Let me introduce to you my newest idols; A French family who has cycle toured for a month or two every year from Norway to Morocco to Kyrgyzstan, as well as mountain biked, trekked, and skiied, through various mountain ranges around the world for the last decade as a family, ever since their oldest child was just a few months old. When we met them in Cusco they were one month into a three month tour with their eleven year old boy (who rides his own bike with two panniers), their eight year old girl (who rides with mom on the tandem), and their four year old boy who usually rides in the trailer (though he is jealous of his cycling siblings and is therefore allowed to cycle, on his own tiny running push bike, at least a few kilometers everyday as well). I spent most of my waking hours with these awesome kids and was extremely impressed at how well behaved they were, how well they played together, and how knowledgeable they were about the world. These are kids who will happily tell you about the monasteries they visited during a remote trek they did in Nepal, about the time a truck followed them for an hour during the night in Peru to protect them from speeding cars, and about the friendly people throughout the whole of Kyrgyzstan, all the while drawing, laughing, and running around like any normal kid would.
We have read about cycling families. We have talked about cycling families. But finally, finally, we got to actually meet a wonderful family – meaning awesome parents who really know how to teach their kids to live – on wheels. These forty year old parents and their ten year old boy, and fourteen year old girl, set out two months ago on their first ever cycle tour. They are now headed through Bolivia, before beginning their descend down to Patagonia. We saw them camped at the side of the road and ended up spending the night right next door which was a great way to spend an evening!
For once, the headwinds were the lesser of two evils as it was the sand which literally stopped us dead in our tracks. After cycling the first of two salt flats, we headed along a forty kilometer very rural road where we didn’t see a single car all day.
“A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a far away place. A traveler on that plane sees the farm and dreams of home.”
Over the past few weeks we have had two different wonderful warmshowers experiences, as well as one from couchsurfing, which all deserve to be explained since homestays such as these are what keeps us going. Though these were our first “arranged” homestays (meaning through couchsurfing or warmshowers) we have had many wonderful homestays throughout our trip from strangers who have taken us in. Read about some of our favorites here!
People often ask us what happens if one of us gets sick, and since both of us had some sort of stomach bug yesterday (most likely from bad food or water, though we really don’t remember eating anything bad) I figured that now would be a good time to touch on that subject.
“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to work out in a gym.”
By the time we were ready to leave El Chalten and the somewhat chaotic casa de cyclistas we had been staying in, we felt as though we already knew the rural boarder crossing we were about to undertake since everyone going the other way kept talking about it. After a forty kilometer ride around Fitzroy Emily and I completed a four hour hike around the first lake in order to avoid paying thirty dollars each for the incredibly expensive one hour ferry service while the boys took all four bikes on the boat.