Have you heard of Climate Ride?
If you haven’t today is your lucky day as I am throwing back to the 2009 Climate Ride a 5-day 300-mile ride from NYC to DC that Pablo and I completed together in September of 2009. My post date is quite deliberate as the 2014 Climate Ride starts in NYC in 2 days, on September 20, and ends in DC on September 24. If you’re in NYC, DC or somewhere in between and see cyclists wearing Climate Ride jerseys cheer them on!
And if you’re in DC, consider riding with them as they gather at the tail end of Constitution Avenue, and then begin their final leg to the Capitol, passing the Washington Monument and rows of museums. Upon arrival at the Capitol, they congregate on the West Lawn and make a statement about the need to move the nation toward sustainability and on a path to a renewable energy future. Just thinking about that moment, when we arrived in DC, brings up a sea of emotions.
Climate Ride is not just a 300-mile ride, it’s a 300-mile ride with a mission. Riders raise money -Pablo and I raised $5400- for a broad range of organizations, including Rails to Trails Conservancy, East Coast Greenway Alliance, 350.org, American Solar Energy Society and many more [Read more here] and ride with a purpose to raise awareness of climate change issues and the need for a movement toward renewable energy and sustainability.
Pablo has a masters in Environmental Management and from the day I met him he has been focused on tackling issues of climate change and sustainability. When he found out about Climate Ride, which was in its second year, he jumped at the opportunity to participate. His passion for sustainability was contagious and a couple of months later I decided to sign up as well. I am a sucker for physical challenges, especially when they involve giving back to our communities and improving the world we live in.
So there we were, future Climate Riders. I had just gotten my first adult bike in January of 2009 and now I had committed to riding that bike from NYC to DC! We also faced the daunting task of raising at least $4800 ($2400 each). It was a challenge, but it was also very exciting to become part of this amazing movement.
I could tell you all about the training rides, how I had to learn to ride with clip-in pedals, how Pablo fractured his scaphoid bone a month before the ride and decided to do the ride anyways; our fundraising initiatives, which included an 80’s Night, a Wine & Silent Auction Event and many Saturday mornings on the trainer at our local farmers market, but instead I’m going to recap the actual ride in a selection of my favorite photos.
It was fun riding through New York and seeing the sights.
After 49 miles (I think), we arrived in Princeton and it was time to set-up camp. Day 1 of cycling was complete and we got some showers, food, listened to our speaker of the night and headed out for a stroll in Princeton.
Day 2 was a super rainy day. It actually started raining the night of Day 1 and didn’t stop for quite some time. Luckily we were prepared with all the rain gear we needed!
The ride was beautiful!
And we had some fun along the way
But by the end of Day 2 my knee was killing me…
We arrived at the site and had dinner (the joy of riding all day, is that you can stuff your face with food!)…
…and in the tent in the rain, after some tears, I made the call to not ride on Day 3, because both of my knees were hurting too much (Turns out my seat was too low, which caused a lot of the pain).
Day 3 started bright and sunny and while I was disappointed not to be able to ride…
I was happy to find a job as the photographer’s assistant. As a photojournalism undergraduate major, photography holds a place in my heart, so I was happy to tag along with Kip and catch some fun images of the riders.
Pablo had some back luck of his own on Day 3, with THREE flats!
But everything gets better with a Climate Ride Sundae! At night we listened to more speakers. Every night there was one or more amazing speaker sharing their stories of climate change action and adventures. We met No Impact Man, Roz Savage, cyclists who had crossed the country from East to West and the continent from Alaska to Chile. It was inspirational and powerful and I carry their stories with me to this day.
Day 4 started with some killer hills, that I decided to skip…
It was time to head into the DC Metro Area!
We stopped at the first rest stop and got all decked out in Climate Ride gear.
Then we rode on to Silver Spring, where we met up with my parents (who drove up to NYC with us and had a mini-vacation as they made their way down to DC).
Then we made our way to the Capital Crescent trail towards DC In DC we met up as a group and other cyclists joined, including the Danish ambassador on his stylish bike, and we headed down Constitution to the Capitol!
Our arrival at the Capitol was high energy and emotional as we rode circles around the roundabout before heading to the West Lawn.
Here they are 5 years after we completed our ride and they are still going strong. They’ve exploded actually, now including the NYC-DC Ride, a California Ride (which I want to do sometime in the future), a Midwest Ride, a Climate Hike. If you are looking for a physical challenge and an opportunity to give back to the world and support a wonderful mission focused on saving our planet and the organisms, including us humans, that inhabit it, Climate Ride is for you!