An on-the-road update from Co-Cycle, a student bike tour celebrating co-ops. This entry is written by Aliza Persing and was originally published at www.co-cycle.coop/archives/672,
Brookings, OR–Mosier, OR
Last we wrote Co-cycle was just leaving Brookings, Oregon. Please excuse our long blog silence! You’re probably wondering what happens when fifteen people are making their way across the country on bikes and in cars that would keep them from writing everyday? To give you an idea I’ve included below most of an email, very lightly edited, that I wrote to my own family on June 22 (they said it was okay!)
“I’m writing to you from the top of a mountain in the Colombia River Gorge in Oregon. We stayed at Gabe’s house in Portland and then rode out of the city to his family’s house in Mosier. Every day of riding has been beautiful in different ways, really, really, beautiful – this day of biking made my insides feel nourished. The land is so incredibly green, and as we rode up a few crazy hills and down super smooth descents (the kind that are like sailing, instead of scary handle bar gripping ones) there were only a few cars, and a low stone wall with arches and moss followed the roads framing the river gorge behind it. It felt like being in a postcard of Scotland.
ALSO, when I was in Portland I had to drop some dough for new wheel (bike lingo: my wheel had to be ‘trued’, meaning the balance was out of wack because of the spokes) which turned out to be so worth it because when I got back on it I could feel how balanced it was immediately, it was so easy to ride without my hands for the first time! Such a good feeling. I’m learning so much about bikes! (and I’m getting supah strong too:)
Today was our first real rest day. These last 20 days (holy crap it’s been three weeks) have been super intense, and I can’t always apologize for my communicating habits so instead I’ll explain! : What this group is doing is actually incredible. Every day we’re organizing fifteen people to bike long distances – eating enough food, setting up camp, cleaning, bike maintenance, emotional support, physical preparation and strength building. We’re in a different place almost every night – finding food sources, interacting with hosts, camping, showering, packing our little trailer (you have no idea the trials we’ve experienced with packing, we called ourselves Co-Pack for a week or so because it felt like that was all we EVER did), and just generally keeping track of things. We’re keeping people updated by blogging, twittering, facebooking, emailing to fundraise, we’re planning our routes as we go along, keeping in touch with our sponsors, getting in contact with coops in the different areas we visit and organizing events in those places, as well as educating ourselves about what coops ARE. On top of that, there’s this whole documentary element happening which has been SO interesting to think and talk about and has added a fascinating, and (I think) an ultimately positive twist to the group dynamics.
Having a day to rest has been PIVOTAL to get out some energy, dance and move around in non-bikey ways, but also to finally have time to have some group discussions about how to organize ourselves. It’s felt really important the last couple of weeks to allow myself to be completely immersed in this group, and I still feel that way, but I can also feel that we just came to our first turning point as a group and have settled somewhat – that is to say, it’s also really important to me to stay in touch with all of you on a regular basis as much as possible and I feel more capable of doing that at this point. (Having said that, we’re heading out in the morning on route to Missoula and we’ll be in very rural areas for the next ten days or so, but we’ll figure it out)
I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be part of something that I’m helping CREATE. It’s so hard, and there are moments that just feel totally incomprehensible, but I’ve said this to a few people – what’s really amazing is that I actively like every person in this group – I don’t know why that feels surprising, but it is! And it makes everything feel possible. I think I’m getting sleepy and sappy.”
updates, developments, evolutions, and stories from the last ten days to come shortly!