We love creative ways to raise funds using bicycling. Introducing Amy Wipfler who has challenged herself to bike 12 New England rail trails in 6 months. She also challenged her community to pledge money for each ride she completes. She aims to ride more than 300 miles spanning 12 trail rides in 2022 and hopes to raise $6,000! She’s almost halfway there! We wanted to hear all about her efforts and the inspiration behind it all.

(Whatever Amy raises will be matching 100% thanks to a matching pledge from Climate Ride supporter, the Algorand Foundation. So if she raises $6,000, it will double to $12,000!)

Climate Ride (CR): What made you decide to participate in Climate Ride?

Amy Wipfler (AW): It’s a great community for bikers who want to add mission and purpose to their rides. If you get outdoors as much as bikers, you know how precious the outdoors and nature are, so I love that there’s a platform like Climate Ride that allows us to work as a community to protect it!

CR: What’s motivating you as you embark on this challenge?

AW: My community and my passion for rail trails! It’s been amazing to see the donations already pouring in from family, friends, and colleagues alike. When I get to a tough point in the ride, I know they are all there with me in spirit, supporting me onwards. And rail trails are these magical trails that take you through woods, along rivers, and past towns you never would have otherwise seen. There’s a special quality to these “roads of the past” and I love every chance to ride a new one or an old favorite.

CR: You mentioned getting out on your bike gives you an upfront view of how precious the outdoors are. Have you also seen climate impacts where you live?

AW: Here, in the Boston area, we’re seeing more frequent heat emergencies and more intense storms. These most greatly impact areas of Boston where lower-income and communities of color live, so the inequity of how the climate crisis is hitting our area stands out to me. My hometown is out in California, where the forest fires have spiked dramatically, completely changing the landscape of my home state. It’s challenging to watch the ways in which it’s changing the quality of life and the ecosystem there.

CR: What field do you work in?

AW: I’m a Social Impact Product Manager at Zillow, where I work on software features that focus on improving equity, economic opportunity, and housing security across our platforms.

CR: That’s so cool! Which beneficiaries are you supporting and why?

AW: Outdoor Afro, an Oakland-based network that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. I lived in Oakland during my AmeriCorps year, and notice every time I’m out in nature that it’s mostly white people who are out connecting with nature. Nature is for everyone, and Outdoor Afro creates communities that encourage that and work against the systemic reasons people of color feel excluded/unsafe/unwelcome out in nature.

Mothers Out Front, a Boston-based movement of over 24,000 mothers in the United States, working to protect their children and communities from the impacts of climate change. I know a lot of Boston moms, and I know that the strongest climate action will be women-led, so I’m proud to support these parents fighting for a better future planet for their children.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a D.C.-based organization bringing the power of trails to more communities across the country, serves as the national voice for the rail-trail movement. Without groups like the Conservancy, there would be so many fewer of my favorite rail trails to ride! They are visionary and getting the work done to re-use these old pathways for everyone to get out and walk/ride farther and farther every year.

CR: Beyond these rides, how else have you stepped up on climate change? 

AW: My action work on climate issues has ranged from attending rallies to advocating for better bike infrastructure, volunteering at my local urban farm, getting produce from a local CSA, eating veggie-forward, using refillable household goods, and buying secondhand everything. Always looking for more ways to be involved.

CR: Are there any personal challenges you’ve confronted or foresee in preparing for the rides? 

AW: Mostly just my own stamina! Some of these rail trails are longer, multi-day paths, so I’m hoping I can keep energized to accomplish them. I’ve already done my first ride, and I hit a patch that was pretty rocky and had to slow down to keep from falling. But knowing my supporters were behind me fueled me past the rough patches!

If you’d like to find out more and support Amy in hitting her $6,000 goal, check out her fundraising page here:

https://support.climateride.org/participant/amys-rail-trails

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