Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tim Johnson's Ride On Washington

Bikes Belong. Its not something we hear a lot in the press and from our Government. But Bikes do belong. If you are reading this you probably get this. Because there is about a 100% chance that if you are reading this you ride a bike. Or are at the least very interested in cycling. And for this I applaud you. Its not easy being a cyclist in the United States. We have to fight for our right to exist on roadways all the time. And we need people to fight for us where it counts. We need people to lobby for safe routes to schools for kids, and to make sure cycling is part of every community with safe routes either via bike lanes, or bike paths and/or proper city planning. Cycling is the answer to so many of our societies problems right now.

* How do you lower our reliance on petroleum? Cycling.

* How do you turn an unhealthy population into one that is healthy and fit? Cycling

* How do you fight depression and ADHD? Cycling

* How do you build walkable and rideable cities? Cycling

The list goes on and on. I have a really good friend named Richard Fries. He certainly wasn't the first friend I had in cycling but he is the one I have been friends with for the longest period of time. Richard and I have been good friends for over a decade. He has been and still is a mentor to me and a role model. He makes me a better person. And he definitely has forced me to look outside myself and give back to cycling. He is the one who taught me that a bike can be a transformative thing in your life. And that it can change not only you but a culture and society. He walks the walk as well. He is a year long commuter, a fierce bike advocate and really gets it. He has changed how I look at the bike that is for sure. When Richard took his role at Bikes Belong I was so stoked for him. Because it is him. He has done an amazing job spreading the word and fighting the good fight to make sure Bikes Belong!

When he told me that he was planning to ride with three time national cyclo-cross champion, International bike racer and local cycling icon Tim Johnson to Washington, DC to the National Bike Summit the first words out of my mouth were "how can I help?" Just spread the word he said. I did that the best I could. And the more people I talked to I realized its time for me to walk the walk. Tim Johnson's Ride On Washington resonated so much with me that I decided then and there I would join the ride. I signed on with a friend to do two days. 100 miles each day. From Boston to Hartford and then Hartford to NYC! I have committed to raising $1,000 for the event! Thanks to my generous friends and family I am already half way there. If you can please donate anything to any of the riders pledge funds! One of the things that has impressed me so much about Bikes Belong is that "it manages to convert every dollar it receives into $1,800 in Government funding for bike paths, bike lanes, bike programs and bike facilities*."*From Meredith Millers Blog
I have been blown away by peoples support and enthusiasm about this. Tim Johnson is the nicest guy you will ever meet. He is a fierce bike racer but is one of the good guys. He gives back. Obviously as this fundraiser proves. There is a great article in Velonews that talks about his commitment right here. He has gotten 100% behind this and has gotten his sponsors Cannondale, Lazer and Redbull really excited about the event and the cause. Bike racers don't usually do advocacy. I am not talking about the PROs they do a great job in my opinion. The modern athlete really gets it. Its not just about winning races anymore. Its about winning the hearts and minds. And you do that by being a role model and being a great spokesperson and human being. The racers I am talking about are the rank and file. Its the 800 pound gorilla in the room of bike advocacy. Bike racers race and advocates fight for our rights. And the two never really work together. Well this ride may be the game changer that flips that paradigm. Bike racers are flocking to this because of people like Tim Johnson and Meredith Miller. Meredith is another pro cross racer. She just signed on to be a part of the ride! That says so much about Meredith as well as the power of this ride. Both their presence will send such a message. That you have to give back. If they can do it how can a Cat 4 road racer or expert mtn bike racer say they don't have time to do a trail day or help with Bikes Belong?
The ride will leave on March 4th from Boston. It will be a 5-day ride. Along the way we will do fundraisers to raise funds and awareness for Bikes Belong. Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller, Richard Fries, and a group of dedicated riders will embark on this journey together. We are getting amazing support from our family and friends. We have already received amazing support from our "sponsors" including the Bikes Belong Foundation, Red Bull,,, SRAM, Cannondale, Thule and others. The riders from the bike industry who are doing the ride reads like a who's who of bike culture: Jeremy Dunn of Embrocation Cycling Journal, Slate Olson of Rapha, Matt Simpson of Pedro's, Pete Smith of Mad Alchemy, Kevin Wolfson of the newly launched Firefly Bicycles, Dave Chiu of the Ride Studio Cafe and many, many others.
We met Tim Johnson and the Pedro's boys at the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington the other day for a bit of a tune up ride. We talked a lot about the event. I was blown away by Tim's willingness to do what ever he can to help spread the word about the event and to make it a success. There are so many exciting things coming to bear on this ride its hard to put it down in one post. I will do my best to get the word out but for now save the date of March 3rd! The Ride Studio Cafe has been generous enough to allow us to have a send off/fundraiser night at the RSC! If you have been to one of these events in the past you know how much fun they are! And in this case it is for a really great cause. I will get all the details together and get the word out but for now put a big red star on your calendar. It will be a night with Tim Johnson at the Ride Studio Cafe for Bikes Belong! We will have a fundraiser with a raffle. We will serve all the usual great food and yes Harpoon beer has agreed to sponsor the night! It will be a ton of fun and I hope to see you all there!
For now I just want to say thank you to Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller and Richard Fries for making this effort to bring so much awareness to Bikes Belong...because they do! See you out there on the ride!

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