Bike Blog 2017.6: Eat, make new friends, learn something new, repeat

Guest post by Martin Swim

Rabbi David Shneyer bike 2017[intro by Jon: As vulnerable cyclists on the road, we are deeply dependent on the kindness of our hosts, and no one has been more important to this trip than Joyce Breiner. Given our larger group this year, she suggested we stay at Am Kolel sanctuary retreat center. What an amazing place! I had met Rabbi Shneyer at Joyce’s house a few years ago and we immediately hit it off. He spent some time with us this morning explaining the relationship of human beings and the earth as told to us in the Genesis story.

Part of the point of this bike trip is to emphasize the “Interfaith” part of Interfaith Power & Light, to give our cyclists the opportunity to hear about what Caring for Creation means to Mennonites, Methodists, Muslims and Jews. Now, to Martin’s reflections!]

This was our Jewish day. We woke up in our clean, cozy beds, got up, a few things went wrong but we kept going.

Low points: We realized we had rusty chains from all the mud from the ride yesterday, we had one overnight flat, and one bent kickstand. We set off on our daily ride and within five minutes we had two dropped cycling gloves and one mis-shifted chain.

solar panels poolesville bike 2017High points: We had two of our riders (thanks, Casey and Carina!) volunteer to prepare custom omelets for all the other riders, we were able to fix all the minor problems, the nice folks at the retreat let us borrow a bike to replace the one with the wrecked front wheel from the day before, and we were quickly ready for the days relatively short 40 mile ride.

We were sent off with a song and a blessing from Rabbi David Shneyer, director of the wonderful retreat we stayed at. Then we stopped at the Poolesville solar array, where Joyce Breiner gave us the history of getting a municipality on board with solar power.Rabbi Fred Scrolls at Adat Shalom bike 2017

Continuing the day’s theme, we had lunch at a synagogue hosted by Kathy Bloomfield, Executive Assistant & Program Coordinator at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, got a fantastic tour of the inside of the synagogue and the grounds surrounding it, including vegetable gardens, and a pollinating garden. We got a very educational talk, jokingly called Judaism 101, and beautiful send off from yet another very friendly Rabbi, Fred Scherlinder Dobb.

lincoln memorial bike 2017We ended in DC, and after taking the traditional photos in front of the Lincoln Memorial, we arrived at the Steinbruck Center hostel at Luther Place Memorial Church where we had large quantities of pizza, hosted by Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and heard about the life of the volunteers.  After dinner, one contingent set off to watch a baseball game, while the rest carted all the luggage inside containing clothing for the meetings with our congressmen tomorrow, the reason we all cycled to D.C. Then, of course, some folks went to search for more food (!).

—Martin (and the rest of the cyclists)

#PAIPLonbikes

Donate online to PA IPL in support of the PA-to-DC cyclists
or send a check, memo: bike 2017 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801


MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed
NewLogoSM

and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
KBB-logo-2-web
      FreezeThaw small

Bike Blog 2017.5: People of the Mud

Pastor Gregg Hagerstown 2017 bikeGuest Blogger Ted Jaenicke.

We woke up at around 6:00am this morning at the REACH outreach and homeless center affiliated with Christ’s Reformed UCC church in downtown Hagerstown, MD. Members of the church made us a big breakfast, and Pastor Gregg Meserole gave us a blessing to send us on our way. Skies were gray and close to rainy as we loaded our bikes and headed out of town.Muddy tow path bike 2017

First stop, Antietam. We didn’t have a lot of extra time, but did make decide to ride up one extra hill – a steep one – to the notational cemetery at the battlefield. We then descended to the Potomac River and the tow path along the C&O canal.

If you haven’t been on the tow path recently, it’s gorgeous. The river on our right, the empty canal on our left, we entered around mile marker 69. Less than 70 miles to DC!

The tow path was in good shape at the start. But as we rode south, the trail got a little muddy. And then it got very muddy. Ah to have a bike with fenders! That would have been nice.

lunch Brunswick 2017 bikeAfter about 15 miles we stopped in the river town of Brunswick for lunch. Before entering a cute middle eastern restaurant (shout out to Potomac St. Grill!), we all compared our backs and legs to see who was muddiest. Did I mention that we were exhausted and hungry? Suffice it to say that we ate a lot of hummus, falafel, and all sorts of other great stuff.

After lunch, we had another 15 miles to go on the tow path for the day. Those 15 miles were even muddier than before! One of our most experienced cyclists wiped out, and it’s lucky that the mud provided a soft landing. He was okay, and so was his bike.Am Kolel bike 2017

We finally exited the muddy trail, which meant we had to bike up and up from the river toward Poolesville and Beallsville. Some very steep hills here, although that might have been the 50 miles talking. Our stop for the night was the Am Kolel Jewish retreat center with lots of rooms and lots of beds.

