“Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.” Maya Angelou

Our first two Climate Ride Independent Challenges of 2014 acheived great success. These Challengers really took life by the lapels and rode hard for the cause!

Two Wheelin’ Across Nebraska

A huge congratulations to our intrepid Climate Rider Lauren Van Ham, who completed her self-designed 460-mile Independent Challenge ride across Nebraska last week in Lincoln. Lauren exceeded her fundraising goals and raised more than $9,000 for the Climate Ride cause and her Climate Ride beneficiaries:Interfaith Power & Light, 350.org and World Bicycle Relief. (See the more than 100 Climate Ride beneficiaries you can choose from here.)

Lauren designed her Independent Challenge so that could ride across her homestate of Nebraska. She writes, “The Midwest – specifically Nebraska — is my place. I was born under that Big Sky, and many wonderful people in Lincoln, NE comprise the village which raised me. After leaving for college, I learned quickly that for people from either coast, the Midwest is presumed to be one homogeneous expanse of flat, a travel annoyance that must be endured between destinations California and NYC.”

She continues, “Husker Spirit might proudly rebuff such ignorance with, “Their loss; our gain!” In all honesty, the changes happening on our planet today, and impacting land and water everywhere (Nebraska prairie and farms, no exception) have made this conversation a LOT more complicated. It’s one I know is worth having. SO, to explore it all more thoroughly, I’m going to ride my bike across the state. This is something I’ve been itching to do since becoming a distance cyclist…”

After completeing her journey, Lauren reflected “The land of the Midwest, it is the aquifer, it’s the prairie grass. It deserves to be preserved and celebrated and recognized. It is important to be having conversations about climate change in the Midwest.” Thank you Lauren!

Read more about Lauren’s journey in the Lincoln Journal Star. Read Lauren’s blog here.

Cooperstown, NY to Brooklyn, NY By Bike

Led by past Climate Rider Abe Greene and a group of concerned citizens, the Climate Ride Independent Challenge called the “Anti-Fracking/Pro-Beer Renegades Tour” pedaled 220 miles from Cooperstown, NY to Brooklyn, NY to raise funds and awareness for New York’s statewide anti-fracking campaign. They highlighted the economic and environmental benefits of clean water one pedal stroke and pint at a time while they showcase some of the many successful microbreweries along their route.

These pedaling New Yorkers raised funds for the Climate Ride cause and selected Environmental Advocates of New York, Transportation Alternatives and Natural Resources Defense Council from the list of Climate Ride beneficiaries.

From team member Alix Cotumaccio, “The ride was a huge success, with around 220 miles pedaled and many a beer and cider consumed. Being in the midst of the communities impacted by fracking and other environmental threats, and hearing locals’ personal stories has opened my eyes even further to the reality of fracking-related problems and the urgency to put an end to it while supporting local, sustainable businesses. Thank you to everyone who supported our efforts, and to my teammates, Abe, Julie, and Payton. I couldn’t have done it without all of you!”

A big round of applause for these biking renegades! 

There are several more Independent Challenges in the works for 2014. Feeling insprired? Join one of the upcoming Climate Ride events or take life by the lapels and design your own one-day or multi-day challenge. You can bike, walk, hike, run, paint, dance…absolutely anything that captures your imagination! Give us a call to find out how!

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