Category Archives: 2016CrossCountry

Fall 2016 Cross-Country LowCarbon Crossing

Upcoming Events!


Cycling Toward Climate Solutions

Mindy Ahler and Ryan Hall are biking 4000 miles across the US this fall to inspire conversations on climate. Hear about their trip and join the conversation:

 Wednesday, November 9, 2016

7:00 -8:30 PM

Conference room at YMCA, Cumberland, MD

(601 Kelly Road, Cumberland, MD)

For more information and to see their route:, or on FB, or #Bike4Climate on Twitter, or 612-810-4664 (Paul)

Cycling Toward Climate Solutions

Mindy Ahler and Ryan Hall are biking 4000 miles across the US this fall to inspire conversations on climate. Hear about their trip and join the conversation:

 Thursday, November 10, 2016

7:00 -8:30 PM

At Town Hall, Hancock, MD

(Small meeting room, 126 High St., Hancock, MD 21750)

For more information and to see their route:, or on FB, or #Bike4Climate on Twitter, or 612-810-4664 (Paul)



Join us in DC for the grand finale

Bicyclists and climate champions are joining Mindy Ahler and Ryan Hall for the last leg of their 4,000 mile cross-country bike trip from Oregon to Washington, DC. The journey, called LowCarbon Crossings, is an opportunity for the two climate volunteers to speak with people throughout the country about climate science, the action we can take to create a livable future and cycling as a healthy, carbon-neutral way to see the world. We will accompany them on their final stretch on the C&O Canal tow path from Old Angler’s in Potomac MD to the US Capitol. There are three options—1) a round trip ride of 32 miles, 2) a one-way ride of 16 miles (requires self-transport to Old Angler’s), 3) a four mile fun ride from Georgetown. Or just join us at the Capitol for speeches followed by a dinner reception!


11:30—12:00: Meet at the General Grant statue at the U.S. Capitol reflecting pool, west side
12:00: depart for Old Anglers on the Capital Crescent trail, switch to C&O Canal tow path at Fletcher’s Boat House.
1:30: Arrive at Old Angler’s; we will meet at the CANAL BRIDGE along the tow path between mile 13 and mile 12; there is a sign market “ANGLER’S” at this point. From MacArthur Blvd. the bridge can be reached by walking down the path across the street from Old Angler’s Inn–the distance is about 200 yards and there are some stairs. DO NOT WAIT AT OLD ANGLERS INN PARKING LOT. (note: there are bathrooms at Angler’s along MacArthur Blvd).
2:00 Depart along C&O Canal Tow Path
3:30 Arrive at Capitol
4:00 Reception and speeches

(riders must arrange for their own transport to Old Anglers)

1:30: Arrive at Old Angler’s; we will meet at the CANAL BRIDGE along the tow path between mile 13 and mile 12;
There is a sign market “ANGLER’S” at this point. From MacArthur Blvd. the bridge can be reached by walking down the path across the street from Old Angler’s Inn–the distance is about 200 yards and there are some stairs. DO NOT WAIT AT OLD ANGLERS INN PARKING LOT. (note: there are bathrooms at Angler’s along MacArthur Blvd).
2:00 Depart along C&O Canal Tow Path, rest of schedule same as above.


3:00 (approx.): Meet at Georgetown Waterfront Park—in park at terminus of Wisconsin Ave under Whitehurst Freeway.
3:30 Arrive at Capitol
4:00 Reception and speeches

The C&O towpath is not paved. hybrid bikes, mountain bikes or cross bikes are recommended.  Here’s one option for renting a bike in DC to join the fun:

Those who are not bicyclists can join too! Come to the Capitol at 3:30 for photos and to welcome our riders ( We will follow with a reception at HUNAN DYNASTY on Capitol Hill where Mindy and Ryan will share about their experience and how they spoke about the climate to folks across the country. CCL volunteers and the public are welcome to join this reception where dinner will be available for purchase.

Hunan Dynasty: 215 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

For more on the Low Carbon Crossings trip:

Join us in Iowa! Pella and Fairfield events

Tomorrow morning (Wed, Oct 19) we leave the Des Moines area for Pella, Fairfield, Muscatine and beyond.  Join us for our next two community conversations in Iowa!  Ryan and Mindy will share their trip so far and the solutions they are finding for climate change.  We also want to hear from you about your concerns and what you are doing in your community!


