Thursday November 27, 2014


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Global cyclists visit the southeast

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Kim, a South Korean professor, has been travelling the world with his twin sons, Muni and Miri, on a specially-designed bicycle for the past four years. (Photo submitted)

The past four years have been a global adventure for Kim, a Korean university professor, and his seven-year-old twin sons, Muni and Miri.

Their journey, aboard a modified and specially equipped bicycle, started four years ago in Shanghai. It took them throughout Asia and Europe, and into India, the Middle East, Africa, South America and finally the U.S. and Canada.

Kim (last name not available) and his sons crossed the Canada-U.S. border earlier this month at North Portal, after spending 10 months in the U.S.

They were in the southeast for more than a week, as they were delayed due to a mechanical issue with their bike. So they spoke to a couple of schools, discussed their journey, and spent time resting and recovering from their travels.

The family was given transportation to Moose Jaw, and then they resumed their cycling.

While they weren't available for comment, they left an impression on the people they encountered, including Lutos Villanueva, who was one of the first people they interacted with in Canada.

"They're doing this on a bicycle, and the children celebrated four birthdays on that makeshift bike," said Villanueva.

Villanueva was landscaping the yard at the CP Rail bunkhouse in North Portal, when Kim asked if they could pitch a tent there, as they needed shelter from high winds and an approaching thunderstorm.

Villanueva told them he didn't have authority to allow them to camp out at the bunkhouse, but after speaking with North Portal's mayor, the family was allowed to spend the night on a vacant lot in the border village.

From there, they spent time in Estevan and Roche Percee while they waited for the replacement part.

"The motor that he uses when they're biking uphill broke down, and I believe they ordered a part for him, but it took a week to be delivered," said Villanueva.

Villanueva noted that Kim quit his job as a university philosophy professor so that he could spend time with his children, and immerse them with the cultures of different countries.

"He thinks they … will appreciate more of what the world has to offer by doing this," said Villanueva. "He's relying on the goodwill of other people, because he didn't bring money with him."

He won't beg for money, financial assistance or lodging, but he will share his story, and people will offer assistance to him.

"It's amazing that the kids have learned five languages," said Villanueva. "They just picked them up. He wasn't teaching them."

English is among the languages that the twins are now fluent in, he said.

Kim believes that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for his children. He has been a professor at universities in several countries, and he knows that he will be able to find a job once he returns to Korea.

"His job and money will be there tomorrow," said Villenueva. "But today the children are growing, and that's the foundation, and he didn't want to miss it."

Kim and his sons typically travel about 80 kilometres per day, although Villanueva said they will stop and tent if the weather turns sour. Kim isn't fundraising for a cause; it's just a remarkable journey for his children.

Villanueva noted that Kim's journey will come to an end in Vancouver later this year. From there, Kim and his sons will return to Korea.

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