The ‘School of the Road’ Team

Meet the family cycling 5000 kilometres across America from Washington State to Washington DC in July 2016.

PATCH

Chief Pilot, Chef, Student

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Seven year old Patch is the pilot of this incredible 5000 km bicycle trip across America. His passions, interests and curiosity will determine his curriculum on the road.

Patch is autistic and mainly non verbal. He is not afraid to tackle new things when guided and taught in an engaging and unique way.

Patch was diagnosed with autism at 21 months of age and has many complex repetitive and restricted behavioural patterns, motor planning delays and social and communication issues that his family and friends embrace. Patch likes meeting new people and after years of intensive therapy understands the difference between a teacher and a guide; gain his trust and you will have a friend for life.

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Patch has studied harder than most kids his age, having completed thousands of hours of VB/ABA, RDI, Occupational therapy, Speech Pathology, Hanan More than Words and Floortime therapy. He has recently started RPM with his parents with promising results, proving what his parents already know: Patch is intelligent and competent.

Patch adores the outdoors and camping and is passionate about music. He likes watching things that spin or turn, exploring leaves and most of all loves movement.

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Patch’s love of cycling began at 18 months

This year he is already trying to break the world record of the most modes of powered and non powered transport in a calendar year.

His mum and dad have made a promise to him to do whatever it takes to help him to communicate.

Patch could not be more excited about this new adventure. Please join him and become part of his lifelong support crew.

TRAVIS

Captain, Navigator, Mechanic, Guide

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Travis loves to take on new challenges.  He’s trekked all over the world including devising his own pub crawl as he walked  from coast to coast across England. He loved it so much he did it again the very next year. Travis has hitchhiked and bartered his way halfway around the world, cycle toured in some pretty dangerous locations around the globe and was once voted bicycle mechanic of the year by his partner, Fiona, after a six month trip together. He has had a gun put to his head in Asia, shared a room on a train with a Colonel from the Russian Army and once hid under a bus seat to enter Tibet from China in quiet protest.

Travis loves to learn and has a background in environmental science and education. He taught all over the world and had an established career in welfare and behavioural management before leaving to care for his autistic son. But he’s pretty much had a go at a bit of everything from working on a beef farm, growing flowers, cleaning toilets, working in the family business, being a courier, stacking goods into semi-trailers, dabbling as an entrepreneur and working with children with disabilities.

Travis ran 12 marathons in 12 months in 2013 to raise autism awareness, understanding and acceptance. He founded the web platform www.run4autism.net which has raised more than $150,000 for 10 Australian not for profit organisations and has appeared in the media more than 50 times.

Travis loves to tell stories. He has addressed groups about autism, his adventures, setting and achieving goals, and resilience and is available for public speaking. You can contact him here.

Travis now looks forward to continue supporting families and individuals on the autism spectrum and changing the narrative around the way people talk about disability.

 FIONA

Cycling Support Crew, Researcher, Guide

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Fiona never understood why people exercised before she completed a six month cycle tour with Travis through Asia, Canada, the US and Australia in 2007. Ever since then she’s been itching to get back on the bicycle.

Fiona’s most memorable bike accident provided a packed bus of Laotian locals with a great story to share around the dinner table, when she came to a stop and tried to dismount before disconnecting her cleats from the pedals. Very slowly she tipped to her right, still firmly attached to the bike.

Fast forward nine years and Fiona is hoping muscle memory will help get her over the mountains. That and a whole lot of momentum. Oh, and packets of biscuits and ice cream sandwiches.

Fiona grew up in NZ and has worked across Australia and the UK. She loves to write, take photos, tell stories and learn about other people’s lives.

One of Fiona’s favourite things is sleeping and she doesn’t get to do it nearly enough.

Edging out sleep for first place on her list of loves is obviously her family. Fiona would do anything to help her son and to catch one of his secret smiles makes her happy for days.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Fran Sanders. says:

    Great story.

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    1. Thanks so much Fran

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  2. Alison Smeds says:

    Looking forward to learning about and following your next amazing adventure guys. #nothingyoucan’tdo, #loveyouguys💜.

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    1. Thanks so much for being part of our lives Al x

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  3. davey says:

    Three legends of love and life inspiring the rest of us onlooking their adventure!

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    1. Thank you Uncle Davey

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  4. Laurette Berglund says:

    Wonderful to meet you in Washington State up in the mountains. Keep going! You are wonderful.
    Laurette

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  5. Anthony Orford says:

    Hi guys! What an inspiring adventure. Can’t wait to hear more and hopefully in person – we are moving to Washington DC (arriving this Wednesday, 27 July). Would to see you guys after so many years and meet Patch. Happy birthday for last month from his birthday buddy, Jesse. All the best, Anthony, Hannah and boys.

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