Family on Bikes

A Family Cycles from the Arctic to Patagonia


Boise, Idaho, USA
August 31
Our family of four (with 13-year-old twin boys) dreamed the impossible dream and reached the unreachable star! On March 21, 2011 we pedaled the final mile to arrive at the end of the world in USHUAIA, Argentina! We spent three years cycling 17,300 miles through 15 countries starting in Alaska to get there.


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MAY 23, 2012 12:00PM

To achieve great things you must be willing to hate it and keep going anyway

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To achieve great things you must be willing to hate it and keep going anyway

road in argentina

When the dream is far away and it seems like there's no way to get there, that's when you have to be willing to forge ahead.

That doesn’t make sense, does it? Why would you keep going when you hated it? It’s kinda like beating a dead horse, eh?

It might not make sense, but I know for a fact that you’ve got to be prepared to carry on even when you hate it if you expect to do something big. I know – I’ve been there.

bike touring in argentina

The biting flies were so bad we couldn't even sit down for a break. We could just grab a quick sip of water, then push on.

We were 1500 miles from the end of the road when we arrived into Zapala, Argentina. It had been a tough three or four weeks and we were exhausted. For hundreds of miles we had paralleled the Andes, climbing up and over the foothills, then dropping down into river valleys. It was hot, the road condition was dismal, and the biting flies made our lives torture.

We were pushing hard to reach Ushuaia before winter set in and knew we no longer had the luxury of time. No matter how tired we were, when we arrived into a tiny town I needed to scurry around scrounging up enough food to get the four of us to the next tiny town three or four days away.

bike touring argentina walk hills

The hills and road condition were so bad, Daryl had to get off the tandem and walk for miles.

The day we arrived into Zapala the wind was howling. We battled the wind as it kicked up enormous clouds of dust that blew into our eyes, stinging us, blinding us. We pedaled through town searching for a hostel. Somehow we knew another night in our tents would break us.

After unloading the bikes and hauling everything upstairs to our hostel room, I sat down on my bunk and pulled out my journal. As tears streamed down my face I wrote:

I know I want to reach Ushuaia – but I want to get there, like…tomorrow. I don’t feel like spending another 50 or 60 nights camped by the side of the road. I don’t feel like battling winds straight from the depths of hell for another couple months. I don’t feel like being bitten by tabanos for another 75 days. I don’t feel like foraging and gathering food from poorly stocked stores. I don’t feel like stuffing my sleeping bag and rolling up the tent. I don’t feel like pedaling my heavy bike up 30-kilometer climbs.

So we come back to the beginning – to the decision part of doing this big thing. Is reaching Ushuaia on two wheels important enough to me to continue on? Is accomplishing this goal that I’ve dedicated so many years of my life to worth the inconveniences and pain it’ll take to get there? Do I really want to do this?

bike touring argentina exhausted

I was beat. I could barely put one foot in front of the other, let alone push my heavy bike.

I was tired. More than tired, I was bone-tired and exhausted. Done for, done in, frazzled, kaput, and worn out. I had nothing left. Absolutely nothing.

Except my why.

When we pedaled away from Zapala a few days later, I was convinced I would hate it. I would hate every single one of those 1500 miles I still had to go. I would pound my pedals with fury and hate every second. And yet I wasn’t ready to give up.

I achieved something big because I was willing to push on even though I hated it. I was broken – shattered into a zillion pieces – yet I knew I wouldn’t give up.

bike touring in argentina push wind

Davy and Daryl took my bike up the hill, leaving me Davy's smaller, lighter bike.

My dream was big, but my resolve was even bigger. No matter how difficult, no matter how far, I was determined to reach my goal. I might hate each and every pedal stroke, but I would make it to Ushuaia.

That’s exactly what you’ll need to reach your unreachable star. You need to be willing to push on even when you hate it. If your dream is big enough, and your why even greater, you’ll push through those moments when you come crashing down.

And know that you WILL come crashing down. There will be times when you look at the long road ahead and it’s so big and overwhelming and more difficult than you think you can handle. You’ll crash and burn. Yes, you will.

And it’s for those moments that you need to define your why. If your why is meaningful enough, you’ll find the strength to pick yourself up and carry on. If not, every obstacle in your path has the power to derail your plans.

If you’ve got the strength to push through the down times, you’ll find, just like I did, that things will get better. It doesn’t seem like it at the time, but they will.

At that moment, when you’re broken, when you’re convinced you’ll hate every moment of your journey, you need to carry on.

Only then will your dream come true.

bike touring argentina

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To achieve great things you must be willing to hate it and keep going anyway is a post from: Family on Bikes. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive your free e-book: Bicycle Touring with Children; A Guide to Getting Started.

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