Ze buk is ze done!

Our much awaited Wise Routes Project Book – RIDE SOMEWHERE FAR – has finally been published! And the Kickstarter supporters that provided their addresses by this morning have packages on the way…!!

…yep, we’re psyched….

If you missed out on the Kickstarter campaign, have no fear! You can pick up your very own copy right here.


In case you’re interested… here’s a description:

Ride Somewhere Far is a guidebook to using your bicycle as a vehicle for discovering, learning from, and creating the world you wish to live in. It combines personal narrative with practical touring advice and relevant resources for the aspiring two-wheeled traveler.

Ride Somewhere Far makes bicycle travel a simple, fun, inexpensive, and eye-opening way to more intimately connect with your world – be it across the sea or right in your own city.


Riding, writing, and pursuing our own nature

Hi Friends. We know, it’s been a long blog hiatus. Luckily, that’s because we’ve been making great progress on the book. With a first draft (mostly) completed, Brandon and I had a week of intense editing in Maine in late March. Now we’re thrilled to be receiving and integrating short bike-touring narrative contributions from ~10 of our favorite “bicycle warriors”!

The next step will be to edit the book, illustrate it, and lay it out for publishing. [We are eager to bring on some more volunteer editors willing to spend a few hours providing their feedback on our pre-published draft…. let us know if you’re interested!] It’s a fun, challenging, overwhelming, exciting and exhausting, and just generally incredible learning process and a true test of our discipline. We can’t wait to see the final product, and we hope you’re excited too! In a future post, we’ll share some of our lessons we learned from the early conceptualization of our idea all the way to the end product.

My friend Lucy recently shared this article with me. It was written a few years ago by John Taylor Gatto, a leading voice in the alternative education/unschooling sphere. Reading it gave me a kick of adrenaline and inspiration which I’m channeling into the book. Here’s a snippet:

Only you can educate you—and you can’t do it by memorizing. You have to find out who you are by experience and by risk-­taking, then pursue your own nature intensely. […] To know yourself, you have to keep track of your random choices, figure out your patterns, and use this knowledge to dominate your own mind. It’s the only way that free will can grow.

To pursuing our own nature intensely!

Claire (+ Brandon)

We took a day off to go on an epic hike in the White Mountains.

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I came across this quote in “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” and thought it deserved a little attention.

Go get lost this weekend!

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Buzzing in DC…

We’ve had a foot-stompin’, hootin’hollerin’ whirlwind of a time visiting great friends and old favorite spots in DC this week. In lots of ways, it feels like we never left {it feels like home}.

The week of play has been sprinkled with a hearty dose of “work” too.

On Wednesday, the Howard Gardner School (HGS) in Alexandria, VA invited us to speak to their middle and high school students about our Wise Routes Project bike trip, and self-designed learning more generally. At HGS, students have opportunities throughout each year to self-design elements of their curriculum, including an entire semester during senior year to design an independent project. Recognizing that this can be both exciting and daunting, we shared some of the things we learned from self-designing our bike tour to (hopefully) inspire excitement and creative ideas around the challenge.

The students asked awesome questions and we loved the discussion that formed. The knowledge exchange went both ways. It was particularly helpful for me to be around teenagers in order to regain a pulse on what questions and concerns they have about self-designed learning. As we continue to work on our book, this is superduperduper important.

Thanks to Matt Hawley for snapping a few photos of the day:


Something a little different.

{ click the picture to see the video }

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The demise of textbooks as we know them.

I love books. I mean real books, the kind you can hold, dog-ear, smell, flip your fingers through, scribble notes in, and sit on to appear taller in important meetings. I’ve held strong to real books despite the rapid rise of the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad, and every other eReader out there. Those gadgets are cool, but I want my books to smell like ink and coffee.

Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

So today Apple shook me a bit when they announced a new approach to textbooks through a tablet application called iBooks 2. I actually think it’s pretty nifty. Who really likes conventional textbooks? Sure they are good at leveling out the short leg on the coffee table, and yes, they are better than most other books at pressing leaves and flowers, but they are also painfully stagnant learning tools in a world where the most up-to-date knowledge and information can be accessible at the click of a mouse.

Many years ago the textbook allied with initial-laden backpacks and deviant school administrators to infuse students with scoliosis and classrooms with an epidemic of textbook (pardon the pun) boredom. I’m not always a fan of technology, but I’m thrilled by this new opportunity to provide students with cheaper, lighter “textbooks” (though you do have to buy an iPad…) containing constantly updated information and interactive content. I think if I had yoga breakdance videos embedded in my physics book in high school, or could learn about birds by listening to their calls with a simple click, I might have been more engaged. Well, I’m not actually sure the Apple textbooks are that cool yet (but I invite the thousands of Apple programmers that follow this blog to steal the idea).

Here’s an article about the announcement.

As learning tools and information become more and more streamlined and accessible to all, how do you think schools and classrooms will change?

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How to bicycle through Argentina (or Norway).

Tinkering with the idea of embarking on your own pedal-powered adventure? We want you to know about a really goosebumpworthy opportunity to go on your first (or twenty-sixth) bike trip with a great organization, for (wait for it) a great cause.

We have a bike crush on Two Wheel View – a Canadian non-profit that runs bike trips for students in Canada, Argentina, and Norway and provides students with leadership, environmental, and cultural exchange opportunities along the way. In short, they’re nifty.

In order to keep down the costs of their trips for students, they also run charity support rides for adult adventurers with a few extra bucks to spare. Riders sign up for one of two 16 day tours this spring (argentina!) or summer (norway!), and commit to raising at least $1,500 to support Two Wheel View.

The founders – Rick and Tanya – are an incredible pair with many years of experience leading bike touring educational programs under their belt… and they got their start sort of like we did, on an epic bike trip that changed their lives – I can only imagine the trips they lead will be just as incredible.

If you’re interested, check ’em out here.

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Move, Learn & Eat : Short Films

“3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage –  all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…..”

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Wise Words from 1,000 Elders

Thought I’d share this article with you all in case you haven’t stumbled upon it yet… a new book about life lessons from those at the latter end of their own ‘wise routes’.

The book – “30 Lessons for Living” – “offers practical advice from more than 1,000 older Americans from different economic, educational and occupational strata who were interviewed as part of the ongoing Cornell Legacy Project.” This NY Times article lets us in on a few of enlightening trends about marriage, careers, aging, regrets, and happiness.

Advice From Life’s Graying Edge on Finishing With No Regrets

I also really love this video about success (connected to the NY Times article):

Hope everyone is off to a 2012 full of adventure, love, and ever wider eyes.

– Claire

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