Sara has been a cycling enthusiast since childhood. She took her first long bike tour in high school, going on a 1000-mile group bike trip that changed her life. She continued her love of bike advocacy in college, and after graduation, Sara and her friends decided to bike to every state in the US. They set off on their year-long trip and became inspired to do more than just bike. To share their love of exploring, they started doing classroom presentations along the way about science, conservation, and adventure.
In 2017, Sara rode her bike solo 10,201 miles from Mexico to Canada and back to follow the migrating Monarch Butterflies. Her route took her to Texas first, and then she followed the energy of the Monarchs taking her up to Canada. Along the way, she made many classroom presentations about the Monarchs. She made her way to the east coast in the fall and followed the migrating Monarchs back to Mexico.
Sara’s goal is to get kids excited about adventure, not material things. She started BeyondABook.org to help shine a spotlight on the Monarch migration and encourage people to plant native gardens in their yards, roadside ditches, and public spaces. Monarchs need these stopover sites to rest and eat. Isn’t it amazing how a migrating Monarch and a cyclist can have similar needs and experiences as they travel?
Sara believes that adventure can be found anywhere if you allow yourself to say yes. When preparing for a trip, her main concern is that her gear is in good working order. Then she sets off, taking it slow and only going as far as she wants to each day. In her five years of touring, she has always managed to find a place to sleep. It might not have been the best place, but Sara says that when you are in the thick of it and things are going wrong, remember that these are the stories that will stick with you the most. You will get over the hardships, but the story will be with you forever.
Sara’s adventure with the Monarchs continues, and this month, her book, Bicycling with Butterflies, will be available. It is part science, part adventure, and part love letter to nature. She is dreaming about her next big adventure. Will it be riding a horse across Mexico? Or taking a half land/half water trip to study amphibians? Who knows? But whatever she does, it will be an adventure!
Altri episodi di "Bike Life"
Making the Journey Yours
32:16Today, we are joined by Susan Doram. Susan is a published writer, award-winning personal trainer, cycle coach, and worldwide solo cyclist.In 2017, Susan set off for a 2 ½ year solo cycling tour around the world. Her epic journey took her through 15 countries on four continents! It was a “slow cycle” tour, and she credits her bike for helping her meet the most interesting people, especially her Warmshowers hosts, some of whom she is still in touch with today. She returned home to the UK in 2020, just before the pandemic lockdown and in time for her 50th birthday. Before her journey, she spent a full two years planning and organizing her trip. The whole idea of a long cycle tour scared Susan. So in 2015, she announced to everyone that she planned to take a round-the-world cycle tour just to push herself into actually doing it. Since returning, Susan shares her story to hopefully motivate others to set off on their own cycle adventures. Before Susan left, she read all of the books about touring, which made her believe the trip would be absolutely grueling; cycling all day and night. But in fact, a cycle tour doesn’t have to be that way; it can be whatever you want it to be. The beauty of the bicycle is that it takes you off the beaten track and into so many places that you would not see if you were in a car. Sometimes, not following the recommended, traditional route allows you to see and do some pretty amazing things.Susan recalls some of the highlights from her trip, including; the best food she ate, which was in South Korea, Taiwan has fantastic cycle routes with people cheering you on along the way, cycling the Pacific Coastal Highway is beautiful, but going inland off the path can take you to some amazing places. Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia are all very cycle-friendly. Her favorite place to cycle was in Southeast Asia, where she felt very safe and welcomed. Susan’s tour motivated her to become a cycling coach. Her new venture, teaching people how to ride and tour, is so inspiring. She recently taught a woman in her 70s to ride for the first time. Susan’s enthusiasm for cycling is contagious, and her goal is to get more people out there riding.You can follow Susan on Instagram at @SusanLongHaulTrucker and learn more about her adventures on her website SusanDoram.com. Join our community at Warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @Warmshowers_org
