CommunityFDL Main Blog

300 Miles on a Bike: Testing My Body in a World of Extreme Weather

300 miles to D.C.: Saying goodbye to NYC and the Brooklyn Bridge on May 19

What was the hardest part about pedaling a bike 300 miles from Manhattan to Washington, D.C.? The head winds in central New Jersey certainly weren’t a picnic. The horse poop along Amish country roads was a challenge. Then there were the rain-slippery bridges near St. Peter’s Village, PA and the seemingly endless hills of Maryland’s northern horse country.

Lovely green tunnels: riding through rural New Jersey on the first day

But honestly, the rural scenery was so stunningly beautiful all along the way that the hardest part was just knowing that this pastoral east-coast landscape is in danger of disappearing – soon – because of the unfolding calamity of climate change.

I joined the annual “Climate Ride” from New York City to Capitol Hill from May 19-23 for a simple reason: I wanted to put myself through an extreme physical test to draw attention to the equally extreme weather now linked to global warming.Americans are experiencing this weird weather nationwide. As the miles piled up and I pushed myself hard (I didn’t walk one inch of the trip!), and I talked to people along the way. A ferryman in New York harbor said storm surges were getting much worse in recent years. A Methodist camp manager near Valley Forge, PA said winter weather never really showed up this year at a place where Colonial troops nearly froze to death in the winter of 1778. The same camp leader said a first-ever tornado destroyed part of the church property last year amid record summer heat.

Almost 200 bikes parked for the night in Princeton, NJ

These are just some of the stories I collected as I pedaled on, stretching the limits of my 50-year-old body over five days. Our planet’s natural systems are being equally stretched and the evidence is all around us. We just have to connect the dots. On day three of this trip, our group of more than 180 cyclists from across America passed through Lancaster County, Pa where horse-drawn plows were at work everywhere. Clotheslines full of bonnets and black coveralls flapped in the breeze beside Amish farm houses. We stopped to devour handpicked strawberries along lonely-beautiful two-lane roads as hay wagons rolled by.

But tempering the good vibe were the troubling testimonies of farmers themselves. From New Jersey to Maryland they talked of utterly unrecognizable weather, of planting many crops this year earlier than ever before – earlier than the oldest family members could remember. Apple growers and wine makers spoke of early blooms this spring that shattered old records by a month!

Our world is changing right before our eyes, and riding a bike daily for 8-9 hours across this American landscape simply put me up close with what’s at risk and what’s already drastically changing. The idea for the Climate Ride was first hatched in 2008 by visionaries Geraldine Carter and Caeli Quinn. This annual ride (there’s also a West Coast ride each fall) raises awareness and money for groups like mine – the Chesapeake Climate Action Network — who promote carbon-free solutions to global warming. [cont’d.]

CommunityMy FDL

300 Miles on a Bike: Testing My Body in a World of Extreme Weather

300 miles to D.C.: Saying goodbye to NYC and the Brooklyn Bridge on May 19

What was the hardest part about pedaling a bike 300 miles from Manhattan to Washington, D.C.? The head winds in central New Jersey certainly weren’t a picnic. The horse poop along Amish country roads was a challenge. Then there were the rain-slippery bridges near St. Peter’s Village, PA and the seemingly endless hills of Maryland’s northern horse country.

Lovely green tunnels: riding through rural New Jersey on the first day

But honestly, the rural scenery was so stunningly beautiful all along the way that the hardest part was just knowing that this pastoral east-coast landscape is in danger of disappearing – soon – because of the unfolding calamity of climate change.

I joined the annual “Climate Ride” from New York City to Capitol Hill from May 19-23 for a simple reason: I wanted to put myself through an extreme physical test to draw attention to the equally extreme weather now linked to global warming.Americans are experiencing this weird weather nationwide. As the miles piled up and I pushed myself hard (I didn’t walk one inch of the trip!), and I talked to people along the way. A ferryman in New York harbor said storm surges were getting much worse in recent years. A Methodist camp manager near Valley Forge, PA said winter weather never really showed up this year at a place where Colonial troops nearly froze to death in the winter of 1778. The same camp leader said a first-ever tornado destroyed part of the church property last year amid record summer heat.

(more…)

Previous post

The White House may be in for a surprise regarding the Special Counsel's independence

Next post

Bradley Manning's Defense Keeps Up Fight for Evidence Being Withheld (VIDEO)

Oxdown Diaries

Oxdown Diaries