Bike 2014.2

plowshare guest blogger: Jason Whitney 

Our intrepid IPL riders rode just over 40 miles today from Plowshare Farm in McAlevy’s Fort to Orbisonia. The day began just as the night before had ended – with music. Micah Spicher-Schonberg picked the guitar while Jonathan accompanied on

his bamboo flute. After a delicious breakfast of oatmeal and blueberries, our group headed out to the greenhouse to weed rows of beets and carrots. While we worked, our group broke into rousing choruses of Pete Seeger’s “If I had a Hammer” and “Inch by Inch, Row by Row.”

With great gratitude, we waved goodbye to Micah, Bethany, and their adorable giant (and as they joked, Moosemeat-fed) one-year-old baby, Benjamin. Then we travelled up and down hills on our way to Huntington, where we were joined by Laura White and her daughter Sara (who will attend Carlton College in the fall). In Huntington, we were escorted by a group of Juniata College cycling team members and a few other friends.

picnicAfter a brief stop at Rothrock Outfitters* to purchase a new bike tire for Bob, we headed to Portstown park by the Juniata River where we were joined by numerous activists and community organizers who fed us and rallied around our IPL ride. After a delicious lunch in the gazebo, we heard from Laura White about her organization’s efforts to increase access for bicycles in Huntington as well as other progressive ideas to improve her community. Jonathan Brockopp spoke about our ride. Ed Perry discussed his efforts to raise awareness of global warming in his work for the National Wildlife Federation. When they asked if anyone else from IPL would like to say something, Bob’s hand shot up. He asked, “Could you please do something about all the hills around here?” Big laughs.

Iona Conner from the Go-Back club spoke explained her organization’s efforts to reverse course and to consider various means of living that are less damaging than today’s societal practices – she distributed the latest edition of her newsletter. Riders from the Juniata Cycling team spoke of their efforts to maintain trails and to install fixed weatherproof bicycle pumps near bike racks on campus. We finished by acknowledging the desirability of continuing to coordinate our various efforts.

st.jamesFrom Portstown Park, we stopped to examine various bike racks installed around Huntington in the previous year. At St. James Lutheran, with a bike rack bearing the Luther Rose, we posed with our IPL shirts, being careful to brandish our business sponsor and official bike shop (Freeze Thaw Cycles logos on our left sleeve). After a quick coffee at Standing Stone Coffee, Juniata Cyclists Caleb and Nate escorted us down the highway, turning onto a winding road that hugged the Juniata River. We made a quick stop at Dairy Queen, and then spent the last hour of our ride peddling against the wind and some light afternoon rain. For several minutes, we took shelter at a Deli in Shirleysburg.racks

By early evening, we arrived at the United Methodist Church in Orbisonia. Pastor Ed Seeley greeted us, and we ate a delicious meal that his wife Lisa had prepared for us. Iona and her husband John stopped by to visit with us as we enjoyed dinner. It has been a wonderful day, and we will sleep on the floor tonight before heading off in the morning on our next installment – a 50 mile leg that will carry us to Hagerstown.

Jason (and Dorothy, Molly, Janet, Jon, Ed and Bob)

*This was the second annual trip with an efficient and effective rescue by Rothrock Outfitters!  THANK YOU for keeping our cyclists on the road!