29:20We are joined today by Ben Riopelle. Ben is a Vet Tech from Colorado who is combining his love for animals and conservation with a long dreamed about first-time bike tour.Since graduating college, Ben has worked both as a veterinary technician and a teacher. In 2019, while working as a vet tech at a low-cost, high-volume veterinary clinic in Colorado, he was offered a spot on a trip to Panama to assist with an island spay/neuter campaign. Little did he know that his life would be forever changed, and the trip would become a catalyst for pursuing a bike tour that he had dreamed about for years. When he returned from Panama, and almost nine years after first thinking about taking a bike tour, Ben decided the time was right. While spending his summer in Alaska, where he feels a deep connection, he began mentally and physically preparing to start pedaling. He recalls planning his trip, telling his family, figuring out what gear he needed (he knew he was overpacking), and finding sources of inspiration to motivate him. When he told his family about the trip, his oldest brother said he doubted that Ben could handle such a long tour. Ben challenged him to a bet, but his brother was too scared to place a wager!Ben started his tour on Labor Day in Washington, and at the time of this recording, he was just over a month into his journey. He views his travels as less about a bike tour and more about interactions with locals, being outdoors, and, most importantly, wildlife rehabilitation and release. This first tour along the US West Coast should last about two months and is primarily for enjoyment, training, and ironing out the kinks before he takes on a more extended tour abroad. The trip has been a roller coaster so far. Ben had a proper send-off with friends who came to wish him well, and the first couple of days were very exciting. After about four days, his motivation began to be tested when he realized that so much time would be spent deep in his own thoughts. But so far, the trip has been a fantastic experience. Ben has stayed with quite a few Warmshowers’ hosts along the way and is thankful for his experiences with each of them. After this first tour is over, Ben will take a position as a volunteer Vet Tech with the Laos Conservation Trust for Wildlife starting in January. He fully intends on bringing his Surly along and has been told that there is no difference between a 3-day tour and a yearlong tour. The only difference is, you don’t turn around. Ben hopes to spend the next few years biking from one Vet Tech volunteer opportunity to the next across the globe. You can follow Ben on Instagram at @Bennie.andthe.pets.Join our community at Warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @Warmshowers_org
The Gift of Time
33:41We are joined today by Jerry Kopack. Jerry has bike toured through 17 countries and is a member of the Warmshowers Board of Directors. He is propelled by the curiosity of the “human experience” and lives by the mentality to always say yes. Jerry had been following the “formula for success” he was taught in college and worked for ten years in corporate finance. In 2005, his mom called and announced that she wanted them to start a hospice together. Jerry didn’t even know what a hospice was and thought she meant a hostel! But after learning more, he made the leap and joined his mom. Dealing with end-of-life care is difficult, especially at a young age. But within days, Jerry found his purpose and knew he would never return to a “cubicle” job again. Running the hospice was the best thing he ever did in his life. The greatest lesson he learned there – the value of time - will stay with him forever.In 2015, Jerry stepped away from the hospice and suddenly had time on his hands. While deciding what to do next, an opportunity to take a bike tour came along. Jerry grew up riding, and bikes have always been part of his life. As he got older, he made some short trips but had never been gone more than a few weeks. Jerry set off for a 6-week trip and met many amazing people along the way. He thought his journey was complete when he met fellow tourers who invited him to ride along with them for a few more weeks. He said yes, and before he knew it, his 6-week trip turned into nearly two years!One of the craziest things that happened to Jerry while touring was in Israel. He made a post in a Facebook group that he was in town looking for good places to camp, eat and visit. Later that day, he walked into a café, and the person behind the counter looked at him and asked, “are you Jerry?” Bewildered, he answered, “yes, why?” The café worker pulled out his phone, called a friend, and handed the phone to Jerry. The friend had seen his post, and without even knowing him, offered Jerry a place to stay for as long as he wanted.That’s one of the things that Jerry finds so unique about bike touring – you never know who you will meet along the way and how it will impact your life. Bike packing has become a passion for Jerry, and he takes every opportunity to tour. Even a few days on the road, experiencing new sights and meeting new people, is not to be missed. He has learned that tomorrow is not promised, so always say yes when new opportunities present themselves. If you are given the gift of time – take it! You can follow Jerry on Instagram at @WorldSpinsBy and learn more about his adventures on his blog World Spins By. Join our community at Warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @Warmshowers_org
