Click here for older entries

It is 350 miles between the town of Arcata and the city of San Francisco and the number 350 has also been significant during the ride between them. A group of cyclists who wanted to raise awareness about that number dressed up in identical bicycle jerseys with the text Ride350 Bicycling for climate change awareness. The number stands for the amount, in parts per million, of carbondioxod that our atmosphere can handle and we have already past that amount. I put on one of the jerseys before leaving Arcata, and was cheered on by the mayor, politicians and activists who also wanted to emphasise the importance of minimising carbon emissions through local determination and global decisions.

My panniers travelled in a support van accompanied by the belongings of the other cyclists. Every pedal stroke felt lighter without them, but my environmental conscience felt heavier. In addition of my high carbon flight to this continent I was letting my luggage be carried by fossil fuel instead of my own legs. This emission burden was however shared by all of us and my fellow climate cyclists was an interesting and inspiring group of individuals who were truly committed to the environment in various ways.

Adjusting to a low impact lifestyle is indeed a challenge. Adapting to cycling with a group of athletic Americans on shot-bloks also required a change of action. My solo and still cycling days were replaced by collective stretching before morning departure, applause awaiting at the top a hill in the afternoon and several high-fives upon arrival in the evening. We travelled as a mobile commune with cooking teams who fried up semi-finished pancakes for breakfast and grilled organic oysters for dinner. It was the luxury life of a cyclist with royal views from the road. Admiring the wild waters along the coast, the green hills going inland and the high treetops from below. Nature was serene and well worth preserving.

The United States has one of the highest carbon emission per person in the world, but during my journey down the west coast I have seen several signs of a more sustainable living. Local organic produce are sold at popular farmers markets or well stocked grocery shelves. Every person I have stayed with here recycle in their stride. Passionate cyclists pay their contributions together with climate activists. When a hundred pupils got the question whether they have heard about climate change, all of them raised their hands. And as I pedalled across the Golden Gate bridge in a caravan of cyclists with the number 350 on their jerseys, I felt hope.



  1. Feyzullah Yilmaz Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at 5:09 PM

    I’ve just checked the photos. They were really wonderful.

  2. Jan Kupcake Zeboski Sunday, November 8, 2009, at 11:50 AM

    Dear Hanna, We were all so glad we got to meet such an amazing adventurer! We thought we were brave for surfing and camping for 3 days, but you are the real thing. We (Rick Anglemoyer, Zane Walker, Marissa Pelagio) and I, all wish you the very best on your cycling journey.

    Jan Kupcake Zeboski :)

Write comment