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.

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Orleans (Ken)

When I was a kid, I used to lay awake at night worrying about bicycling to school in the morning. I’d think about all of the warnings my parents had told me about the dangers of speeding cars and swear that I’d walk to school instead. Of course, in the bright morning I’d forget my nightmares and hop on my bike without a care.

Our trip to New Orleans reminded me of that. When you are in Canada, or California, or New Mexico, you hear all sorts of scare stories about the dangers of post-Katrina New Orleans. We pictured roving gangs in dark T-shirts, ready to pounce on unwary cyclists. We had a date to do a presentation with the New Orleans Society for Conservation Biology, but we were all worried about surviving the streets.

We were pleasantly surprised by the smooth bike trail we found along the Mississippi River Levee. It was an easy cycle into town (although the streets in New Orleans are badly rutted and pot-holed). We met numerous people who offered to help us. They gave us their cell phone numbers and urged us to call if there was anything that we needed.

We were only in the city for two days, but my impressions were wildly contrasting. Opulence in the Casino district and the huge mansions in the plantation district and along certain streets. Poverty in the tent camps under the I-10 bridge and in the abandoned houses along the side streets. Non-stop parties in the French Quarter with live music blasting from the bars even at two in the afternoon. Non-stop work for people trying to rebuild their shattered lives and destroyed homes.

We’d planned to cycle east on Highway 90 towards Mississippi, but a “swing-bridge” was out of commission. This wasn’t Katrina related, but when something goes wrong with the aging infrastructure around New Orleans, it doesn’t get fixed quickly with so many other things to attend to. So, we had a little 100 mile detour around Lake Pontchartrain since there was no other safe cycling alternative. After seeing what the people of New Orleans were dealing with, we thought we got off lightly.


yukon said...

Happy New Year Malkolm, Wendy & Ken!

I've been following your blog and find it really interesting and funny as well. What an awesome adventure you are on! Keep up the good work and be careful. Happy New Year.
All the best, with admiration and a little envy,

Linda Gerrand

yukon said...

Happy 2008 to Malkolm, Wendy and Ken!

The Bird Year, and in particular Malkolm's ever-growing bird list continues to be a source of inspiration. Hard not to wish we were out there with you! Recent eye-catching standouts include Yellow Rail, Sprague's Pipit, Whooping Crane, Mountain & Piping Plovers, Aplomado Falcon, and of course all three Rosy-Finches.

All the best on your continued adventures from all your birding friends in the Yukon.

Go Malkolm!!

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Hi! I was at Nowe Miasto for your presentation in New Orleans and I wanted to thank you for making our crazy city one of your stops. I really enjoyed hearing about your adventures and some of the amazing birds you've encountered. I was going to ask you all if you had seen some of our Monk Parakeets, but I see they're on your list from New Orleans to Hammond! There's nothing like looking our your bedroom window at a downtown skyline and seeing a streak of green, I'll tell you... Anyway, thanks again and I'd love to participate in your Bird Day Challenge. Once I figure out what I'm doing, I'll let you know! Keep up the great cycling and spotting!

ps- sorry about the deleted post. I forgot the check off the e-mail for follow up comments box!