What kind of cyclists are you?
We often joke that we are “together-ists.” We love spending time together as a family outdoors, and it is our goal to complete extended self-propelled wilderness camping trips as a family.
How long has cycling been a part of your lives? When did it become more than just “riding a bike”?
Cycling has been part of our life since our kids were born. When they were babies, cycling provided us a time-crunched workout between diaper changes. But these were solitary missions, not family adventures. Our cycling took on a new dimension in 2014 when we left our home and jobs and flew to the tip of South America for our first bike trip as a family. During our eight-month ride, north along the Andes of Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia we discovered the freedom that bikes and an open itinerary allow. We experienced the peace and solitude of roads less traveled, strengthened our family bonds, and were welcomed into a larger family of cyclists from around the world - our “Familia Ciclista.”
The cycling accomplishments you’re proudest of to date?
As parents, watching our son Koby transition from passenger to independent cyclist ranks high on our list of proud moments. Six months into our ride along the Andes, we had the pleasure of watching Koby climb 4000 ft. to a high pass entirely on his own. He had just turned seven. His sense of accomplishment on that day is something that he remembers three years later, and that we reference when things get tough in our regular routine at home.
Favorite place you’ve all been on a bike so far?
The Salar de Uyuni is an other worldly place and the final destination in our 3,600-mile ride along the Andes. It is the largest salt flat in the world and situated in southern Bolivia at a lung-busting height of nearly 13,000 ft. This fabled place was mentioned by fellow cyclists around enough campfires that it inspired us to continue further than planned.
Favorite place to daydream about that you haven’t yet ridden?
Alice has ancestors from Mongolia, so this is a place that rests in a corner of our consciousness. Recently, our daughter Ava Fei has decided that she wants to go to China, so this may be part of our distant horizon.
How do you describe what the bicycle means to your family?
In concrete terms, a bicycle is a tool. However, not many of us get excited about a hammer because it doesn’t take us places. In more abstract terms, a bicycle is the freedom to explore our inner and outer horizons. Going distant places on a bike frees our spirits and gives us a better perspective on ourselves.
How will your futures as cyclists unfold?
We are about to embark on our biggest adventure yet, and we are sure to learn much about cycling, each other, and ourselves. Our route follows the Continental Divide of North America as well as the Baja Divide. It will take us nine months to cycle 7,000 miles between the Arctic and the south tip of the Baja Peninsula. Most of the route will be on gravel roads in the wilderness near the divide. At this point, it is difficult to predict how our adventure will unfold.
After that, maybe we will carve out a year so that we can cycle around the world when the kids are teenagers.
Who inspires your riding?
We’ve never met him but would have to give a nod to Jay Petervary for his breadth of experience and willingness to express the range of emotions that a day (or a couple of weeks) on the bike may provide.
Favorite Salsa model and why?
We are very excited to spend nine months on two Fargos. The drop bars, simplicity of build, and wide tire clearance will help us tackle a wide array of challenges between the Arctic tundra and the desert of the Baja.
Favorite pre, during, and post ride/race food and bevvies?
Hot chocolate just after you roll out of the tent is a great way to start the day. On the flip side, ice cream at the end of a long ride is likely the best treat for a family of cyclists.
When your family isn’t cycling…
When we are not cycling, we have usually been canoeing and camping. As a family, we have traveled 3,600 miles by canoe in the Arctic on four northern trips. We've slept under the stars 250 nights during these journeys, so our tent is like a second home.
What don’t you leave home without on a ride?
Every ride is an adventure, regardless of the duration, group, or destination. We try to model a curious approach and open mindset for the kids. Doing this makes the challenges more memorable (in a good way) and the experiences more rewarding.
Please follow along with us on our adventures! www.simplypropelled.com