Bill and Amarind and their three children — Cheyenne (6), Jasmine (4) and Robin (3) — are undertaking the bike tour on a quintuple bike that can be reconfigured to a quad, triplet or straight tandem by decoupling some sections.
That's the family at left soon after taking delivery of the quint bike. What you don't see is their racks and trailer loaded down with enough gear to sustain them all the way from their home in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, to their destination in Fairbanks, Alaska, sometime in 2010.
In fact, that two-wheel bike trailer carried so much stuff that it would scrape bottom on some bumpy roads until Bill made some adjustments.
The family recently pulled into Lufkin, Texas, where they were interviewed by the local newspaper. You can imagine they're getting a lot of press from publications along their route. Amarins explains to the reporter:
“It's just something we'd talked about doing and we were at the point that we decided, 'if we're going to do it, let's do it now. We're living a dream.”
Their website, www.pedouins.org, tells all about their bike and their journey.
The first leg of their bike travels took them to Charleston, South Carolina, then to Fort Pierce, Florida, then Biloxi, Mississippi. They're on the fourth leg of their journey now.
They'll travel across the southern tier states to San Diego, then pedal up the coast all the way to Vancouver, B.C. From there they'll take a ferry to Alaska and complete their bike tour.
They left home on Aug. 1 and ride anywhere from 10 to 60 miles a day.
They do a lot of camping, but occasionally stay in motels. It's easy for them to meet folks along the road, some of whom are more than willing to feed them and let them camp in their yards.
How do the Harrisons travel across country by bike with three small children? They keep the daily rides short and give them plenty of attention when they're off the bike. The girls, especially the oldest, like seeing stories about themselves in the newspapers.
There's a lot the kids can learn as they travel across America. The parents point out there are many lessons in social studies, science, language arts, math, and health and safety they learn from their experiences and from the saddles of the bicycle.
Lewis & Clark
I found it interesting that Bill is reading “Undaunted Courage” in the evenings. It's the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition, primarily from the perspective of one of the co-captains, Meriwether Lewis.
Throughout the book, author Stephen Ambrose keeps going back to the idea how Lewis got his team across uncharted territory and back home again.
When you think about it, the Harrisons are crossing uncharted territory too by traveling such a long distance by bike with three small children.