Thursday, September 23, 2010
Ironically, even as Bike4Peace has maintained DC as the goal of our ride, my political vision has diverged. I retain no hope for personnel changes in our government ever reforming our system. We need a radical transformation much deeper than that if we hope to continue as a species on earth.
I've watched Cynthia suffer the consequences of being a leader who speaks truth to power. Recently her house was broken into and many of her associates seem to be under surveillance. We all know the list of such leaders who have been murdered. I pray she will continue to avoid this fate, even as I want her to succeed in fomenting nonviolent revolution.
Each of us can help by becoming better resonators for truth and and stronger advocates of justice. Every action of our lives must reflect our desire to undermine the corrupt and exploitative power structure and to build communities which foster peaceful egalitarianism. Tax resistance, counter recruiting, and continuous outreach are tools we must be familiar with. Bicycling from organic gardens to collective organizations, we will build a better world.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Although they offer more topography than Kansas, the Ozarks aren't much as hills go. The highest peaks are under 3000 ft. But the roads were built before dynamite and D10 Cats were invented by farmers who were more concerned about saving farmland than making the route easier for their oxen. There are some sharp climbs.
Now I don't want to give the impression that everybody is rude around here. Some drivers are very polite and patient, while the majority give a cyclist plenty of room, even if it means an unsafe venture on the wrong side of the road. Face-to-face, everybody seems quite polite, although few seem to understand why anybody wants to bicycle through the area. Since the Trans-Am runs through here, they've seen enough cyclists to accept them as part of the scene.
I'd like to review the Missouri Driver's Manual with a few of these drivers. I'll bet the section on slow moving vehicles isn't much different than any other state. "An over-taking vehicle is responsible to remain a safe distance behind the slower vehicle until it is possible to pass safely on the left."
While we're reviewing that, we may want to look over the section on who is allowed to use the roads. We know the courts have ruled that human- and animal-powered vehicles have a right to use public roadways, while motor vehicles use it by licensed privilege. The small towns around here are crawling with unlicensed quads, from bladeless supercharged riding mowers to off-road destroyers. I'm not sure why local law enforcement looks the other way. They don't seem to enforce seat belt laws either.
Today we decided the motel room wasn't too expensive after cruising by the home where bicyclists can stay for a free-will donation. The big "Jesus is Lord" sign over the Ten Commandments in the front yard reinforced another cyclist's assessment of the host as a "whack job." We just didn't feel like spending the evening explaining our lifestyles in his little house.
Back on the other side of Missouri, we had a wonderful host who is a Code Pink transsexual who has run for national office three times and been arrested for speaking truth to power. Then we spent a night camped on the lawn of a courthouse listening to the same five cars drive in circles late into the night.
Riding lots of relatively short up and down hills requires a different style than the slow pulls of the Rockies or the flats of Kansas. Broad gearing and smooth shifting habits give opportunities to maintain maximum forward momentum of the bike by maintaining full spinning momentum of the cranks, with the occasional exception of an out-of-the-saddle maneuver to pull over the top of a short rise without downshifting.
I want to pay homage to Aaron (or is it Erin?) McCrotchety, the fabled Scottish bike tourist who developed the out of saddle descent. With head and arms in a full tuck, tail elevated, and knees and elbows bent to absorb shocks, this posture allows one to move downhill quickly. Between this and powering over the hills, we avoid TB (tired butt).
A Missouri monsoon nearly turned us into Sag4Peace, as we wimped our way into a safe motel. Today in spite of ominous forecasts, we rode without rain. The humidity was high enough that one was challenged to know that it wasn't raining, but no drops fell, save the sweat dripping from my helmet straps. Through the hills and hollows of the Ozarks, Bike4Peace 2010 continues.
Written by Vernon Huffman.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Even as I tried to prepare for every eventuality in the lightest way, I knew one cannot possibly anticipate what will happen on a long bike ride, only accept miracles with grace and gratitude. This ride has proven no exception.
The road across southern Utah has been a lot to handle, with various surface and traffic conditions dipping and climbing at grades up to 14%. Add to this weather conditions from soaking downpour to dry-as-bone desert, some pretty intense winds, and temperatures from 40s to 90s.
I can't even begin to describe the landscapes. Frequently you round a corner or top a ridge to find yourself on another planet. Eons of settlement, upthrust, and erosion have created incredible places with amazing scale and diversity. I've spent a lot of time imagining how the first people lived here.
