Author Topic: Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea  (Read 4244 times)

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Offline djh2110

Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea
« on: March 04, 2023, 04:57:29 pm »
Hi Cycling Community,

My friend and I are graduate students in Environmental Management and are looking to complete our "internship" requirement by biking across the country this coming summer. We are searching for ways to best sell this trip as a professional, internship-like endeavor. My question for you all is, are there any ideas anyone may have for how to pitch this trip? Some ideas we've come up with are (the first 3 are definitely the forerunners as of now):

- Interview folks along the way about their connection to place and their environment
- Do a podcast on our journey
- Write a blog/vlog about the trip
- Follow & document localized environmental protests happening along the route
- Document environmental organizations along the way & maybe help in some small capacity
- Interview alumni from our school, documenting the work they do

Please let me know if you can help in this regard, and if not, if you know of any organizations or people we can speak to about this.

Would very much appreciate any help whether in regards to trails to take, people to speak to, organizations to correspond with, etc.

Cheers,
Danny

Offline jamawani

Re: Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2023, 06:14:39 pm »
Danny -

I recognize your energy and commitment.
I have a doctoral background in environmental history.
and have ridden across the U.S. eight times.

I would urge you strongly to look at the counties you will be riding through.
Here's a link to the Leip Election Atlas - 2020 Presidential Election.
https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/

Don't know the route you are taking - -
But click on Kansas - which the TransAm bike route crosses.
Then click on some of the counties - esp. in western Kansas.
(BTW - Dave Leip still uses traditional red for Dem and blue for GOP -
Fox Newz switched them back in the 1990s.)

Scott County went 86% for Trump and 13% for Biden.
Those kind of numbers were unheard of 50 years ago -
but not all that uncommon in many rural counties you may ride through.
The people of Scott City have been amazingly generous to cyclists for 50 years.
But, as you may surmise, they don't share the socio-political views of urban areas.

It seems to me - granted that you have posted only a little -
that you are approaching this ride with a preconceived viewpoint.
I might argue that it would be far more beneficial simply to listen.
Even then, it is unlikely you will hear much more than a rehearsed spiel for an outsider.

This has long been part of interracial conversation in the South.
Black people have always known it - White people are often shocked to find out.
That Black people tell White people what they want to hear.

You are not going to uncover the Rosetta Stone in a few hours in Middleville.
But what you can do is gain some perspectives that may be rare on campus.
Of course, that depends on how you are perceived by those you encounter.
If you just connect with people of like mind in like-minded organizations,
you will likely gain little more perspective than reading their mission statements on line.

I can assure you, that if you are open to divergent viewpoints, you will learn a great deal.
You don't have to agree with those you encounter, but there has to be a basis of respect.
I got into hot water with environmental historian Donald Worster about the knowledge loggers might have.
Historian Richard White had just written an article on the subject which got hoots of disapproval.
But the fact is, someone who has spent 30 years in the woods, 250 days per year,
knows a thing or two about the forest. We recognize that knowledge in traditional communities.

I am saddened that there is such a bitter divide between rural and urban America.
For better or worse, human beings are still constrained by living in a material, natural world.
And the people who produce the food, fiber, and fuels that are at the base of that structure
increasingly feel that their views are immaterial.

You have a great opportunity here.
I hope you take advantage of it.

Jama

« Last Edit: March 08, 2023, 01:16:11 am by jamawani »

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2023, 08:32:44 pm »
I don't have the environment background, but grew up in Montana and moved around the country as an adult. I do recognize the differences in people along the changing landscapes.

A thought would be to tour the Lewis and Clark route. Thinking of the route as up river and downriver.  Interview river users and citizens along the river towns. How do people in downriver towns view and interact with the river (Hood River, Dalles, etc.) vs. How people up river view and interact with the river (Salmon, ID?)

Note: I haven't looked at the route in years and am going by memory.

As you tour from the west coast to Missoula and go up the Columbia River, that would be good prep to adjust your questioning for going down the Missouri River.

Just a random thought, sounds like it could be a fun project.

Sent from my SM-T580 using Tapatalk


Offline David W Pratt

  • World Traveler
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Re: Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2023, 06:51:21 pm »
I'd say Professor J nailed it.  Nailed it, countersunk the heads, filled the holes, sanded, and painted the whole shebang.

