Have Kids Will Pedal: A Lesson from the Road Less Travelled

What is the most important lesson we learned?  TRY NEW THINGS!


The idea of cycling along the Andes started as a dream of an active journey in a new country. Before we left, some thought this trip was crazy, and there were many times when we too questioned our ideas. With limited experience biking, little knowledge of the culture we were about to be living in, and language skills that faltered on the second beginner lesson, it would have been easy to give up our dream. We could have settled for a destination that was closer to home, or an activity that we were more familiar with. As a family this is incredibly easy to do, and yet kids are wonderfully adaptable. Their continued growth and daily changes have pushed us as parents.

*Missed the series? Check out the Clark Family adventure past posts: Have Kids will Pedal and stay tuned for their film in 2015.

We needed to try something new! So we took off on some short bike trips near home, tested lots of new gear, did as much research as possible, and continued to make revisions until we boarded the plane. We left behind some of our preconceived notions and nagging doubts and took a leap into the unknown. We haven’t looked back since.

The adventure was all we could have hoped. Cycling is a great way to travel and we developed a confidence in traveling under our own power. The kids were better travelers than their parents, enjoyed being part of the adventure, and loved having some independence when they could ride on their own. We also had flexibility in our route and stops that doesn’t exist when traveling by bus. We met many wonderful people who have inspired us to dream of other far off places that we want to explore in the future.

The new gear we tried exceeded our expectations. Before this trip my memory of wool rested firmly on a lovely – but itchy – hand knit sweater from my grandmother. For the last 25 years, I wore nothing but synthetics in the outdoors. The wool garments from Ibex changed my perspective on natural fibers. Alice and I noticed that we were consistently drier and more comfortable in our wool El Fito tights than our synthetic bike shorts. More to the point, we all wore our Nomad Hoody sweaters every day from Christmas until September in a range of environments. It didn’t matter if we were in the rainforest, desert, or on the lofty altiplano – our Nomad Hoodies were great for riding, staying warm in camp, and snuggling into our sleeping bags day after day after day. And we are still wearing them now that we are home, despite a plethora of other options.

How do you sum up seven months of adventure? In the time we were away, our world expanded. We returned home, changed.

Check out the Clark Family adventure series here: Have Kids will Pedal and stay tuned for the film in 2015.