Recovery

Ben loves to take pictures and some of them are really great therefore from now on we will also use his pictures on our website. 

After surgery Peter stayed in bed for another six to eight weeks. He had no pain anymore but the doctors told him that the wounds on the inside and outside can heal best if he lies down. All that time he wasn’t even allowed to do physiotherapy. After this long period of doing nothing (ten to twelve weeks) Peter slowly started to train his muscles again. As you probably can imagine he was completely out of shape. Now, four months after surgery, he is doing very long hikes and short cycling trips (without luggage) in the mountains again. He is still cautious with carrying heavy things though.

Peter found himself a nice little job for the summer: He is marking and repairing hiking trails in the mountains for the Alpenverein Sillian.

In the meanwhile Petra and the kids are touring and hiking too. Petra knows, that she has to carry most weight when Peter is ready to tour again and she tries to get in shape. They do some day-trips every week.

They also did a four-day-trip in the Dolomites (Italy). (Außervillgraten – Cortina d’Ampezzo – Passo Falzarego – Passo Valparola – Bruneck – Außervillgraten)

We also started going out in nature as a family again. We stayed at the Sillianer Hütte (Austria) for two nights and did some short hikes together.

In summer we always have a lot of guests (e.g. from warmshowers.org) which we enjoy a lot.

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A couple of days ago Peter went for a short ride with the Weehoo again for the first time.

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In September we will take a train to Bologna (Italy) and cycle tour to Albinia (Italy) where Petra’s parents rent a little house. After a week on the beach we will cycle back to Bologna and take a train home again. This will be a test ride with luggage for Peter and the first time touring with the four of us this year.

We will keep you updated.

Enjoy the summer!

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Summer memories

As you can see, we did update our website a little bit. Not only the design is new but we now also own the domain thecyclingfamily.com.
Furthermore the (Austrian) media seemed to be very interested in our lifestyle. We did give a talk with the title “Cycle touring – A nomadic lifestyle” several times. You can find the result of this attention under publicity.

But now we want to show you some memories of our summer adventures. As written in an earlier post we did two trips in spring. In summer we did five more trips in Austria, Italy and Slovenia. Each of those seven trips has been between three days and three weeks long. We only went on a trip when the weather forecast was good. We didn’t want to make it ourselves too difficult. We are very happy to be able to tell you that touring with the children worked! Very often we felt happy …

… on the road and during wild camping in our tent.

It has been hot ….

And sometimes a little bit chilly …

Petra went for a one week trip alone with Esmé. She cycled together with our friends Yvo, Annieka and their son Jidde for four days. We think, that it is a very good solution to cycle with several families, the children can play together and the adults share the daily tasks like cooking, setting up the tent et cetera. For sure the ideas about cycle touring of the various families have to be similar. We love to cycle, climb passes, wild camp and we never spend a lot of money, for example, by going out for dinner. Fortunately Yvo and Annieka share most of our ideas. Petra and Esmé had a great time with them. And Petra learned something new: When you step on a wasp it helps to suck the poison out of the sting.

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Thanks Yvo for sucking on Petras dirty foot. 🙂

In general we stayed in the mountains during all our trips and we did a lot of passes …

The children enjoyed playing with natural materials …

… but making campfires is the biggest present we can give to Ben. He simply loves it.

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One of the disadvantages of wild camping is that we have limited possibilities to wash ourselves. No problem for Peter tough, he seems to enjoy taking a bath in ice cold mountain water.

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We have collected some of our most beautiful pictures of this summer for those who love the mountains:

And we are very proud to show you this video:

Everything is changing. In a couple of years we will not have to pull any trailers anymore. But for now we have to and we do it with pleasure. It seems as if Esmé got used to our nomadic life on the bike. That’s why we decided to start our next big adventure in spring 2016. We booked a flight from Amsterdam to Vancouver on 3rd of May. We keep you updated.

For now we wish you all a lot of love and happiness.

 

Spring time = adventure time

After about 1 1/2 years of no cycle touring we decided that it is time to start again. Petra’s body is back to normal after the pregnancy and Esmé is now 1 year old, ready to experience the life on the road.IMG_0071

As you probably can imagine we needed to think about how to transport two kids instead of one and how to fit luggage for 4 people into 8 panniers. Trailers (and children) are damn heavy and we try to limit our luggage to a minimum.

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I have no idea how we manage but the 8 panniers, which we already used when we were touring only with the two of us, are still enough for everything we need for a whole family. To maximise our freedom, the most valuable thing while touring, we carry all the gear we need to wild camp. A tent, mattresses, sleeping bags, cooking gear. As you can see on the picture we put the tent on Ben’s Weehoo. But there is almost nothing, except the baby and some nappies, in the Chariot. Peter and Petra take almost no spare clothes, maximum one book each, no computer or iPad (we never did). For the children we took very little toys. We experienced on previous trips that a lot of toys break easily when used outside or when they get wet. Furthermore Ben hardly ever played with them, because he is too busy playing with rocks, sticks, water or sand.

Our 3 person tent got too small so we bought a Terra Nova Hoolie 4. Till now we are satisfied with it. It’s cheap and huge. 4 mattresses fit easily next to each other.IMG_0068

First we thought that we will miss the vestibule we had at our 3 person tent but the Hoolie has enough space on the side of the entrance to fit our panniers.

