I'm back in the saddle of my trusty bike "El Fuego" and ready to tilt at windmills again on the Climate Ride from New York to Washington. It's a 5-day, 300-mile tour starting May 13. With your support, I'll ride to DC with 150 other cyclists to lobby Congress for climate change policy and sustainable transportation. We're raising money for some great bicycle and environmental nonprofits along the way.
If you're able to sponsor me in this project it would be deeply appreciated, whether you believe in bikes, believe in climate change (It's real!), or just believe in me.
You can DONATE HERE while I continue below about why this is so important to me, and why it matters for all of us.
MY BENEFICIARY: TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES
A major part of why I decided to ride again this year is that my favorite New York bicycling group is now a Climate Ride beneficiary. I've been volunteering with Transportation Alternatives for years to help make the city safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
And it's working! TA does an amazing job when it comes to keeping the fire lit under the Department of Transportation, and the projects they have developed are saving lives in New York every week. TA is an efficient local nonprofit that makes a big impact on a tough city.
Without Transportation Alternatives we wouldn't have all the bike lanes and pedestrian plazas that are making people healthier, and making the streets of NYC even livelier... the first such innovations in more than 50 years.
The laws in New York require people to ride their bikes in the street, yet anyone who has ever ridden around town can tell you that the streets are not safe. The traffic is horrendous, and people get hurt and killed all the time. We need to correct this injustice to make our city a better place.
Bicycles are also one of the best and most immediate ways to lessen our impact on the climate. They are a clean, healthy, efficient, fun, and inexpensive way to travel. When you ride, the benefits flow to you and to everyone around you.
To get a feel for what my friends at Transportation Alternatives are accomplishing on the streets of New York, check out this video from executive director Paul Steely White:
HOW MUCH I NEED TO RAISE
The funding minimum for Climate Ride is $2,400 and my deadline is May 5. To challenge myself, I've decided to lift the bar even higher this year. In 2008, a peloton of 80+ donors helped me raise more than $3,400.
I made a promise in '08 that for every dollar over my goal of $3,000 I would make a matching donation to Transportation Alternatives out of my own pocket. I'm reiterating that pledge for my new target of $5,000.
You can give any amount, though I did create some potentially amusing donor levels below. If your company or organization gives matching gifts, that's doubly great! Everything is tax-deductible:
$25 – Chain Gang
$50 – Carbon Cutters
$100 – Breakaway Winners
$250 – Influence Pedalers
$500+ – Stratospheric Saviors
There are also prize incentives this year, including a bicycle valued at $1,200. And while I'm sure Debra would love me to have as many bicycles around the house as my heart desires, any prize I win will go to my top donor.
WHY WE NEED CLEAN ENERGY
One look at the news these days and it's easy to see that the energy situation is getting pretty ugly. BP. Fukushima. Fracking. Canada digging up its forests to mine for oil, which I reported on recently.
Meanwhile, Google just announced that it will invest $170 million in solar. Hm, the company with access to all the information in the world is investing in solar… It doesn't take a futurist to see where this is going.
Yet somehow our Congress just doesn't get it. The majority of Americans are in favor of clean energy, yet some members of Congress have actually voted to deny that climate change is real, and to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its Supreme-Court-mandated ability to control carbon emissions and give us clean air.
Meeting with your reps is the best way to influence them, and the brave and sane climate change voices in Congress need our encouragement.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM CLIMATE RIDE 2008
The people on Climate Ride are filled with sustainability wisdom, and there are lectures at each night's camp, but the top three lessons I learned last time are as follows:
1. My friends are among the most generous people in the world. It was no big surprise, of course, but having never done a major fund-raiser before I didn't know what to expect, and I was overwhelmed by the support from all corners, including digital friends I had never met in person.
2. Bicycling 300 miles is actually quite difficult. Fun, but difficult. I have to admit, I was pretty spent by day 5, and a fellow rider crashed into me that morning and broke my shifter. Nobody was hurt and luckily I was able to borrow a bike and finish the ride, while he was able to use my front wheel to get the job done.
3. The time is now to stand up for what we know is right. A politician's calendar is like the vacuum of space: It's filled with dark matter! Literally. The coal and oil companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to keep things just the way they like it, and that gives them access. But money is money, and time is time, and Congress is limited in the latter category just like we are. That's why we need to get my bike shoes in the door at least a couple hours per year to stand up for what we believe in. The team at Transportation Alternatives does a terrific job keeping the pressure up here in New York all year round.
When you donate, send me a picture of you, as I'll be compiling a VISUAL PETITION to deliver to my reps so that they know there are dozens of people standing with me.
SPREADING THE WORD
To me the most important part is spreading the word that we need to get organized, buy clean energy, ride bikes, and imagine a sustainable future. Raising $5,000 in three weeks is pretty ambitious, so feel free to send word of this adventure to others who are interested in bikes and sustainability.
Thanks again for all your support. If you have any questions, please drop me a comment below.
PS: Here's my donation page again, in case you've read this far :)