The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows. Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes. Learn more about the ride and the riders. Today’s guest blogger: Jon Brockopp.
WE MADE IT! We arrived in Washington, D.C. on time, dry, safe, and in great spirits. As you know, this is my fifth time organizing this trip and there is still nothing like the thrill of coming in to our nation’s capitol on a bicycle. It is a beautiful city and we happily joined the throngs of tourists in the Lincoln Memorial… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Our day started with a gourmet breakfast of poached eggs, bacon, asparagus, and potatoes, all prepared by Joyce and Dave as the cyclists all arrived from their host homes. We all slept in beds – actual beds – and felt well-rested and ready for the final leg of our journey.
Before hitting the road, however, we had a meeting scheduled with Pastor Bill Maisch at Memorial United Methodist Church in Poolesville. Pastor Maisch is actually a retired Air Force pilot who saw action in the Persian Gulf wars – it was in part his military experience that caused him to be more concerned about the environment and seek a second career as a minister. He and Joyce Breiner (a retired air traffic controller) bonded over the wonders of B-52s while we discussed ways to motivate our congregations to become more involved in issues of social justice.
Our conversation was wide-ranging and deeply meaningful to all of us, and we left feeling that we had made new friends. We stopped at a local café for sandwiches and at Bob’s Bike Shop for a few supplies and then contined toward Washington.
With all the rain last night, we decided to ride in on River Road instead of the C&O tow path. Traffic was light and we made good time, arriving at Congregation Adat Shalom at about 1 p.m. Adat Shalom is a reconstructionist congregation that we had visited back in 2014. With both passive and active solar technologies (over 200 solar panels on their roof!), they are an example to us all of how to live more lightly on the earth.
Kathy Bloomfield, the executive assistant, greeted us warmly with water, nuts, and chocolate-covered espresso beans! We had a tour of the grounds and when Kathy realized that some of our group had never seen a Torah scroll, she brought one out to show us. We were all deeply moved by the great care and veneration that goes into the production of these holy texts, and it was brought home to me again the importance of the interfaith aspect of our organization. So many faiths agree that the earth is a special place and that we need to do all we can to preserve it for future generations – it is home to all of us.
From there, it was a quick, pleasant ride into Washington along the Capitol Crescent Trail – the sun came out and we had time enough to get a few pictures before heading up the Mall to Gallaudet University. There we received a warm welcome from the Interfaith Power & Light family, chatted with folks, gathered our nice clothes from Cricket and proceeded to the home of Carolyn and Jeff Serfass where we are storing our bikes for the night. This evening we are staying at the homes of friends across the city, and tomorrow we split into teams to meet with our PA Congressional delegation.
Wish us luck, and please consider calling your Representative or Senators Casey and Toomey to express your support for our mission. We meet with Senator Casey’s staff at 10 a.m., Senator Toomey’s staff at 11 a.m., and Representatives’ staffers throughout the day. Your voice helps make our voice stronger.
—Jon (and the rest of the cyclists)
Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders
or send a check, memo: bike 2016 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801