Saturday, September 27, 2008

More photos (not in any order)

Rollin up on D.C.!

Two days after our arrival in D.C. with the group of nearly 120 riders, our riding experience is still fresh and vivid in our minds. The last day of riding, Wednesday, started early from our Camp just outside of Baltimore. The morning was quite challenging for most people because our legs were in a state akin to silly putty. However, as the hours passed, our legs warmed up a bit, and we settled into a solid pace clocking about 15 mph on average.

On the last leg of our journey, we rode for about 10 miles on the bike trail that takes bike commuters from Bethesda directly into the heart of Washington. This trail was laid down by a group called Rails to Trails, a non profit whose goal is turning old, out of use railroad lines into bike trails across America. The night before, the president of the organization addressed the group highlighting the importance of creating an infrastructure for biking and walking so that people will have the means to reduce their car use. He explained that Rails to Trails has a goal to get every household in America will be within 3 miles of a bike trail by 2030. He said that this initiative is important for our environment so as to reduce CO2 emissions from driving, but also for our health as a nation in that when people bike to commute they “burn calories not carbon!” His speech was inspiring and highlighted another interesting facet to the slew of projects and initiatives going on to create a more sustainable way of living for America’s future generations.

After arriving at the end of the bike trail, the group came together to come together for our ride into DC. The moment everyone had been waiting for was upon us, and the excitement was boiling over. We took off for the Hill from there as a group of 120 with a police escort. We took up two lanes as we rode down Constitution Ave past the National Mall and the White House. Clad in our bright red Climateride jerseys we chanted, “Ride baby ride!!!” and “One More Hill, One more Hill” as we climbed up Capitol Hill. The group arrived on the senate lawn with a clear view of the Capitol Building and did laps around a fountain as camera crews and onlookers filmed us and snapped pictures. The feeling of accomplishment was incredible and we felt proud to be part of such a group of people.

After a few speeches on the lawn from a the congressman representing Portland, OR, a lobbyist from Clean Air Cool Planet and our friend Alex from Focus the Nation, the event organizer Geraldine Carter gave a closing speech and the group re-mounted to bike one last time over to the Georgetown campus or our final meal together. However, before we went to Georgetown, we (Mike and Tyler) had meetings scheduled to meet with our senators to voice our concern as their constituents about the need for national legislation that will seriously address the need to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% by the year 2050. This number, recommended by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) will be necessary to reduce the chances of global catastrophe as a result from rising temperatures at the poles and the glacial melting that is projected. The meetings went well and both of our senators (We met with an aide of John Kerry (MA) and Susan Collins (ME)) to express our concern about climate change about the fact that the two co-sponsor a bill to achieve 65% cuts by 2050. We addressed our concern with this number, but thanked them for supporting the Renewable Energy Bill.  Mike also asked Kerry to take a leadership role in the senate this coming year when carbon emission regulation legislation enters discussion the senate.  As a prominent member of the democratic party, Kerry could have a strong influence on the decisions made in the senate, and Mike believes that he must step up and demand serious reform to the United States' energy policy and existing mechanisms in place to encourage carbon cutting.

When we made it to Georgetown, there was a band playing for riders, and showers and food available for us. After we ate and cleaned up, we watched the band for a while, went out with some of our friends to a few DC bars, and tried our best to stay awake until 3:15am when we finally caught a train back up to Connecticut. It was an exhausting night, but so worth it to be able to take place in a ride like this and we made it back for class at 10:25.

For everything we have seen, done and heard, Mike and Tyler would like to thank our supporters and readers. Without your generous contributions and whole-hearted support, we could never have had such an incredible opportunity. We rode for you, and we were so proud to have that honor. With your support, ClimateRide was a huge success and we think it will have an impact on climate change legislation and support of green jobs and renewable energy.  And we hope you all consider riding next year in ClimateRide 2009!!!  

Ride baby ride!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Long time no blog.