33:21We are joined today by Dan Beaumont. Dan is on an epic 4-month journey cycling 10,000km across Britain to raise funds for Mind Over Mountains.At the time of this recording, Dan was on day 90 and about 7000km into his journey heading down the west coast of Wales. He was resting in the beautiful yard of his Warmshowers hosts, Catherine and John, who are feeding him well! Dan has stayed with many Warmshowers hosts along the way and says the theme of kindness has reigned throughout his journey.After graduating from university, Dan left the UK and spent ten years working abroad in Romania, Germany, and Australia. Once back home, he decided to rediscover his country and thought, what better way to do it than on a bicycle. Initially, he planned to take his time cycling around the UK to see the sights, but then his mate Alex, the founder of Mind over Mountains, suggested he turn his ride into a way to help others. Mind Over Mountains is a mental health charity offering immediate and accessible support through therapeutic outdoor experiences. They believe that time in nature, coupled with professional support, is a powerful way to build resilience and re-find stillness.During his trip, Dan has learned some clear lessons of kindness and is amazed at the help he has received from total strangers. They have been there to aid with bike repair, meals, and places to stay or offer a smile and a kind word. Although he is riding alone, he feels like he has a huge support group around him. Patience is also something Dan is learning on this trip! Carrying everything you need for such a long journey will make you slow down and take your time. Dan views this trip as a life journey and says so much has happened since day one. He has experienced many beautiful moments and believes that everyone would benefit from such a journey. Whether it be cycling, walking, or just traveling, take time out from life to experience all that is out there. Dan takes time every evening to try and capture his day in his journal, but sometimes it is too much sensory overload to get it all down on paper.Dan is a data nerd and has developed a database to record the metrics during his tour. In addition, he has been doing some fun interviews with people he has met along the way. He plans to use all of this information and his journal entries to write a book after the tour is complete. His plans also include starting a nature retreat to help people struggling with mental health. Throughout his life, he has always turned to adventure and the great outdoors to heal and wants to help others do the same.Dan’s advice to everyone is just to get out and go, but take one step at a time. Start small; an adventure doesn’t have to be huge or cross country to be an amazing journey. Use your time for introspection but also put yourself out there and interact with others. If you are hesitating, just go! You will not regret the experience and will come back a changed person. As Dan says, “one is greater than zero!” You can follow Dan on Instagram at DanOBeaumont and learn more about his trip and donate HERE. Find out more about Mind Over Mountains and what they offer HERE. Join our community at Warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @Warmshowers_org
Queer in the Community
31:34We are joined today by Kevin Belanger. Kevin is here to share his wisdom, knowledge, and personal experiences on the important conversation of being queer in the outdoor community.Kevin was a guest on Bike Life episode #33, Great American Rail Trail. He is the Manager of Trail Planning with Rails to Trails Conservancy and The Great American Rail Trail, a multi-use cross-country trail under development enabling users to hike or bike across the US on a safe and scenic path.As a queer person, Kevin has a different point of view on biking and the outdoors. There are many barriers to tour cycling, but the best way to overcome these barriers is by educating and bringing the conversation forward. Kevin travels extensively, especially in rural areas, and is grateful to say that he has had very few bad experiences.Kevin was young and not out yet when Matthew Shepherd was murdered in Wyoming just for being gay. Matthew’s murder profoundly affected him and always colored his impression of non-urban, less diverse areas. His first work trip took him to Wyoming, and he admits to being very nervous. But fortunately, Kevin met great people on that trip that helped changed his perspective.Kevin does not necessarily present as gay and has the privilege of passing. He is a drag queen on the side; his drag name is Whisky Ginger, and she is a salty redhead. But when Kevin is around a group of straight men who don’t know he is gay, he hears many things that he would not typically hear. He finds it fascinating to have a foot in both of these worlds.Kevin feels that the bike community is open and full of love and diversity for the most part. Of course, there is always room for education, but he feels very welcome and accepted while touring. He would like to see more diversity in the outdoors and biking community and is intrigued by the new affinity groups he has read about. These groups create a safe space for people of color, queer people, and various groups to share their interest in the outdoors and cycling. He does not view affinity groups as a place to hide or be separate, but rather a place to share common interests.There