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SeattlePioneer

Youth Protection & Bicycling

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Our Troop has a plan for a four day bicycle camping trip after school is out. In thinking through the youth protection angles of bicycling, a few problems crop up.

 

Comments or advice are solicited.

 

1) On a previous day bicycling trip, I found was cycling along at the back of the group in order to deal with any problems. For a time, a second adult was occasionally driving by in a truck to assist if needed.

 

 

Towards the end of the trip one young Scout became intensely saddle sore, to the point of tears, and was also fatigued. He didn't want to go on.

 

A second boy was also highly fatigued. He'd already gotten a ride for a ways, but made a second effort at bicycling, but got very tired again.

 

I would have had no problem letting them get a ride, but the truck and driver didn't come along. With some tears and much complaining, they did finish the trip ---an additional mile or so on a six mile or so trip.

 

At one point, the boys stopped a letter carrier to plead that they couldn't go on. No help there, as it turned out.

 

So --- how do you deal with "two deep leadership" in this kind of situation?

 

We had emphasized the importance of staying with your buddy, but weren't able to (or at least didn't) enforce that hard enough to make it stick.

 

I was left with two boys ---similar to the situation that is acceptable when driving with boys in a car, but this wasn't a car.

 

I could have just as easily wound up with just one boy present. What to do in that circumstance?

 

 

2)

 

On the camping trip we are planning, adult leadership may be somewhat thin. I'm interested in doing the trip for the Friday-Monday schedule, one parent is planning on going Friday-Sunday and a second Saturday-Monday.

 

So--- I have my doubts whether one of those parents is up to doing much cycling. If that's the case, what would constitute two-deep leadership for day cycling trips? Would the second adult have to be driving along continuously, meeting the cycling party at designated points or what?

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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First problem is fixed very easily. Make the scouts stay with their buddies! That is the whole point of the buddy system. Get the youth leadership to make it work.

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It seems to be that you have two choices.

 

1) Everyone sticks together as a group, preventing such situations, but slowing down everyone to the pace of the weakest link.

 

2) Have more adults along so they also have buddies.

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As pointed ot you need to uses the buddy system in all activities. As far as YP you have two concerns you need to plan for in advance. You are required to have a minimum of two adults on the activity and you must make sure you do not have any situations where a sole adult is alone with a sole scout.

 

There are many ways to accomplish that. You just need to make sure you have a plan and you follow it.

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I think around here, this is one of the most potentially hazardous events we can attempt even if we bicycle on state or county backroads. In the past, we've taken some substantial trips but even for the day trips we've had at least one chase vehicle. This vehicle has been useful for:

1) repairs. We've had flat tires, broken chains, broken pedals. A good tool box with a chain breaker and some spare links is good too.

2) medical. One boy took a tumble and resultant scratches, etc.

3) fatigue. In our region the heat is really dangerous. We're very forgiving of a boy who is completely fatigued or in danger of heat stroke.

4) spare bikes. We've had to use them a time or two, also to carry the bikes if a boy quits or can't continue.

5) Safety factor with traffic. A chase vehicle with its warning blinkers on will alert approaching traffic and hopefully slow them a bit. A honk from the chase vehicle can alert boys that another vehicle is approaching.

6) the chase vehicle can carry food and drinks for everyone - this has been GREATLY appreciated in the past.

 

We make the group stay as a group (every boy should be within sight of at least on other boy) and a designated lead scout has a talkabout to communicate with the chase vehicle. And we have two adults on bikes and if possible, two adults with the chase vehicle.

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Very good ideas there, Packsaddle.

 

 

As an added bonus, if the sag wagon keeps the bicycling adult in view, you solve the two-deep leadership problem I was struggling with.

 

As I noted earlier, our Scouts aren't aiming at doing an ambitious amount of cycling. They wanted to do a four day bicycle trip that didn't involve a lot of cycling!

 

My solution to that is a trip to Lopez Island, in Washington State's San Juan Islands. This is a rural island, accessable only by ferry boat. It has a lovely county park and a wonderful state park, and nice cycling destinations including the shopping center of Lopez Village which also has a nice library.

 

Those interested are invited to Google "Lopez Island" or "Odlin County Park" to get an idea of what this trip will be like.

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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