We’re checking in with you tonight from Baltimore, Maryland. Since we last posted in Valley Forge, we have biked through the heart of Amish Pennsylvania: passing horse and buggies and rolling farms. We also had a quick stop through Intercourse, PA where we biked by bunches of signs announcing “Intercourse Fire Station” and “Intercourse Methodist Church”... So we haven’t grown up. We’ve also been popping these wonderful little gummy items called Clif Shots, which are the athletic snack of the future. These small gummy cubes, made by the same company that makes Clif bars (one of the ride's many sponsors) come packed full of electrolytes and have offered us that needed boost to make it over some of these really tough hills in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Today we tackled the toughest hills so far. It was a fulfilling ride that was capped with an amazing dinner catered by Whole Foods. However, we’d like to use this post to explain a little less about the biking, food and camping and a little bit more about the amazing people we have met and the inspiring speeches and presentation we have seen the last few nights. For the routes we've done the last few days, check out: Monday and Tuesday.

Each night, the Climateride organizers, who have been absolutely wonderful in helping everyone throughout the ride, have organized a few speakers to address the squad. Last night, we listened to Randy Swisher, the president of the American Wind Energy Association, speak to the group about his organization and about the promise that wind energy holds for the future of American energy consumption. AWEA represents the majority of the American wind industry by lobbying in Washington D.C. for policy that would create incentives and investment for wind farm construction (like the Renewable Energy Credits bill passed today!!!!!). Swisher gave an inspiring speech in which he outlined the strengths and weaknesses of wind energy and the importance of moving away from Coal fired power plants into an energy structure that will be composed of numerous types of renewable energy sources.

After Randy, we also heard from David Kroodsma from Ride for Climate, a solo journey from California to the Southern tip of Argentina. David is also riding in ClimateRide (the ride we're on) and so we actually hung out with him after the presentation. His trip essentially consisted of riding his bike through areas of high and low population and trying to both educate people he met along the way about climate change and also learn from them about their lives. He said that he would often stay in firehouses or just in peoples houses for free, and that he actually didn't spend much money on the trip. He also stressed the importance of working with local media to raise awareness, and said that the South American countries that he traveled through were really aware of the issues and quite concerned.

Beyond organized lectures however, we have had incredible opportunity to meet the people who are bringing climate change and renewable energy to life. Whether energy consultants or NGO activists, nearly everyone doing the ride is connected with a green future for America. Today, we peddled with Alex from Focus the Nation and talked with him about the direction of the group that we were actively involved with when REC hosted a National Teach-In last February.

We've met so many awesome people on this trip, and right now we're going to go hang with them for our last night. We'll post all about it tomorrow after we lobby our respective senators in their DC offices!!!!

Be well,

Tyler and Mike.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Picture Post

Day One - NYC into Jersey

Day 2 - Jersey into Pennsylvania

An update from Valley Forge.

Whew. What a day.

Mike and Tyler here from a dorm in Valley Forge, PA. We're spending the night here in a nice little room waiting for a crew to assemble to play some ultimate.  Today was the longest ride we've been on as a duo. The ride was scheduled to be about 60 miles, but we got lost a couple times and actually rode about 67.  Without including the unintentional detours that we made, click here to see the route.

Leaving Princetown this morning, we rode about 20 miles of neighborhoods that reminded us of Connecticut. It was more scenic than our first day by far.  We stopped for a break on the Delaware River in a town called Lambertville, NJ.  Lambertville was a quaint town with a friendly atmosphere and nice old buildings everywhere.  After changing a tire and filling up on GORP, we pushed onward into Pennsylvania.  This part of the ride was really nice.  We had a set of rolling hills and some sweet down hills where we topped off at around 38 mph.  We rode with a group of friends for most of the day keeping pace together and pushing each other up the hills by encouraging each other when getting tired.  We have also mastered the art of drafting which has seriously helped us trade off rest periods on the flat and downhill portions of our rides.  Finishing the ride today felt great, and i know that dinner tonight will feel even better!

Last night was also worth mentioning briefly here.  Each night, the Climateride organizers have scheduled speakers to address the riders and general public about Climate Change and the development of activist efforts nationwide.  Last night, Betsy Taylor, president of the 1 Sky campaign, spoke to us on the Princeton campus about the importance of forming a collective, youth-led movement demanding big changes from the U.S. government in regards to its energy policy.  Her speech was quite inspiring, and the question that followed were extremely interesting.  People raised their hands and after a short introduction about their job/position and hometown launched into questioning.  The questions came from highly informed people (also climateriders) who were mostly working directly in the business of promoting/developing renewable energies.  They inspired some great discussions that continued even after filing out of the hall.

