When we grow up, we want to be like the Sidebottom family. Almost all of them winter bike, they’ve travelled the world with kids (both in utero and “out utero”) and instead of seeing the impossible in life’s adventures, they ask “how do we make this work?”
Earlier this year, the Sidebottoms up and moved to a cabin on the edge of the woods in Nelson, BC. Not just for a couple weeks, mind you, for a couple of months. “Nelson is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world.” says Cory, “there’s mountain biking behind our house, like world class. The skiing at Whitewater is mind blowing...tons of powder.” “And the town is really quaint and pretty,” adds Audrey, “tons of sports stores and restaurants...lots of thrift shops. It has a really granola feel to it.”
How did they end up in Nelson in the middle of the school year? They were skiing in Jasper and, after a couple glasses of wine, Cory threw out the idea of moving somewhere as a family. “I was scared at first,” admits Katelyn, “I thought I’ll miss all my friends. I feel like two months is too much. But now that I’m here, I feel like two months was the perfect amount of time.” They fell into a routine of school and work in the morning and skiing in the afternoon. Yes, Cory had to set-up his office in a walk-in closet and unending amounts of family time did push everyone to their limits at times, but they all agree: it was an amazing trip.
NOT THEIR FIRST RODEO
This family move to Nelson is simply a recent example of the approach the Sidebottoms take to life as a whole. Rewind a few years to 2017. Cory’s longtime employer was going through a period of restructuring. Everyone, Cory included, had to reapply for their jobs. As Cory was looking at the different jobs he could apply for, he was hit with the reality that if he landed one of them, it would pretty much take him to retirement. This made Cory take a step back: “I just looked at how much I [had] already worked and the kind of impact this had had on my family. And I thought this could be a great time [for me] to not apply to those jobs.” So instead he resigned and took a year and half to be at home with his kids. Cory took a potentially negative change and decided to turn it into something positive.
This change had a significant impact on the entire family. With Cory staying home, Audrey was able to pursue her career full-time for the first time since kids. It also gave Cory the chance to make up for missed moments with Nevan and Katelyn. “[This time] brought me and Nevan closer to our dad.” says Katelyn “Like everyday after school, we would go and bike to get cinnamon buns.*” One of the proudest moments for Cory came while the kids were sick. In the past, they would have always gone to Audrey’s side of the bed in the middle of the night. However, during this time, they started coming to Cory’s side of the bed instead. (A moment that Audrey was also a big fan of, we might add!) “When your kids start coming to you as a default, that’s kinda a nice feeling.” says Cory. And this level of closeness remains to this day.
*While this is a direct quote, it should be noted that the Sidebottoms didn’t actually go for cinnamon buns everyday. Despite Katelyn’s greatest wishes!
FLIPPING THE FLOP
Whether relocating to a cabin in the woods or taking a two year career break, we were curious as to how the Sidebottoms developed this “can do” approach to life. “Once you’ve done something like this once, you realize it is a big deal and takes a lot of effort. But at the same time, it’s really not that big of a deal.” says Cory. Case in point: Audrey and Cory moved to Holland for two years while Audrey was pregnant with Nevan. Audrey became a first time mom while being on the other side of the world from family and close friends. Yes it was hard, but by doing something like this “you realize that it’s not impossible to do and there’s a lot of good that comes out of it that makes it worthwhile.” says Audrey. The move to Holland resulted in some of the best memories they’ve ever had
Just take the opportunity and do it.
Back in the day, Katelyn’s grade 2 class talked about something called “flipping the flop.” What this means is you take something negative and work to turn it into a positive. Like taking a company restructuring and turning it into an incredible two years with your kids. Or taking a pandemic and turning it into an opportunity to move to a mountain town for two months because working remotely has never been easier. “Whether you seek out an opportunity or find it in front of you, my advice is to make a conscious effort to shift from thinking why it can't work, to how could we make this work?" says Audrey. If you’re struggling to take this first step, Nevan sums up what you need to do: “Just take the opportunity and do it.”
AND THAT'S NOT ALL
We haven’t even touched on Nevan’s bike repair business or the way Katelyn and Nevan serve as de facto advisors to Cory on his side-business, Float House. Or how Audrey and Cory have long-term plans to move back to Europe after the kids are done school. But this simply means that you’re going to have to try and nab one of them next time you see them pull up to Backbeat for their guitar lessons. What can we say? We have some of the coolest families in Edmonton walking through our doors.