Green Riders Doing Good Deeds Across Europe- Week 3

This is a guest blog by Suzie Roberts from the Green Riders.

I was recently contemplating why being apart of the Green Riders Europe tour was so important to me.

In the summer of 2016 I was on my first cycling tour solo. I met a friend named Marc living in Arcata, California. He invited me to volunteer at Food Not Bombs, an anarchist group who feeds anyone who is hungry for free. At the time Marc was living at a community called The Spoon House. Twice a week they hosted the cooking for Food Not Bombs in their kitchen. We hooked up bike trailers to our bikes and went around to grocery stores to collect the food that otherwise would have gone to the landfill. These grocery stores were expecting the food pick ups as they had this arrangement for a long time. The grocery stores loaded us up with rescued food. We brought the food back to the community and cooked a big meal that fed around 70 people in the Arcata Plaza. 

I absolutely loved the experience. We got to feed a lot of people and have a fun time doing so. Marc said that if I enjoyed doing that and I cycle then I should consider attending the Green Riders tour. He showed me a couple of Rob’s YouTube videos. I remember being so inspired when I saw a food mandala made of rescued dumpster food with Rob and Cheryl smiling inside of it. 

I am literally crying as I’m writing this because of how much Marc’s invite changed my life. It’s very rare I shed more than a tear, especially in a public place. Right now I’m sitting on a bench in Switzerland that has charging outlets and free WiFi with a view of Rhine Falls. 

The thought of cycling across the country, dumpster diving, and learning more about sustainability highly interested me. I attended the Earthship Academy in 2016 and continued to explore more natural building methods such as using bamboo the following year in India. I used Mason jars to buy bulk food and wanted to help the planet as much as I could. The idea of connecting with others who also wanted a sustainable and minimalistic lifestyle intrigued me. I wanted to learn more to be able to help more. My thoughts were that others who also wanted to do this would be pretty interesting people to meet. I didn’t realize that they would become my tribe, my family.

Me, Yoshi, and Jonathan radiating love!

The reason I decided to come back to the Green Riders Europe tour was not for the same reasons as the first. The reason I came back this year is because of the genuine human connection I am fortunate to have with these incredible humans I am honored to share life with. They are my chosen family and I know we will continue to gather, whether we are cycling or not.

One of the longest studies done by Harvard University on human happiness found that close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. Many of us on this tour and on this planet have had struggle, trauma, discontent, etc. It’s often the human connection that keeps us persevering through life. Coming from an authentic place while connecting with another human, no matter if we are happy or disgruntled, allows us to further bond. Being inclusive, we come from many different backgrounds and have a variety of beliefs and ideals. It’s often having discussion of different beliefs that allows us to broaden our perspective. Pedaling across beautiful landscapes is wonderful, but coming all together at group stops to commune, share, and selflessly give ourselves to those who could use our help is what brings me the greatest joy on the tour. 

 

The more we share and know, the more we care and grow.

 

By understanding and connecting with our fellow humans we can increase compassion for humans and all life forms. We are capable of detrimental harm to this planet, but we as a species also contain the knowledge to reverse our damage and allow this planet to thrive as well. For example, mycelium took hundreds of millions of years to learn how to break down lignin, a structural polymer that trees consist of. Plastic has existed for less than a hundred years, yet humans have trained mycelium to break down plastic. So mycelium has now stored this ability in their collective consciousness. We have the technology to never need to use fossil fuels again. I believe technological information is withheld and possibilities are denied because of greed. Would the monetarily elite feel the desire to hoard the majority of resources for themselves if they had experienced the camaraderie the Green Riders have created along this journey?

We experience many highs and lows across our journey. We laugh hysterically and occasionally cry during exhausting moments. We’ve always got someone on our team to lend a helping hand when we get a flat tire or listen to our feelings. Having this connection with others literally allows us to pedal thousands of kilometers. 

Helping Green Rider Jay with their flat tire

We have deep bonds within our group and we also experience welcoming generosity from our hosts. Strangers along the way that we meet briefly that help with directions, share a smile, or spontaneously open their home upon meeting constantly reminds and restores faith in the human spirit. 

I recently camped solo at a truck stop and when I awoke a trucker offered me coffee and I said yes. He also brought over bread, chocolate spread, jam and honey. He said meeting me and hearing my stories was the best day of his month. It’s beautiful that our travels gift others happiness. 

I also met a couple just before a rainstorm in the city and they offered to take me into their home. I let them know I would be leaving around 6 AM to start cycling. They woke up before I left and prepared me breakfast. They made me muesli with peanut butter, yoghurt, apples and bananas. 

Breakfast I was gifted at the truck stop

Green Riders sharing an amazing dinner with our generous and inspirational hosts Morena and Dorothea

These kind gestures I experience while cycle touring with the Green Riders constantly remind me how exceptionally beautiful humans are. Sometimes humans are scared of other humans. While telling some people I sleep outside or hitchhike I see them become worried and they tell me it is dangerous.  However, I am constantly shown kindness and compassion that continues to strengthen my faith in humans. For a while it was restoring my faith, but now it is my constant belief that the majority of people are innately good.

