Plans are still coming together, but the commitment has been made. I will embark on a LowCarbon Crossings cross-country adventure in late August 2016 starting on the coast of Oregon and ending in mid November in Washington, DC. The route will follow the Lewis & Clark trail from Oregon to Council Bluffs, IA then cut across Iowa and meet up with the Northern Tier route in Muscatine, IA to Erie, PA where I will drop down to Pittsburg, PA and then follow the bike trails to Washington, DC. At least that’s the basic plan.
Me and my mom before setting off on the Labor Day 2015 LowCarbon Crossing
Along the way I will be participating in community conversations on climate solutions. And this is the most important part of the journey. Traveling in a low-carbon way by bicycle is fun and exciting, but the real impact is in communities across the country where I will learn about the concerns of local residents and what they are already doing. We will talk about hope and possibilities and build the conversation across the country. I’m sure what I learn in early weeks will be part of the conversation in later weeks and all will be part of the conversations as I meet with legislators in Washington, DC at the end of my journey.
As I said, planning is just beginning and to make this happen I will need a lot of help! There are opportunities for folks to arrange community conversations in locations I will visit, help with social media and publicity of the journey, ride along for a portion of the journey (I’m still open to a partner if anyone feels called to join me for 11-12 weeks), contribute financially, cheer me on, send me care packages and more. Watch for an update here soon when I set the date and time for our first organizing conference call for volunteers who want to help with any part of the work.
Mindy Ahler, a Regional Coordinator for Citizens’ Climate Lobby and Co-Director of Cool Planet is the lead rider for this Cross-Country Climate Solutions LowCarbon Crossing. You can see the initial plan for the route to the left. We will touch 13 states along the way. We have hosted the initial planning team conference call, but there is still plenty of room for others to join the team. You can also make a financial contribution by visiting the fundraising page. Want to join the planning team, host a community conversation or ride along? Contact us.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome Ryan Hall as my cross-country ride partner. From the first thought of the ride I was hoping for one person who wanted to go the full distance, but finally made a commitment to the ride by myself when no one appeared. So, I am very grateful to have Ryan join me in this adventure. We welcome other riders for any portion of the ride – many have already inquired, so the ride is already taking on a life of its own.
We have set a fundraising goal of $20,000 to support the work of climate solutions through Citizens’ Climate Lobby and Cool Planet. We have a $2000 matching donation in effect right now, so your donation will be doubled by contributing here: http://tinyurl.com/mindysride (soon to be our team fundraising page).
It is a full team effort to plan this ride – the two of us could never manage all of this and accomplish our outreach goals without many more people to help. Join the planning team by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next call is on Tuesday, July 19 at 6pm Central time.
Training and planning and outreach, oh my!
Mindy with fellow biker, Bill Barron. Bill is biking and hiking his way around Utah on his non-partisan senatorial campaign. Notice my bike on top the car behind us.
I’ve been on a car road trip for the last three weeks and I’m very happy to be back at the home base. My bike rode along on top of the car and I was able to take a few training rides along the way – the best of which was a beautiful ride in the hills above Santa Cruz, CA.
This picture can’t capture the beauty and hilliness of the ride near Santa Cruz.
Since returning home I’ve been on my bike every day – some long training, some short training. I’m training my body for the physical challenge of being on my bike daily for 11 weeks – building muscle, building stamina, finding the right foods to keep fueled. The detailed plan for the route is also coming along. I have my maps from Adventure Cycling that I’m working my way through to plan our stops for each day – balancing mileage, campgrounds or other lodging available, the altitude changes on the route, etc. Since we’ve taken on a bike journey with a mission of facility community climate solutions conversations, it adds organizing to the mix. I need to get the stops and dates finalized for the hosting teams in each location to begin planning events and conversations. I want to give a shout out to our Montana team – especially Kristin and Rita – who are helping me get organized for what our hosting teams need. Dates and locations are one thing. Also press releases, route info for those who are considering riding along, poster samples, etc. Oh, and social media outreach opportunities.
Click image above for more details
And I almost for got to mention fundraising. Whew! It’s a lot to be juggling and I couldn’t do it without the help of the team that has stepped up – thanks to Jean, Stan, Brett, Julia, Paul, Robert and others! There is plenty of opportunity if you want to jump in to help – just let me know. Click on the route map image to the left for the route overview and a handout to help spread the word.
Riding and planning and organizing…
This map shows our currently planned stops for each night. If we don’t have a community conversation scheduled, we may alter our stops along the way. Please check with us if you want to confirm a destination on the route.
Ryan and Mindy will be in Minnesota together for our FUNdraiser and Send Off Party on Saturday, August 20, 5pm – 10pm at the home of Paul and Mindy: 4244 Crocker Ave, Edina, MN 55416. Please join us if you can and spread the word. All are welcome to this potluck party. Click on the image below for all the details.
We just stopped in Minot, ND and are back on the way to Portland. Here we are with our lovely conductor, Deborah. Today we will have the fortune of seeing the beautiful landscape in North Dakota and Montana. We expect to arrive in Portland on Thursday morning to start the trek to Seaside. For now, we get to work and enjoy the train ride.
On the train to Portland in the last stretch where we are running parallel to our route. Then out the window I see the road we will be on.
First excitement then curiosity as I try to see how wide is the shoulder? (Looks good) Is there a rumble strip? (Don’t see one) How nice is the pavement? (Looks new) Traffic? (3 cars in the last half hour but it’s early).
And look at the view. Photos from the train window don’t do it justice.
But better than the map.
We’ll be back here in about a week.
This calendar will continue to be updated with events as we have the details, so keep checking back.
We are at a critical point in our human history. We all will face the effects of climate change. Natural disasters, an increase in refugees, the health of our people worsening, etc. These issues are big, but not bigger than the potential for our collective action. To me, climate change and the response to it can bring about a better world for all people.
The reason I am riding and organizing action and people on climate is because I still see hope for this world, and I want to tell the world that there is still hope to be found. If we all help each other realize the extent to which our humanity is tied to one another, we can come up with the solutions to all of the world’s problems, and do it together. If we respect each other, listen to one another, and act as one, there is nothing we cannot do.
I believe that part of this process means that we must come together to take action on climate. Now, more than ever, there is bipartisan support growing for action on climate change. We are seeing political parties work across the aisle to help repair a world in need of a tune-up. We are seeing farmers, military vets, environmentalists, sports enthusiasts, people from all walks of life coming together to take collective action. That’s what this is all about. Building community and offering solutions for a better, more livable world for all. There is no better time than now. This is our chance, let’s take it!