The Next Level
Over the past few weeks, as we’ve been plotting and planning our next trip, a strange thing has happened… it has grown beyond the simplicity of just us riding our little folding bikes across the country. The more we thought about the wonderful combination of bikes and trains, the more obsessed we became about making this option viable, accessible, and enjoyable.
Ironically, we used to be really skeptical about all those people who ride across the country for charity. Not because we’re opposed to cycling for charity, but because it seemed to us that a lot of charity riders were using the charity as an excuse to ride. But what if, instead of seeking out a cause to give yourself permission to ride, you go out to ride and your cause finds you?
There’s an idea, from Chris Guillebeau’s Art of Noncomformity, that has stuck with me for quite awhile… It’s the idea that, no matter how much you thought you wanted it, you would eventually grow tired of retiring into a parade of margaritas on the beach. We think we want to run away from it all, when most of us would actually find ourselves quite bored with paradise and want to do something more meaningful with our days.
I wouldn’t say that our last trip wasn’t meaningful (or, for that matter, that it was paradise every day), but I would say that we’re ready for something more.
Trains + bicycles = freedom.
When you pair the train with your bicycle, you are free from invasive airport scanners, free of the expense of rental cars, and free from the logistical nightmare of buses and shuttles. You simply hop off the train and hop on your bike and ride! Trains are an ideal way for cyclists to leave large cities and get to small towns, quiet roads, state and national parks. Bikes are the ideal way for people to explore an area just beyond a rail stop. Imagine getting off the train at the gateway to Glacier National Park or in the heart of Chicago. If you have your bicycle with you, all you have to do is pedal away.
Today, we’re launching a fundraiser to take this trip to the next level. Not only do we want to show the viability and enjoyment of multi-modal travel, we want to create a chorus of bike and rail advocates that can help open and expand our transportation system.
Our goal is to film our trip and edit it into a series of short online documentaries. We’ll share the joys and quirks of traveling the US on the train and our Brompton folding bicycles. We’ll tell the stories of people who are working hard to change the face of transportation across the US. We’ll show that, no matter who or where you are, you can road trip around this country without a car.
And in the fall, because everybody needs to dream big, our goal is to end our trip in Washington, D.C and host a screening of our films with readers, bike and rail advocates, executives from Amtrak and US Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.
Between now and our launch date of May 15, we’ll be raising money through the crowdsourcing website IndieGoGo. You can become a part of our journey and they take care of the accounting. Our goal is $10,000 – which means that we can finance a big move into a larger spotlight. Support us today and, just like a PBS pledge drive, you’ll be able to pick up some personalized goodies from us.
We believe in advocacy through adventure. Nobody wants to change because they’re forced to – we change when we’re inspired by possibility. We want to be that inspiration that shows others the possibilities.