The Analog Kids (video)

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The Analog Kids is a short film from Bombtrack about a father and son overnighter in the woods close to where they live in Lille, France. We catch up with Clem and his seven-year-old son Lubin, and ask them both about how they planned their trip, what it means to them to bikepack as a family, and to share tips about the experience. Plus, we find out more about Lubin’s Beyond Beyond Junior…

Lubin’s father, Clement Shovel, is used to spending his time outdoors. From an early age, Clem would disappear into the thickets around his home to escape the frenzied pace of city life. His passion never stopped, and today much of his time is spent cycling—he works within the bike industry, rides a cargo bike around town, and regularly takes part in long-distance bikepacking races around Europe.

But whilst his son Lubin rides to school, spending a couple of days actually travelling by bike and sleeping in the wild was something he had never done before… as captured in this gentle and touching film. It’s a trip that involved riding across familiar and new territory: crossing rivers, navigating through thick woods, riding singletrack trails, and even pushing his loaded bike up hills. The two of them finished their day camping out, making a fire, roasting home-made stick bread, and tucking into his sleeping bag for bedtime stories.

As our friend Franzi Wernsing writes: “And there was something else. Lubin didn’t rush back into the house to pick up his video-games right away. With the smoke of last night’s campfire still sticking to his clothes and hair, mud covering his shoes and shins, he paused standing there dirty and tired, realizing that the really big adventures aren’t something you can only follow on a screen but are rather best experienced oneself.”

Clem, how are bikes a part of your life?

Bikes are a big part of my life; I use them to move around, to go outside, to race, to share moments with my family and friends. Bikes are also my work at Traffic Distribution. There is never a day without a bike.

You mention in the film that your son Lubin learned to ride a pedal bike at two years old, which seems incredibly young and probably the dream of many bike-obsessed parents! How did that happen?

I was really surprised! I’m bike-obsessed myself but it’s my defect, I’d never push my kids in this direction! One day in the garden, Lubin stop riding his balance-bike and grabbed his sister’s bike for a try, and just went for a spin alone.

How often does Lubin ride, and does he ride to school?

Lubin rides as much as he wants. We bike and run together. He goes shopping with his sister in the village by bike. Sometimes we go for bigger ride together and he goes to school by bike, or in my cargo bike.

  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter

How far did you ride each day? How close are you to your local forests?

To have time enjoy the long day, we aimed to ride around 50kms. We didn’t count the hours, just how we felt, stopping if needed. We cut the day’s ride in half with a meal. We’re surrounded by fields, so we can find paths just metres away and the first tiny forest is just 10 kilometres from home. He asked to do more next time, so we’ll see!

How did you go about planning this particular trip, in terms of what to take, where to camp, and how far to ride? Did you organise it in detail, or let it unfold as you went?

We planned the route and the campsite together before leaving. I’m used to bikepacking so I took the basics, and Lubin brought his own stuff. The day itself wasn’t planned. We didn’t plan for long distances, in order to make sure we had enough time to chill and set up camp early.

Aside from sharing time with you and learning campcraft, you mention how this bikepacking trip with your son helped teach him self confidence and resilience. Tell us more…

Because Lubin wasn’t surrounded by his usual environment, I think he opened his mind and his eyes in a different way. Before hauling his own gear as far as he did, he didn’t know he could do it. But out there, nobody judged him. Everything felt like a little victory.

Do you camp out as a family too, with your wife and two children? And any tips for helping them enjoy their cycling and bikepacking experiences?

Yes! And with two dogs too. Fully loaded bikes and with dogs trailers. As for tips, try to ride light bikes, stop when you need, and take care of everyone involved. It’s a family trip, not a race… so slow down!

Directed, filmed & produced by Marvin Beranek. Images courtesy of Marvin Beranek and Bombtrack.

Lubin, what do you like about cycling? Do you have friends at school that you ride with or is it mainly with your dad?

I like cycling because it doesn’t pollute, we can go everywhere. It’s too cool, you can ride jumps, mud, and dirt! I only have only one friend who comes to school by bike so nobody rides with me. I’m used to riding with my sister, my mum, and my dad.

Do you prefer to ride on road or off road? Do you like singletrack?! Looks like you were having fun!

Offroad for sure, it’s so much fun. Singletrack with turns and bumps, you feel the speed!

  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter

I’m curious Lubin, what kind of books do you like to read in the tent? And what do you like about being in the forest? What’s the longest you’ve ridden your bicycle in one day?

I love comic books. I read Gurty the little dog, it’s my favorite. In the forest, I can hear the birds and see the trees. It’s calm. And nobody disturbs us. I’ve ridden 60kms!

  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter
  • Bombtrack Beyond Family Bikepacking Overnighter

Lubin rides a Bombtrack Beyond Junior. “We developed the Beyond Junior as a child-specific touring bike with a dropbar geometry similar to the Beyond. The Beyond Junior is meant to be the entrance bike into self-sufficient family touring. It offers similar features, geometry and fit like our grown-up Beyond while being child specific scaled-down,” says Bombtrack bike designer Marcellus Putschli, who is very much a family rider himself.

Bombtrack Beyond Junior, children's touring bike

I asked Marcellus why he chose to spec the bike with drop handlebars rather than flat bars and he said: “Both have their pros and cons. The main reason we went with drop bars is that there is no other drop bar equipped touring bike on the market. There are either child-specific smtbs with straight bars, or junior cyclocross and road bikes with drop bars. A dropbar on a touring bike offers multiple grip positions, which help with riding longer distances. Children have less strength to grip and benefit a lot from using multiple hand position. The flared bar also offers additional control in the drops while allowing a relaxed and aerodynamic grip position on the ramps. As this is a serious touring bike that’s meant to cover a daily distance between 30 and 100 km, we decided to use 24″ wheels. It is hard to specify a particular age for his bike, so we recommend a size between 135 cm and 155 cm with average body proportions. This should translate to an age between 10 and 14 years, but narrowing down this numbers is quite hard due to the big variation in child development. As child proportions vary greatly during growth, a test ride is definitely recommended.”

Do you have thoughts to share on spending time bikepacking with your family? Or any experience with the Bombtrack Beyond Junior? Let us know below!

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