Newsletter - May 2011
Inspiring families to live adventurously, promoting independent family adventure

The Family Adventure Project and Family on a Bike e-newsletter

Welcome to our May 2011 update
Read it online at: http://www.familyonabike.org/Newsletters/NewsMay2011.html

Long time no speak

It’s seems a very long time (June 2004) since we started sending out these occasional newsletters and it’s shocking to find it’s almost three years since we sat down and composed the last one. Not because we’ve nothing to say, nor because we don’t want to stay in touch, but mostly because we tend to use our blog, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to keep in touch these days. And by the time we’ve done that it doesn’t seem like there’s anything interesting left to put in a newsletter!

And while we know many of you already know how to find our blog, tweet with us or befriend us on Facebook, we suspect there are some on this mailing list who may just think the radio silence means we’ve died and gone to heaven, have been a long time without internet access or have given up with our Family Adventure Project. But none of these are true. We’ve simply switched channels to try and look more trendy, techno savvy and like we are citizens of the 21st century. And to try and keep up with the kids.

So if you’re still interested in keeping up with The Family Adventure Project, in what we get up to or for ideas on ways to get out, get active and adventure with your family, then don’t wait for the next newsletter (it may never come!), join us in real time and let’s help inspire each other.

Keeping in touch

• If you like things in less than 140 characters, follow and tweet with us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/familyonabike (@familyonabike). We do our best to tweet back.

• Or if you’d prefer to be ‘friends’ then send us an invite on Facebook at www.facebook.com/familyonabike. Don’t worry, we’re not the kind of ‘friends’ who’ll turn up on your doorstep and stay for a month. Not unless you invite us to.

• If you prefer to keep your distance, you can keep up with our blog online at www.familyadventureproject.org or let Feedburner email it to you each time we update it.

• If you’d like to see a little of what we get up to, you can catch some videos of our antics on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/familonabike

• Of course we still maintain and update the website at www.familyadventureproject.org (also at www.familyonabike.org)

• And finally, we’re still on good old email at: mail@familyonabike.org

With all that technological adventuring, I’m sometimes amazed we ever have the time or energy to do anything else, but somehow amongst the demands of work, school, washing, paying the bills, music lessons, cubs, scouts and brownies, we make it a priority to keep up our adventures together, and still savour the experiences we have each summer when we put ordinary life on hold and pedal our way into territories unfamiliar to us.

Our Family Adventure Project

In the three years since the last newsletter, with the kids refusing to stop growing, we’ve been forced into experiments in touring using various combinations of tandems, triplets and trailers. So, at long last, after years of hauling kids along in trailers, we’re finally getting some power contribution from the increasingly not so little ones.

If you haven’t caught up with us for a while, we’ve spent the last few summers navigating unfamiliar cities, getting tongue tied in different languages, trying to squeeze our tandems and triplets on trains and ferries, through unexpected gates, fields and hotel lifts, and blogging and tweeting our way out of a crisis. After a successful UK end to end challenge ride from Lands End to John O Groats in the wet, wet summer of 2007, we spent 2008 bearing scallop shells as a family of Pedalling Pilgrims following the historic Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. 2009 saw us crossing Europe from one city of canals to another on an incredible journey from Amsterdam to Venice, including a fantastic crossing of the Alps (well the downhill bit anyway).

And in 2010 we headed further afield on an eye-opening journey of Bikes, Boats and Moomin Summer Madness’ on a mission to join the Moomins 65th anniversary party at Moonimworld in Western Finland, travelling via the former Eastern Block States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, visiting six countries, not speaking six languages and getting very misunderstood in the process.

Ten Years Adventuring Together

2011 marks our tenth year adventuring together and what an amazing journey it has been: cycling, sailing, canoeing, camper-vanning, eco-touring, road-tripping, rail-roading and back-packing in places as diverse as New Zealand, Samoa, America, Sweden, Canada, France, Spain, Holland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark, Finland, Aland and of course England, Scotland and Wales, clocking up over 14,000 kilometres on the bikes.

To mark our 10th anniversary we spent Easter revisiting the Isle of Arran, scene of our very first cycle toddles, when Matthew was just a tiny baby. Ten years later the island seems much the same (although thankfully sunnier and with less midges) but we’re quite a different family. Our 2011 Arran mini-tour marked Matthew’s graduation to leader of the family peleton with him riding solo to try and help him decide whether to take on this summer’s expedition on his own bike. And after a very positive experience he’s volunteered to help lead us on a journey that will take us from Munich, along the Danube to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, then across Slovakia and the Tatra Mountains into Poland and to the historic city of Krakow.

With Matthew riding solo, it means we can put the Goodies Bike away for the summer and switch back to our twin tandem arrangement with Hannah and Cameron stoking again (at least on the uphill sections) and our trusty Burley trailers filled with tent, sleeping bags and Kirstie’s obligatory giant picnic. As ever we’ll be blogging about the best and worst bits as we go, and in touch on Twitter and Facebook, so you can join and influence the adventure in real time, and maybe end up featuring in the next instalment of Twitter While You Travel, a downloadable ebook about our 2009 Twitter fuelled adventure across Europe that unfolds 140 characters at a time.

Why adventure together?

After 10 years working at it, we know first-hand and from the stories we hear from other families that adventuring together as a family helps build a strong family, improves relationships and leads to the kind of experiential learning and personal growth you simply cannot get in school or through the routines of everyday life.

We’ve come to realise that you don’t need a lot of money, equipment, training or experience to get started. And you don’t need expensive tour operators, adventure companies or guides. You don’t even need to go far. What you do need is an idea of what you want to do, the enthusiasm to engage your family and the imagination and determination to make it happen.

If you like the idea of getting out, getting active and adventuring with your family and are looking for a little inspiration, we hope the stories we've assembled in our ebook, Adventures Together, will enthuse you to get out there and do it. If there’s nothing in there that whets your appetite then why not get in touch, tell us what you’re looking for and let us use our experience, contacts and the incredible network of people blogging and tweeting on the internet to see if we can help you get out, get active and adventure together. It’s a powerful force for good in our family life and could be the same for you.

Until next time,

Well that's it for now. As always we welcome your news, comments, ideas and feedback. You can send us a message by replying to this email newsletter, by mailing us at mail@familyonabike.org or by any of those zillion channels of contact at the top of the newsletter. We’d love to hear from you.

Have a good summer. And keep adventuring,

All the best,

Stuart, Kirstie, Matthew, Cameron and Hannah
The Family on a Bike

 Read our other newsletters here

The Family Adventure Project
inspiring families to live adventurously
website: www.familyadventureproject.org or www.familyonabike.org
tweet with us: www.twitter.com/familyonabike
Facebook: www.facebook.com/familyonabike
YouTube: www.youtube.com/familonabike
Email: mail@familyonabike.org or mail@familyadventureproject.org
call us: +44 (0)1524 782351
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