Cycling for Good – Climate Ride California

I took a great ride on the Three Bears today – out of Oakland, through Berkeley, and into the golden fields, speckled green beyond. Yet another sunny Sunday spent spinning in the ‘hood, seeing the world, conquering those obstacles big (and small,) and then arriving home to celebrate a day well spent. As we made the last decent down Spruce Street, with the San Francisco Bay glittering before us, I was reminded again that the impact of my cycling goes way beyond the celebratory bottle of wine, those satisfied legs, or the finish line. I may be one more triathlete, but I am also one more empowered woman, one more bike, and one less car.
I started riding a bike to explore our home in Okinawa and to dig into the culture – spinning along the coast, waving to fishermen coming in with their catch, stopping to ask directions from little ladies in kimono and geta out on afternoon strolls. Before long, my routes became familiar enough that I began challenging myself on this bike. I took up triathlon, started racing Iron-distance events, and my bike became not only a way to see my world freely and cleanly, but also a way to watch it expand – in a personal sense. Confidence, a connection with my own power and the terrain I powered over were all part and parcel to riding my bike – gifts that keep on giving, rejuvenating themselves each year as the races I enter get longer, the challenges grow bigger, and the friendships that I build and horizons I see on my bike grow beyond the distance that I can stretch my arms.
This year I have made a vow to take on a new type of challenge – to share these gifts of empowerment, and a sense of place and purpose, with my new community here in California. To use my bike, and my cycling legs for GOOD. By taking part in the one and only charitable bicycling event dedicated to the health of our planet, I am doing just that.
This fall I will be part of an, all-female team partially sponsored in part by Clif Bar and Backroads, taking on Climate Ride California from October 2nd-6th, 2011.  As we ride the 320 miles from Eureka to San Francisco, we will be raising awareness and funds for sustainable solutions, bike advocacy and environmental causes; causes like that of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, 1% for the Planet, and other national entities making tremendous strides in sustainability, environmental and climate education, bicycle advocacy and clean energy. This is an empowered collective, with the capacity to change the way our communities think about their own health and the health of the planet – and bikes can/will be at the core of an optimal solution. By using our cycling legs for good, raising money for this collective, my teammates and I will be contributing to and taking part in the conversation about what our communities can do to become cleaner, greener, healthier and more connected simply with two wheels. We will be part of a movement that is demonstrating just how far bikes will take us, literally!
Of the $8100 we need to raise to participate in the ride, we have another $2400 to raise. And,  if you love your bike, love riding it on the road/the trail, through the rain/mud/sun, love taking in mountain vistas, spinning beneath the endless blue sky, or just getting your heart pumping so that you can better appreciate your ability to breathe – we need you.  Anything and everything you can donate ($5.00, a smile, or words of encouragement,) helps our team and thus and the fabulous cause of uplifting, and empowering our communities.
Regardless of the donation amount you feel you are willing to/able to give, thank you for your constant support and readership as I continue to set these goals – both big, and small. In this case, I so look forward to reaching the end of this long and epic ride, arriving home again in the Bay Area, if only to feel that my bike and I have done more than seen a bit more than our neighborhood. In truth, we will have shown a whole world a new way of moving, thinking and facilitating life.
On behalf of the entire Clif Bar Climate Ride Team, (Melissa Leebove, Temra Costa and myself, (we, somewhat prematurely,) THANK YOU for your extraordinary contributions in making big steps in at large, two wheels at a time!