Monday, 9 November 2015

Another family of bicycle travellers

Recently, at the talk we gave at the Local Lives, Global Matters conference in Castlemaine, a woman approached us. We met Krista while we were cycling through Orbost at the end of last year. She and her family were planning a cycle touring expedition in France.

We often meet families who have travelled all the way to Europe where they perceive the roads are safer for, and the drivers kinder to, families on bikes. But after sharing with Krista a little of our experience, she and her partner Sam and their two youngsters, Daisy (two and a half) and Banjo (four), decided to tour a little closer to home.

As bicycle advocates wanting to spread the word of families on bikes, we invited Krista to be a guest blogger, to share her insights and anecdotes of her family's three month bike-camping adventure from April to June this year, from Goulburn to Urungu. Over to you, Krista Patterson-Majoor:
In the mornings we busy ourselves making breakfast, stuffing sleeping bags, and packing our belongings until the sun reaches us. More often than not, we seek the sun. One morning we cross a frost covered oval to bask in the warm glow. We make a bench seat from old fence rails and we sit silently, worshipping the sun.
We wear multiple layers while riding. Gentle uphill slopes are a blessing as they help us keep warm. Steep descents are torturous - the icy winds and misty rain collide with clenched fingers and squinting faces. There comes a moment when all feeling is lost. An unexpected warmth rushes through our rigid fingers. It's a feeling that brings memories of early morning newspaper delivery runs, another character building experience involving bikes.
In the evenings, we rely on each others body warmth to stay cosy. Daisy and Sam on the edges, Krista and Banjo in the middle. Three mats, three sleeping bags zipped together as one. Until Daisy stabs a mat with a tent peg. Fortunately it is repairable. On another occasion a Banjo and Daisy game splits a seam in a down sleeping bag. A cloud of feathers fills the tent. White fluff rushes up noses and into open mouths, causing hysterical laughter until we discover the source. On cold nights every single feather is important!
Some days we wake up and we don’t feel like riding, or packing the tent, or loading the bikes again. On days like these, something small often makes us realise how lucky we are to be where we are; a patch of sunshine, a quiet stretch of road, a Daisy song from the trailer, or perhaps another hour long Banjo story from the back of the bike. There’s also something bigger; the growing belief that cycling offers a unique opportunity to journey together as a family. 
No sooner than one journey ends, thoughts of others begin to grow. We're deeply impressed and inspired by the way in which Banjo and Daisy have embraced this journey, and grown as a result of it. As a friend from home pointed out '... they don't know they're little, and are supposed to be playing in the sandpit'. Although they may be little, they have played a big part. We think they make wonderful companions. We are thankful for having had this opportunity to spend so much time with them.
Thank you Krista, Sam, Daisy and Banjo for sharing your story. Happy riding! We hope lots more families follow in your wheel-paths. xx

3 comments:

  1. So insightful, funny and warming story from this family.

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