Sharing the load

Today Akeem rode with us and carried two of my panniers on his bike.  It was a great gift to me to be able to share the load and be much lighter going up hills.

sharingWe are now in Pennsylvania and nearing the end of our trip – Just 8 days left.  This journey would not have been possible without the many people who have shared our load.  img_4332 It is impossible to name all the amazing people who have helped us across the country.  The countless people who have fed us, planned a location for a community conversation, spread the word and advertised, to those who have given us directions and helped us find our way and the many who have housed us for a night or more.

Like this bike trip, solutions to climate change take some heavy lifting.  We have a big problem that requires some major shifting of our energy production, our land use, our daily habits, etc.  We are sharing the load with many others to move us forward.  To the brave native peoples (and their allies) who are at Standing Rock and on the Mississippi in Iowa to protect our waters from new fossil fuel infrastructure, to the school superintendent trying to put solar on the school roof, to farmers looking for more sustainable ways of farming and trying new methods, to students moving their schools and communities toward greater sustainability (and the teachers who guide them in exploring new ways), to media reporters telling the story of the changes happening and the solutions being pursued, to countless volunteers and citizens working with their legislators and local governments on policy to address carbon emissions – we have met all of these along our trip and we are all sharing the load.  We need more help, so invite your friends to join in.  As one of our hosts kept telling us “we’re all in this together.” By sharing the load we can get the job done.


The states are whizzing by


John riding Paul and Mindy out of Omaha and up the first two hills


Crossing the Mississippi – my hometown (St. Paul) is just upstream

It seems I was just writing about South Dakota and Nebraska – and now we are already across Iowa and Illinois and into Indiana.  Time goes fast when you’re pedaling hard.  In Iowa we had conversations nearly every night – in Greenfield, lunch in Des Moines, Pella, Fairfield.  We met lots of great people and got some media coverage in Pella.  I learned more about farming in Iowa – different perspectives in different parts of Iowa.  We also got to see lots of rolling hills in Southern Iowa – not all of Iowa is flat.  We had the night off in Muscatine to enjoy a dinner out with Paul and Anne before they headed back to Minnesota (Paul biked over 500 miles with me from Sioux Falls to Omaha and all across Iowa) and had time to repack our bags and send a few extra things home before we were carrying all our stuff againimg_4117


We survived the Terror in the Timber

Though the bikes are heavy, it feels good to be carrying all our stuff again – being fully self-contained.  We crossed the Mississippi at Muscatine – another milestone and reminder of home.  We also had two nights of camping the first nights in Illinois.  Temps were fairly
warm – only down to about 40 degrees at night and we survived the “Terror in the Timber” near Cambridge.  Might be the last days of pleasant weather camping.  We are now working on finding places to stay for the rest of the trip that won’t require so much exposure to the outdoors – though often still making use of our sleeping bags inside.  It was fun to return to Wenona, IL after having visited there to inspect that portion of the route in June (on our way to the CCL conference).  Had some great conversations over breakfast at the Boardwalk.  Thank you to Ed and Crystal for a respectful conversation. We disagree on climate change but agree on caring for the environment. Their kindness and honesty is greatly appreciated and a model of civility showing that we can disagree and still converse with each other. Thanks Ed for the good bike route tip. We took your suggested route.  Thanks also to Vicki, Judy and Marge for filling out postcards on why they are concerned about climate change – we will deliver them in DC.

Last night was the third and last night in Illinois with a Warm Showers host in Chebanse.  Doug,


Our host in Chebanse riding with us to St. Anne, IL

our host, then suggested a better route for us today and joined us for the first 12 miles.  Thought we’d seen a lot of wind turbines in Iowa – we’ve seen a lot more of them in Illinois.
We have now entered Indiana and are staying with another Warm Showers host on a farm outside Rensselaer.

I don't remember Indiana having so many trees - lots of beautiful ones today

I don’t remember Indiana having so many trees – lots of beautiful ones today

Hard to believe that we are already on our 10th state!   Only two more nights in Indiana and we are on to Ohio.  It’s a whirlwind.  Speaking of wind, it continues to be our greatest friend and greatest challenge depending on the day.  Tail winds push us along and head winds – even when only 5 to 10 MPH – mean for a long, slow slog.  We had three days in a row of over 70 miles each and still had to work hard for the 50 miles today.  Tomorrow is a little shorter, then back to a couple challenges again.  May the winds be with us!

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.

Community Conversation in Sioux Falls, SD Monday, Oct 10

Join us at Spoke-N-Sport (2019 S Minnesota Ave) in Sioux Falls on Monday, Oct 10, 4-6pm for a

Enterprise photo by Hunter D'Antuono

Enterprise photo by Hunter D’Antuono

community conversation.  All are welcome!

Mindy & Ryan will share their experiences of the first half of their 4000 mile cross-country journey to raise awareness of climate change and climate solutions.  Bring a friend and join the conversation!

We want to carry your message to Washington, DC with us.

Spread the word with the flyer.

Osceola, WI Solidarity Ride

Mindy and Ryan,

This past Sunday, October 2nd, I did a solo solidarity ride with my new LowCarbon Crossings Jersey. I rode 98 miles from Osceola, WI to Eau Claire, WI. It was a beautiful fall day with little or no wind. As I enjoyed my ride, I thought of you both as you make your way across this beautiful country of ours. Thanks for letting us be part of your adventure. Hoping for a continued safe ride with lots of engaging conversations along the way. Dan G. Osceola, WI.

Mindy’s note: this is my farmer who keeps me fed with healthy food.  Paul is joining us in Sioux Falls and bringing some of the farm produce along for us to enjoy on the road!