This amazing project has included cyclists from 12-72 — and has always included people who are most at home on a bike, and people who had previously commuted on a bike, or ridden one as a way to get out and get exercise with friends. It has included committed road cyclists and mountain bikers who found road riding to be a challenge. Each year, a huge part of the trip’s success has been the bonds formed between riders and with hosts, volunteers, and community members along the way. It is a trip that helps us see what is possible, and that reminds us of the beauty of hospitality, of slowing down to accompany one another, and of supporting each other to do more than we maybe thought we could.
The first trip launched in 2012 from State College PA, winding through small towns in central Pennsylvania, through Maryland and on to Washington, DC. Cyclists slept in congregational basements, and with homestay hosts. They shared hopes, and concerns, stories and determination with other people of faith. In those early years, they timed their trip to arrive at the annual conference of national Interfaith Power & Light, where they were welcomed by national staff and affiliate leaders from across the country.
Each year, cyclists have paused overnight to shower and rest, then spiffed themselves up to head to Capitol Hill for meetings with nearly all the Pennsylvania legislative offices. In each office, they shared their commitments, PA IPL’s work, and our concerns for climate justice with elected officials and staff, urging them to join us in this important work by pursuing energy and climate policies that protect health and welfare, rightly treating policy as a covenant with the future.
In 2018 and 2019, leaders added a new Philadelphia-originating leg to the ride, meeting up with the riders who started in State College, and heading on to Washington together.
Over the years, riders, organizers, and supporters of all sorts have raised over $86,000 for PA IPL! Those individual contributions, sponsorships, and faith-rooted organization donations were enormously important to keeping us doing the work that we do: weaving community, and stepping forward in hope to act, speak, and pray for climate justice.DONATE
We invite you to donate to keep this leg of the journey in motion, and to join us in prayer, action, remembrance and celebration all through the month.
Keep reading to link to find stories of past rides, and links to blog posts and rider profiles from many of the amazing folks who have made this happen — and of course keep tuning in for 2020’s Stories from the Road!
In pre-pandemic 2020, leaders were busy creating a new Capital-to-Capital route that we were quite excited about. We hope to run it another year, with cyclists from several regions of Pennsylvania joining together to pedal a community-on-wheels, visiting with and carrying stories of their pwn home communities, and the communities which serve as our warm hosts along the way. The ride was to begin with an overnight just outside of Harrisburg end — as usual — with many riders making visits to Pennsylvania lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Successful rides include many people — not all of them on two wheels! Might you be interested in helping a future ride thrive by serving as
- a support driver
- a photographer
- a host
- a snack provider
- a community engagement planner
- a media maven
- or by apprenticing to a trip leader?
We would love to have you!
The 2019 PA IPL Pennsylvania-to-DC Bike Ride took place May 10th-15th, 2019, with two starting locations: State College, PA and Philadelphia, PA. The groups met up on Tuesday night, and rode (triumphantly!) into Washington, DC the next day. The group went to Capitol Hill to speak with lawmakers on Wednesday. Read their profiles , check out their blog posts, and, if you’re on social media, look for the #paiplonbikes.
- Pave the way with prayer.
- Meet, greet, or feed cyclists along the way.
- Be a support driver.
- Donate to help riders meet their fundraising goal!
- Become a trip sponsor to help cover the costs of the trip.
- Make a phone call.
Legislators can better trust that our cyclists are carrying the concerns of their constituents when constituents call and tell them so! Find (and call) yours to say that you are traveling with the cyclists in spirit this year.
Scroll on down for more about the 2018 rides and before.
2019 Trip applications have closed — THANK YOU to all who applied! but if you have a burning desire to go this year, check in with us. At the very least, you’ll get to meet some of the 2019 cyclists and can get ready and excited for 2020. We do have spots for support drivers on several legs for each trip.
We had an AMAZING new development in 2018! For the first time, we had a group leaving from each of 2 regions: State College, right in the middle of the state (blessing and sendoff Friday afternoon, May 11), and Philadelphia, in the southeast (blessing and sendoff Sunday afternoon, May 13 ). This page includes details for both (converging) trips. The cyclists joined together in Washington, DC for a night of getting to know the pedal-ers from the other group, and then, of course, for our visits to Capitol Hill on May 16, 2018.
Over their 3- and 5-day trips cyclists stay with supporters and in faith community spaces; when they arrive in Washington, riders join PA IPL staff on visits to the Hill for conversation about climate change and clean energy, sharing faith-rooted perspectives with our elected officials.
- 2018 cyclist profiles
- 2018 blog posts
- 2017 rider profiles
- 2017 blog posts (these come up most recent first, so you’ll be reading the 2017 trip story backwards)
- see the nationally-televised segment of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly featuring the 2013 riders.
