Ride Recap – Climate Ride Maine 2021

Over 300 miles in 5 days. Beautiful lighthouses, amazing murals, inspiring talks, funny signs. This ride delivered as usual. Renewed, rejuvenated, and ready.

My Climate Ride History

I signed up for my first Climate Ride in 2016. I’d heard about this amazing multi-day bike event that was happening every year from NYC-DC, but as a newer long-distanced rider I was intimated to fly or travel to a starting location. Then my dreams came true and they added the Bar Harbor to Boston (shuttling from Boston) ride. I signed up immediately. The ride was special for a lot of reasons, including it being my first time back to Bar Harbor in almost 20 years, but what really struck me about the ride were the people. I was hooked because the people on these riders were like me. They loved biking and cared about the future of this little blue dot we all live on.

This year marked my 4th Climate Ride.

  • Bar Harbor to Boston (Climate Ride Northeast) 2016
  • Red, White and Blue Ridge (Virginia to DC with a Lobby Day in Congress) 2017
  • Nova Scotia (Cabot Trail) 2018
  • Climate Ride Maine 2021

In 2019, after 3 straight years, I was a little burnt out on the fundraising minimums, and as beautiful as Nova Scotia was, it didn’t include the same evening programming that kept me coming back for more, so I took a break. My intention was to return in 2020, but the world had other plans. I was so grateful this ride continued on in 2021. Joining this year’s ride was one of the best decisions I could have made in my life. When you live through 18 months of political and social unrest, a planet on the brink of destruction, and you’re forced to stay inside away from most humans, it can be hard to see the bright side of life. This Climate Ride gave me something I don’t always feel in my every day life… hope.

Rebellions are built on Hope

There is something truly inspiring about being on a ride with people who are all in some way shape or form trying to better society. Some of us do work that directly affects change, and all of us raise money for non-profits that support sustainability, biking, and the fight for climate change action. This year was made extra special as well due to the fact that all of the presenters, both outside sources and the panel of awesome humans from the ride, were female.

I was honored and grateful to get to join a panel with a corporate sustainability expert, an earth scientist (with her own wiki page), and a teacher who is always looking to bring greener practices to her school. My role on the panel was to discuss my work with CommonWheels and the Ride for Black Lives and how we are always looking to get the community on more bikes. We also heard from Jen (also on the ride) in Vermont who is leading the efforts towards a 100% renewable and sustainable energy grid in Burlington, a kelp farmer and activist, and a policy advisor for the governor of Maine.

Don’t get me wrong, the bike riding is always a highlight of the week, but I felt my own regeneration come from the people this year. I felt so inspired by the passion of all of our speakers, the engagement of the crowd throughout each session, and the range of expertise that comes on the ride. I walked away from the Climate Ride questioning all the ways that I can do more to support the environment and build a more sustainable future. A question that has been on my mind for years. I try to live my life sustainably from composting, to choosing sustainable products/packaging, but I’ve struggled to bring my professional experience into the fold as well. My background is in B2B software and it is hard to walk away from a steady job. However, this Climate Ride hit me during a period of my life where I do not have a full-time 9-5 software job. I have unique opportunity to not just put my volunteer time and economic choices to the test, but really push my professional life done a path of more sustainable action. I make no promises when my student loans come due again next year, but I am going to take this time to push myself towards new opportunities and see what happens.

Panelists on Night 3 Climate Ride Maine
Caeli Quinn, ED of Climate Ride, moderator a panel of amazing speakers, all riders at the event, for Climate Ride Maine. From Left to Right: Caeli Quinn, Laura Jillian Gray, Jen Bowe, Kate. [Photo Credit: Morgan Scott]

Would You Recommend the Climate Ride to Friends/Family?

100% yes. Every ride I come home feeling hopeful that the world can still be saved by the amazing people on this ride, and a renewed energy to throw myself into my own bike sustainability work.

After the panel, an environmental lawyer in his 50s approached me and said, “Try not to lose that passion!” He saw so many talented climate activists in all sectors burn out and give up. After this ride, I’m ready to keep standing up and fighting for a better world and already thinking of my next ride.

Official Ride Breakdown

32 miles / 1,296 ft: Pre-Ride for my Personal Pilgrimage to my homeland (aka Cumberland and North Yarmouth, ME)

75 miles / 3,777 ft: From Portland to Damariscotta Lake

75 miles / 4,466 ft: To Owl’s Head Lighthouse and Back

67 miles / 4,272 ft: To Pemaquid Point and Back

71 miles / 3,712 ft: Back to Portland

Photo Highlights

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