Thursday, May 31, 2018

Welcome Trip Leader Alexa!


Hey there, trekkers! My name is Alexa and I’m from Rochester, NY. I’m so excited to be a part of Teen Treks this summer! I can’t wait to spend time in the great outdoors and travel around powered only by my own two legs. Traveling and experiencing different cultures is one of my passions in life—I just finished up college at Duke with a degree in Global Health (and biology), and I’m headed to Emory next year for a Master of Public Health in Global Health. During my childhood and my time at Duke I’ve gotten to visit Tanzania, South Africa, France, Mexico, Canada, and many different areas of the US. Besides traveling, I love hiking, running, rowing, listening to podcasts (right now I’m on season two of Serial), doing puzzles, and being outside. During the past three summers I’ve worked with and led a camp that introduces cool science & engineering topics and experiments to middle schoolers and some high schoolers from disadvantaged backgrounds. I’ve had the greatest time working with and learning from teens, and I can’t wait to hang out with some trekkers this summer!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Adventurer Vol. 18 No. 26


Pacific Northwest Trekkers Enjoying Their Last Days of Biking

The Pacific Northwest is usually known for rainy weather, however late June & July is usually mostly sunny. Last year, the Pacific Northwest Trek had "only 4 hours of anything but sun."

One day from civilization and I'm not sure how eager I am to trade a campfire and smores for electricity and a hot shower (as nice as it sounds). It's amazing to be part of a group that, despite not being able to experience a greatly anticipated kayaking session (due to the only 4 hours of anything but sun we've had this whole trip), still managed to have a wonderful day enjoying prime biking weather and savory smores at the end of the day. However, to give a run down, we biked 43 miles with a great tailwind and beautiful views of the mountains we previously climbed. We carefully crafted "artisan" sandwiches at lunch and finished the day off with grilled cheese, unsuccessfully cooked on our raging campfire, but still tasty! The moon was full so some of us stayed up "star tripping" and singing to ukulele around our final dying fire.
Blog post by Trekker Mike

Cape Cod Trekkers Explore Brewster Area


There's so much to discover along Cape Cod, both the Cape Cod and New England Shore Trek explore this classic American summer vacation and bicycling destination!

This morning we woke up and decided to take an interesting short cut on a mountain biking trail to get out of Nickerson State park in Brewster, MA, which proved to be harder but more fun on road bikes! Once out of the forest we rode to a delicious diner for breakfast! Almost all of the boys got breakfast burgers while the rest of us got French toast and pancakes! Then we rode to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and explored the Cape Cod Bay in which Nielsen and Austin got stranded on the sand bar. After Austin and Nielsen made the three feet journey back to shore we made an excursion to 7-Eleven for free slurpy day!! Finally we headed back to camp and sat around a roaring fire while munching on smores. We're all going to go to bed early tonight as we have a big day of 30 miles to Provincetown tomorrow!
 Stay tuned

- The Trekkers
Space Still Available on These Amazing Treks!    
Trips are filling up fast!  Sign up NOW to get a spot on your preferred trip!  (all trips click here)

Maine Coast Trek
The beautiful harbors, small towns, and winding back roads along the coastline from Boston, MA to Bar Harbor, ME make this biking and camping adventure unforgettable. We'll spend 3 days in Acadia National Park where we'll wake up for the first sunrise in the United States atop Cadillac Mountain! Pack your swimsuit and sneakers, the Maine Coast Trek is jam-packed with outdoor adventure!
European Grand Tour 
On this incredible 4-country adventure, you’ll bike through major cities and quaint villages in Britain, France, Belgium, and Holland, visiting major museums and monuments, eating at great local restaurants, and getting to know each place’s music, art, history, landscapes, and people. You’ll stay in hostels and hotels, and camp out in the countryside between touring major cities with great bike culture. A truly amazing way to experience Europe!
Teen Adventure Travel

Friday, May 18, 2018

Welcome Trip Leader Mike!

Hello everybody! My name is Mike and I was born and raised in Albany, NY! I think the reason that I wanted to be a leader for Teen Treks is because I know how much I got out of them when I was on the trips as a teen. For me, biking was a necessity that I grew to greatly enjoy. It provided me a way to get to my first job, a camp counselor; it afforded me an opportunity to immerse myself in other cultures during trips through Canada and France; biking also provided me a sense of independence and personal responsibility as my first means of transportation. When I have both feet on the ground I enjoyed reading, golf, Frisbee and the natural next step ... Disc Golf! I am looking forward to working with all of you! Stay Classy…

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Adventurer Vol. 18 No. 25


Packing For A Bicycle Tour

While packing for a bicycle tour, I believe it is important to pack light while not forgetting to pack the essentials. It's no fun trying to cram all your belongings in overstuffed panniers every morning because you brought too many extra pull-over sweatshirts for a summer bicycle trip in the northeast.