- learn more about past rides
How could you participate?
Contact us to learn more or get involved. Want to create a more accessible local ride to learn about climate solutions (weekends possible) or head to the district office of one of your state or federal legislators (weekdays)? Let’s talk!
- donate in honor of the pedal-ers — help them reach their $15,000 fundraising goal!
- be an engaged host for a meal, a meeting, a talk, a sing-a-long, or an overnight en route.
- be a media maven: reach out to your local media with a story or a press release. En route or not, connect YOUR local events to the bike to DC, or write a Letter to the Editor in support of the cyclists’ visit to your congressman on May 16.
- visit, thank, or BECOME a trip sponsor.
- ride along for a portion of the route. (Check out Google Maps Bike Directions to plan your in-and-out.)
- come to the blessing and sendoff closest to you (links soon, some info in schedules below)
- call the DC offices of your Congressman and Senator Toomey (202.224.4254) and Senator Casey (202.224.6324) to let them know that you support the PA IPL bicycle riders who are coming to speak to their staff on May 16, and you’re looking forward to hearing about the conversation. These calls make an ENORMOUS difference to the level of engagement of the Capitol Hill staff. Feel free to use the answering machines after hours if that works better for you.
- collect postcards and messages of support in your congregation, and get them to us at 243 S.Allen St. #337 State College, PA 16801 BEFORE MAY 9 to deliver during the meetings.
- JOIN IN SPIRIT by planning a get-out-the-bike event at your congregation or community: (and be sure to share it with us, so we can share it at paipl.org — with announcements before and/or stories after with photos and stories)
event possibilities include:
- a blessing of the bicycles
- a how-to workshop on spring cleaning and basic bike maintenance and repair
- installation or dedication of 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?)
- a community ride before, during, or after the PA-to-DC ride. There are so many possibilities for this: congregation to congregation ride, a sustainable features “scavenger hunt” or solar tour, a multi-point, multi-congregation 5K pleasure ride to Creation care picnic, a “they speak for me” visit to lawmakers’ district offices—reach out to brainstorm with us and connect with existing resources.
- May is National Bike Month Bike to Work day is on May 18, 2018. Schedule Bike to Worship day! Planning guides available here.
Want to hear more about these trips? We will work to get riders to your congregation (like this Sunday service arranged by cyclists Dorothy Blair) or gathering of interested people. Get a glimpse of the riders from the 2013 trip on this nationally-televised PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly segment from April 19, 2013. Most of the folks climbing the stairs and walking through the halls at the beginning are PA IPL cyclists. Some of them are introduced later in the segment — on their bikes. [NOTE: the video works best on the Chrome browser]
2018 PHILLY–originating trip schedule
(eagerly anticipating 2018 photos to use for the 2019 page!)
Sunday May 13, 1:00 p.m. John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, PA
Blessing and send-off in the parking area with local supporters. Make this beautiful spot and hopeful work part of your Mothers’ Day celebrations! Community cyclists are invited to ride with us for the first few miles after our send off on our way to:
6pm, Cynthia and David’s Home in Newark, DE.
Dinner and Conversation with community members
Cynthia and David, members of New Ark UCC , a Delaware IPL congregation, are hosting our riders in their home on this first evening. They will be opening their home for conversation with area IPL supporters to hear about our ride, and share stories of why they care about the environment. Cyclists will stay nearby overnight, leaving the next morning for:
Monday, May 14, noon, Churchville Presbyterian Church in Churchville, MD
Our journey will take us south to Churchville Presbyterian Church, a DC/MD/VA IPL congregation (Rte 22, Churchville, Md.), who will be hosting us for lunch, prepared by IPL supporter, Fawn Palmer. We’ll be heading out of town by 1:30 p.m. for:
6 p.m. Dinner at Reservoir Hill House of Peace in Baltimore, MD
Reservoir Hill House of Peace will act as host for dinner and lodging on our second night. This unique ministry of North Baltimore Mennonite Church and the Atlantic Coast Conference of Mennonite Church USA provides a Christian community setting where persons of various cultures learn from each other, the surrounding neighborhood, and life in Baltimore city. Community members and supporters will join us for dinner that evening. We will ride out the next morning morning, heading south for:
Tuesday, May 15, noon, lunch in Silver Spring, MD
DC/MD/VA IPL supporter, Richard Reis, will host us for our lunch stop in his home before we hit the road for our final stretch to Washington DC. The last day of the trip will be exciting as we complete our journey to the nation’s capital. We end our trip at:
4 p.m. Steinbruck Center at Luther Place – Washington DC
We will all be staying together in DC at this hostel attached to Luther Place Memorial Church. In the morning, we’ll connect with Cricket and Alison, all scrubbed up and dressed for business on:
Wednesday, May 16, bright and early to Capitol Hill
Visiting with our congressional representatives. Please pray for receptive ears that day, and for creative, courageous leadership in the days and weeks to follow. Lend a hand! Mark your calendar to call your Senators and Representatives to let them know that you support the PA IPL bicycle riders who are coming to speak to their staffers on May 16, and you’re looking forward to hearing about the conversations. These calls make an ENORMOUS difference to the level of engagement of the Capitol Hill staff.
