Wednesday, August 29

The Ride for Climate

David Kroodsma is cycling across America to talk about Global Warming and how this affects us. After first riding the STP through the Pacific Northwest, he became fascinated with bike touring and soon rode his touring bike from California through Mexico and Central America to the southern tip of South America. The experience taught him (and us as well) about how Global Warming is affecting us now and in the future. A few things that were interesting were how little most people know about climate change. Many South Americans thought that it had something to do with Ozone. However most everyone he spoke with understood that it's happening and that it's caused by human activity. The people he spoke with in America held starkly different beliefs. Interestingly, all of South America create 5% of the world's carbon emmissions, while in the U.S. causes 20-25%. David's comment on this was that it's much harder to accept bad news when you are the cause of it. (which is why bike commuting is so important)
The other interesting trend that he noticed was that many people who were extremely poor (the income disparity is much larger in Latin America than here) still had television sets and would dream about the American way of life. Of course if they all had our lifestyle we would need 6 Earths to support it.
But you're interested in the bike aspect.
So David cycled all the way through Baja California and crossed to Mexico. Unlike many cyclists, he detoured into the cities and talked with lots of folks in the cities. Some cities (like Los Angeles and Mexico City) were heavily choked with traffic, while others (like Bogota were wonderful).
David talked at schools, churches, and on the local news. He crossed the Andes mountains twice (that's an elevation of 16,000 ft. At times he climbed 5000 ft in a single day. The elevation was challenging. Another area in the mountains David's map showed a road going through, but it hadn't been built yet. So the only option was dismantling his bike and traveling by Burro across the peaks.
Many people ask if this is difficult, but for David it wasn't so much how difficult it was, but how simple. All of the people that he met were friendly and generous with food and hospitality.

After riding through all of South America, David flew back to the U.S. and
traveled across the country with companion Bill Bradlee to speak to Americans about Global Warming.
David's extensive travels certainly paid off in endurance. While cycling with him down the Springwater Corrridor, it was incredible to see him averaging 18mph down the trail with a fully loaded bike with the rest of us struggling to keep up. David mentioned that after cycling through the Andes, riding through the U.S. was like swimming in oxygen.
Visit David's website and blog here to learn more about his adventures and speaking events.