We’ve arrived in Northfield after 54 miles of biking on this beautiful day!
We started the day at 9 am at the Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with inspiring comments from LowCarbon Crossings creator, Jerry Yanz and each of the long-distance bikers commenting on why they are biking. Jerry told us “if you want your harebrained idea to stay as ideas, keep them to yourself. If you want to see what can happen to them, tell someone else like I did with this idea for LowCarbon Crossings.” Rep. Frank Hornstein joined us to express his support for the project and his commitment to moving the State of MN forward on climate solutions. (His Facebook post of the event said “I was happy to help send off a great group of cyclists calling attention to climate change. They are heading to Northfield and Winona led by the indefatigable Paul Thompson and the good folks at Low Carbon Crossings.“) Jamie Long read a letter from Rep. Keith Ellison. 12 miles and one hour later, 30 bikers arrived at Minnehaha Park and waved goodbye to our band of 11 as we headed for Northfield – Craig, Patricia and Todd joined Paul, Paul, Jerry, Tom, Mindy, Rob, Melissa and Robin.
Along Pilot Knob Road, somewhere south of Mendota, we met Lynn out for a two-day ride to Northfield and Rochester. She was quickly adopted into our group – she was already wearing our colors. It was meant to be since we discovered she shares a birthday (yesterday) with Paul and Dagmar (support person extraordinaire). She told me about her friend, Lee, in Northfield who has this great electric assist bicycle vehicle, an ELF. Sure enough we got to meet him and see this vehicle when we arrived in Waterford just our side Northfield where we were met by riders from the Bike Northfield (www.bikenorthfield.wordpress.com) who rode us into town after providing us with sweet ice-cold water!
Our Northfield community gathering of over 30 people began with personal introductions of all in the room. The group included: those who love to bike and those who think 54 miles would amount to torture; those engaged in climate work in Northfield and those new to climate issues; church members; bike advocates; music lovers; new members of Northfield; visitors to Northfield.
“I want to support anything that brings more attention to the issue of climate change because this is the issue of our time and we need to act now and get more people moving on it” said Linne Jensen of Northfield.
Sijia Wei from China told us, “I have experienced the hottest temperatures in history in China, so I have a great concern about climate change and want to learn more to see what I can do.”
Northfield Representative David Bly talked about the successes we’ve had in Minnesota in reducing the use of coal for our electric generation and shifting to natural gas and renewables. “I’m encouraged and I think we can make more progress too on renewable energy in Minnesota.”
We heard about this progress from the 2014 Women’s Congress (www.futurefirst.us), Transition Northfield (www.transitionnorthfield.org) and the Northfield Area Community Solar Project (contact firstname.lastname@example.org), Citizens’ Climate Lobby (www.citizensclimatelobby-mn.org contact email@example.com), Cool Planet (www.coolplanetmn.org), MN350 (www.mn350.org), and the People’s Climate March (www.peoplesclimate.org/march). Wow!
Beautiful music from Paul Doffing filled out the night ending with lyrics “today is mine!”