to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,
2018 State-College originating ride schedule
(photos from previous years)
Friday May 11, 3:45 p.m. State College Blessing and send-off with location announced soon. There will be, a blessing of the riders, a few tasty treats, and the SCAHS Trombone Choir! Community riders are welcome for any part of the first leg to:
6:30 p.m. Plowshare Produce in McAlevy’s Fort.
Pot luck dinner (please RSVP by emailing Cricket)
Our favorite farmers, Bethany and Micah Spicher-Schonberg, welcome one and all to a pot luck dinner – hopefully outside on the lawn. Plowshare Produce is one of several CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) in the State College Area. Buying locally sourced food can be a great way to cut down on carbon emissions, and Micah and Bethany run an exemplary outfit. Cyclists will stay nearby overnight, and be helpful (if not as efficient as the experienced professionals) before leaving the next morning for:
Saturday, May 12, Huntingdon
We have many friends in Huntingdon, and this year they’re organizing an event at Detweiler Park, where we’ll get to see some exciting native habitat restoration that’s part of ongoing climate resilience work with PA IPL Board President Greg Williams. [Get on his workparty list for one of 4 sites.] We’ll be joined for sure by members of PA IPL member congregation Stone Church of the Brethren. Plan on joining us for this? RSVP so we can notify you of changes based on working conditions. We’ll be heading out of town by 3 p.m. for:
6 p.m. Dinner and overnight in Orbisonia
Our longtime hosts at Orbisonia UMC have so much construction going on at their Outreach Center that Pastor Ed Seeley has introduced us to friend and colleague Pastor Donald Pflugh at the Orbisonia Church of God and Prophecy. Pastor Don and Orbisonia COGAP will be our overnight hosts in 2018, and we’re looking forward to meeting more Orbisonians. We will attend services on Sunday morning, heading south (with a favorite picnic lunch stop in Cowan’s Gap State Park) to:
Sunday, May 13 Hagerstown, MD
6 p.m. Dinner at Christ’s Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
Once again, we are hosted by Pastor Gregg Meserole and his congregation, who have expanded their church in downtown Hagerstown, taking over an abandoned shoe factory. We stay in the homeless shelter portion – closed by April – and are grateful for the beds and hot showers.
After breakfast at the shelter, we head along the C&O canal to:
Monday, May 14, 6 p.m. Dinner in Poolesville, MD
Our bike trip wouldn’t be the same without the enthusiastic support of Joyce Breiner and her husband Dave Yaney, members of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg. This year, we will be staying at the Am Kolel Jewish Renewal Retreat Center, joining community members for dinner there, including a conversation about Community Solar with Gary Skulnik of Neighborhood Sun. Community Solar can be a means of providing access to solar ownership for people whose homes (or finances) are not suited to installing at home. JOIN the dinner and conversation. Poolesville powers its water treatment plant and municipal buildings with a large solar array that we hope to tour again this year.
Tuesday, May 15 – ride into Washington, DC
The last day of the trip is always exciting as we complete our journey to the nation’s capital. Many years, we’re able to work out schedules so that riders can tour Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation and we hope to stop there again. We end our trip at:
4 p.m. Steinbruck Center at Luther Place Church
We will all — both trip groups! — be staying together in DC at this hostel attached to Luther Place Memorial Church. The Steinbruck center also houses the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and we may have an opportunity to hear about the work of these volunteers who devote a year of their life to community service. In the morning, we’ll connect with Cricket and Alison, all scrubbed up and dressed for business on
Wednesday, May 16, bright and early to Capitol Hill,
where we will visit with our congressional representatives. Please pray for receptive ears that day, and for creative, courageous leadership in the days and weeks to follow. Lend a hand! Mark your calendar to call your Senators and Representatives to let them know that you support the PA IPL bicycle riders who are coming to speak to their staffers on May 24, and you’re looking forward to hearing about the conversations. These calls make an ENORMOUS difference to the level of engagement of the Capitol Hill staff.
to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,
[Become a sponsor]
In 2013 then-12-year-old Hannah Ballenger joined the ride on a tandem with her father, Jesse. Read Hannah’s letter here and her blog here. Hannah collected well over 100 prayers, drawings and well-wishes from children all over central PA. Joining them were Jon Brockopp, Andy Hayes, Dave Hunter and Ray Najjar.
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