Since bicycle touring involves spending most of your time outside, it is imperative to consider the climate of the area you will be visiting. For a summer trek in the northeast, I wear a t-shirt and shorts almost everyday except for those few days of rain or cooler evenings. Even though theTeen Treks packing checklist recommends bringing a fleece jacket, I'll just bring a light weight flannel or cotton long sleeve shirt for those few cooler nights since these will pack up much lighter. On Treks like the Pacific Northwest or European Grand Tour I would definitely bring a fleece jacket and maybe even rain pants for those cooler rainy days. As for pants, avoid bringing jeans on any Teen Trek. Light weight pants are a better option because they take up less space in your panniers and will still keep you warm or keep the mosquitoes away.

Tyler's bike mechanic tip

When packing your bicycle in a box, taking off the pedals may seem like a daunting task. How do you keep the pedals from moving about when you're trying to get them off? Use your U-lock! Wedge the U-lock through the wheel along the chain stay. This will stop the crank from turning and thus keep the pedals from spinning as you turn your wrench.
Biking shorts are an increasingly popular clothing item for bicycle tours. Personally I use athletic shorts or cargo shorts for my tours and I do just fine. However many cyclists prefer the extra padding provided by biking shorts or special padded biking underwear. If you are not a regular cyclist, padded biking shorts or underwear are probably better than regular shorts because you may not be used to spending long periods on the saddle.

Lastly a word on panniers and rain. Teen Treks avoids riding in heavy rain, however groups will often ride during a light rain. You should pack your bags with the eventuality of rain in mind. Completely waterproof panniers are a good option, their downsides being lack of small pockets and often higher price tag. Alternatively you can purchase rain covers to put over your bags during a downpour or pack your clothes in dry sacks/Ziploc bags.

If you haven't already, check out our Gear Guide for more comprehensive packing advice.

-Tyler, Teen Treks Program Manager

The First Sunrise in the United States


Every summer, Maine Coast trekkers round out their journey along the Maine Coast with a hike or bike ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain in time for the first rays of sun to hit the United States.

Twas a brisk Wednesday morning, 2:40 a.m. to be exact, as Ryan awoke to the alarming noise of Max's iPhone. It was 3:00 a.m., however, when Max came to awaken the rest of the campers. It only took 7 snoozes, I guess. This was finally the day during which the Teen Trek Titans would conquer the imposing heights of Cadillac Mountain. No one was even close to enthusiastic about waking up at three in the morning to traverse the Cadillac Trail, but the group knew the result when we emerged at the top would be incredibly fulfilling. Normally the group would not be characterized as early-birds, but this morning they were especially groggy. After nourishing themselves with a small meal of apples, bananas and granola bars, the Titans journeyed to the restroom and water spigot to prepare for the impending excursion. With filled water bottles and relieved restroom needs, the group set forth into the darkness to initiate the journey of a lifetime. The first third or so of the hike was rather daunting due to the dim atmosphere, unsure footing and fatigue of the group, but as they approached the first clearing of the hike and saw the first hint of light prior to the sunrise a feeling of rejuvenation cascaded over the group as they felt their second wind pushing them forward. The distant light on the horizon was quickly getting brighter and brighter and the Titans knew they had to pick up the pace in order to make it to sunrise. They huffed and puffed their way up the mountain and, after a heroic hike, successfully made it to the peak of the intimidating Cadillac Mountain. The sunrise was breathtaking and the view from atop the mountain was stunning. Shortly after the group took in the view, however, many members laid down on the rocks for a heavenly 2-3 hour nap, well deserved I might add. All of this had been completed but the entire day still lay ahead of the group, so they made haste down the mountain leading the way to the best breakfast of the trip at 2 Cats Café. They ate like royalty there with luxuries such as a private room, balcony, and bathroom with a complimentary shower and unlimited coffee with delicious pancakes. After concluding breakfast the Titans ventured towards the Bah Hahbah square to catch the bus to the famed Echo Lake. The bus ride was perfect for some essential rest that the group had been dying for, a thirty minute nap that felt like 30 hours. After chicken fights, chilling with CJ and resting in an anonymous man's hammock, the group concluded their day with shopping, ice cream, and the first clear night of their stay at Acadia.