When: Wednesday, October 19, 7-8pm (so you’ll still be able to watch the Presidential debate)

Where: Central College, Graham Annex

Link to poster to share.


When: Thursday, October 20, 7:30 – 9:30 pm

WhereHy-Vee (Fairfield, IA) Community Room

Link to Facebook event

Tuning up, resting up, getting support 

We got to Sioux Falls (about our half way point) a day earlier than planned because of our opportunity to replan our route to ride the wind and shorten the distance. That gave us an extra rest day.
img_4624Paul joined us on the ride starting in Sioux Falls and brought his Prius and arranged for drivers- Donna to Omaha switching to Anne there. Since we have the car, we took advantage of the temporary support and the opportunity to lighten our loads for the days it is there.

In Omaha we had a rest day which allowed time for the gift of massages to get our bodies tuned img_4020up. Thank you, Alan! I feel like I have a new body and some good tips to continue to loosen up those problem areas. My biggest challenge is numbness in my left hand from tightness in my shoulder. Having found the key trigger points during the massage I can focus on stretching and relaxing that area.

Ryan is taking a few days off to work out some problems with his knee and will rejoin us in Pella. He already did this part when he rode across Iowa on RAGBRAI this summer, so I’m just catching up.

Wind continues to be a big challenge. We had to rely on our support vehicle to get us to our destination again tonight. Making use of the car time to write this blog.

After all this time of having to be more self-reliant, it is a shift to having support readily available. I’m learning to ask for help and appreciate the rest. At the same time carrying everything on my bike is also an exercise in making due with less and taking only what is necessary and saying no to what I don’t really need. Having a car along adds the temptation to have more stuff. It’s quite freeing to live with less so I look forward to when we don’t have the car after Iowa and appreciate the help while I have it.

Water and unity: A story from Standing Rock


This water is for all of us. It is for those who operate bulldozers, and for the ones who chain themselves to that very equipment. This water will be used by all people, regardless of where we were, or what we were doing during this historical gathering.

This message of unity, and of common care and concern for our home, specifically our water, can be found throughout Standing Rock Indian Reservation, where thousands have gathered in response to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, built by Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of the Dallas, Texas based Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. The pipeline would span 1,172 miles over four states, and would carry approximately 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day. More information from Energy Transfer can be found here.

routeMap of the 1,172 mile projected pipeline

Concerns over the rapid construction and lack of research on the environmental impact of the pipeline has caused the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to call upon the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to encourage the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment.

From our experience, water and the safety of the pipeline were the number one concerns of the folks who have camped near the proposed construction site. The possibility of a crude oil leak into the Missouri River could have dire consequences, as the Missouri is the longest river in the United States and flows right into the Mississippi River. Jeopardizing the health of the Missouri River would be a grave concern, and one that could concern many people, especially those that live in the ten States and two Canadian provinces that rely on the Missouri’s watershed.  Many people felt called to travel to Standing Rock from all over the world to protect the rights and land of Indigenous people, and to protect the water that we all rely on.

This gathering is a historical moment for many, Over 300 Tribal Nations have come together in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline, more than ever before. We met folks from the U.K., from Germany, and from across this country that have given up everything back home in order to come here and bear witness, show their support, and to help winterize the camps for the long winter that is yet to come.

We were incredibly impressed with the organization of all camps, from security, to food and medical care, to building permanent and winter structures. At the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, people were building geodomes, composting toilets, solar water heaters, tipis, winter structures, and preparing food for the winter. Despite rumors of some media sources saying that the camps are shutting down, this is far from the truth. With incoming donations, new working hands, and a spirit to stay and defend the land and the water, these protectors will be here as long needed, and even longer.

The founder of Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, Ladonna Bravebull Allard, spoke October 3rd in front of the United Nations, urging them to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Her vision and mission to halt the pipeline, and to create community can be seen throughout Sacred Stone. There is an air of peace, of compassion, and of concern throughout the camp. The people there are working diligently to winterize, and are building permanent structures that may survive beyond the opposition of the pipeline. Through camping at Sacred Stone, we peer into a community that has its mind set on sustainable living.

What we learned is not only that thousands of people and hundreds of Tribal Nations are coming together in opposition to this pipeline, but there are even deeper conversations and actions taking place that look towards the future. Conversations of investing into a renewable energy future, of praying and caring for those who are armed with bulldozers, weapons, or dogs, and those of creating a future in which we can all safely and happily take part in.

