Inspiring Others, One Glorious Bike Ride at a Time

Oh man, we have just two weeks to go before Climate Ride, the 300-mile bike ride from NYC to DC to raise awareness and money for awesome climate organizations, like ACE. (To support to the ACE team, go here, scroll down, and donate to the team member of your choice. Deadline to donate is Saturday, September 14th!)

The ACE Team, Brian, Elizabeth, Max and I, have been gearing up and training hard to get ready for the ride. We’ve got new road bikes and gotten them fitted to maximize power and minimize aches and pains. We’ve got padded shorts, gloves, and, of course, helmets. We’ve been riding fast to work each day, getting up early to clock in miles, and spending our weekends exploring the countryside around Boston, racking up the miles.

We’re finally starting to feel like hard-core road cyclists. You know, like those bikers we used to see flying by us on the roads on their fancy bikes. Our bikes and gear aren’t as fancy as many, but we’re starting to keep pace with them – or at least some of them!

Elizabeth, Rouwenna, and Max at the Lowell Folk Festival, the halfway point on their first 50-mile team ride. Elizabeth, Rouwenna, and Max at the Lowell Folk Festival, the halfway point on their first 50-mile team ride.

The summer has been a ton of fun and biking has not only given us stronger calves, but also good team bonding moments and opportunities to share why we’re training with other people.

Here is one highlight:

Our first ride to another state: Before starting to train for Climate Ride, I’d never ridden more than 30 miles in a day. Now, I can say I’ve ridden over 700 miles since June 1st (!!) AND I’ve ridden from my home to another state.

Two weeks ago, Brian, Elizabeth, and I decided to take a day off work to have a biking adventure. We decided to bike from Boston, MA to Bristol, RI – a total of about 65 miles and our longest ride yet. We headed out of town around 10:00AM (a bit later than planned) and biked through the city, over the Blue Hills, and then out into the countryside.

The day was a scorcher (90 degrees) so we were happy to get off the hot wide roads and into the rolling farmland. We biked past quaint homes, old barns, and through lush woods. We were alone on the roads most of the day, enjoying a slower way to travel between the states. When biking, you realize how far things really are. A drive from Boston to Bristol would take about an hour and a half. On our bikes, we traveled nearly 7 hours! But it was totally worth it!

When we reached the East Bay Bike path, which runs 20 miles from Providence, RI to Bristol, RI, we met a friendly, and successful fishing family on a bridge and added beautiful coastal estuaries to our list of sights. There’s nothing like the cool breeze of the ocean after a long day of biking!

Brian, Rouwenna, Elizabeth on the East Bay Bike Path between Providence and Bristol, Rhode Island, nearing the end of their first 65-mile ride. Brian, Rouwenna, Elizabeth on the East Bay Bike Path between Providence and Bristol, Rhode Island, nearing the end of their first 65-mile ride.

With the coastal wind in our faces, we split ways, with Brian and Elizabeth going to Providence to catch the train to Boston, and me continuing on to Bristol to meet family.

When I arrived at the Bed and Breakfast where my folks were staying, I had my best reward of the day.

I checked in at the front desk, hot and sweaty. The woman behind the counter said, “It looks like you had a nice ride,” to which I responded, “Yup, I biked from Boston today.”

The woman stopped dead in her tracks. Her mouth open, “You’re not serious, are you?” But of course I was. “How did you DO that?” she asked. “How did you know how to come?”

I explained how I’d come, how we’d mapped the route, told her about the beautiful sights we’d seen, and explained Climate Ride and ACE to her.

As I headed off to take a shower, she said, “You’ve inspired me. I think I’ll get my bike out again and take it for a ride.”

And that was the biggest reward of the trip: the chance to inspire someone else to try a new way of living, one bike ride at a time.

Rouwenna Lamm

Rouwenna Lamm is ACE’s National Program Director. She was a founding member of ACE’s New England team in 2009. She’s educated 67,000 students, trained 1,000 youth leaders, and built numerous ACE regional staff teams. Today, Rouwenna directs ACE’s regional programs and is focused on maximizing the collective impact of ACE’s programs. She loves playing outside and relaxing with friends.