We took our first big ride today in preparation for biking in Italy, just over 30 miles with the kids on the tandems (but not pulling the trailers yet). It sounds like a long way to bike with kids, but if you break it up enough it really isn't bad at all. We went about 1/4 of the way and took a stop for smoothies, then at halfway we stopped at a park in a small town and played for a good long time. It helped that the temperature was a very balmy 79, instead of our last longish ride which sweltered around 96 degrees. At the park, Asa found a black button and we took turns hiding the button and then giving the rest of the family hints like "warmer" and "colder" until the hiding place was discovered. My dad used to play this game when I was a kid, only it was "hide the thimble", a perennial favorite with my sister and I. The kids were cracking us up with hints like "warmer... hotter... global warming... nuclear meltdown!"
On the way home, we stopped and picked some of those perfect summer blackberries, the kind that are as big as your thumb and so warm and fragrant from the summer afternoon, they just melt in your mouth. I think I feel a cobbler coming on, and some homemade ice cream to be cranked up soon. Then we stopped by a friend's house for awhile, and all in all it took us about five hours to make the whole circuit with stops. I'm thinking that will be about right for our 30 mile days in Italy, maybe a little longer when you count in all of the photo stops we'll be making. Very doable though. On Sunday we'll pull the trailers and tackle a small hill, that's where the rubber will really meet the road so we'll see how it goes!