Living in Washington, D.C. for 30 plus years I have seen more than my fair share of police-escorted motorcades and had the opportunity to attend several high-profile events, such as Presidential inaugurations and the march commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Despite all of that, there is still a first time for everything . . .
A little over a month ago, I was able to – for the first time – experience cruising down Constitution Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol with a police escort, during rush hour no less.
No, I was not under arrest.
I was actually supporting a team from AGU that was participating in the Climate Ride by riding the final three miles of the 300-mile journey with them – along with several of my AGU colleagues.
Climate Ride was founded to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on our lives along with alternative modes of transportation and other environmental issues. It is a communication and public awareness effort, not an advocacy or political organization.
Two AGU members – Eric Davidson and Xin Xhang – formed Team AGU, and over the course of four days rode their bicycles from New York City to Washington, D.C. Eric was also asked to provide an short talk about his science during one of the ride’s evening breaks, and he blogged about his experiences on the Climate Ride website.
Through their efforts, the team was able to raise $10,000 for AGU, which they named as their beneficiary. We are planning to use those funds to further our work and the work of our members in sharing their science with communities, policy makers and the broader public.
When we were informed that AGU staff could grab our bikes and ride those last three miles with Team AGU, we jumped at the chance. And what an experience it was.
Pedestrians waved and clapped, motorists honked their horns, and the riders were more than thrilled to have us riding along with them. And, as an extra surprise, when Team AGU arrived at the Capitol, AGU President Carol Finn and several other staff members were cheering for them and waving signs.
As exciting as those three miles were for me, Team AGU, along with approximately 200 other cyclists, had pushed themselves to ride 50-60 plus miles per day to raise awareness of issue about which they care a great deal. That’s dedication.
Just because the ride is over doesn’t mean you can’t still get involved. Each year, Climate Ride organizes several rides in different parts of the county, along with a hike through a national park. I encourage you to consider forming a team or supporting someone who is riding or hiking. And like Eric and Xin, you can consider designating AGU as your beneficiary. I hope you will consider participating.
PS – Not only was the ride a success for Eric and Xin, it turns out that it was a success for AGU membership too. One of the other riders, who didn’t previously know anything about AGU or our science, became so intrigued that they decided to become a member!