Bike Blog 2018.3:

This was definitely adventure day. Your intrepid group of State College-start cyclists not only rode 42 miles, we also dug out thorns, removed invasive privet, and got chased by thunderstorms. It was a great day! But before I get to all that, Ben Wideman has a few words about our Philly group.

 Sunday afternoon, five bike riders and a support vehicle driver will begin their journey from Philadelphia to meet up with the State College riders in Washington, DC. Not only do we have an incredible group entirely made up of clergy (3 Mennonite Pastors, 2 Jewish Rabbis, and a Unitarian Universalist Minister… someone needs to write a joke with that as a punchline), we are also helping to expand PA IPL’s reach and connection to faith communities working to care for our earth. We’ve been humbled by the folks who have already reached out with offers of hospitality as we travel along our route. 

 Our trip begins at the beautiful John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, and we invite friends, family, and supporters to join us at our cyclist send-off at 1pm on Sunday. Bring along your mom and enjoy a full Mother’s Day exploring the beautiful trail system in the park. See you then!”

Thanks, Ben – can’t wait to hear about your adventures. Meanwhile, after a thunder filled night, State College riders woke to a beautiful morning, coffee, and excellent breakfast food. Micah took us out to the asparagus field to help clear thistles, since they’re easier to pick after a rain.

We packed up and said our goodbyes both to Bethany and Micah and also to Mark Higgins, who rode back to State College. On our way to Huntingdon, we were met by Laura White from the Stone Church of the Brethren who led us to Detwiler Park. This is a beautiful natural area that’s being restored by volunteers who are planting native trees and flowers.

PA IPL board president Greg Williams gave us a brief overview of the work in the area, and we helped by clearing a section overtaken by privet. We also heard about the importance of land management both for carbon sequestration as well as in adapting to events of extreme flooding and heat related to climate change. [event page]

Today we had both: 80-degree weather and huge downpours, but luckily it was beautiful while we were on our bikes. After lunch at Standing Stone Coffee Company in Huntingdon, sponsored by the Stone Church Sustainability Circle, we went back on the road. For part of the way, we were on busy US 22, and it was great to have Alison Jaenicke behind us, driving the support vehicle.

The forecast turned dark as a huge line of thunderstorms set up north of us. It gave us a tailwind, though, and we made excellent time, arriving at the Church of God of Prophecy in Orbisonia just before it hit. What a downpour! We were grateful to Pastor Don Pflugh and the congregation for a roof over our heads.

After a wonderful meal at Pizza Star, some of our group went shopping for breakfast (we’re feeding members of the congregation tomorrow), while others are playing charades. We have had a full, wonderful day and look forward to tomorrow, whatever adventures it may bring.

—Jon (and the other cyclists)

Follow us: #paiplonbikes

Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2018 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)

THANK YOU
 to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,

and to our 2018
BRONZE sponsors:
PHEW!
The Weimer Group
Exact Solar
richards | stover group  and Freeze / Thaw Cycles

 

HUNTINGDON: nature walk, cyclist cheering, and riparian restoration

Saturday May 12, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., join the State College bikers, and the PAIPL Circuit Riders from the three county area at Detwiler Park, see the attached flyer for details. We’ll celebrate the ministry of habitat restoration at Detwiler and four other locations involving over 100 volunteers and at least 1000 hours of their labor. We’ll do some removal of invasive plants so bring clippers. Also bring extra shoes and socks to lend to the bikers so they can change out of their bike shoes.

We’ll get a short tour of the beautiful nature trail along Standing Stone Creek by Celina Seftas from Blair County Conservation district. Wildflowers were still blooming when I visited on Monday.and we might also see eagles,osprey, snapping turtles and frogs.

Finally, our fearless leader Greg Williams will be celebrating successful surgery on his left wrist that hebroke 2 weeks ago. But I’ll be be especially lifting up the work of 21 tree planters whose work enabled us to plant nearly 350 bare root native trees along the Lower Trail over the past 2 months with 100 more still to plant next week. What a great team !

Please join us.
RSVP to Greg Williams email or 215-242-0854

Optional lunch afterwards at Standing Stone Coffee Company, Huntingdon, and a bit more bareroot planting on the Lower Trail after the cyclists ride off.

Bike blog 2018.2: Music, community, and food.

Blog post by trip originator, Jon Brockopp.

Well, I’m sitting once again in the warm, comfy living room in the home of Micah and Bethany Spicher Schonberg, the owners of Plowshare Produce. We completed our first 22-mile leg without incident. All cyclists are fed and happy, and many of them are joining Micah and his two older boys for a bonfire. I am relieved and a little bit wiped out.

I awoke at 4 a.m. this morning with so much on my mind I just decided to get up. Bread to bake, clothes to wash, last minute adjustments to our schedule. At times like these, I just prefer to get up and take my time – prepare in peace. It worked, sort of. At the very last minute, with my bike packed and ready to go, I couldn’t find my glasses!