Plans for making this difficult path across the continent with this mix of riders on a two month schedule were overly optimistic. Oh, never fear, we will make it. Most of us will ride our bicycles most of the way, but we have had to depend upon a rented motor vehicle. I'm not thrilled to make this compromise, but it was the only wise choice.
Our goals are intact. Our spirits are high. We are learning and growing with every spin of our pedals and the universe continues to provide abundant and glorious experiences. Bike4Peace 2010 rides on!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The road gradually climbed toward the towering mountains until I could see the details of their upthrust granite faces in the dim light directly in front of me. Then highway 50 turned northeasterly into a short descent too steep to spin through and slowly climbed out, so I could continue my spin by down-shifting one gear every quarter mile. It went through a series of swells, each taller than the last. I stopped on a downturn to remove insulating over-clothes and felt the slight tailwind.
Now the crags on my left were closer than those on the right, where a dozen modest homes were tucked into the hillside, about half of them behind an archway built entirely of cast off elk antlers. As the morning sun made a western peak glow, the coyotes burst into song and I struggled to keep my spin up in my climbing gear, pulling five miles up at six percent grade. As the hills on both sides mellowed toward the pass, the scrub pines took over the landscape from the sagebrush.
I took a nice long break at the top of the pass. Though it was the first I'd seen of the sun, it had fully risen on the valley to the east. From here it was a pleasant downhill all the way to Baker, where I write this while waiting out the heat of the day. Tonight we'll face one of the most challenging rides so far - 84 miles without services. We're ready.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Carol, my host in Trinidad was gracious and engaging. The hardest part of staying with her was leaving so soon. She fed me well and gave great advise about Google Maps for Bikes, suggesting that I stay on Hwy 299 because their alternative routes were much harder to ride.
The highway to Redding has five major climbs, each hotter than the last. I was proud to get over the first three, plus two harrowing descents in one day. I drank ten bottles of water and tested my limits. The potholes on the downhill shook off my headlight and loosened one pannier. Luckily I've got bombproof wheels. Phrank N. Bike is weird, but tough.
There were certainly times when I regretted the 90 pounds of equipment I straddled. Why had I chosen to bring all this stuff? Besides always having whatever I really needed, I was able to medicate a flagger suffering with serious allergies and rescue two motorcyclists who didn't have the tools they needed to fix their breakdowns. A daintier bike wouldn't have been able to ford the streams that Google Maps sent me through later between Redding & Chico. But weight equals work.
When I lay exhausted in my tent-sauna in the evening, I heard a voice just outside. The gentleman from the next tent, whose father-in-law had briefly tested my weak Spanish, was offering me tacos. Although I had eaten, I gratefully accepted. I haven't had so much red meat in years, but they sure hit the spot.
The next climb was better planned. Up at dawn, I made the west side of Oregon Mountain before the sun rose and crested Buckhorn Pass by noon. It was a great day to be alive and nobody to share it with. My cell was out of service for the first time this trip. Then two young women arrived, parked their pick-ups back to back, and started trading loads. They worked for two branches of the same company on opposite sides of the mountain. They filled my water bottles and shared a pizza with me.
Next I made a fun descent on switchbacks at about the same speed as the rest of traffic. The pavement was much smoother than what I'd been experiencing. Even the over-sized FWD pickups and huge RVs were nonthreatening, for a change. Downhills are my favorite part. This one isn't quite up with the side road through the Redwoods south of Crescent City, but it was refreshing.
It was a good day and I felt sure I could cover the miles to Red Bluff, where I had an invitation to camp in a yard. By the time it hit 106 degrees, I just wanted shade and water. I slept a bit in a day use area until the shadows covered the shoulder.
Somehow I forgot Carol's advise. Between ridiculous diversions from Google, Garmin's absolute inability to plan a sensible bike route, and my own baked brain, I spent much of the night wandering lost. At wit's end, I slept on the side of a rural freeway ramp, bike taillight still flashing, until the traffic sounds dimmed. Then I "cheated" for six miles of smooth wide shoulder. We need to pressure lawmakers to lift that ban.
I found my host's home at sunrise. She was in Canada, but left permission to camp. With the shade of a big fig tree and a well placed garden hose, I was clean and relatively refreshed for the final push into Chico.
