Nancy Sathre-Vogel could have chosen any number of reason as to why she “couldn’t” cycle countless thousands of miles from the top of Alaska… all the way to the bottom of South America.

Indeed, we could all add a number of valid “reasons” why her dream was just a crazy idea…

  • She was in her late 40’s… surely only young, super-fit, iron-men types attempted such a feat?
  • She carried a few extra kilograms… (see above comment about said young, super-fit, iron-men types).
  • She and her husband were school teachers!  It wasn’t like they were super-rich that they could afford to take 3 years off work to bike across 2 continents…
  • She was a mother of 10 year-old twins.  Since when do parents take their young children biking across 2 continents?  Parents aren’t “supposed to” do such “irresponsible” things.

I’m sure we could all find hundreds of excuses and “reasons” NOT to go on a journey like that.  I’m sure that many people thought they were barking mad.  I’m sure there were countless times that even they thought they were barking mad.


But here’s the thing:  this was “the” Big Dream of the entire Vogel family (boys included).  And although they could have easily just said:  “No… that’s just crazy… we can’t do that!” – and they could have shut the whole idea down… they didn’t!

They went!

They rented their house… purged a mountain of stuff… and they went!

They camped on the side of the road or stayed in cheap (and often dodgy) hotels.  They spent 1018 days on the road (that’s almost 3 years!)… they pushed on through cold… heat… rain… wind… biting bugs… sickness… in-grown toenails… pneumonia (Nancy)… you name it.  They pushed on… because –  well… because it was their dream!

Obviously – we don’t all share the same dreams as the Vogel family.  I, for one, won’t be biking across continents any time soon… but, in spite of the fact that I’m not a bike-person… the story of the Vogel family is both relevant, challenging and inspiring to me – where I’m at – right now.  Because I also have big, scary dreams!

And that’s why I’m writing this post.

Nancy has just released a book called “Changing Gears” which tells the whole story of their epic family adventure.  Once I started reading, I became addicted – and I hungrily devoured the book in 3 nights.


What strikes me about the Vogel family is how very “ordinary” they seem.  When we hear about people who accomplish these kinds of impressive feats of endurance… it’s almost like we picture a certain kind of hero or heroine…  all buff and rugged and impressive and ready to star in an Indiana Jones movie.  But the Vogels are a “normal” family from the ‘burbs of Idaho… except they’re not normal, are they?

Because most “normal” people often don’t have the guts to follow a huge, scary dream – and especially the kind of dream that would take 3 years… and test them to their very limits!

I’m inspired because I think:  “Well, if Nancy can do it – what on earth is my excuse?”


I recently came across an old John Wayne quote which goes like this:  “Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway”.

I think the Vogel family demonstrated an incredible amount of courage when they set out on their journey – and even moreso when they stuck to it in spite of the tremendous challenges.


I highly recommend the book – to anyone who loves a good story… or who would just like a healthy dose of Can-Doer inspiration!

You can buy the book here (available in all formats including prints)

And if you want to visit that Family on Bikes website – it’s here.