One bike, one dog, seven continents and no rush
A former Peterborough man and his dog plan to cycle across seven continents in hopes of seeing the world and spreading positivity and inspiration.
Peterborough native John Freeman plans to cycle with his dog to the tip of Argentina within a year and a half of leaving his home in Canmore, Alberta.
Freeman takes his animal companion Mira, a border collie-healer cross, with him as he cycles around the continents of the world.
Starting in October, Freeman has averaged around 80 kilometers a day and hopes to take his time to meet the people and soak up the culture and changing landscapes.
Traveling the world on a bicycle with a dog, meeting new people and overcoming obstacles such as language is an interesting aspect of travel, he said.
“It has this aspect, I’m in Mexico and there’s a language I have to learn,” Freeman said.
“We don’t usually speak Spanish in Canada and the different cultures and the logistics of going to a remote area through cities and other places.”
Freeman said people had been receptive to him during his trip, inviting him to have a meal with them and enjoy their company before hitting the road again.
He attributes their receptiveness to him to the fact that he has a dog, he said people tend to trust someone who has a dog.
“We were climbing a large mountainous area from Mazatlán to Durango on a narrow mountain road,” Freeman said.
“When a man with a little pup starts to wave at us, we go say hello and his family treats us to breakfast of freshly made corn tortillas, quesadillas, beans and meat soup.”
The great thing about meeting people on your journey is hearing about their lives and connecting with them, he said.
“I stopped at a small grocery store yesterday for a drink, water and snacks, most people ride motorcycles,” Freeman said.
“People come and they want to know what’s going on and Mira really likes people, so they take selfies and show up.”
In warmer climates, due to physical exertion, he carries at least 50% more water than normal to ensure he and Mira stay hydrated.
He thinks he’s almost halfway through his journey across the North American continent.
“It’s amazing how much the terrain has changed and it’s off mountain roads and in pine forests,” Freeman said.
“We crossed another ridge and it’s just desert scrub and cattle pasture, pretty much open plains.”
The second leg of the Americas tour will begin in Colombia, he said, where he still plans to cross the Darien Gap (where there is a large watershed, forests and mountains, with no roads built due to environmental concerns) no longer by plane or ferry.
His goal is to take his time and explore as he heads towards the tip of Argentina.
“The experience isn’t just about rushing around and ticking boxes like I’ve been to this town and seen the ancient Mayan ruins or something,” Freeman said.
“It’s about meeting people and those slow experiences, those slow travels and avoiding the rainy seasons if possible.
Hoping to reach the tip of Argentina by the end of 2023, Freeman plans to return to Canada then to train for the Antarctic leg of his journey.
He plans to leave Mira with friends in Montana as he does not wish to risk his health, but he will find her once he begins his Australian leg of his journey.