several pieces of real estate here in Western New York as part owner of Galileo Properties...Additionally I work as a production engineer, tour manager, motivational speaker, smooth vibe provider on the turntable, web designer, and also as a mentor to young people through a variety of organizations and non-for-profits. I love to travel, I've hit 46 states and a handful of countries. I'm on a mission to hit every National Park (thus far the crown goes to a Zion National Park in Utah!). I'm a 14 year vegetarian, and really watch what I put into my body carefully. I like to garden, cook, eat, and compost--which just about completes that cipher. I am a bicycle enthusiast, having done several long distance trips: one through Montana stands out, as well as a NYC to Montreal trek with a handful of truly amazing high school students....Also, I'm truly addicted to well written books and well made films...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Airport Pick-ups

(all trips except European Trek)
You can have your teen picked up at the airport in the departure city the night before the trip departure date. An additional $60 fee includes pickup, dinner, and the hostel overnight. Book your teens’ flight to arrive in the departure city between 4 and 7 PM the afternoon or evening before the departure date (i.e. for a July 7 departure date, your teen should arrive at the airport between 4 and 7 PM on July 6). Email your teens’ travel itinerary to the Teen Treks office at Your teens’ leader will pick them up at the airport and will have them call home to confirm their arrival. They will eat dinner together, prepare their bicycles for the ride, and if they have time, they may go out to enjoy a local activity in their departure city. Your teen’s travel itineraries and $60 pickup/overnight fee should be sent to the Teen Treks office by June 1.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Meet our Leaders: Rachel

My name is Rachel, 25 years old -currently living in Buffalo- recently moved from Manhattan. I LOVE to travel. I've been to Mexico, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, and many states in the USA. I studied abroad twice in London and traveled to other countries from there. I traveled the most in college, but I am ready to go in a minutes notice! I love to visit friends all over the country. If you've ever seen the cell phone commercial with the guy who calls relatives/friends in every city to sleep on their couch- that's me! I am a terrible cook in the kitchen (picture pots over boiling, coffee grinds everywhere and broken coffee mugs- happens all in about 2 minutes) but am a good "baby-sitter cook". I've had a basic, healthy, cooking style from college through to my super tiny apartment in New York City.Traveling is my favorite thing to do, but sports would be second. I just came back from San Diego where I went ocean kayaking and bike riding in the mountains. I love cycling. I've done a couple bike marathons and have always wanted to take part in longer rides. So that brings me here: I love travel, can sort of cook, like bike riding, and have camped/hostelled. I think this program is a perfect fit for me and I can't wait to meet the other leaders and riders who think it is a great fit for them also!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Day in the Life

Depending on circumstances, you'll crawl out of your sleeping bag or bed between 7 and 9 AM. You'll help get breakfast and clean up the hostel, campsite, or guest room, and pack your bike. The group will go over the route and identify meeting places along the way for swimming, lunch, snacks, whatever. Each person cycles at his or her own speed, with a leader bringing up the rear. Frequent stops are made for ice-cream, swimming, resting at the tops of hills, talking with local sheep, etc. The Trekkers regroup at or near the final destination to arrange for grocery shopping for dinner. The evening's activities can be planned ahead, or left open to the spontaneity of the moment. Your overnights will be spent in hostels which are cooperative, dormitory style accommodations, state parks, or local campgrounds; some trips are either all hostelling or all camping while many offer a mixture of both. On trips with phantom overnights, groups often stay in farmer's fields, back-yards, churches, and firehouses as well as regular campgrounds.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Meet our Leaders: Matt

My name is Matt I'm a biker, a moustache enthusiast, and a folk musician. I alsolike cake pan banjos, books, and the city of Buffalo. I spend more time on greyhound busses than is really necessary or tolerable, and I like to eat Lebanese flat bread. Me and my friends used to put on diy concerts at a punkhouse in Rochester called the Landfill, but then the cops shut it down. While you trekkers are finishing up your school year, I'll be doing a 1500 mile tour to Virginia Beach and back. When I was 3 years old, I wore the coolest Lee jeans. Now I wear grey dress slacks. Okay, let's go ride bikes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Teen Treks Groups

Our groups are small, cooperative, challenging, and fun! Each trip usually has 8-12 trippers and 2 leaders. We plan our trips to be co-ed, though occasional imbalances occur because of the patterns of sign-ups. Our leaders are not tour guides or riding tape recorders of facts. Rather, they are capable adults who are just as excited as you are about the trips. We consider a sense of fun and discovery much more valuable to a trip than past knowledge of an area. Often a leader is exploring a place for the first time too, and everyone finds the sharing of adventure more complete. Group decisions are encouraged whenever possible, with a leader assuming a guiding rather than authoritative role.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Meet our Leaders: Kelley