But it was fine. I arrived at the Unitarian Fellowship to find Cricket and a few of the cyclists already there, along with the trombone choir (featuring Cricket and Dave’s daughter, Betsy!). Slowly, the rest of our crew showed up, along with many friends and well-wishers. Rev. Cissel gave us a beautiful blessing, the trombone choir serenaded us, and then we were off: 13 long-haul cyclists and two friends heading south.

The weather was perfect – overcast, but no wind and about 65 degrees. The State College police escorted us along a tricky portion of Hwy 322 (Thanks, Officer Wolff!), and we headed into beautiful Rothrock State forest. I just love the fact that we live a few miles from this gorgeous place. This part of the trip somehow seemed easier to me this year – probably because I was chatting away with my good friend, Ed Prince, who is on his third ride.

The forest road has one significant climb, and Mackenzie de Carle walked back to cheer his mother and dad up the last rise. After a few minutes’ rest, we started the long downhill. The first part on the steep gravel is not for the faint-hearted; some like to go fast, but I take it slow. Eventually, the path evens out and becomes paved once again. It’s a stunning final five miles along the Standing Stone Creek.

Waiting for us at Bethany and Micah’s farm was a huge smorgasbord of Cuban pork, and mac & cheese, and kale salad, and sourdough bread, and enchiladas, and spicy lentils, and, and, and. A terrific homecoming for tired and hungry cyclists. Bethany led us in a blessing and we happily dug in. Conversations were wide-ranging and free-wheeling. Much laughter was heard.

The miracle of this bike trip is a simple one – perfect strangers feed one another, bless one another, and help each other along the way. After only a few hours together, we find that we are not strangers at all, but family.

We are blessed, and so very grateful for your prayers and support. Tomorrow we have a full day ahead of us – maybe also some rain. But for tonight it’s a full belly and a comfy sleeping bag – hope you’re as content as we are!                  —Jon (and the other cyclists)   

Follow us: #paiplonbikes

Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2018 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)

THANK YOU
 to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,

and to our 2018
BRONZE sponsors:
PHEW!
The Weimer Group
Exact Solar
richards | stover group  and Freeze / Thaw Cycles

 

Bike Blog 2018.1: Two launches, two groups watching the weather.

Blog post written by trip originator Jon Brockopp.

Friday, for the seventh time, we begin our 200-mile trek to Washington, D.C. If you’re in State College, please join us for the blessing and send-off at 4 p.m. from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County   But wait… there’s more! If you’re in Philadelphia, you can send the riders off in style on Sunday, May 13, 1:00 p.m. at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge.

Yup, the trip is growing. In addition to 13 long-haul riders from State College, we will have five riders from Philly covering 163 miles to D.C. Astonishingly, we have already raised over $12,000 toward our goal of $15,000 – thanks to the 125 of you who have contributed! Your gifts allow PA Interfaith Power & Light to reach out to more people of faith who want to respond to the challenge of climate change.

From Pope Francis to Republican representatives (yes, 35 are members of the Climate Solutions Caucus), more people realize that climate change is a serious issue that requires our attention. The faith voice is a crucial part of the broad coalition of folks who are acting now to own up to our history of carbon pollution. It is great to be part of an active group doing something to change the world for the better.

Tonight, the cyclists are packing their bags, making food for the pot luck, and peering anxiously at the weather forecast. So many volunteer hours go into this trip: folks preparing to host us along the way; the drivers of our support vehicles; as well as many hours training for the ride. PA IPL staff and board members have also been preparing for months, ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible. This is a huge operation!

I am especially grateful to Rev. Ben Wideman and Rabbi Nathan Martin who are leading the effort to expand the trip to Philadelphia. I can’t wait for our two groups to meet up on Tuesday in Washington – it will be so much fun to compare stories and then go together to speak with our Congressional representatives.

The riders are the heart of this venture, of course. Over the past six years, 34 individuals have made this trip at least once, and this year, 10 new riders are taking six days from their busy lives to be part of this trip. If you haven’t, please read their stories. We are such a varied group, representing many faith traditions yet agreeing on the need to respond to climate change as a moral issue.

As we begin this trip once more, we are all so very thankful for our SIX corporate donors, for all those who support us along the way. AND, we are grateful to all of you for joining us on this trip, supporting us by your thoughts, prayers, and your donations to PA IPL.


Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2018 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)

 

THANK YOU
 to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,

and to our 2018
BRONZE sponsors:

PHEW!
The Weimer Group
Exact Solar
richards | stover group  and Freeze / Thaw Cycles

2018 Rider Profile: Jason Whitney

Meet Jason Whitney!  This is the second in the 2018 series of rider profiles.  Get to know the riders for the PA to DC rides as the series unfolds, then follow the trips!  Learn moreDonate.  

