Back in December, an announcement flooded my social media about a collective of eco-enthusiasts that called themselves the Green Riders. Being an avid cyclist and eco-nut myself, I was extremely intrigued, so I clicked the link that led to a blog posting by Rob Greenfield, an environmental activist TV personality, which outlined a plan to travel across the United States on a bicycle supporting sustainability and the Food is Free movement by planting gardens and volunteering at a variety of organic farms along the way. I’ve been following Rob’s adventures for a couple years now and know that he has done this cross-country trip twice on a bamboo bike. This time was different, this time he was inviting others to join him and something inside of me sparked to life!
I have been living in the Vail Valley for the last 4 years working for Walking Mountains Science Center as the coordinator for Girls in Science, an afterschool program for girls in 3rd-5th grades. The mission of Walking Mountains is “to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education.” I live and breathe this mission and feel truly grateful to be able to do that which I’m most passionate about on a daily basis, fostering a love for science while inspiring young women towards more sustainable lifestyles. When I made the decision to join Green Riders, I wasn’t sure what my future at the organization would look like. I knew I had to follow this deep calling, but I wasn’t sure what reaction I would receive from my professional community, seeing as I wanted to commit to joining the group for the bulk of the summer. In one of the most daring, difficult and riskiest moves I’ve ever made, I decided to give up my position at Walking Mountains in order to pursue this ultra-challenging, sustainable-living opportunity. What happened next was a lesson in what can transpire when you truly let go of your fears, follow your instincts and surrender your life to the universe.
Rather than relinquish my job, I was asked to consider taking a leave of absence during my time riding across the country. It never occurred to me that I could do something like this. To be given the chance to pursue such a personal undertaking without having to leave the job I cherished made me feel valued among my coworkers and filled me with humbling gratitude. To my continued surprise, this wouldn’t be the first show of support. To help me prepare for the coming adventure, I reached out to family, friends and connections I made through work partnerships. It has been said that if you want to know if you’re on the right track in life, be patient, keep yourself open, and you’ll eventually see things fall into place naturally. The feedback, advice, sponsorships, and motivation I have received since making my summer plans public, is evidence of the incredible community I am a part of and conveys to me that I am indeed on a purposeful path.
The most impactful support I have so far received came from Mike Brumbaugh and his amazing crew at Venture Sports. This locally owned and operated, one-stop ski and bike shop has been voted “Best of Vail Valley” for over a decade and it’s not hard to understand why. Not only do these folks offer incredible passion and services with a 100% money back guarantee, but they are champions of community endeavors, such as The Cycle Effect, whose mission is to empower young women through mountain biking to achieve brighter futures and build stronger communities. During the 2016 winter season, The Cycle Effect, Venture Sports’ very own Tracy Sample and Nadine Davis from the Vail Valley Vixens collaborated with me to create a “Take it apart & put it back together” bike challenge lesson, teaching my Girls in Science participants simple machine components through basic bike mechanics! Upon hearing of my commitment to the Green Riders tour, Venture Sports graciously offered to sponsor my endeavor with bike tune ups, a bike maintenance workshop, donations and discounts to help me gear up and prepare for the challenge of a lifetime. Just recently, the Vail Valley Vixens covered my membership into their group to support my training and I’m so excited for the opportunity to learn from these incredibly athletic women.
I’ve relished the encouraging words, support, advice, tips and insight I have received from so many community members, such as Mike and all the Venture Sports team, Nadine and other Vixens, my colleagues at Walking Mountains, my Girls in Science participants, and all my friends and family members. I am so excited to start my Green Riders adventure and have the opportunity to inspire others to take risks and follow their passions. I especially hope that by sharing this journey and the challenges that come with it, I can motivate others towards more sustainable and equitable community change. The adventure begins for me at the start of July and I will be video blogging unique experiences along the way while spreading the word about our incredibly supportive and empowering Vail Valley community!
If you are interested in receiving more bike bliss information about the Green Riders 2017 tour or to sign up for the video blog updates, feel free to email Nicole Abrams at firstname.lastname@example.org.