A Swiss family that is biking 2900 kilometres has a bit of a different take on the traditional summer vacation.
“We wanted to do something with the kids before they grow into teenagers, to show them how much more there is to the world than their village at home.” said Virginie Duqette, 38, who is the mother of the Duqette family biking from Seattle, Washington to Montreal, Quebec.
Joining her on the trek, her husband Jonathan, 41, and three children Nelson, 12, Jimmy, 11, and Caitlou, 9, are all riding together.
“Seattle was the beginning of our trip and we didn’t plan on stopping in the Sault. We had spoken with people who had done the ride before by bike, and said that it was too beautiful to miss.” said the father of the family, Jonathan.
“In an average day we make it about 40 kilometers, but have managed 70 kilometers in a day at times.” said Virginie during her stop at Velorution in the Sault. The family makes stops at various bike shops around the country to make sure their bikes will be able to handle the journey.
The family does stop to rest, as they carry their tents, bedding, and up to three days worth of food. “What’s hard is only being able to carry so much food. Two, maybe three days worth is all. One of our children has a gluten allergy, so we need to stop at grocery stores as opposed to just being able to pick up a hamburger or hotdog from a gas station or fast food place.” stated Jonathan, who has family in both Seattle and Montreal.
“The first reaction, in the first ten minutes, we told the kids we were going on an adventure, they were a little worried. So I told them it would be more like a vacation, since we won’t be in the middle of no where” added the mother of the Duqette family. “Well, maybe sometimes” she said with a laugh.
“I was born in Montreal, but when I was three, my parents moved to Switzerland, and I still have family there. It’ll be a big family reunion with my parents, a big party!” said the excited father.
“The idea at first was to show the kids that the world is not just their village. We live in a village of 120 people in the Swiss mountains in a wooden chalet. When people think of Switzerland, with wooden chalets and cows around, that’s where we live.
“The first things the kids say is how nice people are. We aren’t just saying that because the camera is rolling either” said Virginie before adding “That was the best thing we learned. How welcoming everyone is.”
“And they share” said Jonathan, who emphasized the point with disbelief.
The family made a two night stop in the Sault, being housed by their newly made friends Mark (middle of group photo) while stopping at LSSU. They’re back on the road now, and if they keep their average of 40 kilometres a day, they should expect to be in Montreal sometime within the first week of October.