Bike blog 2016.1: Riding in the Rain

This is the first of the 2016 bike trip blogs, 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.

I write this to you on a chilly, rainy evening with a fire burning bright and a dog curled up at my feet. I’m soaking in as much heat as possible because the forecast for tomorrow’s send-off is 50 degrees and showers. I do hope it’s 50 – sounds so much better than 49!  Regardless of the weather, we will leave warmed by your prayers, well-wishes, and donations. Astonishingly, we have already raised $7,000 toward our goal of $10,000 – thanks to everyone who has contributed!

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 8.47.43 AMPA Interfaith Power & Light has done wonderful things with the money, expanding this year to two part-time staff people by hiring Rev. Alison Cornish as executive director (Cricket Hunter is now director of program and outreach – a job that is perfect for her). With more staff we have more programs and are reaching out to more people of faith who want to respond to the challenge of climate change.

It’s heartening and so very much needed. 2015 was the hottest year on record, and the first months of 2016 were also record-breaking warm. This is Continue reading Bike blog 2016.1: Riding in the Rain

Bike Blessing and send-off

This is the day that the 2016 PA IPL cyclists will leave State College on their ride to Washington, DC to meet with our PA legislators as part of the national IPL lobby day.  We’re the only state with a contingent that arrives by bike, and our legislators notice!  (date bonus this year: the departure day is Arbor Day!)

If you are in STATE COLLEGE or nearby, join us (with or without your bicycle) for a blessing and sendoff (at State College Presbyterian Church) at 4:00 PM.  Blessing participants with bicycles are welcome to join in as much of the first-leg ride to McAlevy’s Fort as they’d like.

promptly at 4:00 PM, State College Presbyterian Church
(Begin to gather at 3:45, ride off is 4:15-4:20!)

If you are in another part of the state JOIN US by planning a get-out-the-bike event at your congregation or community during this weekend: (and be sure to share it with us, so we can share it here — share before for posting, or after with photos and stories, or BOTH!) 

  • a blessing of the bicyclesblessing
  • a community ride and potluck
  • a how-to workshop on spring cleaning and basic bike maintenance and repair
  • install or dedicate a bike rack (You have a bike rack already?  Does it need a coat of paint, a shelter, or more slots? How about other climate-stewardship options: a bus bench or shelter, or marked priority parking spots for every-seat-taken carpool folks?)
  • May is National Bike Month  Bike to Work day is May 20.  Schedule Bike to Worship day!

If you are in STATE COLLEGE or nearby, join us (with or without your bicycle) for a blessing and sendoff (at State College Presbyterian Church) at 4:00 PM.  Blessing participants with bicycles are welcome to join in as much of the first-leg ride to McAlevy’s Fort as they’d like.

2016 Rider Profile: Jon Brockopp

IMG_2188Meet Jon Brockopp, the final entry in our 2016 get-to-know-the-riders series. The 2016 PA-to-DC ride will take place April 29 -May 3.

Back in 1983, I hitch-hiked from Greece back to Germany, where I was an undergraduate student. I both loved and hated hitching rides with people. I hated it because I was forced to do it, too poor to afford train fare. Standing on the side of the road, breathing in exhaust as car after car passed me by. It was depressing.

But then that magical moment would always come to pass – a car would slow down and stop. They’d look me over, I’d jump in, and off we’d go. I can’t tell you how many fascinating conversations I had with people along the way, people who would sometimes offer me a beer or even invite me to stay a night in their home.

I thought about those youthful adventures when I came up with the idea of this bike trip, now five years ago. Something magical happens when you depend on the kindness of strangers – a human connection is forged; your vulnerability and your utter insufficiency are exposed and embraced.

IMG_1786[1]On a bicycle, you have no airbags, no steel cage around you. When it rains, you get wet. But more important, you need other people. You definitely need car drivers to be considerate and pass you with care. But on longer trips, like our ride to Washington, you need people to feed and to house you.

The magic of this bike trip is based on that human need and loving response. As hard as it is every year to ask for food, shelter and donations, the generosity of others makes it all worthwhile. Ten riders will be going part or all the way to DC this year, but we would be lost if not for the seven congregations and dozens of individuals along the way who make our trip possible. We feel embraced by the nearly 100 people who donate and the thousands who follow the progress of our trip.

I believe there is a fundamental truth here: that God made us vulnerable and imperfect so that Continue reading 2016 Rider Profile: Jon Brockopp

Plagues and Pedals: Cyclists Take Inspiration from Faith

This piece, written by Jonathan Brockopp, was first published in the Centre Daily Times on April 21, 2016.  Read more about the bike trip, and link to profiles by each rider at Shot 2016-04-26 at 5.43.47 PM

For the fifth year in a row, I am riding my bicycle to Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to act on climate change. It is not easy. The trip is 200 miles and takes more than four days; my friends and I carry all our supplies with us, staying overnight in churches and homeless shelters.

But the physical demands of the trip are nothing compared to the mental and emotional strain. At the same time that our Earth continues to warm at a frightening pace, our political system is deadlocked: No one seems to be able or willing to do anything, and some prominent political leaders still deny that climate change is happening.

So why do I do it? Because I have faith, and the heart of faith is fiercely holding on to hope in a time of despair.

The bike trip is sponsored by Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, an organization dedicated to a religious response to climate change. We represent Christian, Jewish, Unitarian and Baha’i congregations all over the commonwealth that are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint and to leave a better world for future generations.Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 5.43.57 PM

Religions offer many examples of holding on to faith in the midst of despair, but Friday is both Earth Day and the beginning of Passover, so it seems appropriate to take a closer look at the Exodus story.

The plagues of that story are mirrored in our world today: our state tree, the hemlock, is dying; diseases such as the Zika virus the rest at the Centre Daily Times

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

MANY THANKS to our 2016 silver sponsors Sun Directed, and Beth Richards, KBB Realtor, to our 2016 bronze sponsors the Bicycle Shop and West Arête, and the Rock Ethics Institute for their support! for their support! (Become a sponsor)

NewLogoSM   KBB-logo-2-web

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2016 Rider Profile: Dorothy Blair

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 2.03.34 PM Meet Dorothy Blair, tenth in our get-to-know-the-riders series. The 2016 PA-to-DC ride will take place April 29 -May 3.

This is my third PA-IPL bike trip to Washington D.C.  I wasn’t planning on going again.  I thought I would make room for new bikers to enjoy the comradeship, beautiful scenery, and the chance to lobby our congressmen and senators about climate change. But somehow biking to D.C. has become addictive, and so when asked, I said gladly said yes.

I know from experience that the ride is hard,  great fun and a privilege.  I will join 9 other dedicated climate change activists riding through the beautiful hills of PA and Maryland and into D.C. on the C&O Canal, conscientious bikers supporting PA-IPL’s efforts to emphasize the spiritual and moral basis for climate change action in places of worship and promote this approach with our Continue reading 2016 Rider Profile: Dorothy Blair

2016 Rider Profile: Joyce Eveleth

 IMG_1378 (1)Meet Joyce Eveleth, ninth in our get-to-know-the-riders series. The 2016 PA-to-DC ride will take place April 29 -May 3.

This will be my second year joining the PA IPL cyclist team to Washington, D.C.  I believe strongly in PA IPL’s mission to unite communities of faith against  global environmental degradation and the realized and imminent impacts of climate change.

While joining a great team of riders last year, I was continually reflecting on my past relationship with faith.  I grew up in a very faith-centered environment of Evangelical Christianity—my parents committed their lives and their family to this faith. My father often served in pastoral Continue reading 2016 Rider Profile: Joyce Eveleth