Would you rather…go on a 4-day bike ride, or help save the planet?
Hint: You don’t have to choose!
By Legene White
Three-hundred-ten miles in four days. My husband, Jeff, would be riding in Climate Ride Midwest, September 6 – 9, 2014, but could I do it? Could I keep up with the stronger (and younger!) cyclists who’d already signed on for Team Sycamore? FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—finally won out and my training began. As it turned out, Climate Ride defined my summer. I found new friends with a shared goal, a priority of fitness and healthy eating, and a “can do” attitude that permeated all aspects of my life.
The purpose of Climate Ride was to raise awareness of climate change and to raise money for Sycamore Land Trust. Each rider needed to raise a minimum of $2,800. Jeff and I discovered that this was easier than anticipated. The cause was compelling and Sycamore has a terrific reputation for preserving and protecting land. Friends, family, and old college buddies made contributions to support the causes of climate awareness and Sycamore, which emboldened us to meet the physical challenge. Jeff White and Robert Meitus were among the top 10 fundraisers of all 110 Midwest riders, each earning a coveted Climate Ride “green jersey.”
By mid-summer, Team Sycamore had tackled enough southern Indiana hills to feel fairly confident of our physical endurance. We’d bonded over sweat and a few near-misses, and finally figured out the logistics of getting seven riders, bikes, and gear to the starting line in Grand Rapids while still having a “getaway vehicle” at the ending point in Chicago. The national Climate Ride organization provided detailed information about the route and the accommodations. We were ready to ride!
Climate Riders hailed from not only the Midwest but also from as far away as the coasts. Some had participated in previous Climate Rides and wanted to be a part of the inaugural Climate Ride Midwest. All were concerned about protecting our Earth. There was great camaraderie. As we mingled while riding, over meals, and during the evening programs, we shared stories about the many ways we volunteer for our favorite causes.
Climate Ride had a few surprises!
- It was EASY; our training paid off and the levity within Team Sycamore kept us smiling. Many riders, new to distance cycling, chose to take on Climate Ride as a “stretch goal.”
- The retreat centers where we stayed were nice, with good food and decent beds. And swimming in Lake Michigan after a day of biking felt like a massage!
- Climate Ride was a vacation from the busy-ness of life. My only responsibility for four days was to get me and my bike 75 miles down the road. Everything else was taken care of by the fun and encouraging Climate Ride staff.
Won’t you join us? Registration is now open for this year’s Climate Ride Midwest (September 27-30) and Team Sycamore is actively recruiting new members. Please contact Sheryl Woodhouse Keese at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
For activities that don’t involve cycling, check out the Climate Ride website for the hike in Glacier and other events. We also encourage you to join us in spirit with your donations as we work together with Sycamore Land Trust to preserve land in southern Indiana.