The Pedal Pushers (a.k.a. The Cyclists)
A P.E.D.A.L. Part I veteran cyclist, Garrett is encouraged by the evidence he’s seen so far that sustainable living — actual, real-deal, gosh-danged sustainable living — is already attainable. Garrett’s keen on the ways in which we can provide our own resources and recycle our own “wastes,” locally and perpetually, to everyone’s benefit. He’s especially excited by renewable and “passive” energy, such as methane digesters that make natural gas from compost, or houses that are completely heated year-round by the sun.
He has also fallen hopelessly in love with his bicycle… He enjoys lubing up its chain and giving it a good ride whenever he gets the chance. It used to be a relationship of convenience — to be frank, he was just using his bike, and they both knew it. But going 6,750 km on his bike has given him a new appreciation of its virtues, and they’ve grown much closer. Garrett’s still not a recreational cyclist, but the bike is unquestionably his vehicle of choice. When he’s not cycling, Garrett enjoys veggie gardening, playing the piano, eating anything that involves tomatoes, and wearing pyjamas as often as possible.
Emilie is a new member, joining the crew for P.E.D.A.L. Part II and ready to leave San Francisco in October 2011 to go South.
Emilie hails from France but has been living in Vancouver, BC since the spring. The city — and British Columbia as a whole — have been very appealing for her: a place where a strong, active environmental and social movement nests itself between beautiful mountains and the infinite horizon of the Pacific Ocean. In few words: it’s a perfect place for a Frenchie who totes degrees in political science and environmental management and who’s well-versed in France’s environmental organizations and NGOs.
Biking (and feeling so free while doing so) to learn about and promote sustainable living initiatives is a perfect way for Emilie to satisfy her curiosity about the great ideas that other people can share. She’s eager to link up the practical, first-hand knowledge that she gains with her past experiences in organization and management — the more you know, the better you can advocate for sustainable living!
To her mind, we usually forget too easily (likely because of our habits and busy lives) that living in a sustainable way is always win-win. We win individually — we feel better eating healthy food and biking around, and we save time and money when we jettison the mass-consumption mind frame and prioritize friends and family. Our communities win (yes, we are stronger as part of a community!), and of course the whole world wins when we meet the challenges of environmental issues and help governments to face them.
Don Cristobal, Emilie’s bike, has been able to join the crew thanks to a generous figure by the name of “Don.” So when it came time for Emilie to name her new two-wheeled road-trip partner, she simply had to honour Don and Ride On Again ! TheCristobal part comes from “Christopher,” the story of a chicken and a lot of fun… more may be revealed throughout theP.E.D.A.L. journey…
So far Emilie and Don Cristobal seem to get along well with each other. Their first ride, on Salt Spring Island BC, was just great. They will miss the rainy and unsafe weather of BC but are both looking forward to the next step : San Francisco and the South.
“Let’s Ride Again” is the motto of Don Cristobal. It’s sure to help during the challenges of these next coming months… so each and every day, Let’s Ride Again!
Steve has recently been very inspired by a special place in Ontario, Canada where two of his friends are building a home using the rock, moss and spruce born directly from the land that they find themselves on, in addition to a smattering of salvaged materials provided by helpful neighbours. Way to go!
A P.E.D.A.L. Part I veteran cyclist, Steve finds that the P.E.D.A.L. Across the Americas initiative and personnel fold his interest in back-to-the-land community into a cross-continental adventure. While en route, Steve will also seek ways to grow in his music and meditation practice.
Rafael came to Canada in early 2011 to experience living, working, and learning in a new country with a different language (and a different climate too…). He chose to settle in Vancouver for its famous outdoors and for its reputation as an environmentally-friendly city!
Back home in France, he worked for about 2 years at a consulting company and a public institution after graduating in environmental sciences. Participating in P.E.D.A.L. Part II is the perfect opportunity to be involved in the “non-profit world!”
Rafael is convinced that every individual can have his or her own impact on the creation of a more sustainable world. The book “The Hummingbird Share” (La part du colibri, Pierre RABHI, 2006) inspired him a lot in that perspective!
As an outdoorsy person, Raf has always been on bicycles — from BMXs to mountain bikes. He realized a year ago that touring by bicycle could be a fun and environmentally-friendly way to travel.
Rafael heard about P.E.D.A.L during a bicycle tour from Vancouver to San Francisco. This environmental project on bicycles sounded like a good way to combine a passion for sustainability with his professional and personal experience! And now, here he is, pedaling himself to Costa Rica!
Raf’s bike, Raleigh, was bought on CraigsList.org for $50 and was mainly intended as a zip-around city bike. When a bicycle trip down to San Francisco emerged, Rafael decided to take him there as he was feeling really at ease on this bike!
