Nicole Rom at the finish of the 2012 Climate Ride
The 5-day adventure is now over and while my body is adjusting to its newfound strength and tired muscles, I am reinvigorated from the journey.
Everyday we were provided a copy of Rider News – an overview of the highlights along our way, a profile of one of the over 100 riders, and a climate topic/overview of the evening’s speakers. The ride is fully supported such that every rider can focus on each day – riding through challenging terrain that pushes limits; networking with other like-minded people, and finding hope and inspiration for the issues we care deeply about and work everyday on.
Each day I was personally pushed physically and mentally to tackle hills that went on for 5 miles up steep mountain passes, or descended over 12 miles down curvy switchback roads. I had a lot of time to think about the metaphor that biking provides to our work. It takes a positive attitude and perseverance to make it through the tough spots, but the rewards, sometimes fleeting moments, make the tough times worthwhile.
I was able to develop a closer relationship with my Board member, Dave Bryan, and was deeply thankful that he decided to do this ride with me (his third Climate Ride!) Dave and I pedaled over 250 miles together, looking out for each other, supporting each other, and discovering new things about each other.
I know that this trip has allowed me to understand a bit more about what brings people like Dave to this work. It’s not just the issue, or his concern for his children’s future, but it is often deeply personal and emotional. The presentations and conversations that stood out were those that fell into these lines; it wasn’t the conversations about a specific policy or action story, but the focus on future generations, on reaching youth and the need for more education. Only when a young person understands how the planet works, can they understand what our impact has on it.
I was reminded over and over again why the work we do is so critical to addressing climate change. It also became evident how lucky we are to have Will Steger’s unique eyewitness perspective framing our work. No one can tell the arctic climate story as well as we can. No one has the history of connecting educators and youth to understanding the power of our planet and engaging them in opportunities to protect it. Will has been doing this for over 20 years and we have been successfully carrying out this legacy for over 6 years.
The climate ride continues in new ways for me and our work.
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