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.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Guest Blog #1 (Louise Bauck)

My Bird Day Challenge:

This year I took up the challenge again – birding

on bicycle. Normally I participate in a bizarre form

of road cycling, somewhat akin to the exercise a

hamster gets on a “wheel”. I find a local scenic

park, and cycle around and around on the park road

(about 1 mile for my favorite lake-side park), safe

from most speeding drivers. The biggest danger is the

maniac who suddenly backs out of a parking space –

quickly! But park cycling is a great way to exercise

and see birds, as you can relax enough to listen and

to look around you. Our local Georgia parks are full

of wonderful jays, woodpeckers, thrashers,

mockingbirds, titmice and bluebirds.

I have been avidly following the adventures of

The Bird Year tour, as Wendy has been a good friend

since our high school days. In fact, as a “senior

trip”, a group of about 10 of us went tenting and

cycling through the gulf islands in British Columbia,

an adventure I still remember vividly. I saved up for

a 10 speed to use on that trip – and I still have it!

So when I heard the Bird Year tour was approaching the

Florida Panhandle, I decided to try and bring my

trusty bicycle down for a reunion with Wendy. And a

great chance to see some early spring birds!

My new SmartCar has not arrived yet (I am # 983

on the waiting list here in Atlanta) so with some

reluctance I bundled my bicycle friend in the back

seat of my husband’s tiny BMW, and drove at a

fuel-saving pace down to Holt, Florida. It was a bit

embarrassing pulling up to this obscure campground in

the middle of NOWHERE with my fancy vehicle, but Wendy

and Ken and Malkolm were all extremely gracious about

it. Their entire journey has been made without the

use of fossil-fuels, and it was very humbling to see

how easily they managed everything. I couldn’t

possibly be as tough.

I was excited to hear all about their

adventures, and was immediately treated to both

fascinating stories and a delicious lunch. I

eventually extricated my enormous disassembled friend

from the back seat, put all of its missing limbs back

on, and parked it proudly beside the Bird Year

official bicycles (dwarfing them). Wendy and I

chattered away like a pair of grackles, although the

bitter cold – yes, in Florida! - soon had my teeth

chattering as well. We went for a quick brisk walking

tour of the local pine and palmetto swampland, looking

for ivory-bills no less, and marveled at the white

sandy soil and overflowing river. We spotted some

great red-bellied woodpeckers, a white-throated

sparrow, and busy flocks of ruby-crowned kinglets.

Next I was treated to laptop photo highlights of the

monumental bicycle journey that started in Whitehorse

and had made it all the way to the deep South.

Breathtaking pictures of their ride through the

British Columbia wilderness, the spectacular Oregon

Coast, their crossing of the Golden Gate bridge, the

deserts of Arizona, the urban ruins of New Orleans,

and even the endless acres of Texas were all stunning.

The bird photographs were enough to make me want to

quit my job and join them – they are simply amazing.

Not having a nice down sleeping bag, I finally slunk

off to the local skuzzy motel and managed to raise my

core temperature back to normal levels. The next

morning I insisted on bringing a hot breakfast to the

travelers (which they ate with good grace despite its

dubious origin at the golden arches) and then – an

omen! Just before we headed out on our bicycles, I

suddenly spotted a huge river otter bobbing his way

across the grass, about 10 yards away. He must have

felt unsure when crossing the sandy road near me, as

he suddenly did something my ferret used to do all the

time – he “flopped”. His back end plastered itself to

the road, while he propped his head and front legs up

– in a sort of mustelid yoga pose – and he paused

there while evidently collecting his thoughts. My

ferret (Douglas Fur) used to do the exact same thing

when he had a moment of indecision. (“Should I steal

the wallet or destroy the rubber squeaky ball?”)

Finally the otter undulated away again, like a

chocolate slinky. I unfroze and directed a muffled

scream at poor Wendy, who immediately notified Malkolm

(the keeper of The Lens) and we hovered while he

stalked the bold creature with great skill. I can’t

wait to see his photos (400 mm Canon). ..

Eventually, after I had put on every single piece

of clothing I had brought with me, we braved the

bitter cold and set off on our bicycles. I don’t

recall seeing many birds on the way out, possibly

because Wendy and I rarely stopped talking, but on my

return journey I suddenly noticed literally hundred of

American robins, one of my favorites. Growing up in

British Columbia, robins were like a lovely and

melodious alarm clock. Here in the South they are not

as common, and they have a distinctly different

accent! It is a rare treat to see so many at once,

and they arrowed up and down amongst the pines with

great enthusiasm and chirping cries. Blue jays,

mockingbirds, grackles, crows, cardinals, and a hairy

woodpecker also accompanied me. A gigantic turkey

vulture soared ominously over my car, still parked in

the backwoods campground, but I made it out of their

alive and very well. Now longing to ride my bicycle

again, I eagerly await the return of warmer weather,

and many more bird-cycling adventures. Follow the

rest of Wendy, Ken and Malkolm’s journey at !

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