Kids on bikes? Yes, they can!

cycling the Dalton HighwayMany 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!

biking in snowBut 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!

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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2 Responses to Kids on bikes? Yes, they can!

  1. JIM SILER November 10, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    My grandson is 5. In your opinion is it safe for him to be cycling with me, a moderately experienced rider and in good health??? Also what do you consider a safe distance for him to be cycling per day or week???

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel November 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

      @JIM SILER, On a tandem? You bet! My sons both did their first centuries when they were 5 – on a tandem with my husband. If they are on their own bikes, that’s different. At 5, they won’t have the awareness to be in traffic safely, so you’ll have to carefully choose your route. As for distance – however far he wants to go!

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