Green Riders West Coast 2020
The Green Riders are back at it for the third tour.
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 2020 tour and all the details one would need to get involved, written by the Green Riders team.
Announcing the Green Riders Summer 2020 tour, starting in the Pacific Northwest, cascading through the redwoods and hugging the Pacific Ocean the entire way!
Green Riders is a voluntarily organized cross-country cycling tour intended to promote a conscious, eco-friendly lifestyle and to leave every place better than we found it. We will be volunteering weekly at community gardens, permaculture operations, organic farms, homesteads and any other community projects. This provides a learning exchange between the riders and locals and we will use our social media platforms to promote the work they are doing. Along the route we will be picking up trash, donating fruit trees, planting regionally appropriate seeds and foraging. Many will also frequently dumpster dive for food to bring awareness to food waste.
Green Riders began in the Summer of 2017 when Rob Greenfield invited the general public to join him for his ‘Good Deeds on Bikes’ ride across the U.S. Under the guidance of Rob Greenfield and Cheryl Davies, the Green Riders cycled from New York City to Seattle in service to the good people of the earth. They cleaned up community spaces and collected at least 20,000 pieces of trash, rescued 5,000 pounds of food from going to the landfill, planted 90 fruit trees and spread thousands of wildflowers and vegetable seeds.
Riders from the 2017 tour were inspired to organize a 2019 tour, where the Green Riders went international, cycling across Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. Through everything we gave in 2019 tour, we received twice as much back. Though this wasn’t our plan, it was humbling to experience generosity and kindness throughout and often from those who had so little. It’s impossible to name everyone, but their kindred spirits and knowledge are embedded within us to this day.
Check out our Europe Blog.
The 2020 tour is returning back to its roots of the United States and you are invited! Initially this may seem daunting. Rest assured, very few riders are pros (if any!). It is much less of a physical feat than it is a mental one. It takes a lick of determination and a positive attitude and before you know it, you will find yourself on a cross-country tour! Our riders in the past ranged from age 18 to 62 and we would love to see this expand!
Start: June 1st, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada
End: August 10th, 2020 in Tijuana, Mexico
(Approximately 1,850 miles / 3,000 km)
These dates are tentative and can fluctuate +/- 7 days depending on elevation, route, number of projects, length of time at projects, amount of rest days, etc. A more detailed itinerary will be updated here and posted in the Facebook group once completed.
Route: We will be on the Highway 1/101 route, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. The ride does include elevation, although it is manageable with patience and mental strength.
Pace: 30-55 miles a day. This is codependent on the elevation change and amount of volunteer projects we will have. We plan to take a full rest day every 10-14 days. Volunteer projects will be around once per week and do not count towards our rest days. Typically volunteer projects are 4-6 hours of work. We never cycle during volunteer days, meaning volunteer days double as partial rest days.
Accommodation: We expect to have pre-planned accommodation around 30-40% of the trip. We are hoping to secure camping spots at places like farms, backyards, churches, etc. Riders are responsible for their own accommodation on the days we do not have hosts. Most people choose to camp in smaller groups. We expect riders to be reasonably self-sufficient, so make sure to come prepared! For more information on stealth camping, check out Rob’s post: How and Where to Sleep for Free.
Cost: This is a public trip that is free to join. It’s made possible with the hard work of volunteers, all collaborating many months prior to the trip. There is no overarching organization and everyone holds equal democratic power to planning. Anyone can join for any amount of time.
There is however an expectation that you personally make or fundraise a $100 donation to our GoFundMe prior to the trip. This money goes directly to our projects and for purchasing fruit trees and seeds to plant along the way. It does not go to the organizers as a stipend or to any rider. Our projects are a fundamental component to our trip and mission. While our labor is a large part of the direct impact we have, we want to have a sustained impact on our projects. These donations can provide a financial boost to any of their upcoming projects. Use your networking and resourcefulness to make this donation possible.
Support: This ride will have no vehicle support. All riders are expected to be self-sufficient and fully contained with their bikes. Every rider is responsible for themselves in navigating, cooking and scoping out a proper spot for camping. Please do not expect yourself to be entirely dependent on more experienced cyclists throughout the trip. Contrary, this is still a collaborative trip and we understand that everyone needs an extra hand at times, especially when you are first starting. We all have rough days and are here to support each other! Additionally, those with specialized skills (bike mechanics, medical assistance, travel knowledge) are keen on giving a helping hand. In other words, no one else is responsible for you, although we are here to help you!
