Newsletter - July 2008
Inspiring families to live adventurously, promoting independent family adventure

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

Welcome to our July 2008 update
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Hello once more from Cumbria where summer started then stopped then started again. Call it global warming or good old British weather, it’s something we’re learning to get on with. And as our family grows and grows up, we’re still learning how to adventure together.

Families and weather are not that different - complex, unpredictable, difficult to understand; delighting one minute and disappointing the next. Each year brings new challenges for our Family Adventure Project, not just physical (how will we get all that gear up that hill?) but increasingly psychological (how will all these growing personalities get along together?). Still without the challenge, where’s the adventure? And while we know we can’t rely upon the weather (at least in this country), we think we can still rely upon us pulling together as a family when it counts.

Young (and Old) Groaters

Last summer, despite incessant rain and flooding, we completed the classic UK Land’s End to John O Groats Challenge by bike and joined the official ranks of Old (and Young) Groaters.


It took us seven weeks (most people do it in two), one thousand three hundred miles, (the direct route is less than nine hundred) and thirteen punctures (unavoidable with loads like ours) and you can read about every one of them in our LEJOG blog.

In January this year Cameron received a trophy from the Lands End to John O Groats Association for being the youngest person in the world to complete the journey under his own steam in 2007.


Both Matthew and Cameron are now riding their own bikes on the quieter country routes and Matthew is hoping a family trip to Holland next year will give him an opportunity to try some expedition touring on his own bike. In the meantime, we continue to pedal our way round Cumbria to the shops, the swimming pool and the library, come rain or shine.

Wheely Good Communities

Our year hasn’t just been about big expeditions. It’s been about the small, local stuff too. This time last year we launched a cycling project, Wheely Good Communities, trying to support and encourage others to use their bikes more. Over recent months we’ve run guided rides catering for everyone from pensioners, to families and mountain bikers. We’ve enjoyed rides to Damson Day in the Lyth Valley, cycle toddles to the miniature steam railway, trolley dashes to the local Farmer’s Market and a Christmas treasure hunt with a cycling Santa who jumped out of hedges bearing gifts and sweets.

We’ve helped a 71 year old woman get back on her bike after 40 years thanks to some confidence building cycle skills training, attracted small grants from Kelloggs, the Arnside & Silverdale AONB and Lancashire and Cumbria County Councils, and lent cycling equipment out to local families. For those of a less active disposition we've been offering inspiration through illustrated talks to a Women’s Festival, local cycle clubs, the WI and a Lancaster theatre.

Pedalling Pilgrims

This summer, at the children’s request we’re escaping to the sunshine as Peregrinos - or Pilgrims on the historic ‘Camino’ across France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Millions of people before us have undertaken this pilgrimage by foot, donkey or bicycle seeking solitude, spiritual enlightment or a period of reflection. Fat chance of any of that for us as we struggle up the Pyrenees, push up the Picos de Europas and crash into Spanish towns and cities with our tandems trailers and toddler, and of course our two faithful pedallers. Matthew is on a promise - if he can cover the planned number of kilometres a day he will be paid in euros and might eventually be able to afford his coveted Nintendo DS. Meanwhile Cameron is planning on listening to ‘100 stories’ loaded onto his MP3 player and Hannah plans to show her ‘baby’ what life is like for a ‘chica’ in a trailer. She’s also looking forward to tapas, tortilla and large helpings of ice cream.

As usual we’ll be blogging about the trip, this time on a small hand held computer we hope to re-charge from the sun. We’ll be getting our pilgrim passports stamped in every town and the kids intend to claim their 3 free meals from the refectory that hands out ten freebies a day to the lucky few who’ve queued all night like shoppers at the boxing day sales.

Right now we’re busy with our final preparations, loading nappies, calpol, kitchen, sleeping bags, tent, toys, MP3’s and dollies onto tandems and trailers. If you’d like to come out and join us on the road do let us know and we'll see if we can organise a rendezvous. Or if you're more of a virtual adventurer, you can track our progress from the comfort of your computer on our Pedalling Pilgrim’s blog.

Until next time,

Well that's it for now. As always we welcome your news, comments and feedback. You can send us a message by replying to this email newsletter or by mailing us at

Have a good summer and don’t forget…it’s better by bike.

All the best,

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

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