The past month has been eventful from a cycling perspective. Our departure from New Orleans was delayed by a day due to extreme weather (tornado and storm) warnings. We rode through some pretty heavy rain, and over some incredibly long bridges. We continued to meet amazing people, including a family who regularly host bicycle tourists, a man who is running for District Supervisor and put us up and fed us, as well as an ultra marathon runner in her fifties who was very supportive. We stopped in at the Delta Bike Project in Mobile, where the locals are doing some amazing work getting bikes restored for disadvantaged community members; and gave our bikes a much needed clean up. That afternoon as we crossed more bridges, we saw alligators in the wetlands around Spanish Fort, and I finally felt my body really getting used to the riding. Our following day was our biggest yet, with 138km on the clock.
We stayed with some wonderful field biologists, and I had an interview with The Guardian while I was in Greenville, Alabama. We were blown away by the history as we rode through Montogmery, seeing the bus stop where Rosa Parks began a revolution, and stood on the steps where Martin Luther King delivered his seminal speech to 20 000 people. In auburn we gave an online workshop for the California Student Sustainability Coalition, and one of the big questions that came up was how we start the conversation around menstruation. We have been working on so many methods, and often it depends on the situation; however the honest, open, upfront approach seems to take the lead. Menstruation is such a normal part of life, is makes sense to simply speak about it normally. It’s exciting to be making this happen through Sustainable Cycles and through Sustainable Menstruation Australia.
We were warmly greeted by staff at the Hogansville Police Station, and we camped out the back just after crossing the Georgia state line. In Atlanta we stayed in an intentional living Jewish home, and gave our event there. It was intimate, and the stories shared were deep, personal and we felt a real feeling of unity through menstruation. Being a part of the cycle is so important, and whilst we all feel this in different ways, we all have shared, valued, human experience.
As we approached Gainesville, a spanner was thrown in the works in the form of an injury. I somehow managed to get my hand (whilst attempting to access my pannier) stuck in my front wheel at 35kph. I had some pretty severe soft tissue damage, and had to spend a week in recovery. I spent the week resting up and assisting with fieldwork, with our new Biologist friends back in Greenville, Alabama. I rejoined the ride by catching a 15 hour Greyhound bus ride to Asheville, North Carolina, where we saw a black bear cross the road! We were joined here by Toni Craige, one of the original founders of Sustainable Cycles, and she rode with us for three days. She and Olive took a few rest days in Raleigh, and so Rachel and I smashed out 370km in three days to land in Richmond, Virginia, a day early. As I write this from Richmond, I have now travelled over 2500km, and crossed through seven states on my bicycle. The days are getting hotter and sunnier; I am looking forward to the next few weeks, riding with the whole team, giving workshops for Menstrual Hygiene Day in New York City and heading closer and closer to Boston. The cycle continues!