Pedaling for a purpose

by Amber Cox

The Broncs continued their quest to “go green” over the weekend, showing their support for the Brita Climate Ride 2008.
On Sunday, about 20 Rider students, faculty members, friends and family greeted Climate Riders in Lambertville, N.J., and then set out on their own 10-mile bike ride down the Delaware and Raritan Canal bike path. The participation of Rider students grew out of a meeting of the Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee (ESSC). Melissa Ross, the Sustainability Coordination Manager, was one of the key organizers.
“We advertised this event to both the Rider Lawrenceville and Westminster Choir [College] campus communities, but only ended [up] with 13 participants,” Ross said.
The Brita Climate Ride is a five-day bicycle ride from New York City to Washington, D.C. More than 100 Climate Riders participated in the more than 300-mile journey.
The ride began on Saturday, Sept. 20, and was set to end on Tuesday, Sept. 24. It was held to raise awareness for the need for renewable energy and a newly found green economy.
Riders anticipated hearing from expert speakers who would educate and inspire them to continue to create a “green” community.
Laura Hyatt, associate professor of biology, was one participant on the outing.
“I think the riders really appreciated the cheering we provided, although we didn’t stay to cheer them all on,” Hyatt said. “Hopefully, their ride will increase recognition of the gravity of the climate crisis, and we’ll begin to do something about it, [such as] seriously investing in energy sources that avoid producing more CO2.”
Hyatt also brought her 8-year-old daughter, Maitlyn Lang, along for the ride. According to Hyatt, she “really had a lot of fun.”
“[She] raced chemistry professor Alex Grushow to the end of the 10-mile run we did and finished first,” Hyatt said.
People had different reasons for participating.
“I’m doing this for social engagement points,” said junior Jennifer Dobzanski. “It sounded like fun.”
Krystyna Rykowski, director of OIT support services, greeted some of the riders. She has been a bicycler for over 10 years and particularly enjoys this route.
“I love riding [along] a canal,” Rykowski said. “It’s relaxing.”
Rykowski thinks that the causes the Climate Ride is fighting for are wonderful.
Junior Ian Hakkinen, Science Learning Community treasurer, was proud to be showing his support for the riders.
“I’m giving back to the community,” Hakkinen said.
This is the first multi-day bicycle tour where every pedal of a bicycle counts. The Climate Ride’s major mission is to raise awareness for Clean Air-Cool Planet and Focus the Nation, two organizations that are working to educate Americans about the impacts of climate change.
Brita, Backroads and Specialized Bicycles are the major sponsors of the ride. There are 24 other partners and 30 other donors. Each rider must raise at least $2,250 in order to participate. All of the proceeds benefit Focus the Nation and Clean Air-Cool Planet.
The ESSC plans on showing its support to Climate Riders again next year.
“For the Climate Ride 2009, our hope is to get more participants and add a group of supporters that can stay at the water stop to cheer on all the Climate Riders as they pull in, while another group takes the long ride along the canal,” Ross said.
This year’s participants were proud to be showing their support and think that the ride is for a great cause.
The clear sky and beautiful weather on Sunday was even more encouraging for the riders.
“It’s a good day for a ride,” Rykowski said.

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