This event is about more than moving crude oil, or protecting water and our natural resources. This event is about mobilizing a global community to respect and learn from Indigenous people and communities around the world, and to come together as our one human family in order to tackle these issues that affect us all. There is hope to be found throughout Standing Rock, a hope that we can create that global community that cares for all of Mother Earth and her people.

I saw this hope when I was standing around the Sacred Fire in the Main Camp, and witnessed dancing, singing, and drumming while volunteers served food to the Elders. One Elder was given a plate of food during a pause in the song and dance, but as soon as the drum was beating, breathing life into the camp, the man stood up as quickly as his body could muster, and began moving around the fire to the beat of the drum and the chants of the men. He needed the nourishment of the ceremony of dance more than the nourishment of food. Surrounding him were Natives of many tribes, and many ages. I was delighted to see young children dance around the same fire as the Elders. It was then that the magnitude of this event really struck me. People of all ages and of all tribes were celebrating and dancing together as one, in order to defend the water, to defend our common home.

I am grateful to have been a witness to such a historical  gathering of people from all over the globe. This gives me hope that we can come together as one, to love water, to love soil, to love the differences and commonalities, and to love one another while creating a better future for generations to come.

To Standing Rock, and to all people of all nations, I say Wopila — Thank you.





Teach your children well

Staying with our hosts in Helena, Shiloh and Mary brought to my attention the challenge of raising environmentally responsible children in an era of climate change.  I really admire Shiloh and Mary in their personal commitment to live lighter on this planet and their dedication to teaching their children to do the same.  Ana and Teo are 3 and 5  and like any children their age – energetic, boisterous, quick to show emotion.  Life is simple for children this age.  The world is divided into good guys and bad guys.  Comic books lay it out this way and it’s easy to understand.  The challenges of climate change and it’s solutions are not nearly as neat and simple, but with kids this age one is forced to try to paint it in this light.  Pollution is bad, clean energy is good.  Sending things to the landfill or littering is bad, recycling or reusing is good.  Biking is good.  “Mindy & Ryan are climate heroes biking across the country.”  Oh good, they like heroes.  Mary tells us of one challenge in teaching these lessons in life.  Ana no longer wants to ride in the “polluting car” but has also decided that the bike trailer “is for babies.”  So what is a mother to do to transport her child when Ana’s legs are still too short to ride a tag-along bike? Hmmm.  The other day Ana’s bracelet with the large plastic beads broke while they were out on a walk and fell in a storm drain.  First she sobbed for the loss of her pretty beads, then she sobbed “will the beads go to the ocean and poison the fish?”  They’ve been talking about how plastic in the ocean is bad for the fish.  Hmmm.  “No, I think there is a filter and you don’t need to worry.” Because what good does it do for her to worry about something she didn’t do on purpose and can’t change?

In their household, they recycle all they can, use washable rags and napkins rather than paper, reuse what can’t be recycled when possible, buy in bulk using their own containers over and over, raise bees for their own honey (hives on top the garage roof to keep away from curious children), compost all food scraps (some with worms), and grow some of their own food.  And eat healthy foods.  And read together every night.  And using biking and walking for most of their transportation.  Wow, not easy with small children.

Trying to live lightly on this earth and to teach your children well is a struggle, but a good struggle.  A struggle to do the best we can while forgiving ourselves for not being able to live up to our own highest standards.  We won’t always have the perfect answer or example for the children around us, but we try to do our best.  Some days that’s stellar, some days maybe barely above average.  But it is all worth the effort.  Thank you Shiloh and Mary for being a great example!


Calling on our friends

Push on through or call for a ride? There will be times when we don’t have an option but today we do. We are cold and wet. Can’t feel our toes even with toe warmers. Have cell service. In an easy place to find us. Red and white striped old abandoned house by the freeway exit. We can look for better equipment in Miles City. As we talked about what to do I knew what my mother would tell me to do. We made the call. Disappointed in myself because I had to give up. A little embarrassed, but that never killed anybody. But know it was a good decision. Dave, Pat and Daniel arrived with a big white van to bring us into town. Now we are again warm and dry while our wet clothes are hanging up and in front of heaters. Grateful to Pat for giving us a warm dry place to sleep tonight. Forecast for the next few days is 70 to 80 and sunny. Back to worrying about sunburn instead.



PS We got to see Dave again (right) today when our hosts (Pat on the left) met his family at Wendy’s for lunch.  Thanks again to our rescuers!