By Nancy Covert
Forget the multi-layered. chocolate frosted cake, topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream, and all those heat-producing candles.
The original pedal pushers have a better way to celebrate major birthdays. They’re taking a bike ride—a very long bike ride—and raising awareness about a new energy future.
A trio of women from the Lakewood/Steilacoom area are gearing up for what they consider the biggest challenge of all their “diabolic decade” adventures—a 300-mile bicycle ride this coming September.
The diabolic decades, they explain, is the way they celebrate major milestone birthdays: 50, 60 and 70.
They’ve been riding 25 miles or further each week since April to prepare.
Cyclists Moawad, Moultine and Evanson, outfitted in distinctive black/yellow flower petal jackets, have marked those milestone decade events by participating in events such as the Seattle-to-Portland ride (Kristin’s 50th), hiking Mt. Rainier’s Wonderland Trail (Linda’s 60th) and now the NY-DC event for Andrea’s 70th.
For the three women this will be their most challenging event and an out-of-the-normal way to celebrate one woman’s seventh decade. For Moawad it’s been an extra challenge since she’s had both knees replaced.
Climate Ride’s 2013 event, from New York to Washington, D. C., is designed to inspire and empower citizens to work toward a new energy future.
Understanding the Ride’s purpose, the women say, has inspired them to make changes in their lives in regard to the environment.
Sport, in this instance, is used as a means to change lives and build an effective, citizen-based sustainability movement.
Climate Rides have been held on the West and East Coasts for the past five years. This year’s Ride takes place Sept. 21-25. Its goals are to:
- Raise money for groundbreaking sustainability, climate, clean energy, and bicycle-related projects and organizations.
- Raise the profile of renewable energy and the green economy among participants, donors, sponsors, and the general public.
- Increase awareness and understanding of the inter-connectedness of environmental issues caused by the climate crisis among participants, donors, sponsors, and the general public.
- Foster a sense of civic duty and participation that encourages engagement with members of Congress, elected officials, and national leaders.
- Promote the bicycle as a viable, carbon-free, healthy, and critical component of a green transportation infrastructure.
- Motivate individuals to take responsibility for reducing their carbon and energy footprint.
- Develop multiple Climate Ride events that galvanize a worldwide network of Climate Riders.
These local riders have also selected several additional causes such as Nature Conservancy, National Parks and Rails to Trails, to support as part of their participation. Each participant raised $2,400 and continues to raise additional funds.
The Ride begins on Wall Street and concludes on the Steps of the Capitol in D. C. They plan to meet Washington State legislators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, and Denny Heck when they arrive there.
Accompanying the bicyclists will be a “Sag Wagon” that’s transporting the riders’ gear, tents, etc. Oh, and what was that special item? Some kind of “butter?” Hmmm.
While the upcoming ride will be tough, Evanson quips that she doesn’t plan to end up as a “hood ornament” on the Sag Wagon. The ride begins with a pedal through the heart of Manhattan to a ferry that takes riders across New York Harbor. From there they travel along country roads passing through Princeton, crossing the Susquehanna River, and into Pennsylvania Amish Country.
After a day of pedaling past farms and silos, the riders reach Maryland horse country. On the fifth day, riders cycle past the iconic Washington Monument to arrive at the U.S. Capitol.
Those experiences, coupled with each woman’s own strength—physical and spiritual—will see them through the Ride.
No doubt, when they return, they’ll have plenty of stories to share, and possibly an idea or two about how to celebrate the next milestone.
Before the Pedal Pushers leave for the East Coast, though, there’s a “Pedal Off party” at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 at the TopSide’s QuarterDeck in Steilacoom. Ten percent of the afternoon’s sales go toward Climate Ride.
Come cheer these gallant gals on their way!