Now I'm relaxing in the wonderfully supportive GRUB Collective - Growing Resourcefully Uniting Bellies. Today when he gets off work, I'll begin the next phase of the journey in the company of Ron Toppi, the founder of Bike4Peace.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
7/29/2010 Middlegate, NV
7/30/2010 Middlegate, NV
7/31/2010 Austin, NV
8/1/2010 Eureka, NV
8/2/2010 Ely, NV
8/3/2010 Baker, NV
8/4/2010 Baker, NV
8/5/2010 Milford, UT
8/6/2010 Panguitch Lake, UT
8/7/2010 Panguitch Lake, UT
8/8/2010 Escalante, UT
8/9/2010 Caineville, UT
8/10/2010 Hite Recreation Area, UT
8/11/2010 Blanding, UT
8/12/2010 Blanding, UT
8/14/2010 Telluride, CO
8/15/2010 Ridgeway, CO
8/16/2010 Cimarron, CO
8/17/2010 Cimarron, CO
8/18/2010 Doyleville, CO
8/19/2010 Poncha Springs, CO
8/20/2010 Howard, CO
8/21/2010 Westcliffe, CO
9/7/2010 Clay, KY
9/8/2010 Rough River Dam, KY
9/9/2010 Bardstown, KY
9/10/2010 Bardstown, KY
9/11/2010 ??, KY Five miles from Lancaster, KY perhaps we'll go from Burgin to Berea that way instead of in the middle of nowhere.
9/12/2010 Buckhorn, KY
9/13/2010 Virgi, KY
9/14/2010 Rosedale, VA
9/15/2010 Rural Retreat, VA
9/16/2010 Rural Retreat, VA
9/18/2010 Vesuvius, VA
9/19/2010 Stanley, VA
9/20/2010 Middleburg, VA
Yaney for Bike4Peace 2010, you may call my cell phone at 541-829-9788. I'll be available to answer it up until July 21. You may also email me at sweetheartofthevalley@ gmail.com. Many thanks.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Group Bicycle Ride with
7:00 AM 10:00 AM Noon
1193 Pine St Cappy Ricks Park Union & Texas
Oakland Martinez Fairfield
3:00 PM 6:00 PM
Farmers' Market State Capitol
Demonstrate Your Bicycle as a Solution to: Please Ride with Us
►Climate Change As Far As You Can
Join Cynthia McKinney as she bicycles from the Bay Area to Washington, DC
(arriving 22 Sept) http://b4p.bbnow.org/.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
In the fight against bigotry, we stand together, and we must. In the fight against injustice, we stand together, and we must. In the fight against intimidation, we stand together, and we must. After all, a regime that would steal an election right before our very eyes will do anything to all of us."
Cynthia McKinney has made a career of speaking her mind and challenging authority. She began on day one of her political life and hasn’t looked back. With her opinions, actions, and even her sense of style, McKinney has inspired both admiration and controversy.
In 1992, McKinney won a Democratic seat in the US House of Representatives in the newly created 11th district, drawn from Atlanta to Savannah. She was the first African-American woman to represent Georgia in the US Congress. Her gold tennis shoes and braided hairstyle became her trademark, and effectively gave her a higher profile on the predominantly white, male House floor. Though a Democrat during President Clinton’s tenure, she did not simply follow the Party line, as when she voted against NAFTA.
During her second term, her district was re-drawn and re-numbered the 4th district. McKinney protested the new boundaries, but was still re-elected to the seat. She was a supporter of a Palestinian State in Israel-occupied territory, and sparked controversy by criticizing American policy in the Middle East. After 9/11, McKinney suggested the President had received warnings. The criticism she received as a result combined with being targeted by the pro-Israel lobby contributed to her defeat in the 2002 election; however, she ran for the seat again and was re-elected in 2004.
McKinney was a vocal critic of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. When Nancy Pelosi encouraged a boycott of a Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate Hurricane Katrina, Cynthia chose instead to participate and submitted her own report. She continued her criticism of the Bush administration and introduced legislation to release the documents related to the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tupac Shakur. She was the first Member of Congress to file articles of impeachment against George Bush and voted against every war funding bill put before her.
Cynthia McKinney has never been afraid to speak her mind, and stand up for what she believes in. Late in 2007, she left the Democratic Party to take her energy and ideas to the whole country by becoming a Green Party Presidential Candidate.
More information about Cynthia can be found at www.allthingscynthiamckinney.
