Meet the team ‘TransForm Carbon Crushers” riding in Climate Ride California Wine Country this May. TransForm’s Executive Director, Stuart Cohen, rode in Climate Ride last year and thought the experience was one of the best in his life. As a smart leader and socially conscious employer, Stuart wanted to figure out a way to engage his staff to ride. So he set up a challenge: “I’ll get in shape and ride 250 miles with Climate Ride in 2014 if at least 5 staff members join me!”

Now the team is 13 strong and made up of TransForm staff and supporters who have designated all or a portion of their fundraising to support the California nonprofit, TransForm.

TransForm’s work is focused on creating world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and beyond. Their Safe Routes to Transit Program has granted $20 million to date to make it safer, faster and easier to walk or bike to transit stations.  By building diverse coalitions, influencing policy, and developing innovative programs, TransForm improves lives while protecting the environment. TransForm zeros in on critical transportation and land use issues and policies so that their work can help solve some of the biggest issues we face, like climate change.

Each team member has his or her own reasons for riding in Climate Ride. For some, the 250-mile ride is a personal challenge and motivation to stick to a training regimen or get into shape. Steven Dorst, a self-proclaimed “slothful couch potato”, said his first exposure to the ride came at the same time he realized he needed to amp up his biking goals. Training for a long distance, multi-day ride fit the need perfectly.

For others, it’s a way to tackle the harrowing issue of climate change on a personal level. Sophie Kelmenson said it provides a way for her and her donors to engage with a “complicated, politically grandstanded issue in a meaningful way.”  Participating in Climate Ride brings climate change and sustainability to the conversation of everyday people as riders work to fundraise for their beneficiaries.

The TransForm Carbon Crushers are busy preparing for the May 17-20th event.  Most are involved in a training regimen to get their bodies ready for the four-day ride. Their training includes short and long distance bike rides as well as running, swimming, strength training and even surfing in Southern California!

As a team, their goal is to raise $35,000 but individually, they each must fundraise at least $2,800 to participate. Some have found social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter useful to spread the word about their participation and garner donations. Others are blogging about their participation and the larger impact of the ride or sending emails to everyone they know. Ryan Wiggins says he is planning a fundraiser at a restaurant that will include a raffle prize. The team is nearly halfway to their goal – if you’d like to support the Carbon Crushers visit their team page!

What are the benefits of being a Carbon Crusher? Support and camaraderie! The TransForm Carbon Crushers are exchanging emails to share fundraising ideas, training regimens and provide moral support for one another. As well, TransForm staff members who participate in Climate Ride receive paid time off for the experience! On the ride, they’ll have a chance to deepen their relationships, as coworkers and supporters of a common vision. There’s nothing like sweating through a steep climb and then sharing a big ‘yeeehaww!’ as you cruise down a hill with your team.

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