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Frederick’s Coast to Coast Ride 2024

If you’ve been on one of our cycling trips in the last 5 years, there’s a good chance you’ve met Frederick Ballo. Frederick’s first impression on Climate Ride was a lasting one after he rolled up to our premiere Green Fondo event just in time to join the Grande Route — a 100-mile butt-kicker around the Petaluma area of California. It was only after he’d finished the ride that we found out he had ridden all the way from Fremont just to get to the ride start. He of course put an exclamation point on the weekend by biking another 100 miles home, and we’ve been fortunate to keep riding with him ever since — from California to Utah all the way to the East Coast, and several places between! He’s participated in 21 Climate Ride events including Climate Rise and several Independent Challenges.

This May, he’s embarking on a new epic trip – crossing the country by bike with a goal of raising $2,024. We thought this would be a great moment to ask Frederick about what inspired this trip and his wider bike and climate advocacy.

Climate Ride (CR): Can you share with us how you first got into cycling and what made you fall in love with it?

Frederick Ballo (FB): I was invited to a group ride during the summer of 2013 by a former coworker. He didn’t think I could ride a bicycle, and to be fair, I didn’t own one at the time. I borrowed a bike that evening and really enjoyed the freedom of exploring the city and its streets. The more I rode the rest of that summer, the more my confidence riding a bicycle started to show.  

CR: Can you describe a pivotal moment that transformed you into the dedicated cyclist you are today?

FB: At the age of 27, I just gave up on driving a vehicle. My profession at the time was a shipping clerk and hazmat driver for a chemical repackager. The stress of being a driver got to me, plus it was expensive to own a vehicle. It really became a necessity for me to just be “car free”. So I started either using a bicycle or walking to where I needed to go, and I never stopped.

CR: What inspired you to undertake this cross-country ride?

FB: Shelter in Place during peak Covid-19 pandemic inspired me, to be honest. Nine days at home forced me to do some online research. I figured if I already ride this much, why not give a cross-country trip a try. The rest, as they say, is history!

CR: Climate change is a vast and complex issue. How do you handle the emotional and psychological toll of advocating for such an urgent cause?

FB: Personally, advocating is simple for me. Share what your personal experience has been. Set the example, and people will decide from there. It’s difficult to change minds, but setting an example always seems to work best. If it becomes too much of an emotional or psychological toll, I’ll just ride it off.

CR: In moments of doubt or difficulty, where do you find the strength and inspiration to continue your efforts for climate awareness?

FB: It helps to look back on some of my past accomplishments and remember all the positive feedback. Hosting a community ride really does inspire folks. And completing a Climate Ride event seems to reset my energy level and remind me why I’m doing all of this.

If you want to support Frederick’s cross-country ride, you can make a donation here or buy him a cup of coffee here!