Interview with a world traveller: Jocelyn Rice, part II.

Jocelyn and Mike have cycled literally around the world since 2011. Mike is a retired electrical engineer after working almost 30 years on the Space Shuttle Program. He then decided to travel and find adventure work while he awaits his wife’s retirement. Jocelyn is an athlete, cyclist, and adventurer. She has spent the last two summers as a camp counselor and lifeguard in Washington State. Her career goal is to lead cycling expeditions around the world. They have been in 36 countries until now, and cycled more than 20,000 miles (32,000 km). At this moment they are heading towards the city of Santiago in Chile, while passing through the Atacama desert.

András: How was the other part of the tour, Asia?

Jocelyn: Asia was stunning...

I find myself saying that about everywhere now. The world is like a beautiful fragrant orange. Many locations are similar and so vibrant. We enjoyed Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand the most. Their cultures, the friendly kind smiles and the delicious AMAZING food. Yup, you do not need a stove or a tent there. The hospitality is continuous like the landscape is green.

András: As I mentioned before, at this moment you are cycling through the Atacama desert to reach the city of Santiago. I am a huge fan of Latin America, although I haven’t been there yet. Does Latin America differ a lot between countries from a cyclist perspective? Are there parts which are similar to other countries where you have already cycled?

Jocelyn: In my opinion, Latin America is very different from Central America or Mexcio. But ever since we cycled into Mexcio the food in every region changes. Mexico had the most diverse and spicy food available, Central America more bland, more of the same ingredients everywhere usually meat, carbs like potatoes and sometimes a veggie. South America seems to change by country and region. The terrain is ever changing and it just depends on what part of the country you are riding in. One mentionable comparison would be the Peruvian Deserts and Atacama Desert in Northern Chile has a very similar layout compared to the high desert in Tajikistan, along the Pamir Highway. Its majestic colors of the rainbow and rather chilly nights, the roads for days without any homes around. The only difference between these two geographic areas would be the more developed roads in Peru and Chile, where they must take a noticble big chunk of money to maintain.

András: Soon you will fly from Santiago to Canada as you told me, to cycle all the way along the East Coast of the United States until your home town Cape Carneval in Florida. Are you excited to cycle in your home country again? Which part of this tour you think will be the most exciting?

Jocelyn: I am super excited! Of course I’m always excited about anything new, but more so for Canada. I’ve never been there and in fact I haven’t been north of Virginia...So, I’m rather excited to see all of the Northeastern United States. My mother will join us for July of our Canada tour this summer and I am always happier to tour with her. She will be in a car scoping out the best places for us to visit along the TransCanada Highway!Her camping skills are limited, but we are able to focus on the miles and safer loads when she assists witht he usual chores and plans more fun things to do!

András: We haven’t spoken yet about your gear. Did you have major problems with your gear along the tours, which forced you to go to an expert or make a bigger stop until the bikes got repaired? Would you change/improve something on your bikes and gear with all these experiences you gathered along the years?

Jocelyn: We started with Mavic 719 wheels and they all failed within Montenegro. We had to just get by with cheap China wheels until we reached Istanbul, Turkey where we just crawled into Bisiklet Gezgini Touring Bicycle Shop. They helped us temendously and we all became friends. Now we have Xterra double walled wheels and double butted spokes. They have kept us going from that exchange. My Surly LHT cracked somewhere in Euorpe and I ended up needing to get a new frame, luckily the Santos 2.6 they had on their wall fit me perfectly and we rode away in better shape then ever. We have had freaky weird failures in our Schwable Mondial foldable Tires within this last year. They don’t seem to last as long as they have in previous years. Maybe the tough gravel roads have proven to be too strong for those German tires. We also have had daily problems with our brakes and maybe will consider getting disc brakes in the future.

András: And of course I have to ask the inevitable question, what are the plans for the future, after you finished this tour?  Another new project, maybe a round tour in Europe?

Jocelyn: My dad hopes to go back to work in Antarctica for one more Winter and to help out more at home as my mother finishes her career as a school Teacher. For me, perhaps I will go back to college. Naturally, I have more bicycle adventure dreams too, like to finish out the United States by the time I turn thirty years old. I have ridden across 25 states so far. My dad and I will continue to ride, but I am pretty sure our tours together will be over once we complete our Around the World adventure together.

 

András: Can you write some encouraging words for those who are thinking to begin with a cyclotouring project? A few advises?

Jocelyn: If you have ever wondered what it is like to go less than one hour of driving in an entire day, go out and ride your bicycle for one day. If you need a hangover cure, ride your bicycle in the early mist of the morning. Looking out upon each day knowing that you are going to get to ride your bicycle to a new place, see new things and experience nothing like the day before is what cycletouring is about. Every day is an adventure. But also you can create routines. So if you are scared that the constant change will be too much, think of the possible routines like puting up a tent and crashing camp in the morning, and that is where reality meets the road.
Though I have met a few cyclist that have had ’pawn shop’ bicycles, I recommend spending the money on a solid touring bicycle. In the long run, you will be riding the farthest, the longest and the smoothest.

 

Thank you Jocelyn! We wish you a safe journey further and a lot of new adventures in your life! You can follow Jocelyn’s and Mike’s cycling adventures on the Father Daughter Cycling Adventures website, and you can buy their book about their journeys on the link below.

Thank you, greetings!

András Herczog