Hello there, everyone. Kelley Diamond here, coming to you from Baltimore, Maryland. I'm a reading and math teacher during the school year, but really live for vacation time when I can travel and explore. This is my first time working with Teen Treks and I am really excited, probably more than you are! I thought I should let you know your trip will be like no other. A definite adventure! While I have traveled quite a bit in the continental United States and beyond, I have never done it from the seat of a bicycle and I can't wait. From the mid Atlantic to the southwest, Vancouver down to San Francisco, and Los Angeles all the way to Hawaii, I love visiting new places and playing outside along the way. I come from a big family and have worked with kids most of my life, so I know how it goes on in your world. Patience, persistence, flexibility and fun, will help me to help you make the most of your journey. See you soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Foam Pads and Air Matresses

Foam pads and air mattresses are important because no matter how inexpensive or sophisticated your sleeping bag is, without proper insulation beneath you, you can be cold in many conditions, such as dampness and frost. There are two main types of foam pads:

Closed Cell (Ermolite or Volarafoam)-- Very thin, but offers excellent insulating qualities. Even makes sleeping on snow possible! light-weight, rolls very completely, and won't get water-logged.

Open Cell--Thicker and softer, which makes it more comfortable but also bulkier. Can get water-logged, rendering it useless.

The term air mattress still conjures up pictures of heavy, cumbersome rubber monsters that invariably are hard to inflate and deflate. There are air mattresses on the market that have separate tubes that inflate quickly and easily, and stuff into a small stuff sack. These air mattresses provide some of the cushioning that a closed cell foam pad lacks, but at a higher price.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Meet our Leaders: Erin

I currently live in Michigan, where I am a high school French teacher. I have also lived in North Carolina, Ontario (Canada), and Alaska. The farthest east I’ve traveled is St. Petersburg, Russia; the farthest north and west is Fairbanks, Alaska; and the farthest south is Cozumel, Mexico. While I was a student at Michigan State University, I participated in a study abroad program in Quebec City. I am married and have a 3-year-old son. My husband is Canadian. We are both amateur (ham) radio operators; we met on the air when I was 16 and he was 17. My dreams include riding in a hot air balloon and seeing polar bears in their natural habitat. The craziest thing I’ve ever done was agree to move from Michigan to Alaska on two weeks’ notice, never having been to Alaska before—and then to drive there in a U-Haul truck (a nine-day trip). I think I’ll be a good leader because I can maintain a healthy balance between having fun and being responsible. I’m looking forward to hanging out with teenagers and not having to give anyone a hard time for having a cell phone out in class or not turning in their homework.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Safety First!

A CYCLING HELMET is required. It is perhaps the most important accessory you can bring on your trip. Even the best and most cautious rider can take a spill. Your head is a very delicate part of your body. Studies show that 80% of all serious bicycle injuries are injuries to the head. A well made, hard shell, lightweight helmet (Giro, Bell, MSR) can greatly reduce the severity of any head injury and may even save your life. So use your head and get a helmet!

A FRONT & REAR LIGHT for your bicycle is required. The battery powered lights are the best; they can double as flashlights in tents. Generator lights drain leg energy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Meet our Leaders: Lisa

Hey! I'm 22 and I just graduated with a BFA in Illustration from School of Visual Arts in NYC. I'm a Texas native with a gypsy upbringing (I've also lived in Maryland, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Mexico --hmmm, too many 'M's), but I call the City home. I like to walk as much as possible, get lost in the aisles of used book stores (these days you'll find me in the Sci-Fi section,) sitting on streets and drawing. I'm a vegetarian, love Sigur Ros and podcasts--RadioLab & This American Life especially, and practically worship Stephen Colbert. I just had an awesome time cycling through all 5 boroughs with thousands of others. I'm totally psyched to be a trek leader this summer--my Bici and I need a break from the City and its way-too-rude cabbies, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you guys! I've had great fun in my past expeditions with teens, here in NYC and London as well (and then there's my 15 yr old brother and his crazy actor compatriots). When I'm not trekking the City I like to escape it: camping on beaches, hiking New England, cycling the Vineyard and sailing whenever I can.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Flying with your Bicycle

(For European Trek only)
For the European Trek you will send the bicycle with your teen as baggage. When booking your teen’s flight, make sure to find out whether the airline includes the bike as part of the baggage allotment or whether it is an extra cost to fly with a bicycle. Some airlines charge up to $50-80 to travel with a bicycle.

