Day 1: Had a great afternoon send-off at the Cleveland office of EcoWatch today, carrying our petition signed by more than 7,000 people from all 50 states and many nations. Many thanks to Stefanie Spear and her talented staff for helping promote our grassroots campaign to stop Keystone XL’s southern leg.
Was deeply honored to have Cleveland-based John Clark ride with me the first few miles out of town. John and I shared a DC cell block together as part of the first wave of 1,253 activists arrested outside the White House during a 2011 protest against Keystone XL, serving two nights in jail with 63 others. John’s cell was directly across from mine and I’ll never forget something I witnessed on our second day. It was Sunday morning and John told a guard passing by that he was Catholic and sincerely asked if he would be able to receive Eucharist. The guard’s callous dismissal of John’s faith-driven request was jaw-dropping. It left me thinking just how dehumanizing prisons are, not only for those who are locked away, but also for those with the keys. Here’s what John told me: “That experience impressed on me so sharply how little respect American authorities actually have for the nation’s legally established rights.”
Rode the first 11 miles out of Cleveland on the Ohio & Erie Canalway, which included an impressive number of overpasses (like the one pictured here) designed for pedestrians and cyclists to avoid busy intersections. Great bike path.
Due to the ridiculous government shutdown, however, I had to divert around Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is officially closed. Fortunately, John knew another option that skirted the park boundary: the Bike & Hike Trail (pictured here). It required a sizable detour, but was well worth the effort, as the trail was smooth and quiet and the autumn scenery sublime.
Made it a total of 36 miles down the road to the home of John’s parents in Cuyahoga Falls, who were kind enough to house and feed a tired and hungry cyclist. Thank you, Lian & Nat!