Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 157
  1. #1
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    on my bike between North and South
    My Bikes
    which one?
    Posts
    2,375
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Why I cycled to the ends of the world

    I just wrote a blog entry that you guys might enjoy. How was it that I - an ordinary wife, mom, and schoolteacher - ended up cycling to the ends of the world? But then, maybe this is just preaching to the choir??
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    5,117
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No, very few people are willing to join that choir. Does this mean your trip is now over, and you are safely at home?

  3. #3
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Victoria, Canada
    My Bikes
    Cannondale t1, Koga-Miyata World Traveller
    Posts
    1,546
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    We are not the choir. More like the audience and you are the Master Quartet! Your music challenges us... inspires us... helps us dream...
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  4. #4
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    on my bike between North and South
    My Bikes
    which one?
    Posts
    2,375
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    Does this mean your trip is now over, and you are safely at home?
    We are now safely back home, but the journey lives on. We think about it every single day and our time on the road has impacted each of us more than we'll ever know.

    At this point, our plan is to stay in Idaho for a while - not sure how long. As parents, our job is to give our children a whole range of opportunties. We've given our sons the world, now we need to give them a stable social life. For so long they've met friends and had a grand time for a day or a week or two weeks, but then we moved on and they left those friends behind. Now we plan to stay here and allow the boys to develop relationships that last longer. How long? We don't know.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  5. #5
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boston Area
    My Bikes
    Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
    Posts
    1,998
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    We are not the choir. More like the audience and you are the Master Quartet! Your music challenges us... inspires us... helps us dream...
    +1

    I hadn't realized that you went on that journey so that you could get your hair done by a spider monkey hairdresser.

    Speedo

  6. #6
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Grants Pass, Oregon
    My Bikes
    Hard Rock Sport, Peugeot Triathlon, Schwinn Paramount Series 7
    Posts
    671
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great blog entry, Nancy. I really love it. Questioning the status quo and all of the "acceptable" norms of parenthood, as well as "singlehood" (in my case), is a very worthwhile activity, IMO. How refreshing.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    36
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow - very inspiring. I don't think I'd ever be able to talk the family into something like that, but it does have my "gears" turning about if I could maybe pull off a summer riding excursion someday

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    My Bikes
    A few
    Posts
    896
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great blog entry Nancy. Will provide food for thought to many. I am sure it will inspire many as well, to quit procrastinating/dreaming and start doing. Your family's adventures have been inspiring all along. I am glad to hear that you are back home safe and sound, adjusting, and surely are a changed person for the experiences you have had. It has been fun to follow along via your posts here and your web site. Hope you will keep the site up permanently to keep inspiring others.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,290
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    While I have read many of your always thoughtful and intelligent posts in this forum, I had never read your blog before. Your blog post you cited above was excellent. I took the opportunity to read a few other entries. I was always curious how you were handling the education of your boys while touring. Now I know. It's clear they received a far better education while touring than they could have in virtually any school.

    I'm glad you all made it home safe and sound, and obviously had a fantastic experience. I've been fortunate enough to tour in several countries you visited in Latin America, as well as other parts of the world. I nearly always found what you had to say about touring in Latin America to be spot on.

  10. #10
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    593
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I know I've tried to post on this topic before, and I know that "the choir" will tell me to get lost... but I just don't see how subjecting kids to this odyssey of self-discovery or whatever it was, could possibly benefit them in the long run. At college-age, maybe. But not grade-school aged kids.

    And this turned into a 5-year vacation? That's just irresponsible.

    Fire away.

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,290
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    @LarryMelman -- If you read some of Nancy's blog posts about education and schooling which I just read, you might very well reach a different conclusion.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Diego
    My Bikes
    IF steel deluxe 29er tourer
    Posts
    1,432
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    I know I've tried to post on this topic before, and I know that "the choir" will tell me to get lost... but I just don't see how subjecting kids to this odyssey of self-discovery or whatever it was, could possibly benefit them in the long run. At college-age, maybe. But not grade-school aged kids.

    And this turned into a 5-year vacation? That's just irresponsible.

    Fire away.
    The kids learned how to be homeless chldren on a bike. Who's to say that that skill set won't turn out to be more useful than a conventional education? Most kids don't turn out to be doctors and lawyers and such anyway. Most formally educated people end up in cubicals. Yuch!