are several ways that Kevin feels Warmshowers can help create a more inclusive community. Language plays a key role, especially when asked to identify gender. Also, he would love to see a place on the user profile to indicate that a host is LGBTQ+ and BIPOC friendly. Warnshowers is currently undergoing a technology revision and will incorporate these ideas. The cycling community has been predominately white and straight for a long time, and Warmshowers is actively trying to change that.There is still a lot of work to do around this topic, and some might feel uncomfortable talking about it. If you don’t know how to handle a situation, then do some research. Where ever and however you can, be a part of the change and learn to be more accepting of others. There is a place for everyone in this conversation and the bike community. It starts at the individual level, and it’s ok to make mistakes along the way. As Kevin says, “as long as you are misstepping in love, you’re good to go!”Follow Kevin’s travels on his blog By Way of the Trail and learn more about Rails to Trails Conservancy and The Great American Rail Trail.Join our community at Warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @Warmshowers_org
30:58We are joined today by Aaron Stephenson. Aaron is a Spanish teacher who lives with his family in Massachusetts and uses his summer breaks to cycle for a cause.At age 13, Aaron began working in a bike shop where his dream of cycling across the country was born. He has always been fascinated with the beauty and simplicity of the bicycle. The speed of a bike is perfect for encountering the world around you. The 360° view engages all of your senses and is so refreshing. Every sense in your body gets turned on when you are on a bike.When Aaron was younger, he did a few short 5-day tours with family and always knew he wanted to tackle a long-distance ride. He was captivated by the idea of riding cross country on a bicycle. Tour for Becky began to honor the memory of his late mother-in-law, who passed away after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Despite the challenges that Becky faced, she was always sunny and ready to help others. Aaron feels that the tour is the perfect vehicle to continue her generosity.In 2019, Aaron started the first leg of his tour and set out from Massachusetts, ending in Minnesota. Along the way, he stayed almost exclusively with Warmshowers hosts. Aaron loves the uniqueness of the Warmshowers organization and has benefited greatly from its hospitality. The first leg of the tour raised over $8000! The funds were divided between a group supporting cancer patients and another organization that helps alleviate childhood homelessness. Although the landscape Aaron encountered while touring was amazing, it was the “people-scapes” that captured his heart. Along the way, he met so many amazing people, including some wonderful Warmshowers hosts. Their warmth and hospitality fed his soul and made him feel like part of the family. He calls this unique Warmshowers phenomenon Road Magic! Aaron is so appreciative of everyone that has hosted him that he makes a donation to Warmshowers.org in each of their names to help offset the costs of keeping our technology safe, secure, and up to date.After a year in Covid delay, he is just back from his second journey pedaling from Minnesota to Montana. He is still supporting the cancer organization, but the majority of the funds will go towards buying high-quality carbon offsets this time. His interest in climate preservation began at the tender age of 9 when he read an article in a cycling magazine about how efficient the biological engine (our body) is. Aaron believes many people are paralyzed by the enormity of the climate change issue and wants to offer a communal way to do something that has a tangible impact. To date, he has raised enough funds to mitigate over 350 tons of CO2. But he is not stopping there; his goal is 1000 tons! Aaron is passionate about finding ways for us to make progress together against this genuinely enormous challenge.Aaron is very encouraged to see the bike culture growing across our country. He loves that younger people are being encouraged to hop on a bike instead of jumping behind the wheel of a car. His wish is that this bike culture will grow in all areas of our country. Up next for Aaron will be the third leg of the Tour for Becky, pedaling from Montana to Seattle.Follow Aaron’s travels on his video blog and website Tour for Becky and learn more about Trees for the Future. Join our community at Warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @Warmshowers_org
Great American Rail Trail