Hagerstown bike 2017 groupUpon arriving we washed off our bikes, showered our bodies, and then waited for Chinese take out to arrive – courtesy of our Poolesville friends, Joyce Breiner, and Dave and Alex Yaney. Joyce is the leader of “Poolesville Green” and a local advocate for solar panels and National Drive Electric Week. After dinner we heard about these activities as well as efforts to make Poolesville a recognized “sustainable community.”dirty leg bike 2017

Tomorrow, onward to DC. Will it rain all day tomorrow? Stay tuned.
—Ted Jaenicke (with input from other riders)
#PAIPLonbikes

Donate online to PA IPL in support of the PA-to-DC cyclists
or send a check, memo: bike 2017 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801


MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed
NewLogoSM

and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
KBB-logo-2-web
      FreezeThaw small

Bike Blog 2017.4: Crossing over… to Maryland

Prayer flag installed bike 2017Guest Blogger: Dorothy Blair

Sunday morning found the intrepid PA IPL bikers splayed out on the floor of the Orbisonia UMC outreach center floor, 17 sleeping bags arranged around the four walls like so many dominos. The day was chilly and dreary, but at 7:30 Pastor Ed Seeley arrived with a huge deep dish of egg custard and an out-sized crock stuffed with hot cakes (still hot!) to be eaten with syrup or yogurt. We all dug in like we hadn’t eaten since yesterday’s lunch!Rider day 3 bike 2017

Today was our most challenging so far: 55 miles, most of these up steep or rolling hills and over Cowan’s Gap near Burnt Cabins, all the way to Hagerstown, MD. Some of us left early to get on the road, but most attended 9 a.m. “Bible Study” with about 25 members of the congregation. Ken Scott, carpenter and builder, spoke on the book of Nehemiah. Fortified with food for both body and spirit, we biked off, through Penn’s Woods, over streams and by dairy farms, up, up those hills to meet the other bikers.swimming in the cold bike 2017

Notable sights along the way: the historical placards between Orbisonia and Shade Gap, beef cows on a picture-perfect farm, our reunion with the other bikers in Cowan’s Gap. Lake in the background, we snarfed down the plentiful food that Ben and Dave brought from State College in our very own sag wagon.

But we barely had time to swallow before time considerations drove us back to our bike seats (some of the younger folks still wet from their chilly swim) and down a 3-mile hill to the Mercersburg side of Cowan’s Gap. The push was on to bike the remaining 32 miles to Hagerstown before 5:30 p.m. and a dinner prepared by “Open Table” at the REACH homeless shelter attached to Christ’s Reformed United Church of Christ.

Bill Pike The Hope Center Hagerstown bike 2017Despite the multiple bike breakdowns and flats today, we spring through the last of grassy, horsey, rolling PA into Hagerstown by 5:25 p.m. Dead tired, we are greeted by real beds, sheets, and pillows. A delicious meal of soup, chef’s salad and multiple dessert choice, prepared by Bill Pike, leader of the Hagerstown Open Table program. We learn through a short speech by a young, formerly homeless man helped by Open Table that 8-10 mentors commit a year to helping an individual in trouble to flourish, simply by using their own social capital and skills. He is back on his feet, supporting his son (now in first grade) and soon will himself become a mentor. You can learn more about his important twist on helping at opentable.org.Cowans Gap state park sign bike 2017

As I write this, our young contingent is engaged happily in game playing while other bikers are repairing their bikes, chatting or reading. Soon it will be lights out, to sleep like the dead so that we can be packed and ready for our 8 a.m. breakfast.

—Dorothy

Donate online to PA IPL in support of the PA-to-DC cyclists
or send a check, memo: bike 2017 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801


MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed
NewLogoSM

and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
KBB-logo-2-web
      FreezeThaw small

Bike Blog 2017.3: Balance

Coal train bike 2017hard climb bike 2017The word for today is balance. My bike tires are about an inch wide, and as I ride my forward momentum keeps my bicycle up, with only this tiny patch of rubber on the road. 17 cyclists look rather elegant as we glide along the Juniata river. Our balancing act was particularly important today as we rode several miles along state highway 22, with only a narrow space between the gravel and the rumble strip. I was so grateful to have Paula driving along behind us in our Volt with the flashers on, and also grateful that we all made it through safely.

Balancing on our bicycles is a good way to be in this world of natural beauty, because it reminds us of the amazing balance of nature.  Wind and water, sky and tree, all function together in a beautiful pattern, one that is delicate, elegant and also in danger.planting sweet potoato slips plowshare bike 2017

No one knows more about these natural rhythms than farmers, and we spent an hour this morning working with Micah Spicher-Schonberg to plant a field of sweet potatoes. Farmers depend on the regularity of the seasons, on gentle rains and fertile earth. But these patterns are being disrupted by carbon pollution.Riverside Park Huntingdon bike 2017

We made our way to Huntingdon, for a wonderful luncheon hosted by Stone Church of the Brethren. Laura and Sharon told us about the work of their Sustainability Circle over the past 10 years and then led us to Riverside Park for an amazing event they organized on “Climate Change: Why Your Voice Matters.” About 40 people heard about the work of PA Interfaith Power & Light and Citizen’s Climate Lobby; they engaged in wonderful actions, including making prayer flags that now flap behind our bicycles.