    Of course, the techniques of success as homeless children on a bike will have to be adapted somewhat for success as homeless adult males on a bike. Just sayin'.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Dartmouth, MA
    My Bikes
    83 Fuji Touring IV, 90 Univega Alpina Pro MTB, REI road bike, others in pieces
    Posts
    145
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    At college age, it's likely time for the kids to ride across country or elsewhere, without mom & dad.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boston Area
    My Bikes
    Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
    Posts
    1,998
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    I know I've tried to post on this topic before, and I know that "the choir" will tell me to get lost... but I just don't see how subjecting kids to this odyssey of self-discovery or whatever it was, could possibly benefit them in the long run. At college-age, maybe. But not grade-school aged kids.

    And this turned into a 5-year vacation? That's just irresponsible.

    Fire away.
    Hmmm a rolling classroom with a student to teacher ratio of 1. Two students, two teachers (actual, qualified, professional teachers!). Sounds good to me!

    Speedo

  15. #15
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    on my bike between North and South
    My Bikes
    which one?
    Posts
    2,375
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    I know I've tried to post on this topic before, and I know that "the choir" will tell me to get lost... but I just don't see how subjecting kids to this odyssey of self-discovery or whatever it was, could possibly benefit them in the long run. At college-age, maybe. But not grade-school aged kids.

    And this turned into a 5-year vacation? That's just irresponsible.

    Fire away.

    OK – where do I even start? Or do I even bother…

    Parents make decisions about their kids all the time. ALL the time. We decide what they will eat and where they will live and what clothes they will wear and what school they will go to. We make decisions about what size house we’ll live in and if they’ll share a room and if they have their own computer. Parents make decisions. It’s what parents do.

    All of our decisions are made (presumably) on what we feel is best for OUR kids. Nobody knows our kids like we do and we, as parents, are in the best position to make those decisions.

    That’s exactly what we did for our sons.

    Is a childhood spent in New York City better than one spent on a farm? Is it better to grow up in Taiwan or Ethiopia? Do kids need to grow up in one place at all, or is “home” nothing more than a mindset; being around parents who love us and care for us.

    The important thing for children is to be surrounded by loving, caring parents who they can depend on. Children need to be secure and know their basic needs will be met. That’s all they really need – the rest will come naturally if those basic needs are fulfilled.

    One of the things we found on our journey was that we always found a safe place to sleep at night. Always. It may not be particularly comfortable, but it was safe. Always. There was never a time when we went to bed wondering if we wouldn’t wake up. For our kids – that was “home”; that was the sense of stability they needed. They knew that “home” wasn’t a brick and mortar building, it was a place within them; a place where they felt loved and secure and cared for.

    The amazing thing was that we found our life on the road was actual MORE stable than our life at home ever was. In Boise (or Ethiopia or Taiwan or Malaysia), my husband and I were too busy working with other people’s kids to have time for our own. All four of us were being pulled in SEPARATE directions – we slept in the same house at night, but that’s about it. During the day, our lives were separate.

    On the road, we were working together toward a common goal. We helped each other, we supported each other, we encouraged each other. We were WITH each other. Our sons KNEW we were there for them; they KNEW John and I would do anything for them. They knew it deep down inside and never questioned it.

    We may have slept in different places every night, but we came to the conclusion that home is where the four of us were. That could be a hotel or a campground or a spot in the woods – it really didn’t matter where we were, the important thing was that we were together – that’s what home was.

    As far as their education – that’s indisputable. They started part-time at a special school here in Boise last week. It’s a math/science program specially designed for advanced kids – you have to be at least two years ahead of grade level to get in. I just talked with their teachers this afternoon and they tell me the boys slid right in and are fitting in fine. They know everything they need to know; they are capable of doing all the work. The only thing they are having trouble with is a few words – vocabulary the class learned a few weeks ago before my sons got there.

    Did you get that – this program is only for kids who are AT LEAST two years ahead of grade level??

    They took the ISAT standardized tests last week too – and scored advanced in most subjects. One of the boys scored proficient in one. In other words, they are at least on grade level in all areas and are advanced in most.

    By the end of this year, they will have their first high school credits (they’re 13). If they continue with the program, they’ll have plenty of college credits by the time they graduate from high school.

    The one disadvantage of our journey was the social aspect. Yes, they met people from all walks of life and yes they played with lots of kids – but yes, they left those friends after a week or two. And that was hard.

    We had to make a choice: do we head back to Boise so the boys could have a more stable social life and take the dream of reaching Ushuaia away from them? Or do we allow them to continue on and learn that they can do anything?

