What was the hardest part about pedaling a bike 300 miles from Manhattan to Washington, D.C.? The head winds in central New Jersey certainly weren’t a picnic. The horse poop along Amish country roads was a challenge. Then there were the rain-slippery bridges near St. Peter’s Village, PA and the seemingly endless hills of Maryland’s northern horse country.
But honestly, the rural scenery was so stunningly beautiful all along the way that the hardest part was just knowing that this pastoral east-coast landscape is in danger of disappearing – soon – because of the unfolding calamity of climate change.
I joined the annual “Climate Ride” from New York City to Capitol Hill from May 19-23 for a simple reason: I wanted to put myself through an extreme physical test to draw attention to the equally extreme weather now linked to global warming.Americans are experiencing this weird weather nationwide. As the miles piled up and I pushed myself hard (I didn’t walk one inch of the trip!), and I talked to people along the way. A ferryman in New York harbor said storm surges were getting much worse in recent years. A Methodist camp manager near Valley Forge, PA said winter weather never really showed up this year at a place where Colonial troops nearly froze to death in the winter of 1778. The same camp leader said a first-ever tornado destroyed part of the church property last year amid record summer heat.