We will also be posting pictures from the first few days of our trip tonight.  So stay tuned, we've got some nice ones. 

Tyler and Mike

Saturday, September 20, 2008

First day on the road...four more to go!

What's really good everybody?

Tyler and Mike here reporting from Princeton, New Jersey where the academia is ubiquitous and the jazz causes visceral revulsion (there's a jazz festival going on outside). The good news is, we finished our first day without any problems and arrived at camp in one of the first groups. But lets start with a little about last night and our arrival in New York city.

After parking the car in New Haven, CT, we ran the metro north train making it on 2 minutes before it departed. On the train we met up with good friends Sarah and Dana, as they too were on their way into New York for the weekend. After this hour and half ride, we got off the Metro North train in Central Station and made our way through the crowds (equipped with two backpacks each and bikes) onto the subway. This was a relatively stressful beginning to our New York experience as we were quickly reminded of how hurried and fast-paced people are in New York when we were scolded by an impatient MTA worker for holding up the line with all our stuff.

Anywho, we made it to event check-in safe in sound in Soho after a quick stop to chat with our main sponsor, and Tyler's former employer, Collins. The check-in took place at a bar on Bowery St. All the climate-riders, ride organizers, professors and other members of the public attended the event. There were a few speeches to kick off the night, some delicious hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction. Mike bid on a sweet camel back/US atlas combo and won the bid at $40. Good deal if you ask us :)

Afterwards, we met up with friends Jesse and Zach who live in New York, went out to a bar near their apartment in Brooklyn and retired for the night to get some much needed rest for the beginning of our ride.

So this morning we got up mad-early and took the subway back to where we registered last night. We got on our bikes from here and rode down to Pier 17 where there was a "Bike for a Day" festival that we chilled at, and then down to Pier 11 where we had our own climateride ferry waiting for us. We took the ferry to New Jersey, and finally started biking fo' real. Check out our route here. 

Although New Jersey wasn't the industrial complex we had seen from the Turnpike, we saw a new side: the McMansion dystopia that resembled the set from the Truman Show.  We took a quick detour from the route to bike through one of these neighborhoods and found it to be deserted.  The combination of the lack of activity and neatly permed and trimmed lawns and bushes created a slightly spooky vibe.  We took some pictures to document this interesting example of a new type of upper middle-class American neighborhood.  However, the state of New Jersey wasn't all like this: we passed a lot of nice farm land, and the town of Princeton is beautiful. We forgot to bring the camera cord to the cafĂ© today, but stay posted for pictures from the road.  

Diner time here, so over and out and thanks for following us!  more to come tomorrow!

-Mike & Tyler

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

42 Hours to Departure

Greetings all.

Mike and Tyler here writing after returning from another serious bike ride. It will probably be the last one before we take off for the big City on Friday, and we're pretty stoked! We expanded our ride from last week, taking a detour through Old Lyme and passing by Harkness State Park. You can view our route on Google maps by clicking Here. When we hit Old Lyme, we passed by a lake that we had ridden by when we took our first major ride to Devils Hopyard, only this time it was at the end of a couple miles of down-hill, and it was all the more beautiful. We stopped for a snickers and ate it at Harkness beach for a quick break on the ride. Probably the best snickers ive ever had in my life.

We also got our jerseys today, and they look awesome. We're so stoked to be able to represent the businesses that have supported us in this ride, and our shorts are due in tomorrow. We'll try to get pictures up tomorrow in full gear before we take off. But rest assured, more photos to come from the road.

Friday afternoon, we will be heading off to New York where will be spending the night at an event for the riders and public called GreenDrinks. You can read up on the event and even attend if you'd like if youre in New York on Friday. Heres the link.

It's still not too late to donate!!! If you'd like to show some support, click here and search for either one of our names. You can figure it out from there. Thanks a lot for all the support so far and well keep you updated as promised.

Peace out y'all,

Mike and Tyler