Dear Tour for Becky supporters,
This is it! With 2900 hundred miles of solo riding already under my belt from Massachusetts to Montana, I am now making plans to remount my bike in Bozeman to finish the final leg over the Rockies and Cascades to the coast of Washington this summer. This section is the shortest at about 850 miles, but it also represents the most challenging terrain with nearly 30,000 feet of climbing. Though the mountain is high, the motivation is as well. The tour is officially named Tour for Becky, after my mother-in-law who passed away after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer. I am certainly carrying her memory and legacies of good works and generosity of spirit on with me. However, I am dedicating this last section in particular to my father, Glenn Stephenson, who died in November of last year. He was a major inspiration in my life with his eternally adventurous spirit and steadfast commitments to caring for the Earth. Click here to read the obituary about his extraordinary life.
This is the end of this 4-year project and the last time that I ask for your help. Because of your past generosity, we have thus far raised and disbursed over $16,000 for several worthy organizations with wide-ranging missions, including childhood homelessness prevention, cancer research/survivor support, and climate change mitigation that will sequester at least 1,000 tons of CO2. In addition to the tangible financial support that you have provided to these worthy organizations, the spirit of your contributions has literally kept me spinning those pedals on the hardest days on the road, through high heat, big climbs, and soul-crushing headwinds. Thanks for all you have done! Click here to donate again and please share widely with anyone who you think might be interested. I am pretty much a ghost on social media, so any help is appreciated. Absolutely ANY amount is meaningful to me and to the beneficiaries ($5 is the minimum for credit card donation). I take personal inspiration more in the number of supporters than in the dollar totals. Also, keep in mind that all of your contribution goes to the beneficiaries as I pay for the expenses of the ride myself.
Up until recently, I had planned to distribute the donations in the same way as last year: 25% to Rays of Hope Foundation (a cancer organization that was important to Becky) and 75% to Trees for the Future (a group that works in agro-ecology, climate change mitigation and social empowerment in Africa). I still see climate change as the greatest threat to humanity, especially having experienced it first-hand on last year’s ride through droughts, fires, and insect infestations. Unfortunately, the brand new IPCC report resoundingly echoes the sobering realities of a growing crisis with a shrinking window of opportunity. However, recent events conspired to add another beneficiary to this ride. In an effort to do our small but important part to alleviate the horrendous suffering we have all witnessed in the war in the Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis that it has ensued, the split will now be 33% UN Commission on Refugees, 33% Trees for the Future, 33% Rays of Hope.
But wait, there’s more! A bonus “Gift” and a chance to win beautiful art:
Last year I teased a new album release and now it is a reality; I am putting together a new collection of original songs called Hinterland. A hinterland, according to the dictionary, is: “an area lying beyond what is visible or known.” It is a word that had special resonance for my father both in his professional life as a political geographer, as well as in his personal sense of wanderlust and deep curiosity. Growing up, it was the name of the travel trailer we used to explore the little known corners of this country in the summers. As a thank you gift for your support, a donation in any amount will automatically give you access to this album. I will be releasing a song every week or two, so check your inboxes. Thanks to Dan Burke for his work adding a professional producer’s touch. Here is the first song off the album that I wrote in memory of my dad. It tells the story of the hikes I took with my father as a child. It is followed by two teasers of other songs on the album.
Once again, artist Greta Bell has stepped up with the donation of a beautiful 8X8” oil on wood that will go to one lucky contributor drawn at random. For me, the painting is suggestive of the high-mountain landscape of the Rockies and Cascades that I will be be traversing on my orange bike. Greta is joined by two wonderful photographers, Kara and Karl who have offered prints of their work.
Looking for more info on the ride?
May I recommend taking a look at the blogs from last year? Each day I did a 5-10 minute vlog entry with interviews, landscape videography, reflections, slice of life segments, and often original music. If you hit that little follow button in the lower righthand corner, you will get an update each time I publish a new vlog this summer so you never miss an exciting day in the saddle.
For a really deep dive into the experience you can listen to the interview I did on the Bike Life podcast.
Here are two short pieces done by the local news channel on last year’s effort.