    In the end, we continued on. My boys are extraordinarily proud of what they’ve accomplished and they KNOW they can do anything. Anything. They’ve dreamed the impossible dream and reached the unreachable star. What can’t they do?
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  16. #16
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Friends of mine did something similar a few years ago. They left, with their four kids in tow, for a round-the-world trip. They weren't cycling, but they spent time in North and South America, Asia and New Zealand from 2008 to 2009.

    Their children were in elementary and middle school at the time. For them, the trip seems to have been a mixed bag. They have a far more global outlook than their friends. They are much more tolerant and accepting of differences. But socially they also missed out. While they were experiencing unique cultures and learning languages to get by in different parts of the world, the friends they had left behind were developing deeper relationships.

    Had the family stayed in Canada, the children would have been able to develop the friendships, but they would have missed out on some priceless experiences.

    In the end, it's about trade-offs. It's about making responsible choices. That's the role of the parents.
    Life is good.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    70
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Very good reply Nancy.... I know it took guts. I'm sure your kids will do just fine and when someone mentions a state or country that was on your ride you'll bet they know something about it. Not to mention the TON of life experiences they would never get in the class room.

    Looking forward to seeing what the future hold for the Family on Bikes

    Mike

  18. #18
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    593
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yeah yeah, I know, I know. Another treatise about what a wonderful thing you did. And nobody will ever convince you otherwise. And I'm not saying that anyone should.

    But personally, I always viewed this as risking almost certain disaster every day, for a prolonged period of time. A really unacceptable level of risk. Seriously, I'm glad you survived. And I hope your boys can get integrated back into normal American teenage life, get into college and into actual careers. As someone else wrote, learning "the techniques of success as homeless children on a bike" doesn't necessarily map into anything really useful down the road. Good luck to them.

  19. #19
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    on my bike between North and South
    My Bikes
    which one?
    Posts
    2,375
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post

    Had the family stayed in Canada, the children would have been able to develop the friendships, but they would have missed out on some priceless experiences.

    In the end, it's about trade-offs. It's about making responsible choices. That's the role of the parents.
    That's exactly it - we all make decisions and there is no right and wrong - just different. I wrote a blog entry a few months ago about that idea. Here is a small snippet of it:

    For every choice we make in life, we opt out of something else. Sometimes those decisions are easy; sometimes they are anything but. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of those choices. In the end, we have to make a decision. We have to choose for one and against another. Thatís just the way it is.


    We could have chosen to stay in Idaho and the boys would have played on soccer teams and swam on swim teams. They would have eaten lunch in the school cafeteria and ridden the bus to school and raced outside to play tether ball at recess. They would have had sleepovers and played video games with friends. They would have been part of chess club and boy scouts. Those things aren't bad.

    Or we could take off and travel the world and allow the boys to climb on Mayan pyramids and Incan temples. They could swim with sea lions and scuba with turtles. Fly over the Nazca Lines, see the mysterious Ica Stones and conehead skulls, see ships rise and fall in the Panama Canal. They could see real life penguins and guanacos and rheas and armadillos and foxes and bison and musk ox and big horn sheep and reindeer and iguanas in their natural habitats. They could stay with indigenous families in the Bolivian highlands and with migrant workers in Mexico. They could go sand surfing and real surfing. They could eat lomo saltado and carne asado and drink mate. But these things came at a price.

    ANYTHING comes at a price. Whenever we choose TO DO something, we choose NOT TO DO something else. The trick is to choose wisely and spend our time doing the things that will most benefit us. In the end we feel that, overall, our choice was the right one. Our boys have slid back into school and Boy Scouts just fine. They have amazing life experiences that will benefit them tremendously throughout life, but are still just normal kids. The important thing is that they grow up into capable human beings who can contribute to society - and that is exactly what we feel they will do.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  20. #20
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    on my bike between North and South
    My Bikes
    which one?
    Posts
    2,375
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post

    But personally, I always viewed this as risking almost certain disaster every day, for a prolonged period of time. A really unacceptable level of risk. Seriously, I'm glad you survived. And I hope your boys can get integrated back into normal American teenage life, get into college and into actual careers. As someone else wrote, learning "the techniques of success as homeless children on a bike" doesn't necessarily map into anything really useful down the road. Good luck to them.
    I'm really curious about the risks you speak of. Do you feel that we were in danger of getting hit by a car? More so riding on the open road than if we had been commuting to work/school in Boise, Idaho? The only time I've ever been hit by a car was 4 miles from my home in Boise when I was cycling home from work. The only time John has ever been hit was in Albuquerque, NM, a city he lived in for 15 years.