As we already shared with you Weehoo sponsored us a 2015 IGO Turbo.DSC08972

We decided for a Weehoo instead of a FollowMe or something similar because we find it more comfortable. Ben likes to enjoy our rides by looking around and singing songs and he tends to fall asleep easily while touring.

We are still looking for the best solution for Ben while sleeping in the Weehoo. His head keeps moving from left till right and back which causes also some minor problems for Peter while cycling. The best solution till now seems to be a neck cushion (which people use during long flights in airplanes) but we turn it around. Otherwise Ben’s neck seems to bend dangerously unhealthy forward. Any better suggestions?

Nice weather and good camping spots are essential for touring with children. It makes life easier. They can play outdoors without us worrying too much. So we waited for good weather and started our first big trip at the beginning of April. We cycled from our village till Vienna, which literally means across Austria (600 km) and took a train back home.

This trip has been disappointing for us. Esmé liked the cycling and surprisingly the sleeping in the tent was no problem at all. But she didn’t like the time when we got off our bikes and wanted to prepare food or pitch the tent. She felt uncomfortable while sitting in the grass and didn’t dare to move as she would do at home. Therefore she cried more than usual and wanted to be carried by Petra only which made it impossible for her to help with the daily tasks. Peter had to do everything alone and got very exhausted. We had no time at all for ourselves and doubted our choice of touring with our children. What is the meaning of traveling by bike with two small kids when they don’t enjoy it? Tired and sad we took a train back home.

After some days at home we recovered and discussed about what to do now. Touring by bike is our life, we love it and we want to do it with our children. That has always been our wish. We decided on taking Esmé outdoors more often. Ever since she has been born she has mostly been inside or been carried while being outside. Last year in summer the weather has mostly been really bad. Too bad to put a little baby in the grass. And then winter came and we carried her because sitting in the snow would have been too cold.

We also decided to do some more shorter cycle touring trips this spring and summer. A couple of days or maybe a week. If that works out well we want to try another longer trip of a couple of weeks in August.

So that’s what we did. Besides a couple of day trips (hiking and cycling) we did a loop of 160km (3 days) over the Staller Sattel (border between Austria and Italy). This trip was not only another trial run for Esmé but also a little test if we are in good shape again after an obliged winter break. We had to cycle about 2000 altimeters.

And no, we didn’t came back home disappointed this time. Esmé enjoyed being outside. She was playing with grass and rocks and water and sand and really liked it. 

As you probably can imagine we feel happy and relieved now. Hopefully our next trips will be as peaceful and nice as this one has been.

Enjoy the pictures! We keep you updated.

 

 

Temporary settled life in the Alps

Esmé

This is Esmé. Born on 28th of May 2014. She loves to eat, “talk” and roll through the apartment. She adores her big brother Ben, according to her he is the most interesting, funny and best person in the whole world.

We now live in Außervillgraten, a tiny mountain village in the Austrian Alps. We enjoy a calm and slow life with our kids and go out into nature with them as often as possible. Hiking, (tour)skiing, sledging and obviously cycling, everything is possible. (See pictures below.)

We miss the life on the road and are saving money for our next trip. Weehoo will sponsor us with one of their iGo bicycle trailers for Ben so he can actively participate in our journey.

 

 

First days on the road

The first four days of cycling were more relaxed than we expected. Ben is doing really fine which is important to us because it is up to him how far we can cycle every day. He can choose between sitting in the trailer with his toys or sitting in the front of Petra’s bike looking around and singing songs.

We chose easy roads along the rivers (Enns and Mur) and only had to do one pass, from Hieflau to Präbichl. The pass is about 25 km long. The first 20 km are going up continuously about 1%. The last kilometers are quite steep with 10%.  The cyclepaths are all good, most of them with asphalt, and with enough signs to be able to follow them. It’s a pity that regularly, they are next to big roads which means a lot of noise due to the cars and trucks on the road.

Earlier experiences with Austrian hospitality were negative but this time we have been very lucky. The third night we asked a farmer near Pernegg if we can pitch our tent for one night because we couldn’t find a suitable place. Family Plienegger allowed us to pitch the tent, invited us for dinner and breakfast and gave us a huge amount of food for the next day cycling. They were so calm, attentive and interested in our journey. Thank you so much for your hospitality, sharing your food and nice stories about farming with us.

After we left family Plienegger we met a German couple cycling with a small child for one year (http://satophiontour.wordpress.com/). Sabine, Thomas and Philipp are now on the road since three months. Philipp is 13 months old and is sitting in a trailer too. They started there trip in Aschaffenburg and also cycled along the rivers. They don’t exactely know where they will go only that they probably will stay within Europe and that they want to be in Spain during the winter. We regret that we can’t cycle together with them for now because they have different plans in the next three weeks. It’s one of our wishes to meet other families and cycle with them for some time because we want to share this different way of traveling and because the children can play together.

On Friday we arrived in Graz at our friend Lisi’s place. We will stay here till Monday because the weather forecast is bad for the weekend. After those resting days we will continue on the Murradweg till Maribor.

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