So, the reason I am here this year is to continue deepening my connection with incredible humans who are willing to cycle a great distance together while doing good deeds. All of the group stops along the way are similar to family reunions. My absolute favorite parts of the trip are when we all come together sometimes after days of cycling apart from each other. We arrive to the host in small groups or individually then get to share stories of our travels, which really vary widely from group to group or person to person. Recently we stayed at a lovely farm we found from WarmShowers. We volunteered on their farm where they bake bread from the wheat they grow and have a goal of growing most of their food. They open their community to all cyclists traveling through and have a workshop dedicated to repairing bikes. After communal dinner the children who lived on the farm put on an adorable acrobatic show for us. Their energy was so infectious that several Green Riders started doing acrobatics of their own. We shared so much laughter that night. All of these memories from cycling and volunteering are so meaningful to me and I am extremely pleased and grateful to be a part of this Green Rider Tribe.

*Green Riders call Oooooohooh*

The Green Riders thank everyone who donated to our cause to make Doing Good Deeds possible. Our seeds and select fruit trees are funded by the Live Like Ally Foundation via The Free Seed Project and Community Fruit Trees. We cannot thank them enough and encourage you to read more about these great initiatives. 

Planting 100 Fruit Trees with The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

Last summer I had a film team from South America come to shoot a documentary about my life for TV in Latin America. They offered to pay me $5,000 to spend a week with me. I explained that I don’t accept any payments from media but that they can donate $5,000 to a nonprofit to do good work with. I chose the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and together we’d plant 100 fruit trees.

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Growing and Foraging 100% of My Food – Day 111 Video Update

For one year I am growing and foraging 100% of my food. That means no grocery stores, no restaurants and not even taking a nibble of a cookie or sip of beer at a party for an entire year!

You might imagine me in the countryside living off the land or on a farm. On the contrary, I live in the urban environment of Orlando, Florida, in a 100 square foot tiny house that I built with repurposed materials. With no land of my own, I garden the front yards of people in my neighborhood and share the bounty with them. I take trips to nature to harvest salt from the ocean, coconuts to make coconut oil, wild yams bigger than my head and dozens of other wild foods. I also forage for food all over the city, where people walk by every single day, without ever noticing the abundance around them.

I am so excited to share this video with you. I am about 1/3rd of the way through the project and this is the first video I’m releasing in documenting the year. It serves as both an introduction to the project and a day 111 update.

Green Riders Good Deeds On Bikes- Europe Tour 2019

The Green Riders are back at it again. This time, cycling across Europe!

I am so elated to see the good deeds continuing on. I won’t personally be on this tour, but I will be there in spirit and supporting from home. The following is an announcement of the 2019 tour and all the details one would need to get involved, written by the Green Riders team.

-Rob Greenfield

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What’s in the Free Seed Project Pack (2019)

Your 2019 Free Seed Project Pack Guide

Congratulations on receiving your garden starter kit from the Free Seed Project! You are on your way to a beautiful, organic garden that will provide food for you and your community, while providing benefit to pollinators and beneficial critters and insects in your neighborhood.

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Nothing New for a Year 2017- Cycling Across the USA

As I write this, it’s is September 2018. This blog is over a year late, but better late than never in this scenario I think. I had said I was going to do a monthly blog about my year of nothing new and I utterly failed at that. I acknowledge that and apologize on not following through on sharing this endeavor. I was just far too busy and overwhelmed in 2017, all by my own choices. I’m just finally catching up now!

To recap, 2017 was my year of buying nothing new (see the original blog for details). Basically, it meant attempting to go the entire year without buying or receiving anything brand new. Anything already used was fine, just no new items.

In my last blog, Nothing New for a Year- Spring Update, I had just finished a speaking tour in Europe. This blog is about my bike tour across the USA. 

After returning to the United States from Europe I had just eight days to prepare to bike from New York City to Seattle, Washington, a 3,700-mile trip. I had been so busy for the last seven weeks in Europe that I had done very little preparation for the bike ride as far as my gear goes. The real challenging part about this trip for me, is that it wasn’t just me, it was about 30 of us cycling across the country, and I was the main organizer. I had way more on my hands than just preparing for myself. I was finding lodging and volunteer activities for about 60 stops across the country and planning out our route, among other things! The trip was called Green Riders- Good Deeds on Bikes.

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The Story of My Stolen Bamboo Bike

After nearly a year in the making, I am so excited to finally release the story of how my bamboo bike got stolen and the roller coaster ride I went on to try to get it back. Many of you saw the adventure as it unfolded, but you only saw a fraction of the whole story. When I decided to search for the bike I had a feeling it was going to be quite the adventure, so I decided to film it, but I never, ever expected it to turn out like this. I truly hope that you’ll take the time to watch this short film. I believe you’ll be very glad you did.

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My Favorite Moment of Foraging in South Florida

This was my favorite moment of my foraging trip in South Florida.
We spotted a house with two coconut trees absolutely loaded with coconuts. I took an educated guess that they were not harvesting the trees, as a vast majority of trees are never harvested.
So we stopped the car and knocked on the front door. Sure enough I was right.
The trees had hundreds of fallen coconuts around them, likely a few year’s worth. They were very happy for us to harvest the trees, so we got right to it.

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