Climate Ride: On a Mission

The Climate Ride is a 5-day fundraising bicycle event. They ride from NYC-DC and down the Northern Coast of California to raise money for 8 non-profit organizations. Those organizations work to support climate change and renewable energy legislation, sustainable business, and bikes as viable transportation. The organizers want to grow after each event with more riders and money for the beneficiaries. As I wrote earlier, it’s like a green conference with like-minded people riding along talking about issues that matter to them.

Title sponsor Brita joined Climate Ride to provide filtered water and reusable bottles, so the riders stayed hydrated without having to use bottled water.

Jason Kowaslki loves fresh-filtered water and works for 350.org

Ever since I received the invite to attend the ride (Brita covered my trip expenses), I wondered what it was about. Was it just another fund-raising Fondo or what? Just before I got in the car with P.J, I asked Geraldine Carter, a founder of the event what the background was and she said:

I was in China, and I was biking up a hill. Behind me I could hear a truck approaching, barely gaining on me because it was going so slowly. Finally, it caught up and then passed me, but I was stuck sucking on its exhaust pipe for a long enough time that I chose to pull over and let it gain some distance.  I noticed that it was full of coal, and headed to the coal plant just coming into view at the top of the hill. 

And then, at the crest of the hill was a brand new unopened gas station, with 64 pumps, all still with paper bags over the handles, waiting for there to be enough cars to serve drivers… though there were still very few private vehicles.  

Then later I saw a 6-lane highway, completely brand new and empty but for one horse-drawn cart. 

I put it all together, having personally seen receding glaciers in Torres del Paine, Antarctica, and the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap, and thought, there’s no way I can continue to ignore this problem. When I get home I’m going to do something to make a difference on climate. 

That’s what we have in common. I knew there was something. During my rides in Europe, China and India, I realized the bike is a connector. Bike Hugger could do good in the world writing about the bike and getting more people riding.

On the Climate Ride, the bike connects people with Geraldine’s mission and the bikes are as diverse as the people on them. Like this Xtracycle with handmade seats for the children.

bugaboo

Or a new Bike Friday.

friday

The riders also stepped up to the challenge of 60 miles in rolling terrain like Alice Appleton. She rode her Cannodale

alice

and carried on after a minor crash.

alice

There were single speeds, fixed, tri-bikes, Novaras, and bikes of all types.

bugaboo

I rode a Brompton.