A FAMILY is gearing up for the adventure of a lifetime as they prepare to cycle 5,000 miles through America.

The Nixon family, from Newton Hall, in Durham, will be spending eight months in central and north America as they cycle past jungles and beaches, volcanoes and ancient ruins.

Parents Gemma and Ian, both 39, eight-year-old Dan and six-year-old Tom will be travelling from Mexico to Costa Rica and then from Las Vegas, in the US, to Edmonton, Canada.

Mrs Nixon, who has taken a sabbatical from her job with the Environment Agency, said: “”It’s completely insane but Ian and I have done something similar before so we know we can do it and the boys will love it.”


Gemma and Dan on a training ride

It is not the first time Mr and Mrs Nixon have embarked on a similar adventure, as they cycled from the tip of south America to Cuzco in Peru on their honeymoon.

Mrs Nixon added: “Not long after we first got together Ian said he wanted to ride the whole length of South America and I thought that sounded like an adventure.

“So we did part of it on our honeymoon about 10 years ago, came back and settled down and had kids and now we’ve decided to go back and finish it.

“The plans had to be curtailed slightly to get back for the start of school in September and for what’s safe for the children.

“We didn’t want to cross the Mexican/US border or do bits that have issues with drug cartels as it’s not massively safe for kids.”

The trip has been in the planning stage for two years and the children will be riding tagalong bikes, starting with about 20 miles a day.

Mr and Mrs Nixon have taken the boys out of Finchale Primary School for two terms so they can go on the adventure but are planning to be back for the start of the next year.

They are planning to share their trip with their classmates and will be sending back regular updates, while the family will also be keeping a blog.

Mrs Nixon said: “We’re making it fun and educational for the boys. Hopefully it will be something they can look back at and remember.”

She added: “The kids are excited about hearing howler monkeys and hopefully spotting a sloth and a toucan.”

Mr Nixon, who runs the food company Spicy Monkey, which specialises in curry sauces, powders and spice mixes, is also hoping to return with some new recipes for his customers.

To follow their progress visit www.bike4adventure.moonfruit.com.