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Rider Spotlight: Alan and Hannah Wilken

Alan first joined Climate Ride last year on the Northeast Ride and knew immediately that his daughter Hannah “would love this.” He was right. Hannah takes advantage of every opportunity she can to bike with her dad.  “He’s a committed rider, and I’m very inspired by that. Any chance I have to ride with him, I do!” Hannah explains.

Hannah and Alan are biking to support Greenagers, a small nonprofit near and dear to their home of Stockbridge, MA. Greenagers connects youth with paid environmental stewardship work and outdoor activities like trail-work, community gardens and school-based field trips. Alan describes, “I’ve seen a lot of their work. It’s purposeful work for the environment and engages young people by connecting them to the natural world and giving them skills with the benefit of hard work and positive experiences.“ Hannah points out, “It’s a small organization, so I know that our fundraising will make a big difference!”

Hannah, who lives in Brooklyn, NY and is an avid city cyclist, also chose to support Bike New York. “I think the safest thing and best thing for bikers is to have more bikers on the street,” Hannah expresses. As a leading proponent for cycling in New York City, Bike New York is doing just that! Bike New York encourages hundreds of people to ride with its bike donation program, free educational classes and Five Boro Bike Tour.

Both Hannah and Alan are always game for an adventure.

A few years ago, with no maps, no research, and no camping gear, Hannah and Alan met in Spain to bike El Camino de Santiago, a major Christian pilgrimage route consisting of ancient trails over the Pyrennes, with only their road bikes and a guidebook written in Spanish. Pretty quickly, they realized that there are a lot of legitimate reasons why most of El Camino isn’t open to biking and resourcefully re-routed their trip. Hannah and Alan still pedaled their way across northern Spain but instead followed the small, less traveled roads around El Camino. Reflecting on their amazing trip, Hannah remarks, “Where you end up is where you are supposed to be. As long as you have food, water and are relatively dry, it’s all good.”

This year, Climate Ride California is a part of a much bigger adventure for Alan.

Arriving in Seattle two and a half weeks ago, Alan has already been riding around Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and Victoria B.C. He has biked down the West Coast to the ride start in Fortuna and plans to continue pedaling after Climate Ride all the way to Mexico. He explains, “I love bicycling, and I make it a part of my life. “ Alan’s advice is, “Just ride. Don’t feel like you have to be fancy, with fancy clothes and a fancy bike. Just ride because it’s fun!”

Alan describes himself as a hippy from the 1970’s, one who participated in the very first Earth Day and graduated as one of the first Environmental Engineers in his class. Today, he lives in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and works with “garbage” and the ways to recycle, reuse, compost, and harness power from various industrial, municipal and institutional waste streams.

Inspired by the resurgence of the environmental movement, Alan explains one reason he enjoys Climate Ride,  “I am always inspired by the youth of today and look forward to meeting a lot of new people, especially those who are inspired to do things, share ideas, and make the world a better place.”

Welcome to the North Coast, Hannah and Alan!