Climate Ride Kicks Off Saturday – Cyclist Pedal 300 Miles From NYC to DC

This Saturday (September 26) the second annual Brita Climate Ride will roll away from lower Manhattan en route to our nation’s capitol. The five-day, 300-mile cycling tour will help raise money and awareness for climate change education through organizations such as Focus the Nation and Clean Air – Cool Planet. It will also raise hope for a future powered by renewable energy and a green economy.

Last year I pedaled the inaugural Climate Ride from NYC to D.C. for the first charity ride of its kind. The brainchild of two former Backroads biking guides, the event ran smoother than a well tuned S-Works. And it did not disappoint, either as a fully-supported bike tour through beautiful countryside or an inspiring message for change.

Over the course of the ride, I befriended renewable energy experts, climate activists, a Lazy Environmentalist, and everyday folk like myself. I heard inspiring talks from informed experts. I battled the streets of Gotham, crossed the Delaware River, shared the road with horse and buggies in Pennsylvania's Amish country, tackled the shockingly steep “rolling hills” of northern Maryland (my cyclometer reported a top speed of 43.2 mph down the backside of one), and changed a flat tire outside of Baltimore. And, thanks to some amazing early fall weather, I acquired the trademark cyclist’s bike shirt / bike shorts tan that proved I hadn’t sag wagged it all week.

On the final day I rode, along with 100 other cyclists, behind a full-on Secret Service police escort, onto the upper Senate lawn outside the U.S Capitol to rally support for our cause. The day’s inspiration continues to motivate me.

Come Wednesday, Climate Ride 2009, which this year includes a combination of returning riders and newbies numbering 200 strong, will crank its way into Washington, D.C. to once again gather at the Capitol building. And everyone’s invited to join the Climate Ride bike rally. Climate change education, renewable energy, and environmental causes continue to set the table–international talks on a renewed global climate pact are set to continue at December’s COP15 Conference in Copenhagen.

Climate Ride needs your support. I plan to ride the last few miles in, clad in last year’s jersey. Hope to see you there.

—Ethan Fried

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