    Or of bad people? There are many of them out there - and some of them happen to be in Boise too. We didn't personally meet any of them - one stole our bike in the middle of the night, but managed to wake my husband up in the process so we got it back. Somebody did open my son's handlebar bag at the Ecuador/Peru border and steal his toys - that was a very bad day.

    Or animals? Yes, we were chased by a bear up in BC, but the most danger we've EVER been in was a mere 30 miles south of our home in Idaho while on a field trip with the local university - my son was trapped by TWO rattlesnakes 24 inches from his feet.

    Or ???? Would you please elaborate on the risk you feared?
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  21. #21
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    593
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    Or ???? Would you please elaborate on the risk you feared?
    No, I don't think I will. Because I've seen this movie many times before. Every time you push your story into the media, or post about it in here, some pretty basic concerns are raised. I can't possibly say anything that hasn't been said a hundred times already. The answer is always the same: essays about how you chose to swim with turtles and scuba with migrant iguanas, etc. As if that somehow makes all the concerns go away. Or, you get defensive and dismissive e.g. your "do I even bother" above.

    Clearly your "risk-reward" meter is calibrated much differently than most people's are. Again, I say you took on a really really risky venture, and got through it without anything catastrophic. My risk-reward meter says that you were probably really, really lucky.

    That is all.
    Last edited by LarryMelman; 04-25-11 at 11:33 PM.

  22. #22
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    on my bike between North and South
    My Bikes
    which one?
    Posts
    2,375
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    My risk-reward meter says that you were probably really, really lucky.

    That is all.
    The thing that confuses me here is that what we did was really no different from what people do all the time. When we lived in Boise before we headed out touring, we frequently took all day bike rides. We cycled along the river with a picnic lunch. We headed up into the nearby mountains or out to the Snake River Canyon. We left early in the morning and got back late at night. We did that at least once a week.

    And that would be considered by just about anyone to be just a fun, wholesome family activity. Not dangerous. Not risky. Good for the whole family.

    But somehow, that changes for some people the minute you talk about bike touring.

    There was no one single day in our entire four years on the road that was over the top. Not one single day was any harder than those weekend rides we took around Boise. At no point were we in more or less danger than we were cycling around our hometown.

    If we had traveled to Quito, Ecuador on a plane and taken our bikes and done a few day rides around there, would that be considered risky? Or just plain old wholesome family fun? Why was it different just because of the fact that we arrived in Quito on the bikes?

    Honestly, I just don't get it - and I truly want to see where the whole "risk factor" is. I don't see how traveling on our bikes is any more/less dangerous than cycling around our own hometown.
    Last edited by nancy sv; 04-25-11 at 11:42 PM. Reason: because I couldn't figure out how to type all the words I needed...
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  23. #23
    Canadian Chick Aquakitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    BC, Canada
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    628
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    No, I don't think I will. Because I've seen this movie many times before. Every time you push your story into the media, or post about it in here, some pretty basic concerns are raised. I can't possibly say anything that hasn't been said a hundred times already. The answer is always the same: essays about how you chose to swim with turtles and scuba with migrant iguanas, etc. As if that somehow makes all the concerns go away. Or, you get defensive and dismissive e.g. your "do I even bother" above.

    Clearly your "risk-reward" meter is calibrated much differently than most people's are. Again, I say you took on a really really risky venture, and got through it without anything catastrophic. My risk-reward meter says that you were probably really, really lucky.

    That is all.

    You are obviously jealous about what these people have done with their lives while you sit at home probably with a mortgage and debt and a job you don't like.

    And to those who say these kids missed out on any sort of "building relationships", that is total and complete BS. 99% of relationships in high school are a joke anyways, not many people remain friends with silly high school people. To say ANYTHING against what they have done just shows what little minds you have. Oh no!
    If anything that's the smartest thing they could have done. High school teaches nothing besides a pecking order and some kids are even picked on and teased.

    It is some American fantasy that you all have to live your lives a certain way, do certain things or else! Sorry but there is a huge world out there beyond your Walmart, Larry Melman of Arizona. There is not a big enough eye roll emoticon to express what I feel.

    Edited by Moderators
    Last edited by Juha; 04-26-11 at 02:53 AM. Reason: Guidelines

  24. #24
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    593
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    I know I've tried to post on this topic before, and I know that "the choir" will tell me to get lost...
    Yup, sure 'nuff.

  25. #25
    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    1,545
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Glad you are home and resting your legs...godspeed. What an adventure, your boys will carry the good times forever. Thanks for sharing your journey Nancy.

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •