Meet two of our 2017 Independent Challenge participants – Barbara Larrain and Jim Kelsey. Barbara will start with her rear wheel in the Pacific, and Jim will start on the Atlantic. However, by the end of this summer, both will have pedaled over 3,800 miles across the United States. We caught up with them recently to hear about their motivation and passion for these human-powered adventures.
Barbara Larrain will begin her cross-country tour in Astoria, Oregon on June 18th and finish in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on August 7th. That’s 50 days of cycling, with only 5 rest days! However, this kind of physical feat is nothing new to Barbara. After 29 Cycle Oregon events, 14 Ironmans, she discovered Climate Ride looking for a ride along the Northern California Coast last year. “Now, riding across the country is just sort of a natural progression of the same thing—something I’ve been wanting to do,” Barbara explained. She is also fundraising for 350.org, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Sierra Club. “I wanted to give something back while doing what I love to do. It just seemed to be important to do more than just ride my bicycle across the country,” she added.
Barbara Larrain (left) at camp on California Climate Ride 2016
Similarly, when asked why Jim Kelsey decided to bike across the country, he replied “ I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind ever since I met a guy doing it when I was a kid. More recently, I've been feeling a little burned out at work and felt like all my adventures were done 20 years ago. So the heck with that. I need a challenge and I love cycling.” Jim will begin his self-supported tour in Portland, Maine and pedal his way home to San Francisco.
Jim explained, “I'm looking forward to the slower pace. I hope to slow down and not feel rushed so much of the time.” Jim works with energy efficiency and is riding to support NRDC. “I love the work that they are doing on energy and the environment, and I'm very familiar with [their work] first-hand.”
We will post more about their individual adventures in the coming months, so check back in to see how they’re doing! In the meantime, learn more and support their cause below.
Descending into the Bloom