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Bike-It to Detroit!

16th June, 2010 - Posted by Kirsten Moller - 9 Comments

The BikeIt Crew

(This is the first of a series of posts by Executive Director, Kirsten Moller as she pedals her way to the US Social Forum. Read on as she shares her journey from Upstate NY to Detroit and the lessons learned along the way.)

Over ten thousand people have registered for the US Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit to look at the ways that the social movement can grow and connect to each other — to  learn about and celebrate our successes, to strategize ways we can work together to overcome obstacles and build the “Other World that is not only possible but on its way.”

Some of us are already on our way by bike, by caravan, by boat from Texas, Arizona, Florida, California.  I’m pedaling to the USSF through BikeIt with 22 wonderful Upstate New Yorkers making our way across New York, up into Canada and then back down to Detroit — learning about each other, our physical abilities, aches and pains and a little bit about the communities we are passing through as we stop to talk and volunteer at community projects in Rochester and Buffalo.

When we get to Detroit, there are 14 different themes to explore  — ranging from “Capitalism in Crisis,” “Climate Justice,” “Indigenous Sovereignty,” “Democracy and Governance,”  “To the left,” “To the right,” “International Solidarity,” and an exciting track focusing on Detroit and the Rust Belt itself.  Will we be able to muster the common vision to build a new Green and Fair economy out of what we are left with now?

The Bike-It group is modeling the best of the values I hope to see in that economy.  There are 22 of us — ranging in age from 9 to 65 (ish) with differing abilities and needs.  We are camping out, sleeping in community centers and libraries and eating delicious vegetarian food cooked in big woks over a propane  flame and everyone is giving according to their abilities and taking what they need.  Sound familiar?  There is patience with those of us who are slow and steady and admiration for the fast and furious.  When we arrive at our destination, tents go up, frisbees and novels come out and then dinner with conversations about what we hope to learn at the US Social Forum and many more conversations about our sore muscles and butts. I will spare you.

Bicycling along the Finger Lakes and along the Tow Path of the Erie Canal has been an interesting lesson in history. Did you know that the Canal was only seriously in business for 20 some years, yet it defined the economy for 100 years after that, making New York City the financial powerhouse it has become and the opening up of trade to the Midwest?  All this from mules and oxen traipsing up and down the same trail we are biking on.  Also, did you know it took 70 years for the Suffragette Movement to gain the vote for women?  Now this doesn’t even seem like that big of a deal — even Republicans embrace women’s right to vote — but 70 years of working for change meant that some women didn’t even live to see what they were working for.

Bicycling has really given me the time to reflect on patience and impatience. Watching the world go by and noticing more details, thrilled by the incremental progress, building the structures, compassion and fairness that we want to see in our new world but not losing sight of our destination.

Detroit, here we come!

9 Responses to “Bike-It to Detroit!”

  • Drea Hightower-Bellamy

    Thank you for the check-in Kirsten! Your words are a reminder that our work from day to day does make a difference even if it isn’t something we’ll see immediately – we can be the change! Safe travels to you and the crew!

  • Medea Benjamin medea benjamin

    What a great blog, Kirsten. Sounds like an amazing trip. Don’t spare us the aches and pains details. I’m dying to know how your body is taking the trip. What a feat–for your feet! And a foto would be fantastic.
    Can’t wait to see you there. I’ll be arriving on Friday afternoon, beating you there but coming in a very old-fashioned, earth-unfriendly fashion I hate to admit–plane.

  • Pandora Thomas

    So proud of you and we miss you..cant wait to see you in Detroit!

  • walter

    I am totally impressed. You’re super. Thanks for representing for GX at the US Social Forum.

  • Malia Everette

    Thank you so much for the blog update Kirsten! I can’t wait to hear more updates and feel very inspired by your personal commitment. I also feel so grateful for your leadership and well your peddling finesse! Love you!

  • Paula Jenkins

    Thank you so much for this update Kirsten. I am sitting here in awe of how hard core you and the whole BikeIt crew are!! What an amazing challenge and experience to be a part of!! I am so glad you will be representing us at the US Social Forum and arriving in such an impressive way!! Take care and safe travels!! xoxo

  • Babette Hogan

    What a great way to deliver yourself to a symbolic city of a country in need of reform. Maybe you’ll spin by GM and take a picture.

  • Kirsten,
    You are our hero. What a great trip and so fun to read about it on our blog. Way to go. Safe travels!

  • tom edminster

    Kirsten-I love you. I miss you.I hope to visit + hear ,bout USSF before I go back to the classroom in EARLY August.xo Tom

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