Are You Ready for a Bike Challenge to Help Protect Our National Parks?

The 2013 NPCA Climate Ride Team

The 2013 Climate Ride Team near the finish lineDo you have what it takes to be a bike crusader for national parks? I wasn’t sure if I did.

Two years ago, the thought of riding my bike for 325 miles over five days from New York to Washington, D.C. was daunting—but taking part in the Climate Ride turned out to be an amazing, life-changing decision for me. Since then, I’ve helped raise nearly $25,000 to fight climate change—funding that has made a real difference in NPCA’s work to clean the air and water that impact our national parks.

With Climate Rides from San Francisco to Sacramento, Grand Rapids to Chicago, and New York City to Washington D.C. in 2014, are you ready to defend the national parks with your bike? Take this easy quiz to find out.

1. Do you love to bike?
Spending four or five days in the saddle means you need to have a special relationship with your bicycle. Fortunately, training with fellow Climate Riders, working toward a fun and meaningful goal, and sharing the road with more than 150 other climate crusaders makes it that much easier to feel the love.

2. Are you looking for a challenge?
If you are looking to go beyond just bike commuting or the occasional weekend ride and have always wanted to push yourself to see if you can do a multi-day ride, Climate Ride is a great reason to push your limits. As my coworker and teammate Elizabeth Jordan reflected last fall, “there is nothing like pushing your physical limits to help you remember you’re alive and capable of pushing.” No matter what your motivation is for doing the ride, the Climate Ride team makes sure the logistics are taken care of, including where to ride, rest, and find all the food, water, and encouragement you need to get to the finish line.

3. Do you love national parks and enjoy hanging out with other cyclists and eco-minded people?
As you ride through beautiful landscapes on your route, you help protect beautiful landscapes throughout the country. NPCA and 60 other beneficiaries have received more than $1.5 million over the last six years in grants from the Climate Ride. What’s more, representatives from these organizations ride alongside you and share information about their work. It’s a haven for bike lovers, renewable energy advocates, and eco-conscious folks.

4. Are you ready for an adventure?
We all are looking to break away from the daily grind, and what better reason than to help protect our national parks? It may sound a bit intimidating to ride for hundreds of miles, but it’s a deeply rewarding adventure.

5. Do you want a swanky Pedal for the Parks bike jersey?
When you ride with the NPCA team in one of three Climate Rides in 2014 and choose to support NPCA as your sole beneficiary or one of two beneficiaries, you will receive a free Pedal for the Parks jersey to show everyone you are doing your part to protect our national parks.

The 2013 NPCA Climate Ride Team models their "Pedal for the Parks" jerseys

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above or know someone who might, see more information on our rides through California Wine Country, May 17-20; from Grand Rapids to Chicago, September 6-9; and from New York to D.C., September 20-24.

Simply register with Climate Ride, choose the NPCA team, and get ready for a fantastic ride to support NPCA’s important work.

About the Author

Travel Program Manager Ben Sander

Ben Sander is travel program manager at NPCA. He has worked in ecotourism ventures in Costa Rica, Tanzania, Peru, and Pohnpei, Micronesia, which have guided his vision for the travel program. He conducted research in Costa Rica at one of the first eco-lodges in the world, Rara Avis, and has spoken at a number of ecotourism-focused conferences on his research. His passion for ecotourism also led him to be a tour guide in Washington, D.C., offering bike tours of the national memorials, as well as being a nature guide in Costa Rica. Ben is also a bike advocate and commutes 15 miles round-trip a day as often as possible from his home in Brentwood, Maryland, to downtown D.C. He has taken part in Climate Ride the last two years to help raise awareness around climate change, bike advocacy, and national park protection.