2019 Rider Profile: Jim Morgan

Meet Jim Morgan, third in the 2019 series of rider profiles, and our very first rider from Pittsburgh. He’ll be joining the State College trip.  Get to know the riders for the PA to DC rides as the series unfolds, then follow the trips!  Learn more.  Donate.

My connection to moral and ethical aspects of climate change, and my connections to PA IPL:I’ve had a long interest in the nature and environment, and remember participating in Earth Day festivities in Baltimore back in 1972.  It evolved from my commitment as a Quaker in 1970, and also came from a life-long involvement in cycling beginning with a gift of a bike from

my parents when I was about 12.  I have a strong interest in science and the steady accumulation of the terrible news about climate change has troubled me profoundly.  I have always been involved in conservation and preservation of nature, and most recently have been taking part in my Meeting’s committee on Earthcare, which this year includes an challenge to other churches to avoid Single Use Plastic.  My involvement with PA Interfaith Power and Light came through the participation of Wanda Guthrie from our meeting on the PA IPL Board.

I was thinking just now that around 1970 I was visiting some people in Denver and saw some weird things on the clotheslines in back.  It turned out to be dozens of plastic grocery bags that they washing and drying for reuse.  At the time I thought of it as a strange economy measure for simple living, and thought little more of it, but taking part in the Single Use Plastic group made me think of it again. I wonder how many plastic bags I’ve used and sent to landfills in these past 50 years.  I have the impression that plastic bag use has accelerated in the past couple of decades as supermarkets moved away from paper bags and towards using plastic ones in the name of efficiency.  For the supermarkets, plastic bags take less space, are faster to open and save a second or two in the checkout process. But the plastic lasts hundreds of years.  And Pennsylvania is subsidizing a new “cracker” plant near Pittsburgh to produce more plastic.

My motivation for joining the ride: It begins with pure pleasure.  I’ve given up my car since I retired, and rely on rentals when I need to transport something large or go distances over 10 miles or so.  I’ve also started started going out on longer rides with groups.  In 2017 I my first (and only) overnight ride for a week along the Camino Santiago in Spain and Portugal.  I’ve been thinking of doing a ride to DC along the trail from Pittsburgh to DC, and this seemed to be an opportunity to do a similar ride with a congenial group.  I’m also intrigued by the possibility of doing service projects on the way, and visiting Congress to talk about climate change.

One way I have taken action on climate change in my own life.  In 2012 I saw a way of water conservation in the YERT (Your Environmental Road Trip) movie, which I’ve since learned is called a “Navy shower”, where you wet yourself down, turn off the water while you apply shampoo and soap, then rinse off.  I find it useful in traveling in areas where water is scarce and showers are a luxury, and also enjoy thinking it makes a dent in my water bill at home.

Outside of biking and climate change:  I enjoy English country and Morris dancing, as well as contra dancing.  I’m learning Tai Chi (useful in both dancing and cycling) since I retired, and I’m also learning Spanish.  In my working career I was a librarian and Education Technology Director for a medical school.

Follow the trips on Instagram and Facebook and with the hashtag #paiplonbikes for lots of photos and videos