Written by Trekker Ryan, an author and a poet
Space Still Available on These Amazing Treks!    
Trips are filling up fast!  Sign up NOW to get a spot on your preferred trip!  (all trips click here)

Connecticut - Rhode Island Trek
Travel the shorelines of Connecticut and Rhode Island with us this summer and enjoy sandy beaches, winding back roads, and charming New England towns. You’ll follow the coast through scenic Guilford and Madison, and bike through the miles of sandy beaches at Hammonasset State Park. Over the next few days, you’ll visit quaint Old Saybrook and New London, and get to know Mystic Seaport. In Rhode Island, you’ll catch a ferry to Block Island, featuring miles of pristine beaches and great bike paths. Another ferry will land you in Newport, where you’ll ride north for 2 days in historic Providence before catching a bus back to NYC.
New York City - Montreal Trek
Ride up through the Hudson Valley, taking dips in lakes and rivers and stopping off in picturesque small towns and New York’s capital, Albany, then cycle along the Adirondacks up to Lake George for boating, swimming, and time on the beach. A ferry will take you across the lake to Vermont, where you’ll check out Burlington, a laid-back town in a beautiful mountain setting famous for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and friendly locals. From Burlington, you’ll travel back into New York State for more swimming at Lake Champlain, on the Canadian border, then cross into Quebec. You’ll bike through French Canada to Montreal, where you’ll have three days to explore this lively, cosmopolitan city, visiting street markets, eating at great restaurants, and seeing stunning architecture.
Teen Adventure Travel

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Planning Tips: Planning Air Travel For Unaccompanied Minors

If your teen is under 15 years old, depending on the airline they might be considered an unaccompanied minor while flying. Each airline has different policies regarding which ages are considered an unaccompanied minors & additional fees for their services. Southwest and Alaska Airlines have the lowest fees for unaccompanied minors. Additionally both airlines only consider unaccompanied minors to be under 13 years old (or in the case of Southwest, under 12 years old). Below is a comparison chart of airline policies for unaccompanied minors as of April 2018.

Airline
Age of Unaccompanied Minors
Unaccompanied Minor Fee
Notes
Alaska Airlines
8 to 12
$25 each way
$50 for connecting flights
American
8 to 14
$150 each way
Can travel on any nonstop or direct flight, or any connecting flight through Charlotte, NC (CLT), Washington Reagan, D.C. (DCA), Dallas Forth Worth, TX (DFW), New York, NY (JFK and LGA), Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Miami, FL (MIA), Chicago, IL (ORD), Philadelphia, PA (PHL) and Phoenix, AZ (PHX).
Delta
5 to 14
$150 each way

Frontier
5 to 14
$110 each way
Can only travel on nonstop flights
JetBlue
5 to 14
$100 each way
Can only travel on nonstop flights
Southwest
5 to 11
$50 each way

Spirit
5 to 14
$100 each way

United
5 to 14
$150 each way
Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop flights operated by United or United Express®. Codeshare flights and other flights operated by our partner airlines are not eligible for unaccompanied minor travel

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Welcome Trip Leader Ben!

Hello!

Ben here, from New York City. I’m super excited to spend the summer exploring beautiful city and country roads from our bikes. I fell in love with bike touring as a teenager, and it’s been a big part of my life since. My favorite tour was down the pacific coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. In addition to cycling, I love making videos, cooking, talking with friends, and getting lost in a good book. Professionally, I’ve worked with teenagers for years in arts and music programs, outdoor adventure, and college readiness counseling. Currently, I’m following my passion for community building in a Master of Social Work program at Hunter College. I can’t wait to hit the road with you all, and take in the fresh air and amazing sites.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Welcome back Trip Leader Tyler!

Hey everyone!

I'm Tyler, and I'm excited to once again be leading with Teen Treks this summer! After spending this year working as the Program Manager in the office, I'm looking forward to getting out of the office & back to my roots of being a Trip Leader. The past few years since graduating from college I have spent nearly a year traveling in Asia, bicycled across America, and worked with Americorps at a local Buffalo high school. Nothing is more exciting than traveling and the unexpected adventures that come along with traveling! I also enjoy making music with friends on the piano, guitar, and occasionally the accordion. Hopefully I can fit some kind of musical instrument onto my bicycle this summer, it sure is nice to have a guitar while sitting around the campfire! I can't wait to gear up, meet this year's trekkers, and get on the road!

