Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Police Escort (Wendy)

Dec 21: Winter solstice and the half way point of Bird Year. We have travelled 6924 miles and Malkolm has identified 417 bird species. We have had about 40 flat tires, and exactly 13 broken spokes. We have consumed 1,800,000 calories and burned up slightly more. We have slept 147 nights in our tents and eaten rice, beans and tortillas sixty times for supper, thirty times for lunch and once for breakfast. We were in Galveston when we took our official half-way portrait. It was 66 and pleasant T-shirt weather.

Before we started Bird Year, I worried most about angry drivers, the kind who might want to rid the world of cyclists. We have encountered very few of those.....and NONE HAVE SUCCEEDED! Two drivers in a Texas border town came pretty close, within half an hour. But this blog is about the happy encounters we have had on the road.

Several times, in a construction zone, we have coasted alongside a line of parked cars and been stopped by the flagger. The flagger has waved us through, giving us the whole lane. Other times, a pilot car has followed us, keeping the other vehicles back. That’s fun.

Out on the open road, train engineers toot their whistles at us. The first time it happened, I didn’t think the train was whistling at us. I figured it out when the whistling stopped after I waved back. Truckers honk their horns in a friendly way. It’s like there’s a fellowship of the less-travelled road. Motorcyclists wave when we are out in the country, but not in town.

On the Texas Gulf Coast, causeway bridges cross many of the bays. We knew there was a bridge several miles long outside Port Lavaca, so we went into extra-safety mode. We put on our bright yellow jackets. We rode in a tight little line: me, Malkolm, Ken. The shoulder was narrow and dirty. I concentrated on riding straight, just outside the white line. When I dared to glance in my rear view mirror, I saw black pickup close behind Ken. Ken shouted that it had veered over from the outer lane. It followed Ken, forcing the other traffic to go around us. Dang! It was protecting us. With considerate drivers like that, who needs extra-safety mode? Before the end of the bridge, the black truck took off. Instead flashing blue and red lights brought up the end of our procession. This must be how it feels if you’re a visiting head-of -state! Without even asking, Team Bird Year had a Police escort.


Kirst said...

Congratulations you guys. You really left it all on the ice...I mean road, and took it for the team. I guess it's a lesson for all of us that if you keep putting pucks on net...I mean birds in binocs, you'll eventually get a goal, I mean meet your goals.

Greetings from Vancouver island, where I hear mom's bird clock as I write this and have absolutely no idea what species it is.

I'm still recovering from the Yellowpoint bloat fest. The YP triathlon competition was keen this year, with Sam scoring high points for falling asleep while reading, Katrina for eating not just her alloted two lemon tarts at dessert, but one of Carol's also.
p.s. Wendy, you'll be glad to know that me, mom, polly, sam and katrina all took a Solstice ocean dip!

Sam said...

Hi k,w,m,

Congratulations on passing the half way mark with over 400 species. Sam, Mary and I were proud of our difficult identification of surf scoters, black scoters, harlequins (o.k. not so hard to identify...) and golden crowned kinglets at Yellow Point. It was difficult to find the time to identify birds with the constant food intake, sleeping and ping pong going on. At Yellow Point we burned no fossil fuels but consumed 18,456,873,000 calories and burnt substantially less.

Hope you have a merry christmas!
love pooter and sam