24:49We are joined today by Kevin Belanger. Kevin is the Manager of Trail Planning for the Rails to Trails Conservancy and the Great American Rail Trail.The Great American Rail Trail is the flagship project of the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC). RTC was formed in 1986 with the mission to convert unused railway lines into hiking and biking trails. There are many miles of abandoned railway trails across the country, and RTC reimagines public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike, and be active outdoors.Currently, the route is 53% complete, with just over 2,000 miles of trail across the country. RTC works with state and local officials throughout the country to complete more of the trail. Each of these projects happens on a regional scale, and RTC relies heavily on advocates on the ground. They focus on linking these corridors to create trail networks that connect people and places to transform communities across the country, from Washington, DC, to Washington state.The trail is called the Great American Rail Trail because RTC wants it to have a railroad feel. The unused railways in the eastern part of the country are relatively flat, broad, and pass through many small communities. As a result, many people can benefit from these trails, not just conditioned athletes. The western part of the country presents a bit of a challenge as the terrain is rougher, and many railways are still in use. So, RTC is working with trail planners to create a system of trails that follows highways, canals, and utility corridors, to name a few.RTC has a companion website and app called TrailLink, which maps all of their known trails. When you are looking for your next adventure, The TrialLink app can help you find trails near your location. Whether you’re planning an itinerary or have just found a great trail, you can save all your favorites and track your completed trails. It is an excellent resource, with hundreds of miles of newly discovered trails added each year.Kevin calls himself a “certifiable trial nerd” and has biked since he was a child. He says that the best part about his job has been talking with cyclists, trail planners, state officials, and trail advocates across the country. He has been privileged to visit every state that the trail runs through, and although he has not had the opportunity to bike the entire trail, he has spent a lot of time on the eastern leg (Pittsburgh to DC). His ultimate goal is to bike the whole completed trail someday.You can learn more about Rails to Trails on their websites; Rails To Trails, Great American Rail Trail, and Trail Link. Follow Kevin on his blog By Way of the Trail.Join our community at Warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @Warmshowers_org
A Traffic Jam Moment
28:44We are joined today by Lorraine Lambert. Lorraine is a “later in life” first-time cyclist who discovered her path after a traffic jam moment.About eight years ago, while sitting in a traffic jam on the way to work, Lorraine was struck by the thought that she was “stuck on the slippery slope of middle age and heading downhill fast with no way out.” She knew right then and there that she wanted her life to change, but she wasn’t sure what she wanted her new life to look like. She didn’t want a minor change, mind you, but rather something big. That very day, Lorraine made a life-altering decision. She quit her job, left her home and family, bought a tent and a rusty second-hand bike she named Claude and started cycling! The catch? Lorraine had never cycled before and hated camping. But she didn’t let that stop her; she put on her trusty cycling skirt and set off on her first bike tour. What could possibly go wrong?Her first trip was terrifying – and wonderful all at the same time! But Lorraine knew there was no turning back; she was hooked on the adventure of cycle touring. So, she packed her bags, flew to Canada, and decided to do a cross-country tour. Lorraine jokes that coming from a small country like England, she really had no idea how big Canada was!The start of the trip was daunting; Lorraine was terrified and felt totally out of her element. But she persevered and made it through day one. Week after week, she got stronger and more experienced until two months, and 5000km later, she made it to Vancouver. Lorraine learned about Warmshowers before she set off on her trip and was amazed that such a community existed. She stayed with about a dozen hosts across Canada, and each experience was fascinating and unique. Lorraine has stayed in touch with almost all of those hosts who have become lifelong friends.Here are some fun things Lorraine learned on that first trip. Instant noodles and marmalade are a valid food combination. Every country has a prevailing wind direction, which she did not know when setting off. Almost all mechanical problems can be fixed with strong tape, WD40, and cable ties. When you are alone in your tent at night, every noise outside sounds like a bear. And, most importantly, nothing can make you more grateful than the kindness of strangers. Since discovering cycle touring, Lorraine has changed her career path and moved into the non-profit sector. She is giving back, doing work she loves, and always ready to set off on the next adventure. Taking time to cycle has given her the much-needed balance between life and career that she needed. Lorraine is happy to say that she has not had another “traffic jam” moment since she started cycle touring and is living her best life. You can learn more about Lorraine’s adventures in her book, How to Cycle Canada the Wrong Way, and on her blog, Cycling In a Skirt.Join our community at Warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @Warmshowers_org
Cycling Into the Sunset