Gear: You are responsible for buying/bringing all of your own gear which can cost as little or as much as you want. Some riders bought/found/built their bikes just months before the trip. Others are avid cyclists with years of mechanical experience. Read Rob’s list on his cross-country cycling gear and check out cycle touring forums. There are a few options for acquiring a bike: buying, building, finding or earning one through volunteering at a local bike co-op. Use the resources and skills around you! Concerns and brainstorming can also be discussed through email or on the Facebook group.
Food/Budget: Riders are responsible for procuring their own food each and every day. This can cost and look vastly different from rider to rider. We also encourage dumpster diving to bring awareness to food waste. This can alleviate food associated costs. Aside from any initial gear purchases and travel expenses, food will be the highest cost for everyone on the trip.
Language: Spanish will become increasingly prominent the further south we go. It would be helpful to learn the most frequently used phrases including numbers, food and directions. We will put together a list of resources for language learning to share.
Passport: You will need a passport for this trip. There is also an option for US citizens to get a passport card, which gets you into Canada and Mexico. For those who do not live in the United States, plan accordingly for the 90-day limit without a visa. Our trip should be totaling around 70 days in the United States.
Phones: Phones are the primary form of navigation and communication for the group. Smartphones are by no means required to have a successful trip, they just make some aspects much easier. Additionally, a phone holder on your bike makes navigating more comfortable and safer.
Respecting our mission:
Every rider is expected to read and respect the Code of Conduct, which will be posted on January 1st 2020. When you are cycling with the Green Riders you are representing Green Riders as an entity. This means all actions you make throughout the trip is associated with us as an organization. It goes without saying that we do not tolerate oppression or hate towards others. We advocate for open communication throughout the trip. Everyone should feel safe and respected, regardless of their identities.
Hosts: Hosting a group of 20+ cyclists is no easy task! It is our utmost priority to respect all of our hosts’ wishes, both explicit requests and implied. We always leave our host’s place cleaner than we found it. We remain aware that our hosts have generously shared their time, energy, space, food and other resources and maintain an attitude of gratitude.
Under no circumstances should anyone bring alcohol or drugs to consume at a host’s home.
Waste: Riders are encouraged to produce as little waste as possible. This includes buying in bulk, avoiding packaged goods, camping and using biodegradable toiletries. WarmShowers or Couchsurfing is a greener alternative to energy-exhaustive accommodations like hotels. Through the experience of living simply, riders will experience exponential growth in their connectedness to the land, communities and themselves.
Carbon Offsetting: While this is not a requirement of the trip, it is highly encouraged. Keep your carbon footprint in consideration when deciding how to transport yourself. Ride-sharing, hitchhiking, or public transportation are the greenest options. We understand some will be coming from overseas. It is in our best interest to pay to offset our carbon footprint required to arrive and leave the trip. A guide on what this means can be found here, as well as tips on how to do it.
How you can help:
Volunteering: We love our volunteers that make this trip possible! We are always in search of organized and committed folks who want to join our search party of researching hosts and projects along the route. Please email us at [email protected] for further info about how to begin!
Networking: We immensely benefit from connections to projects along our route. Contacts to community gardens, organic and/or permaculture farms, off-grid homesteads and natural building operations are immensely appreciated. Other places such as bicycle co-ops, community parks and community projects are also welcomed suggestions. This means that something as simple as sharing this on social media can help us enhance this trip and get the good word out. If you know of anything along the route that may interest the Green Riders, or are interested in potentially hosting us, send us an email!
Fundraising: All of our generous donations from our 2019 tour were donated directly to the projects we volunteered at and details can be found here. This money goes a long way. Depending on the amount raised, some money may go towards buying seeds and fruit trees. We will launch a GoFundMe page in January 2020.
It is essential that you fill out this survey if you have any interest in the ride so that we can put you in our email list for further updates. If you have further questions, please email [email protected] or post in the official Facebook group.
So, congrats. You made it to the end. Now it’s time to make a decision. Is it time to drop everything, grab a bike and some sunnies and cycle thousands of miles together? It might change your life, as it certainly did change ours.
Maya & Jess