Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cynthia McKinney Bike4Peace: Days 4 through 11

By Cynthia McKinney
August 4, 2010

Well, it is quite a journey for me. The co-founder of Bike4Peace, Vernon Huffman, is a wealth of global experiences that can keep one mesmerized for hours in interesting conversation. His partner, Yaney MacIver, is the reason I am a part of this historic effort and I am grateful to her for her empathy at a time of deep grief for me and for her acceptance of me now, even though I'm not really a biker--she reminds me all the time that she has a full year and a half of training for this moment over me, so all is well. Yaney makes sure we are all properly taken care of and then she spends the rest of her time either driving with me or biking with me.

The bikers are:

Annie (now known affectionately as "Hummingbird"). She's an athlete, has run at least two marathons, and just hums right along--even on 80+ mile days!!! She is the epitome of "Yes, I Can!" Annie studies the routes as outlined by Vernon and finishes them with style and grace.

Scott (from Boston) is our Determined rider. Scott is with Bikes Not Bombs and that means his passion for bikes preceded this ride. Scott saw an ad for Bike4Peace in Adventure Cycling and thought this was the ride for him because it combined his passion for biking with a cause he believes in--peace.

Aurelio (allows us to call him what his friends call him: Yay-Yo) has ridden across California and Nevada and into Utah with only SIX GEARS!!!!!!!! Now, because of that, I call him 6!!

These young people are amazing. This is a grueling, expensive, daily grind and they volunteered to do this for a cause. They restore my confidence in our ability to effect the kind of real change that will result in justice and peace. They know that we cannot get from here to where we need to be on the cheap--that it will take real sacrifice and they have opted in.

Bike4Peace will have a lasting impact on the lives that we have touched and will touch as we cross the country. We are connecting with progressive communities across the country. Bike4Peace has sparked the progressive consciousness of what some might have thought were isolated communities. Bike4Peace sends an unequivocal message that we are not alone.

Day Five: - Camping: I cannot believe how quiet it was at picturesque Lake Lohantan. By the time we're done with Bike4Peace, I'll be a first-rate camper!!!

Day Six - US-50: The Loneliest Highway in America--perfect for night bicycle rides!!! First stop, Middlegate Station. Well, do we have stories to tell! The nicer one is that my word for the day became "catapult" when my roommate, "Hummingbird" was trying to open our motel room door which got stuck, and when she pushed with all her might, she catapulted right through the door and onto the front porch of the motel. You could say that the primitive digs at Middlegate Station, suitable only for wayward adults, will long be remembered!

Day Seven - We liked Middlegate Station so much we stayed an extra day!!! We used the day to wash our clothes using a real washing machine!!! And honestly, by now, I've almost developed two phobias: clipping in (when I fell flat on my face trying to clip out) and raw hide (it's just darn uncomfortable and something one has to get used to). Thank you to all who sent suggestions to me on this and other issues I've written about.

Days Eight, Nine, Ten and Eleven - Austin, Eureka, Ely, and Baker carry us through the Nevada Desert. I highly recommend Hotel Nevada in Ely and a cute shop owned by an artist in Baker, Nevada. Riding at night and sleeping in the day: the vistas are beautiful.

Day Twelve - Milford, Utah. Throughout one of the longest Bike4Peace rides, it is clear that Utah is a beautiful state. At Middlegate, I played the tambourine with some young southern girls, (we recognized each other's southern accents!) and they told us that Utah was beautiful. Wish its politics matched its complete natural beauty.

Tomorrow , Day Thirteen - We head to Cedar City and camp at a campground. Now, remember, this will be the third time in my life that I will have pitched a tent!!! I've already told my elementary school girlfriends that we all must go biking and camping together.

During our Power to the People campaign, I admonished people that they must do something they've never done before in order to have something they've never had before. At the time, I was talking about formulating independent analyses of our problems and their solutions and then voting independently for the political party that had the platform that best matched common sense solutions for the problems our country now faces. I'm taking my own advice and I know I'll emerge stronger and better for this journey.

Along the way, I've felt the sting of racism: I've been told that the kitchen was closed---even when the sign said food would be served well into the night and that I should go to "Lenny's next to Denny's" and then I was nearly run out on a stick at Middlegate Station as the owner launched into a tirade about Members of Congress. What he didn't realize--and probably couldn't even begin to fathom, is that I'm on his side--more than he could ever know. Artificial walls of division have been built to steal power from the majority and to empower a minority. But I remember that Bobby Kennedy told us that one act on behalf of justice, when combined with countless other acts for justice, can wash down even the mightiest walls of oppression.

I left Middlegate Station just after playing tambourine to that same owner strumming his guitar; I really felt like we pierced through something when one of the little children that was there at the restaurant/bar/grill/pool hall/country music tv hall with only one channel, ran to me as I was about to exit the door and said to me, "You're beautiful."

Bike4Peace is making a difference one spin at a time. Ron Toppi, the other co-founder of Bike4Peace( and who also served as my gear whisperer while he was with us), reminded me that the revolution we seek will not be motorized and with the special interest press the way it is, we already know it won't be televised. However, thanks to John Hurley, Wayne Madsen, and others at the National Press Club, you'll get to meet all of the wonderful Bike4Peace 2010 bikers and supporters on September 22, 2010. If you're in the area, come on down and spend some time with us. By the time we've biked across the United States, we'll have quite a story to tell.


Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.

PHOTO: San Francisco Bay View: Coy McKinney, Cynthia McKinney, Wekesa Madzimoyo of AYA Educational Institute in Stone Mountain, Georgia and Afiya Madzimoyo of COMPROtax in Decatur tool around Stone Mountain in preparation for the Bike4Peace cross-country bicycle ride. On July 24, Cynthia McKinney will begin her cross-country trek for peace in Oakland, California, at the House of Common Sense and will end on Sept. 22 – World Car Free Day – in front of the White House. Bikers from Atlanta, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; Toronto, Canada; and Boston, Massachusetts, will converge along the way with the California Bike4Peace contingent. Cynthia welcomes all would-be bikers to join Bike4Peace. “Even if you’re a beginner, please consider joining us on our Bike4Peace,” she says. “I’m a beginner and I will enjoy the company – in the back of the pack!” – Photo: David Hunter

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