“Experience, travel — these are as education in themselves.”
— Euripides, Greek playwright, c. 480-406 B.C.
But their childhood adventures pale in comparison to those of Daryl and Davy Vogel of Boise, Idaho. For the past 26 months, the 11-year-old twins have been traveling with their schoolteacher parents on an 18,000-mile bicycle ride the length of the Pan-American Highway from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, at the southern tip of South America.
The family set out from Alaska on June 8, 2008, and hopes to reach the southern terminus of the Pan-American Highway next March.
“The Vogels have endured sub-zero temperatures on the Bolivian altiplano, blinding Peruvian desert sandblasts, an excruciatingly steep 15,856-foot climb in the Andes, and on one occasion, a frightening predator,” said an account of their journey in Sunday’s Parade magazine.
“Two years ago, after a long day on the road in British Columbia, John and Daryl went off to scout campsites while Nancy and Davy stopped to take a breather. Suddenly a 400-pound bear lumbered dangerously close to where mother and son straddled their bikes.”
They escaped by riding away very slowly at first, and then, “as the bear chased after them, they amped up their gears and, legs and adrenaline pumping furiously, blasted to safety,” the Parade story said.
Check out a more complete account of their trip so far: “Road Scholars: Would you take an 18,000-mile bike ride with your kids?”
As a cyclist myself, I was particularly interested in the note at the bottom about what kind of bikes the Vogels are riding and what sort of gear they’re using. I was pleased to note that the “family’s preferred brand” of tires is Schwalbe Marathon Plus.
I used that same brand of German-made touring tires on a ride across the United States last fall and didn’t have a flat. I’ve just bought online a new set for use when my current Schwalbes wear out — whenever that might be.