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On May 7, 2003 eleven year old Yvonne Eber waved goodbye to her fifth grade classmates and traded in her classroom for a tent, her friends for a bicycle and her teachers for the world. Joining her thirteen year old sister Anya, and her parents, Paula and Lorenz, Yvonne spent the next 16 months pedaling and camping 15,000 kilometers (9300 miles) through 24 countries and 4 continents, cycling off the beaten path to such remote destinations as Tonga, Mongolia, Russia, China, and Lithuania.
During their 478 days on the road, the two girls and their parents survived two earthquakes (one a magnitude of 6.6 in Taiwan); became accidentally caught up in a Mongolian drug smuggling plot; had their possessions ransacked by two Russian guards; were attacked by rabid dogs in Greece, rattlesnakes in Montana, and a six foot water dragon in Australia; cycled through a snowstorm to the Great Wall of China; and camped in a 50 mph hurricane in Taiwan. In New Zealand Yvonne broke her foot, while in Tonga, Anya was bitten by a ten inch posionous molokau (centipede). Cycling and camping through snow, hail, rain, and intense heat, the family of four pedaled up 6,000 foot mountain passes, across arid deserts, through lush jungles, and around steaming volcanoes.
Why would two fifth and seventh grade American girls trade in their cozy beds for the hard ground under a sleeping bag; their heated and air conditioned car for a year and a half of pedaling 40 miles a day on a bicycle; and home cooked dinners at a table for one pot meals cooked over a campstove? Named by TEEN MAGAZINE as two of the "Top Ten Teens Making a Difference" in the USA (Aug 2004), and featured in the Sept 2004 back to school issue of TIME FOR KIDS, Anya and Yvonne Eber have dedicated the past 16 months to helping their mother (who has had asthma since the age of two) and father raise money for and awareness of asthma around the world, speaking about the disease to over 150 newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations in 9 countries and four continents.
Although their travels have at times been grueling and stressful, the two girls consider their world ride for asthma to be the most amazing and unforgettable experience of their lives. On days off from camping, the family has slept in Mongolian gers (yurts), Buddhist monastaries, medieval castles, Tongan grass huts and even a retirement home in Minnesota! They have eaten pain au chocolat in France, pickled fish in Poland, seaweed in Japan, fried worms in China, and taro root in Tonga. And throughout their journey they have been showered with gifts of food, jewelry and clothing from the many people whose lives they have touched along the way: friendships that will last a lfetime.
The Eber family completed their full uninterrupted circuit around the world on a bicycle in Washington D.C. on August 28, 2004, returning to their home on Bainbridge Island, WA on Sept. 1. But their mission: to educate and raise money for asthma research continues. We hope you will become a part of their adventure by making a donation.
Last Updated: October 11, 2004