Your intrepid cyclists made it! The Philly and State College teams met this afternoon in front of the Lincoln Memorial, joining PA IPL Executive Director Rev. Alison Cornish for a sweet reunion. It was a hot, but gorgeous afternoon, and after our group picture, we thoroughly enjoyed soaking in the moment. For the State College riders, it was the culmination of a 5-day ordeal, but for the Philly riders, it was something much more – creating a new ride out of whole cloth.
Our day ended together, with a grand meal at a local Thai restaurant, but it began very differently. The State College cyclists awoke in the bucolic setting of Am Kolel Retreat Center. We had a leisurely morning – some slept in, some made eggs, and some took a walk in the woods. About 10 a.m., we gathered the troops to head out, leaving with a beautiful blessing from Rabbi David Shneyer.
Part of the group stopped to see the Poolesville Solar Panels (and a Tesla Model X), while the other got a head start on our 32 miles for the day. We met up just before the entrance to Congregation Adat Shalom in Bethesda – this is a beautiful Reconstructionist Synagogue that is a big supporter of Interfaith Power & Light (Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb serves on the national IPL board). Rabbi Rachel Hersh greeted our group and Executive Director Marla Cohen gave us a tour of the facility, even opening up a Torah scroll for u
The final ride to DC was mostly downhill, including a wonderful stretch along the Capitol Crescent Trail. Riders were excited to finally make it, and these last several miles really seemed to fly by.
The Philly riders had a bit longer to go, and it was a hot, hilly day with significant mileage ridden on busy roads that created challenging riding, but the team support for each other, the goal of getting to D.C., and wonderful hospitality and encouragement from folks along the way got us to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial around 3:30 pm.
A highlight from the day was pulling into our lunch host Rich Reis driveway to a “welcome riders” sign and a radio powered by solar playing music to serenade us. Rich and friends told us about their Earth Ethics Team and their work to encourage people to waste less and contribute to improving our environment. Another wonderful moment was riding our final miles in the Rock Creek Parkway under welcome tree shade on secluded roads. We came out of the greenway to join a bike path along the Potomac and shortly thereafter were cycling onto the Mall in between national monuments.
Now, at this point, memories differ. The Philly riders believe they arrived first on the National Mall, and this may be true, but the State College riders were certainly first to the Lincoln Memorial (which was, after all, the meeting point!). Whichever reality you prefer, it was with great joy that we introduced ourselves and congratulated each other on successful rides.
We rode together down the Mall a bit, arriving at the Steinbruck Center at Luther Place Memorial Church. We were joined at dinner by Pastor Karen Brau, and shortly thereafter Cricket arrived as well, bringing our formal clothes along with her. Luther Place member Jeff Serfass also came (in his new hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai), and we had lots of time to chat and catch up.
We are filled with gratitude. We are, of course, so very grateful that everyone arrived safe and sound. But we also thankful to all those who have supported us along the way, whether through donations, prayer, or hospitality. So very many people have worked hard to make this a success.
This evening, riders are all busy preparing for their Hill visits, anticipating the chance to speak with staff from both PA Senators and most of the Representatives. We will be in four teams, led by Cricket, Rev. Alison, Rabbi Nathan Martin, and Pastor John Stoltzfus. Wish us luck as we tell them our stories and urge them to move forward on key pieces of legislation. If you have an chance to call your representative to tell them that you support us, that would be greatly appreciated — it really increases the impact of the visits. Find your Congressman (and his DC phone number) here.
Jon Brockopp, Mike Ford, and the rest of the riders
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