John Maguire, staff writer
BATH â “Honk for clean energy,” college students shouted as they stood on the granite posts just outside Bath City Hall last Thursday.
Katie Herklotz, Brad Samuels, Arielle Koshkin, and Lauren Audi rode through the midcoast last week, on a journey that took them from Belfast to East Boston. They were demonstrating the benefits of commuting by bicycle, and to raise awareness of global climate change. They joined six bike-riding teams across Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire for a program called, “Climate Summer.”
During the month of September, another bicyclist will ride a solar-powered machine of his design from Eastport, Maine, to Washington state. According to a recent press release, Alexander Kode Foster, 19, of Machias, will travel by bicycle and interview people along the way, “with an epiphanic designation to convey love, hope, and change to not only his own community â but the global community.”
Koshkin, who hails from Oakland, California, and is an environmental studies major at Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota, said the way people live on the planet is unsustainable. She rode a 20-year-old mountain bike over hundreds of miles for the summer internship program.
“I’ve been told that bike’s older than me,” Koshkin said. “That goes to show you, you don’t need a fancy bike to tour the area. I didn’t think we could ride 70 miles in a day, but we rode here from Belfast.”
The internship is a nine-week program. Students spent one week in each town and lived on about $5 a day. Local churches provided places for these bicyclists places to stay.
“I just wanted to show people that a bike is a viable means of transportation,” said Herklotz, of Blue Hill. She’s attending Ekherd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is also majoring in environmental studies. “I really wanted to take what I was learning in school and put it into action.”
As part of the program, the students created a state-of-the-movement report at the end of their journey. Teams gathered together and compared notes on the whole experience.
According to the web site (http://climatesummerprogram.org/), riders travel exclusively by bicycle. The web site states that, “while in each town, riders connect with community leaders that are actively addressing society’s addiction to fossil fuels by crafting local solutions that strengthen communities.”
The program is organized by the Better Future Project, “a new organization focused on helping people envision and build a future free from the burning of fossil fuels,” and is sponsored by Open Space Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting natural and historic landscapes.