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Adventurer Newsletter Vol. 18 No. 24

Europe by Bike

Teen Treks' European Grand Tour is the definitive European experience for teens!
This edition of The Adventurer brings this truly life changing experience alive
through stories of days spent sightseeing in Paris, touring Belgium, & exploring bicycle heaven (aka the Netherlands).
On this incredible 4-country adventure, you’ll bike through major cities and quaint villages in Britain, France, Belgium, and Holland, visiting major museums and monuments, eating at great local restaurants, and getting to know each place’s music, art, history, landscapes, and people!

Unforgettable Paris; Experiencing Paris the Teen Treks Way

The European Grand Tour crew spent Saturday morning at the palace of Versailles seeing how the French royalty used to live (among lots of gold items and giant paintings of themselves.) Then we rode to our hostel in the city. We were lucky to discover a concert in the plaza nearby, so we grabbed a quick dinner and checked it out.

On Sunday we spent the afternoon on a walking tour, during which our tour guide told us tons of stories about Paris' history and monuments. (Did you know that on statues, the position of the horse's legs tells how they died? The front legs in the air means that the rider died in battle, four legs down means that they died of natural causes, and one front leg and one back leg up means that they died of unnatural causes, like assassination. Cool, right?)



For our final day in Paris, we first went to The Louvre, where we spent a couple hours admiring the amazing and plentiful masterpieces by some of the most influential artists in the history of art! After visiting the beautiful Mona Lisa, we let ourselves get lost in the art (literally) as we wandered down the halls within the humongous confinements of the museum. After seeing more pieces from eras such as the Renaissance, Ancient Greece and Egypt, and the Medieval ages, we left the Louvre and rode our bikes to the Eiffel Tower!


Sunday evening was the highlight of all our time in Paris, because we went to see the fireworks at the Eiffel Tour in honor of Bastille Day. It was really amazing to see the tower silhouetted by the fireworks behind it, then lit up with flashing lights. Though we had seen it lit up by an incredible firework display the night before, seeing it up close gave it a whole new beauty. After many failed attempts to get a decent group photo (sans bunny ears, goofy faces), we headed back to the hostel to get ready for dinner.



For our final dinner, we decided to splurge a bit in Montmatre, a lively and showy district where Moulin Rouge originated from. We went to a traditional French restaurant where many of us had our first taste of escargot. We had a delicious mix of foods which included foie gras, scallops , a hearty and flavorful beef stew, and"beautiful steak" (as described truthfully in the menu). After dinner we concluded our exciting day with an assortment of scrumptious pastries in downtown Montmatre.

Au revoir, France! Till next time :)


Belgium - "The Greatest Country in the World"


As we leave the greatest country in the world and venture to a country known for its tulips, it is a proper time to reminisce and remember the glory and beauty that is encapsulated in brave little Belgium.

While we only stayed in Ghent and Bruges for two nights total I can 100% say that I'm hooked. We got into Ghent on the 16th and I was astounded by the center of Ghent, which surrounds a river.  ALL the people that we spoke to in Ghent seemed friendly and laid back, even the natives, who are called called "free boaters" or Ghentians(?). This fact, multiplied by the amount of bikers, waffles, chocolates, french fries, castle in the center of the city, amazing hostel, and lack of *bike thieves, made the medieval-looking Ghent one of my favorite places on the trip. It was a bittersweet departure from Ghent, but I was able to contain my tears.

I was skeptical that anything could live up to the paradise of Ghent, but after a confusing and easy bike ride, we arrived to the just-as-medieval-looking city of Bruges and I was pleasantly surprised. While Bruges is a little more touristy, it is just as awe-inspiring and has even higher cathedrals. The city seemed out and about the whole night, but it still maintained a quaint placid feel that was cool. (The only critique I had was that the restaurant we ate at made us pay for water.) The departure from Bruges was even harder as this was our last day in the beauty of Belgium.

Amsterdam & the Nation of Bicyclists


The lasagna and bicycling in Amsterdam is awesome!  Yesterday, we went for a walking tour of the city.  Our guide was so animated! We learned that the Dutch have a long history of social reform. We crossed canals, sampled fine cheeses, and saw a house just 1.8 meters wide (the man who lives inside is taller than that!) After the tour we wandered around for a while to soak up the city, exploring shops, books, chocolate, bridges and other neat stuff. This morning we mustered the courage to enter the Anne Frank house.  It was really intense and quite sobering to reflect on the atrocities committed during the war.  Afterwards we cheered ourselves up with a visit to the site of the first flea market (there's still one I operation today) and some warm coffee in a leaning rickety old building that was once a gatehouse for a canal.  After that, we visited the waterfront to see Renzo Piano's Nemo.  Then we went for a ride on a canal boat before winding down at the hostel over some delicious nachos.  Life is good.
Teen Adventure Travel