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Bonus Miles! See Dennis Desmarais’s Big Bike Challenge

Dennis Desmarais is taking on a new challenge for 2024. He’s already raised over $10,000 on multiple rides since 2020, despite challenges made worse by climate change. For 2024, his goal is to raise $20,000 on his fourteenth Climate Ride! He’s also going to ride 1,000 miles over six days from South Carolina back to his home in Glastonbury, CT a challenge that would intimidate world-class riders.

But here at Climate Ride, we’ve learned to expect big things from Dennis. For one, he’s already over $16,000 in fundraising and he’s not even heading out for a few more months!

Throughout all of his rides, Dennis has also climbed into our Lifetime $50,000+ Club and has the distinction of being the 6th person to meet that goal. And, if we have learned anything about Dennis, it’s that he doesn’t quit. We even have a saying at Climate Ride that we pulled from Dennis’s first ride with us in Glacier. After doing 109 miles, he asked us for some “bonus miles”. Our jaws dropped and we said, “Of course!” That spirit has inspired many of us here to pedal longer and fundraise more.

This year, Dennis will pass the $100,000 in fundraising since his first ride. His Beneficiary of choice is Sierra Club Connecticut. In addition to leading people on local outings into the wilderness, the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club has been working to rally support for statewide green energy legislation and protecting the state’s fishing economy from offshore drilling.

Dennis started riding in group rides with Climate Ride in 2011, with our NYC-DC trip. He has great memories from all six rides he’s done since then, but in 2018 he decided to switch things up by creating his own routes and fundraise through our Independent Challenge Program. That year, he rode 1,000 miles over five days, averaging 200 miles a day from Detroit to Cape Cod. He faced unexpected road construction and long days in the saddle, but it was worth it when he raised $8,415! He was so busy biking he barely stopped to snap a photo! He likes to say he has one superpower – staying on a bike no matter how much it hurts. In 2019, he rode 2,000 km in eight days and brought in $10,000! He’s raised over $10,000 each year since. In 2023, he broke his ribs right before his ride which made his plan to do another 1,000 mile challenge untenable. Instead, he pivoted to ride on a stationary bike twelve hours a day and wound up putting down more than 1,400 miles!

When we asked him why he keeps taking on these incredibly difficult challenges, he pointed out that doing Climate Rides and “supporting the Sierra Club has never been more important. Global temperatures continue to rise; 2023 was the warmest year on record. Wildfire seasons have grown longer and more devastating – 2020’s Australian wildfires burned an area over six times the size of Connecticut. And there are many other “new normal” climate dangers like more frequent hurricanes and longer droughts. But just as our “new normal” during the COVID crisis would have been exponentially worse had it not been for our actions to socially distance, the climate “new normal” can be kept in check by supporting organizations like the Sierra Club.”

This year, he is stepping up again! If you’d like to help Dennis break his $20,000 goal as he works to also break his body with this epic challenge, you can swing by his fundraising page here. He’s also calling on others to join him in taking action. If you’re inspired by Dennis to do some good for our planet, please email him – he’s hoping to inspire 100 actions with his ride this year!