Miami-Dade County

Family seeks to set record for longest electric bike ride

The hopes for a new world record have begun.

The Camper Clan family, two parents and their two toddlers, is on the road again, and this time the aim is to break the Guinness world record for the longest electric bicycle ride.

The goal is to pedal and travel 6,200 miles across the United States — as a family. And they hope the adventure will finish in Miami sometime in January. They are filming it all in the additional hope of making a full-length documentary.

The Camper Clan is Tomas Cortijo, Dylan Drake, and their little ones, Eva, 3, and Constantino, 2. They recently completed a journey spending one year on the road crossing the Americas by car.

But biking is their passion.

Cortijo spent countless hours researching online and finally ordered all the parts he needed to build his current electric bicycle.

“Our family’s passion for electric bicycles was first ignited while living in Southern California,” said Drake, who calls herself the family matriarch. “Tomas had a long commute to work, too long to do with a regular bike, but didn’t want to spend two hours a day stuck in traffic. He had already developed a love for electric vehicles, having built his own electric kayak for ocean fishing. So it was an idea that developed organically — to find a way to motorize his bicycle.”

“We have been hooked on electric bicycles ever since. People have asked us over the years why we ride electric bicycles instead of traditional bicycles. The truth is, we love both,” she said. “Riding a bicycle or electric bicycle instead of driving a car is an uplifting experience. You feel the sun and the wind and taste freedom, you connect with the outdoors, and you move your body — all while contributing to a greener planet.”

The couple met in California. Cortijo is from Buenos Aires, and Drake is from Missoula, Montana, where they will make their home. Together they hope to raise their children speaking Spanish and English while they learn about the world.

The journey began Aug. 23. Cortijo is pedaling while Drake drives the support vehicle with Eva and Constantino.

Already the little team has traveled through areas including Glacier National Park and the badlands of eastern Montana. The route will take them south of the Great Lakes, north to Maine, then south along the East Coast to Miami.

You can follow them daily at www.camperclan.com. And you can help with their film project at www.kickstarter.com/projects/983351057/world-record-family-a-journey-of-pedals-and-potty.

Be sure to watch the inspiring and adorable video on their Kickstarter page.

Drake and Cortijo will change a lot of diapers and find, or invent, a lot of potties for their toddlers on this very long road trip.

They are pedaling fast now, focusing on getting in the miles before winter snows and freezing temperatures set in.

“So far, we have been extremely lucky and have been able to avoid several storms and cold fronts that have moved through Montana,” Cortijo said. “We’ve also been making great time with a steady tailwind to our backs. We’re crossing our fingers that our good luck lasts.”

Mostly, they aim to inspire others.

“For six months we will circle the continental U.S. together as a family, with Tomas riding his electric bike while I drive the support vehicle with our two toddlers. We’ll be filming every step of the way so that we can share this adventure with a broader audience and help educate the public about electric bicycles,” Drake said.

“We encourage everyone to try to find ways every week to get out of their car,” she said. “As you head out the door, stop a moment and think: Do I need to drive there? Or can I walk, bike, or e-bike? Every choice counts and makes a difference — not just for you, but for the whole planet.”

NEWS SPEAKER

Journalist Jim DeFede will bring his insight to an encore presentation at the Fall Showcase and Membership Luncheon of the Brandeis National Committee South Miami-Dade Chapter, starting with a meet-and-greet at 10:15 a.m. Sept. 16 at Temple Judea on U.S. 1 and Granada Boulevard. Michael’s Catering will serve the luncheon.

DeFede is well known as an investigative reporter and commentator for the CBS4 News I-Team. He also hosts Facing South Florida for a regular look at the big news headlines — local, state and national. He worked previously as a metro columnist for the Miami Herald.

This popular annual event cost is $28. Tickets are by reservation only and must be received by Sept. 9. Mail checks made out to BNC to Jackie Leone, 5990 SW 129th Terrace, Miami, FL 33156. For questions call Leone at 305-665-4832 or Barbara Bulbin at 305-274-0206.

BACKGAMMON IS BACK

If you love the game, try your hand at the upcoming backgammon tournament hosted by the Miami Backgammon Club at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at the 19th Hole Bar & Grill, Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave. in Coral Gables. The hotel has free parking on the west side of the main entrance.

This club is a friendly group of South Florida Backgammon players, and everyone is invited to join in. Players of all levels are welcome. There are no costs or membership fees. Tournaments do have entry fees.

The upcoming tournament has two divisions. The Fish Division has a $5 entry fee, and the Shark Division has a $50 entry fee.

To learn more check out MiamiBackgammon.com or call 305-669-5260. You can also write to Leo@MiamiBackgammon.com.

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