On his way down to California, the bike got his name from his brand — Raf wasn’t feeling terribly inspired when his friend Tom (owner of Jimmy) suggested that he choose a name.
Keeping Raleigh to go down to Costa Rica was pretty logical — Raleigh’s been bringing Raf everywhere since Raf came to North America.
In his previous life, Raleigh was doing lots of bicycle touring and went across Canada numerous times. Having crossed Canada and the west coast, Raleigh has (in a sense) already run P.E.D.A.L. Part I, despite being new to the project. He’s more than ready for the new challenge of Part II!
Victoria is very excited to be participating in Part II of the P.E.D.A.L. project. Having recently graduated from environmental engineering at the University of Guelph, she is eager to see how sustainable living can be implemented on the ground, and in very diverse communities. Throughout her university career she became familiar (often too familiar) with anaerobic digestion (biogas) technology, and so this is one of her particular interests. Most of all, having been an avid cyclist most of her life, Victoria looks forward to getting on her bike and exploring the beauty of the Americas.
Victoria’s hobbies include cooking with potatoes as often as possible, making bad puns (usually involving thyme), and worshiping her cat.
The Veterans of P.E.D.A.L. Part I: Canada to California!
Having graduated from the University of Guelph in June 2008, Kristi is in the process of living, learning, and exploring possibilities for the future. Two summers ago she co-managed an organic market garden near Sutton, Ontario. Besides farming, Kristi is extremely interested in herbal and alternative healing, with a focus on womyn’s health. She is also active in the protection of wild spaces and animal habitat and loves to be outside.
Kristi’s background is quite diverse: she has worked as a swimming instructor, canoe trip guide, composting coordinator and a farm intern. Kristi is also an alumna of the Otesha ‘Rising Tide’ bike tour. As an Otesha participant, she traveled across the Maritimes presenting plays and workshops about environmental consciousness to youth. She is looking for ideas and projects that will inspire her to build her own sustainable lifestyle and share these green, socially conscious ideas with others.
As of April 2011, Kristi has been taking a Sustainable Building Design and Construction course at Fleming College. Who knows in what new directions this could take her?
Although Kristi is not participating in all of P.E.D.A.L. Part II, she will still remain active in the group, helping with media relations and website work. She hopes to join the group partway along and pedal with them the rest of the way to Costa Rica.
Kristi’s bike Hugger was a gift from Garrett’s dad Paul. This silver and blue beauty is a marvel of reliability, needing hardly any repairs on the whole trip, save brake and gear cable replacement. The Hugger’s origins are unknown prior to its timely arrival at a pawn shop in Burlington, Ontario, where it was kindly adopted by Paul. Before carrying Kristi across the continent, it also served Garrett, Paul, and other unknown owners.
The Hugger received its noble title during the first half of the P.E.D.A.L. journey. Kristi was suffering from bad knee pain due to tendinitis and was unsure about her future as part of the P.E.D.A.L. team. During this time, her bike had to be powered on hugs from other team members, and the name Hugger was born. Kristi did end up completing part one of the trip… Just goes to show how far a bit of love and support can go!
From the small rural town of Sutton West, Ontario, Justin was happy to join on the long adventure across the vast country of Canada. With a background of gardening, artistic expression and outdoor exploring, the PEDAL project was a fitting endeavour for the summer of 2010. The project came with many opportunities to learn about community building and sustainable living. Some sustainable subjects that Justin loves to explore and share are Edible gardening, alternative energy, ecological restoration, the Bahá’í Faith and community building.
In 2008 Justin graduated from the Landscape Architecture program at the University of Guelph which was a good place to explore sustainable design. Around the community of Guelph there were many projects that explored alternative building, energy and agriculture. During the summer of 2009 Justin participated in an organic market gardening operation on his family’s farm in Sutton West. On the farm he also recently helped with the renovation of the house which was a great time to learn about architecture and construction. Currently Justin is serving for 18 months at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel in the gardening department. It is a dream he has had for many years.
A cyclocross bicycle acquired at the exhibition place in Toronto
during a clearance sale. It came with the name Jake. Jake also has a
cousin of the KONA family named Jake the Snake. Jake also the name of
Justin’s family’s late german shepard dog, so it was pretty fitting
for a companion bicycle.
Jake the bike was quite reliable, built for speed and back trails, it
had some tough challenges going up hills and long rides. Nevertheless
it was sturdy and carried the large load of gear for the 4 month
journey. Justin made some custom adjustments and fancy framework to
help carry certain gear. Some might say that when all loaded up Jake
had the profile of a slug or snail. Now Jake is safely home waiting
upon the day for another trek.