2010 will be Vernon's third bicycle ride across the continent for peace and sustainability. After supporting Ron, Jesse, and Jeff on the first ride in 2005, he rode along on the northern route in 2006 on a tandem stoked by Ananda Portal. In 2007 Vernon joined Michele Darr, her twelve year old daughter, Tala, and two year old twins, Grace & Willow, for a 4500 mile bicycle trek. After traversing the west coast, crossing the south, and hauling up the Mississippi, they rode to DC to meet Ron Toppi and the Bike4Peace crew from the northern crossing. All tolled, Vernon has bicycled over 10,000 miles through 28 states and commuted another 10,000. 15 years of his adult life have been spent without owning a car.
On or off his bicycle, Vernon is a political activist. At 17, he was a full-time citizen lobbyist in the Montana Legislature. At 28, he took time out of his life as a performer to be a Democratic nominee for the Washington Legislature. At 50, he was an international observer of the elections for the Palestinian Legislature. Vernon served as a medic on the International March for Peace & Justice in Central America, and later traveled alone to Africa to learn how people were living there. He has helped many non-profit organizations, including the new Corvallis Bike Co-op.
I'm not allergic to anything, but I have a strong preference for local organically grown raw vegan food. I love to facilitate, enjoy conflict peacefully resolved, and want to sing, dance, and laugh at the slightest provocation.
I'm going cross country, babe don't you wanna go
I'm going to some place where I've never been before" Like DC. Please join us.
Her birthday is 9/11. Yaney will be turning 55 on the ride.
A little about me: not much to really. I am currently attending
Antioch University Seattle focusing on Psych and Law with emphasis on
Environmental Justice. I plan on creating a personal "blog" during the
tour. And I create, and enjoy specific types of electronic music. I
mostly read books from the environmentalist persona and BIKES!
yea. And I own a very small music distro. with my best bud.
check out my blog i just started:
Cycling across America has been a lifelong dream for me. To do it with a solid group motivated by purpose is that much more amazing.
I'm a 31 year old nurse practitioner living in wine country. My partner is an assistant winemaker, but I prefer margaritas to wine. I do travel down to Los Angeles fairly frequently to visit my 14 siblings and 35 nieces and nephews. I ended up in the healthcare field after my 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa, where I wished every single day that I had something concrete to offer; after going back to school, and several years as an oncology RN, I'm now working in a family practice clinic in Ukiah.
Other than attending a Camp Courage in Sacramento, I haven't been involved in much local politics, but I am a complete political junkie and love learning about the issues.
I always have been more of a runner than a cyclist, though I did bike/hike (the hiking was on the some of the longer uphills!) down the California coast in the summer of 2008. That was tough but great!
I am really looking forward to this adventure... the challenge, the growth, the beauty, the learning, and the relationships. Can't wait to start:)
Tyler Boudreau is a former marine infantryman and a veteran of the war in Iraq. He has spoken to audiences (and stood in vigils) around the country relaying his experiences in the military and discussing veterans’ issues. He is author of the book Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine and many articles, which have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, The Progressive, Truthout, International Herald Tribune and others. In 2008, Tyler traveled to Amman Jordan with a media team to investigate and raise awareness about the on-going Iraq Refugee Crisis. Over the summer of 2009, Boudreau rode his bicycle unsupported across the country from Seattle, WA to Northampton, MA, where he now resides, as an effort to reacquaint himself with the land, reintegrate with his community and family, and to positively reinvest his strength in America. (It was the first time he’d ever ridden a bike more than ten miles!) Along the way, he stopped to join community discussions about the wars of our time. Tyler divides his time now between family, writing, a bit of gardening, and now obsessive cycling. He will join the Bike 4 Peace ride in Eli, Nevada and sadly depart in Everton, Missouri.
More details about Tyler Boudreau’s life and work can be found on his website: www.tylerboudreau.com
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
We expect to be joined by bicyclists from across North America as we converge upon Washington, DC, for World Car-Free Day, 22-Sept. Those who don't have time to cycle the whole way may put their bikes onto mass transit and join us where they can. We'll meet at the US Capitol Building at 10 am and ride together.
Our route, schedule, and discussion group are open to anybody with a free Google account. Please join us. If you would like to bicycle all or part of the route, plan a convergence ride, or host riders passing through your community, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please forward this and re-post to others who might be interested.
__o CONTINENTAL CRITICAL MASS
_`\;,_ plan to ride from home
(*)/ (*) CONVERGE ON WASHINGTON, DC
22 SEPT - World Car-Free Day