This is my second ride to Washington DC with IPL to lobby Congress about climate change.
There are five main ways I look at the global climate change situation:

  1. I look at climate change as a cyclist, and I’m reminded that it is possible to go from State College to Washington DC on pedal power alone.   This reminds me that there are alternatives to torching fossil fuels to power every aspect of one’s life.
  2. I look at climate change as a father, and I’d like to see the world make advances that curb emissions to ensure a sustainable world for future generations.
  3. I look at climate change through the lens of conservationism and spirituality.  This world is unique and beautiful, and we must care for God’s creation.
  4. I look at climate change through the lens of personal responsibility.  Activism is necessary, as climate change policy makes the difference between whether we incentivize or obstruct the growth of alternative energy sources in this country, whether American coal ends up in the atmosphere or stays in the ground, whether cars become more efficient and those efficiencies become ubiquitous or whether they will be consigned to guzzle gas for decades to come.  In this and in many other areas, Pennsylvania and the United States can make a major difference in how climate changes.
  5. I look at climate change through the shame of my own hypocrisy, and my motivation to do better.   I try to be a part of the solution, but I am also very much a part of the problem.  I fly a lot, I drive an SUV, and I have a classic American hyper-consumerist carbon footprint.

Obviously, some reflection is necessary as to what the next steps are for me.  I plan to do much of that thinking on the bike.

I’m looking forward to another ride!  WASHINGTON DC OR BUST !!!


Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2018 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)

 

THANK YOU
 to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,

and to our 2018
BRONZE sponsors:

PHEW!
The Weimer Group
Exact Solar
richards | stover group  and Freeze / Thaw Cycles

Want more cyclists?
Read Jason’s 2014 profile.

2018 Rider profile: Ben Wideman

This is the first in the 2018 series of rider profiles.  Get to know the riders for the PA to DC rides as the series unfolds, then follow the trips!  Learn moreDonate.  

Each spring, as the snow melts, I look with sadness on my clunky winter commuter bike, its chain now covered with rust, salt eating away at the frame and gears, knowing that I haven’t taken good enough care of it through the Pennsylvania winter. My gaze then shifts to my spring/summer/fall bike and my sadness melts away like the recent April snow. Summer is around the corner, and that means warmer weather, longer rides, and the beginning of new adventures.

Every year I become more convinced that travel by bike is the best way to go. It isn’t always the easiest method – especially when it comes to climbing hills or braving the elements – but it is certainly the most rewarding. I know that my bicycle pace allows me to discover the world in ways that don’t happen in the same way if I’m traveling by car or plane.

Bicycle-based experiences also have the ability to deepen connections with a local community, and build friendships. I can navigate the alleyways and back roads of my area with a much deeper knowledge than someone who only travels by car. I can recognize faces, stop for conversation much easier, and get a feel for what’s going on in my neighborhood. I also start to notice the subtle values of things that only city planners, cyclists, and walkers notice – shaded tree-lined routes, the best downhill stretches, streets with bike lanes and less congestion, and the amazing feeling of riding alongside a cooling river. My bike-riding friends always seem to be the folks with whom I have the deepest conversations – perhaps because of our shared experience of the journey, but also because there is something very conversational in the pace of a bike ride.

I first experienced the PA IPL ride in the spring of 2015. I was still new to central Pennsylvania, but that trip introduced me to an incredible group of people who were also concerned about our environment and enjoyed discovering the world by bicycle. Even though we were from different walks of life, vocations, and faith traditions, we developed a connection that has lasted beyond our week of riding together.

As the ride has grown, we’ve started to dream about expanding this experience to other parts of our state. I’m excited to be helping to get a group of riders together for the first PA IPL ride from Philadelphia to Washington DC. Having spent three years as a pastor in the greater Philadelphia area means that I’ve been excited to pull in some old friends to join me on this journey. Our aim is to arrive in DC on the same afternoon as our fellow riders from State College, joining them to lobby on Capitol Hill the following day. This new experience of a bike trip planner means I’ve found renewed appreciation for Jon Brockopp and others who have organized rides like these in the past. It is a bit unsettling to be mapping out a trip on roads you’ve never ridden, covering terrain and neighborhoods you’ve never been, but we’re thrilled to watch this new ride take shape. Already we’ve received offerings of support from several environmentally-minded congregations along our route, and we are working collaboratively with Delaware IPL and MD/NoVA/DC IPL to find hosts and meals as we journey to DC. It is amazing to watch this movement continue to grow and reach more people who will bring a new excitement to the #PAIPLonBikes movement

Just as the changing seasons provide their reminder, the PA IPL Bike Trip reminds me that indeed, summer is around the corner, and that means warmer weather, longer rides, and the beginning of new adventures. I’m excited for all that is to come.

Ben is the pastor at 3rd Way Collective.


Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2018 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)

 

THANK YOU
 to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,

and to our 2018
BRONZE sponsors:

PHEW!
The Weimer Group
Exact Solar
richards | stover group  and Freeze / Thaw Cycles

Want more cyclists?
Read Ben’s past profiles