Our ride to Orbisonia was uneventful – a snapped bungie cord here, a break for DQ there – and we got to the United Methodist Church outreach center ahead of schedule. Pastor Ed Seeley was there waiting for us with large quantities of baked spaghetti lovingly prepared by the women of the congregation (oh, and a HUGE platter of brownies!). If you come from a family of preachers, as I do, you understand that Saturday evening is a particularly busy time for clergy, but Pastor Ed generously spent an hour telling us about balance of a different kind.Orbisonia 2017 bike

Orbisonia UMC is on the edge between the wild beauty of rural PA and its dangers, and this church is in the center, laboring to keep the balance. We stay in a converted High School gymnasium that the congregation now wants to build out into a location for after school programs, bluegrass concerts, and worship. The resilience they build helps to hold families together. We listened, reflected, and prayed together – we are all connected to this rural congregation.Bike 2017 UNO

But right now, laughter is drifting in from the next room as the cyclists are all settling into our temporary home for the night. Jeff got things started by telling a joke, and then everyone started joining in; the youth contingent is playing spoons. Our group has already grown close over the past few days, as we have learned to depend on one another. Balance, resilience, laughter – these are the things that matter, that we must always rediscover. May your lives include a portion of the joy and camaraderie that is filling this room right now!final climb to orbisonia 2017

— Jon
and all the cyclists

 

 

 

Donate online to PA IPL in support of the PA-to-DC cyclists
or send a check, memo: bike 2017 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801


MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed
NewLogoSM

and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
KBB-logo-2-web
      FreezeThaw small

2017 Bike Trip VIDEOS

Various videos, links posted here — super short snippets from Facebook (you can view even if you’re not on Facebook)

#paiplonbikes will bring up cross-posted Instagram videos, too…, and they’re reposted on our Facebook page…until some of the digital natives on the ride can help us post them here.clip-art-film-reel-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-ZS8jFD-clipart

Donate online to PA IPL in support of the PA-to-DC cyclists
or send a check, memo: bike 2017 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801


MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed
NewLogoSM

and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
KBB-logo-2-web
      FreezeThaw small

Bike Blog 2017.2: Sendoff! then heat, hills, and a warm welcome.

bike 2017 potluckWhat an evening! Cyclists are full of a fantastic potluck, a sunset view (with sheep!) and are
spread out across 2 houses and a couple of tents in McAlevy’s fort at Plowshare Produce with our fabulous hosts Bethany and Micah Spicher-Shonberg, Tom and Sharon Spicher, and Bethany and Micah’s boys who are belly-laughing and singing in the next room as I write this).

Rev. Dr. SamHuffard bike 2017Only about 6 hours ago we were pulling in to our sendoff site, Foxdale Retirement Village, with residents standing in the hot sun, wearing cycling jerseys and vigorously waving us on in the proper direction to make sure we never had a moment of doubt about where we were meeting.  By the time we gathered with some choruses of “A-a-a men… a -a-a-men” we had a remarkable crowd of cyclists and well wishers of all stripes.  The Rev. Dr. Sam Huffard treated us to a short reflection on the importance of journeys (referencing the Bible and Jack Kerouac!) and led us in a prayer of blessing.

IMG_3639Lining up for a group photo really impressed upon us how much bigger this group is than any trip previously.  The guy in orange is Jacob Mann from our faithful Silver Sponsor SunDirected.  The giant group also meant we took a whole lot longer to cross intersections, so the State College Police Department provided us with a fantastic escort all the way into Boalsburg.  Thank you, Officer McDannel.Police Escort bike 2017

This first ride is extremely hilly, with the first major hills in full-on sun and highway.  To get up and over the mountain into the next valley, though, we ride through incredibly beautiful forest, alongside streams, and surrounded by every shade of spring green.  A good chunk of the hilliest part of that ride is on gravel roads and it is hard riding.  With one assist, everyone made it, and we are grateful that we should only have 1 or 2 of the 3 stressors a day after this: heat and gravel, hills and highways, but not all three.  We’re looking forward to the cooler weather forecast for tomorrow.

We’re down to the sounds of the spring peepers and the grandfather clock, so it’s time to head to bed so we can be up really early for quiet time with coffee (Karl!), or roll out of bed in time to get breakfast (Noah!).  Before we leave at 9:00 am, we’ll head to the field to get a taste of the work these farmers do to provide the beautiful food we eat.  We’ll be helping plant some of the thousands of sweet potato slips Micah and Bethany have just received.  Collect your sweet potato recipes this summer— the harvest is coming!

—Cricket
and all the cyclists.

Donate online to PA IPL in support of the PA-to-DC cyclists
or send a check, memo: bike 2017 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801


MANY THANKS to our 2017 silver sponsor Sun Directed
NewLogoSM

and our 2017 bronze sponsors, the KBB Beth Richards Group and Freeze/Thaw Cycles 
KBB-logo-2-web
      FreezeThaw small