Re: Pan Am Bike Tour for My Son and Me
I don't know where to begin. He's not the typical 6 year old. He's already been to Bolivia, and he's really good at riding (as a passenger) on a motorcycle. We've discussed that he can ride on some roads on his own bike and with what I'll be carrying (two trailers, not one) if I have the motor off, I will be going about the same speed as he would be. The engine is mainly for going up hills, because of the load, it's not for the entire trip. If I have to take one trailer up at a time, I've seen others do the same. You take a load, drop it, go back, get the other load, go up a bit farther, and then repeat. I've also thought about the possibility of asking a local to haul it up one side for us, just attach it to the back of their vehicle.
Break downs leading to us getting completely stranded isn't really possible because anywhere you go, there are bicycles. We can do this without a motor. It's just going to be a lot easier with one than without one. My son is used to riding in a car, because we have friends who sometimes give us rides, but he's been in horse drawn carts before, too. To be honest, my number one concern in reaching our destination are the many rivers we'll have to cross. Not all have bridges, and many rely on barges for crossing. It's not going to be easy to get both trailers on the barge, and I'm going to need help with that. But that's something that is workable, too.
About his age, he's only two years younger than a set of twins who rode the entire Pan Am with their parents when they set off from Alaska. It took them two years, but they made it to the tip of Argentina, and they didn't have an engine at all, but two regular bikes, and a tandem. They also had a lot of the side baskets, panniers, I think they are called, and a trailer. They rode for about four hours a day, and only rode every other day. They aren't the only family that's done this, or is planning on doing it.
We're planning on about four hours a day, but about five days a week, instead. We're only going for half that distance, and I don't mind if it takes longer than two months, but I would like to get there before the rainy season sets in - I'm hoping to leave in May and get there before November. That's six months.
Yes, the trailer is going to be custom made. I know how to ask questions. Just because I didn't know what a clutch was, which I do now, doesn't mean I don't have any mechanical aptitude. My ASVAB scores were higher than any of the guys who were took the battery at the same time I did. Knowing or being able to learn how stuff works doesn't mean you have to have the vocabulary down pat. I think, and maybe I am wrong, but if I can put an engine together, and hang onto the manual, I should be able to break it down, too.
Don't be so discouraging, guys. This is possible to do, it's been done before, and others will do it, too. I'm not the type to quit at the first sign of a problem, or to throw my hands up and say 'I can't figure it out!' That's just not me. If I want to do something, I figure out how. There's more than one way to solve most 'problems' which in my family, we call 'bumps in the road.'