29:16Today's episode of Bike Life, first brought to you last year, contains some great information on planning your next bike tour. Whether it is your first long tour or you are a veteran, you will learn something from our guest Bill Roy.Bill is a 66-year-old seasoned touring cyclist who has logged over 30,000 miles on his bike! Since 2016, he has taken four major tours visiting almost all of the states west of the Mississippi River. Bill began short touring trips as a student in his twenties but has taken longer trips the past few years since he retired.When asked what his favorite trip has been, he laughing replies, "they are all wonderful!" He has never been disappointed on any tour, long or short. Bill has biked extensively throughout the American west and says that he enjoys touring much more now as a seasoned veteran than he did when he was younger. That's because, when he was "young and dumb," his judgment was not always the best!Bill tours solo and joined Warmshowers a few years ago. He prefers to camp when touring to enjoy the outdoors but utilizes Warmshowers host stays whenever the weather is bad or in a metropolitan area. For Bill, bike touring is a way to get out in the world and experience things firsthand. He says that the great thing about being a Warmshowers host is that it brings the bicycling world to your front door. You can re-live the experiences of your guests to bring back memories of past touring trips.When planning a tour, Bill makes sure that all of his equipment is in working order. He sets a general outline of the trip with some spots he wants to hit along the way and then improvises from there. Bill immerses himself in the place and the moment and doesn't worry too much about how many miles he is going that day. He takes things as they come on the road and says that help is never farther than a thumb and a pickup truck away in the US and Canada. If you run into problems on the road, you can always hitch your way to the next town to find a solution.Bill is always dreaming about the next tour. He plans to cycle from his home in Kansas to visit his sister in Fairbanks, Alaska, and back soon. In his younger days, Bill toured in Europe and plans to head back there someday when he is older, maybe in his seventies! You can follow Bill on Twitter at IntoCycling or subscribe to his YouTube page, Cycling Into the Sunset.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @warmshowers_org
50 Ways to Cycle the World
33:22After releasing their first book, Bike Life, detailing their personal cycling journey, Tristan and Belén dreamed about writing a book featuring unique ways other cyclists travel the world. Their goal is to get more people traveling by bike, so the stories in 50 Ways are relatable to everyone. No matter your situation, 50 Ways to Cycle the World showcases unique stories of riders and how they overcame their barriers to journey by bike. If they can do it, you can too!Tristan and Belén dug deep into each cyclist’s story and had long in-depth conversations with them to portray their cycling style fully. The book celebrates the vast bike touring community and is divided into four main sections. Companionship outlines cycling solo, cycling with others, and cycling as a family. Cycling Styles outlines cyclists who ride tandem bikes, recumbent bikes, fat bikes, E-Bikes, even a wind bike! Belén’s favorite chapter in this section features an amazing couple from Germany who cycled through Australia on folding bikes.The Duration and Age section outlines older riders in their 60s and 70s who might be thinking about touring for the first time. It also features younger people with low budgets who make tour cycling their job by creating content for magazines and blogs. Finally, the Special Projects section rounds out the book with stories of cyclists who tour with a mission such as fundraising or reducing their carbon footprint.50 Ways to Cycle the World is two kilo’s worth of wisdom and beauty. It features cyclists from 23 different countries and strives to be racially diverse. There are so many differences in our world right now, but Belén believes that cycling can bring us closer together. While cycling, you learn so much more about other people’s cultures and lifestyles. You get to meet real people and realize just how diverse our world is. Giving back is vital to Tristan and Belén, and they have graciously decided to donate portions of the proceeds from 50 Ways to Cycle the World to organizations that help the cycling community further evolve. They both believe so strongly in the Warmshowers mission and community and have chosen us to be their first donation recipients. Their donation was used to provide a cost-free Host-Only mode on the Warmshowers Mobile App, enabling hosts and cyclists to connect to arrange lodging quickly. We are so grateful to Tristan and Belén for all they do for the cycling community! You can learn more about Tristan and Belén on their website TristanBogaard.com. Bike Life and 50 Ways to Cycle the World are available at all major booksellers. Follow them on Instagram; @50waystocycletheworld, @tristanbogaard, and @bellotoscani.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at [email protected] us on Instagram; @warmshowers_org