SHP Bicycle Adventures  
What's a Bike Trip Like?

Two Letters from Parents:

What you can expect to get out of an SHP teen bike travel trip

Parents expect and our trips provide a summer activity for their teens that is more than just fun and entertainment - more than just thrill-seeking and glitzy entertainment activities. Our trips provide kids with a fun summer, but, as importantly, we also provide them with the opportunity for growth, independence and maturation in a safe, responsible way, commensurate with their age and abilities. There are few other situations so perfectly set up for fostering growth, confidence, independence and maturation in teens as a travel-camping experience by bicycle with a group of peers.

SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
As several thousands of former trippers and their parents will confirm, the sense of accomplishment for a teenager upon completing a bicycling journey of hundreds or thousands of miles, completely self-contained, carrying all their own gear, through all kinds of situations, with people they had never met before, taking care of all their living needs from cooking, cleaning and doing their own laundry (all those take-for-granted realities of daily living that Mom usually does!) - and doing all this by themselves under their own power - is unbelievable! The whole adventure is a true accomplishment for any teen, and one that he or she can rightfully be very proud of.

DAILY STRUCTURE

The daily structure of an SHP trip is geared specifically to the needs of this age group, We provide the basic framework and each group adjusts to that framework according to its own needs, desires, and abilities. The SHP framework consists of a definite itinerary, with reserved overnight stops (except for our challenging trips) to be met, specific roads that can or cannot be used, and certain major sights or activities that must be seen or done. Within that framework, each group has the freedom (as a group) to make its own plans and decide for itself which acceptable route to take, and when and what to see and do along the way. Another deliberate part of the daily structure is giving each group the responsibility for buying and fixing its own meals, within SHP guidelines of decently healthy fare and the daily food budget. Consideration of others, cooperation, responsibility, and thinking ahead are all stressed during the many daily decision-making opportunities. Accepting the consequences of their actions and decisions is also an important part of the experience.

The SHP structure also allows parents and each tripper the security of a social situation where the peer pressures from cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs are minimal because these substances are absolutely not permitted. Coupling, whether boy/girl or close friends forming a clique that excludes other group members, is highly discouraged in favor of activities and relationships that include the entire group in positive ways.

ADVANTAGES OF A BICYCLE-TOURING TRIP
We have found that a bike trip is the perfect vehicle (no pun intended) for teen growth. Biking permits teens to travel through a wide variety of places - towns, villages, countryside and wilderness - at a pace that is fast enough to give them the sense of activity and forward movement that they need, yet slow enough to allow them to absorb what they're seeing and experiencing. Each travel day provides a definite goal for the group (getting to the next overnight stop) which must be met cooperatively.

ADVANTAGES OF A TRAVEL SITUATION FOR TEENS
In addition to the obvious advantages of experiencing different cultures, lifestyles, ways of looking at the world, and areas of different kinds of terrain, climate and natural beauty, travel also exposes teens to a myriad of problem-solving situations. One of the reasons that travel is inherently adventurous is its unpredictability. Although help is always readily available from the leaders and, if necessary, from SHP headquarters and directors, the group members are encouraged to think about and solve the many unexpected "problems" of the trip - a grocery store being closed, bad weather, bike breakdowns, people giving the group wrong directions, train strikes, etc.

ADVANTAGES OF CAMPING
Our trips all include camping because camping offers a host of benefits to a teen program by fostering a closer group experience and an appreciation of nature. Camping allows a group and its leaders to be together in a campsite (with separate tents for males and females), rather than fragmented throughout many rooms in a hotel. The very nature of camping, whether it's helping one another set up the tents, cooking over a campfire, cleaning, dealing with all kinds of weather conditions, etc., fosters a wholesome group interaction. Opportunities abound for cooperation, consideration, and responsible thinking. Without the distractions of TV, radios, and VCRs, the groups learn to make their own entertainment, and discover that they have great times interacting with one another without these artificial distractions.

BUDGETING
For many trippers, this is also the first time in their lives that they are expected to keep track of their own spending money and budget wisely for a long period of time while confronted with all sorts of temptations. Many trippers blow this first experience with budgeting their own money and wind up short of spending money, but this can be a valuable learning experience - done in a safe atmosphere since their basic needs are still taken care of through the funds carried by the leaders. Trippers take turns on the cooking committee, and each committee must stay with the budget when buying the group food for that day.

PROVIDING A SOLID BASE FOR INDEPENDENCE
As the two letters from parents indicate, SHP trips help provide teens with a firm base for handling the increasing amounts of independence that will be expected of them as they enter high school or college. An SHP bike trip is an ideal spread-your-wings summer for teens in an atmosphere that stresses responsibility and consideration, and in a framework that keeps them safe while they are experimenting with freedom.

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SHP Bicycle Adventures | 305 Hulmeville Avenue, Langhorne Manor, PA 19047 | 800-343-6132 | shpbike@gmail.com

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