Offline jamawani

Re: Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2023, 02:02:58 am »
Danny -

Here is a page from my 2022 short trip from Astoria to Billings.
I did research in Cathlamet, Washington in the early 1990s.
The last ferry on the Lower Columbia crosses over to Oregon from Puget Island.
I took that ferry to Cathlamet on my first cross-country ride back in 1987.
The ACA Pacific Coast Route uses the ferry, today.

Irene Martin is an accomplished local historian, fisherwoman, Episcopal priest, and community activist.
(People in small, rural communities wear many hats by necessity.)
I have been in touch with her for more than 30 years - - a boy on a bicycle, no less.
She has offered me the opportunity to see a world that I could never have imagined.
I hope that you have that same opportunity.

I spoke with her at length on my "short" bike trip last summer.
Here is the link from the touring journal.

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/viewpoints/beach-of-heaven/

Here is her paper from 2022 on salmon fishing communities.
She continues to lobby the Washington State legislature for these communities.
A woman who has fished for more than half a century, written their history,
and mended broken nets and broken lives.
But is largely ignored in Olympia.

https://www.salmonforall.org/news/white-paper-on-salmon-communities

<<<>>>

Let me know what route you are planning so that I can be of greater help.

Best - J

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2023, 04:03:31 am »
You get a better sense of the geography of a region by pedaling a bicycle over it. Expending personal strength and energy pushing over the hills and mountains internalizes it. The extra time necessary to transit an area impresses cognition and memory far superior to speeding through in a motor vehicle. The more time you are in any given area, the better and more clearly you remember it. It is a lesson in geography they cannot write into books.

Offline Jono1979

Re: Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2023, 09:08:47 am »
You get a better sense of the geography of a region by pedaling a bicycle over it. Expending personal strength and energy pushing over the hills and mountains internalizes it. The extra time necessary to transit an area impresses cognition and memory far superior to speeding through in a motor vehicle. The more time you are in any given area, the better and more clearly you remember it. It is a lesson in geography they cannot write into books.

I love that.

Offline LouMelini

Re: Biking Across Country (1st time) - Seeking Help w/ Idea
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2023, 11:59:50 am »
Danny: I read and re-read your request, though I am not completely sure how to reply.  I have over 2 years of bike travel and backpacking experience (mostly with my wife) that includes 2 rides across the U.S (each 70 days or so) and a near 6-month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. The first time I rode across the U.S. was in 1975 when I was 24 and the 2nd time was in 2018 when I was 67. So I hope to reflect back to my ride when I was young (like you I assume), but give "fatherly" advice from my older ride across the U.S. I have had deep respect for jamawani's posts over the years in the forums. His advice to you, as always, is very good. My wife and I would concur when he says "I recognize your energy and commitment" and to take advantage of the opportunity you have.

I do not know what your time frame is for your ride nor how long you plan to ride each day. Remember, at the end of the day, you will be a bit tired, hungry, thirsty, dirty and may need to have a plan to find lodging along with laundry duties and perhaps some bike maintenance. Interviewing someone for a graduate school internship may not happen until you satisfy your hunger, thirst, etc. In my experience hosting Warmshowers guests that have similar goals that you have, the guest needed an extra day with us stay to accomplish the interviews/goals. You may need to plan for extra time.

"Interview folks along the way about their connection to place and their environment" sounds a bit vague, but that may be purposeful to allow you to not be locked into a specific topic. Does your graduate program require a more specific goal, perhaps talking to people in rural America such as Scott City/County in Kansas (like jamawani I rode through there) that are in charge of issues such as water quality and pollution from farm runoff or trash disposal and recycling (which probably doesn't happen in rural communities). This would probably require you to contact the city manager to set up appointments. I also do not know if your background is living in an urban, suburban or rural community. Simply documenting the contrasts you see in the environment of urban, suburban and rural communities may be an enlightening project for a podcast/blog.

I hope that I am providing an answer to your not tell you what to do. With regards to your request for "trails to take" I will add that the Adventure Cycling bike routes such as the TransAmerica, are helpful and time saving, but in this day and age one can 'google' places to stay and for obtaining food.

Julie and I wish you luck and hope that your project goes well.