Many people dream of taking off with their children to travel the world. Their dreams are filled with days of visiting the Egyptian pyramids or the Taj Majal. They will travel on buses and planes and boats… But traveling the world on bicycle? With kids? Why? I have now cycled about 27,000 miles with my twin sons, and can tell you that traveling by bike may just be the best way to travel – even with kids!
The bike allows you – indeed, it forces you – to get off the beaten track and see the tiny villages of the world. When one is traveling with a motor of whatever kind, you will skip over the small towns in order to reach the cities. But it’s the small villages in a country that can teach you about life in that country. Cities – for all their differences – are mostly the same. In today’s face-paced world, cities are becoming increasingly generic; it’s the villages that still retain the character of the country, and the bikes allow us to get to know them.
On bicycles, you are more in touch with Mother Nature. Without a protective layer of steel and glass surrounding you, you’ll feel every drop of rain and every subtle change in temperature. Our children truly understand the idea that altitude affects temperature and the tremendous forces of nature that have created mountains out of lowlands – they’ve pedaled over it!
But more than that, by touring on bicycles, children learn important life lessons that will carry them through life. They learn to persevere through hardships – knowing they will come out victorious on the other side. They learn there are times when only through teamwork can you achieve your goal. They learn that sometimes, the only thing you can do is put one foot in front of the other, set your sights on making it through the next 60 seconds, and forge ahead.
Can kids learn those lessons by traveling another way? Sure. But the lessons come a whole lot easier on bikes!