This spring, Team RTC will once again be riding as part of
Brita Climate Ride. The five-day, 300-mile bicycle journey from New York to Washington,
D.C., raises money and awareness
for sustainable energy solutions--including promoting bicycling as an important
alternative mode of transportation.
For the third year, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has
been named a beneficiary of the event, meaning a portion of funds raised
through Climate Ride will go directly to benefit our trail-building work. But
the rules are a little different this year. Now, participants who sign up can
directly choose the organization they wish to support with their fundraising
Two weeks ago, we heard from two women in Philadelphia--Steph Rio and Sara Lanious--who had
signed up to ride and raise money for us. They hadn't heard of RTC before
registering for Climate Ride, and they were looking for more background on our
work. Honored that they chose us, we wanted to learn more about them and what attracted them to ride and
help promote RTC. They're riding as a team, and together they make up the Pedal
grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago.
Biking has taken many forms for me throughout my life. I'm 26 now, and some of my
earliest memories growing up were sitting in the seat of my parents' bikes as
they rode on the Illinois Prairie Path, and picking up yellow smiley-face
cookies as a treat from the local bakery. I went to the University of Vermont
(UVM) and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. After that, I
volunteered for AmeriCorps through a mentoring program in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
While living in Vermont and Colorado, I discovered a new love of
recreational mountain biking. Then, in 2008 I moved to Philadelphia to work with inner-city youth
through Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA. I continue to tackle the
challenges of city biking, which is a new adventure for me. My inspiration to
participate in Climate Ride came from my college friend Emily, who completed the
ride in 2009. After hearing Emily's amazing stories, I knew I had to get
a 28-year-old interior designer who has never taken on a 300-mile bike ride--or ever
thought I would. I'm the youngest of four kids and grew up all over the world
because my dad was an army officer who served from the time I was a toddler. I attended
the University of
Kansas, where I learned
the importance of college basketball ... and also earned a BFA in Interior
Design. I was looking for adventure and moved to Philadelphia after graduation to begin my
career. Shortly after moving, I got rid of my trusty Ford Escort and invested
in my first bike since I was 12; I've been living a carbon-reduced life for the
last four years. It is glorious! My initial interest in Climate Ride was the
physical challenge, being able to see the northeast countryside and have a good
story to look back on.
We met at the end of 2010, and Steph was soon talking about doing Climate Ride.
We both wanted to do something active, meaningful and fun with our time off
work, so we decided to take the plunge and sign up for the ride as a team. We spent
a good half-hour figuring out what our team name would be and finally decided on
When you sign up for Climate Ride, you have the option to
choose an organization for which to raise money. We felt it was important to
choose an organization that was transparent about its mission and worked to
support healthy living and awareness
of the environment. Neither of us had ever heard of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
(RTC), but we were impressed with their mission, and they've shown solid
progress during their 25 years of work.
So far, we are following the recommended training schedule
that Climate Ride compiled on their website. It includes a variety of cardio,
strength training and yoga. It's only the beginning of March and already we've seen
a huge increase in gym activity (and soreness)! We are looking forward to the
longer rides up to places like Valley Forge,
which is part of Climate Rides route.
In order to participate, Pedal Pushers has to raise $4,800,
which will be donated directly to RTC! Currently, we are hovering around 18
percent of our goal, which is really exciting. With the help of some local bars
in Philly, Pedal Pushers will be hosting two events to raise money and
awareness. We have also started a blog so supporters can follow our fundraising
and training progress. We are three weeks into the training schedule and
looking forward to those warmer days when we can ride the Schuylkill River
Trail. It's our backyard trail, but we only recently discovered that it's a
We need the help of community members who already believe in
the impact of RTC to build further awareness about their mission. Please
consider supporting us in our efforts to raise $4,800 dollars to give this
To donate, please go to tinyurl.com/pedalpushers2011. And if you'd like more information on the Pedal Pushers and
their fundraising efforts, keep up with our progress at pedalpushers2011.blogspot.com.
Photos courtesy of Sara Lanious and Steph Rio.