How you can explore California by bike while supporting CRS in Climate Ride California 2011
by Anne-Franziska Sinner
“Wind is blowing into my face. It is a strong cool breeze, almost pushing me backwards. At least that’s what it feels like. I see a steep hill in front of me with the top approaching very slowly. I can smell the trees which inch towards me in slow motion. Birds are singing and in the background I hear the sound of the ocean rushing. I am exhausted. Sweat is running down my face, my legs are burning and my hands heart from clutching the handlebar. But I do not want to give up and stop before I have reached the top of the hill. I let my mind wander away, thinking about how beautiful and undisturbed it seems, the nature around me … and how lucky I am that I get the chance to breeze the salty air, hear the natural sounds of the environment, being able to stop whenever and wherever I want, feeling the freedom without rushing, being away from my daily work and the stressful city life…
…And suddenly, I have reached the top of the hill. My hard work is rewarded with a view which almost takes my breath away: A long beautiful beach with colorful dunes to the fore and the blue endless ocean disappearing in the thin haze. My pain from cresting the hill is already forgotten. And after a long break, I am ready to fly down the hill again. The speed and the energy will help me to climb the next hill where another breathtaking view is waiting for me. And that excitement is motivating me to go on and on.”
I wrote this last year, as part of my travel diary when biking along the Californian Coast, from San Francisco northwards.
You might think “why”? Why bike if you can take the car? By car, it would be much more relaxing, not as exhausting to go the same route, you can go even further and get to see even more.
Indeed, biking is slow and I obviously did not get as far as I would by car. But biking is about the details. The much slower travel offers you experiences you would never have sitting or passing by in a car. On a bike, I get much closer to my environment. I feel it, I smell it, I hear it. Also, travelling seems less rushed and more relaxed when you have the excuse to take a lot of breaks.
Of course, biking is exhausting. But it is also a very satisfying feeling, to be totally tired when going to bed knowing that you have biked 60 or more miles. And what I enjoy most is reaching my final destination. When biking, this makes me happy and fulfilled. I like the concept of approaching something step by step when it actually seems really far away. And because travelling by bike is so strenuous and everything seems pretty far, milestones get really important. These can mean anything small to look forward to, anything that takes me a little bit closer to my destination. Usually I use a map to determine good stopovers, but sometimes other milestones come up, like the top of the hill with the ocean view.
I really like this kind of step-by-step concept. It is a very nice approach that can be applied in any other context as well. At CRS we identify best practices and create implementation tools that promote renewable power generation. We work a lot with environmental policy regarding renewable energy. Here too it is important to have a roadmap: a detailed plan to guide us in setting standards and determining a course of action to develop a sustainable energy system in the future. We need milestones, a series of steps to be carried out to accomplish our goals and develop an energy supply system that does not contribute to climate change.
One step could be something very easy like a switch to a more sustainable transportation mode, like moving from cars to bikes whenever possible.
This idea has been taken up by Climate Ride California 2011, a charitable bike ride to support sustainable solutions, bike advocacy, and environmental causes. Climate Ride California is a 5-day bicycle ride in Northern California. CRS is a beneficiary for this year’s California Climate Ride, which runs from October 2–6 and travels from Eureka to San Francisco. Anyone who signs up for the ride is able to choose to raise money for CRS and support our work to advance sustainable energy. CRS has chosen to represent a “Team Buy Clean Energy,” named after our ongoing campaign to promote clean energy purchases among individuals and businesses at www.buycleanenergy.org.
This brings me back to the point of my small story: when you’re sitting on your bike, wind blowing in your hair, you are escaping civilization, and absorbing the gorgeous California landscape while passing beautiful beaches, redwood trees, and vineyards—all by following the road map to finally cross the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. This is something so amazing, you have to try it! And the Climate Ride is a perfect opportunity.
To learn more about Climate Ride California 2011 and sign up, see the announcement on the CRS site.
Anne-Franziska Sinner is a Green-e Energy Analyst and avid cyclist. She can be reached at afsinner [at] resource-solutions.org.