1. You will need to find a bicycle box. You can often get used boxes from bicycle shops, especially if you call a few days ahead. Bicycle boxes may also be purchased from your airline. (call them for details)

2. Disassemble the bicycle for packing. The following tips will help you fit the bicycle into the box… 1) Shift the gears so that the cables are slack. 2) Deflate the tires halfway for more shock absorbing capability. 3) Remove seat and post as a unit. 4) Remove wheels. 5) Remove the handlebars and stem as a unit by loosening the stem bolt two full turns. 6) Remove the pedals, remember that the left pedal is a standard right-hand thread.

3. Make sure to put all small loose pieces into plastic ziplock bags (i.e. pedals, screws, etc.). Fit the bicycle frame, wheels, seat post, and handlebars into the box. Make sure to include the ziplock bags with small loose pieces.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Meet our Leaders: Adam

Howdy dudes and dudettes, my name is Adam and I am an Urban Cowboy. I simply love Nature and I love culture. My hunger to discover new and exciting surroundings has taken me from The Bearing Sea to Yankee Stadium, from Buenos Aires to the Amazon, from The Notre Dame Basilica to the lava oozing Kilauea Volcano, and I‘m hungry for more.

I am completely and entirely THRILLED to be leading a group of young people on a fantastic journey! It is during trips like these that I devote every ounce of energy into each and every moment; whether it is climbing up a mountain, engaging in a conversation, or shoving an ice cream cone in my face. I am proud of the fact that I exuberate positive energy and poses high morale, always.

One thing I never expected when I went on a similar but unrelated trip with peers was the incredible and long-lasting bonds that were created during our journey. Before the trip I thought I was going to do everything by myself. However, by the end my peers and I were having heart to heart conversations and giving head massages. That bonding experience helped mold me into what I am today. Giddyup!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Shipping Your Bicycle Home

For all trips, with the exception of the European Phantom Trek, if you plan on having your teen return home by airplane, bus or train you must have their bicycle shipped home. This is a painless task, and is usually easier (and less expensive) then sending the bicycle with your son or daughter. Bike shipment can take place as soon as your son or daughter returns home. Read on for directions to assure proper shipment:

1. On the last day of the trip, your teen will work with the leader to disassemble their bicycle and pack it in a bicycle box. Your teen will clearly mark the bike box with their name and your home address.

2. The Trip Leader will call you and tell you the address where the bikes can be picked up and the best times for the shipping company to pick up the bike.

Call the shipping company of your choice and let them know you have a package for shipment. Tell them you would like to issue ground call tags for a bicycle box and let them know the address and pick up times for them to get the box. We recommend FedEx Ground, UPS Ground, or DHL Ground.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Meet our Leaders: Kristen

Hello! I'm a 24 year old environmental scientist currently residing in Baltimore, Maryland. When I'm not digging in the dirt or sampling contaminated groundwater, you'll find me knitting, sewing, crocheting, taking pictures, dancing, playing the banjo, going on an adventure or trying to find a new hobby to add to my list. I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and went to college in Vermont where I studied Environmental Science and Ecological Design. After spending some time living in an environmental co-op and a little more time living in a mud house in Brazil I decided the "real world" was calling and moved to Maryland for my current job. But now I'm ready for a break from the real world and riding a bike for a couple weeks sounds ideal to me. I'm really excited to be a Teen Treks leader because I love everything about bikes, whether it be riding them or fixing them. I work as a volunteer mechanic at a community bike shop in Baltimore and hope that I cannot only teach others about bikes but maybe you can teach me something too!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What to Bring...

DOCUMENTS—for European Trek—Passport
Canadian Treks - Birth Certificate copy/Passport

Underwear & Socks (5 pairs)
T-shirts or Sleeveless Shirts (5)
Long Sleeve Shirts (1)
Pants (1-pair)
Shorts (1-2 pairs)
Wool Long Sleeve Shirt or Fleece Jacket
Bathing Suit

Sleeping Bag
Foam Mattress
Soap and soap dish
Personal Toiletries
Multi-purpose Pocket Knife
Sturdy Plastic Bags (4-6 of various size)
Deep Plate and Eating Utensils
Insect Repellant
Sun Screen

Touring or Hybrid Bicycle (no carbon fiber or
titanium frames)
Hybrid Tires (26x1.25, 700 x 28, 700 x 38)
Saddlebags / Panniers
Rear Luggage Rack
Horn or Bell
Toe Clips for pedals — Required
Front Light (detachable)
Rear Light
Water Bottle & Carrier
Bike Lock
Sandows/Bungies (elastic straps)

Patch Kit (1-2 tubes) and Tire Irons
Adjustable 6” Wrench
Nuts & Bolts to fit your bike
Allen Wrenches
Small Screw Driver