In August 2016, I began a PhD program in geography at the University of California at Berkeley. I study human-environment relations in cities and the ocean. On the side, cycling forms a personal and intellectual pet project.
Most of you know that before I moved to California, I lived in India where I witnessed some of the great environmental challenges of our time. I have seen first-hand the devastation of both wilderness and urban greenscape, on which people depend for life and livelihood. I have biked and jogged in smog-choked cities where life expectancy drops by years because of toxic air quality. I have sweltered in drought made worse by climate change and walked in villages where wells continue to run dry. And I have worked for small NGOs that fight for sustainability, conservation and protection of livelihoods linked to the environment.
These issues are hardly limited to the Global South. Industrial pollution weighs heavily on neighborhoods in U.S. cities and even the countryside (often disproportionately hurting minorities and the marginalized). Drought threatens both farmlands as well as urban drinking water. And most of us, urban or rural, practice lifestyles that generate staggering amounts of waste and greenhouse gases.
I try to confront mounting global environmental challenges personally through a commitment to cycling — for my daily commute, to run errands and for fun. I know I'm lucky in that my circumstances permit me to primarily cycle everywhere (with some supplementary public transit). I don't have children. I don't play a string bass or carry power tools. My work is flexible, and no one expects me to wear a suit. I have large thigh and calf muscles.
To make it easier for others to ride a bicycle, I have joined a national charitable campaign called Climate Ride. In June 2017, I'll be cycling close to 300 miles along the California coast, all the way from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo, to raise money and awareness for bicycling and sustainability.
I'm asking for your encouragement, support, and, yes, sponsorship. I've set a personal fundraising goal of $7,001 and I'm going to need help from a network of family, friends and even strangers.
I'll be riding on a team representing Bike East Bay — an important NGO that advocates for sustainability and active transportation around my home, the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay. Money I raise helps Bike East Bay fight for better bicycle infrastructure and protections on the very roads that I ride.
You can make a secure online donation by clicking on the Support Me button. You'll automatically receive an acknowledgment and I will be notified of your support. If you're not comfortable donating online, you can also donate to me directly and I'll contribute on your behalf.
What do you get by donating?
First and foremost, you make an impact. Climate Ride donations constitute Bike East Bay's single largest funding stream. Your dollars mean more cycling lanes, more education, more advocacy, more protection.
You also get a chance to participate with me through my sweat. I am incredibly lucky to have the flexible hours needed to dedicate time and energy to months of training. I'll happily endure muscle pain or an inevitable crash on our behalf. Your contribution means you ride vicariously.
Regular updates from my training, adventures and snafus. Laugh when my cycling shorts split open; be ready to write a lawmaker when you hear about my crash because of horrendous traffic signaling.
As a special bonus, folks who contribute $50 or more will receive a set of high-resolution, print-quality landscape photos from my ride through coastal California. Think iconic Highway 1!
Finally, you can answer my own challenge to donors. If I reach my fundraising goal, I promise to turn one of my big ride days into a full century, voluntarily tacking on about 30 more miles. That's 100 miles of sweat and tears in a single day!
Thank you, in advance, for your help. Let's do this together.