July 11, 2017
Each of the 173 Bike Travel Weekend volunteers put a creative spin on their own volunteer opportunity, and Kendra Newman was no exception. We caught up with Kendra and learned about how she combines her love for bike travel with crafting and cooking. Check out her blog, www.eatbikecreate.com, and find out more about how Kendra volunteered for Bike Travel Weekend.
But first, you don’t have to wait until Bike Travel Weekend during the first weekend in June to volunteer your way. Bike Your Park Day on September 30 is less than three months away and Adventure Cycling still needs volunteers to sign up. Volunteers can do as little or as much as they wish and volunteer whenever it’s convenient for them. And Adventure Cycling will send everyone a gift and provide volunteer support.
Now back to Kendra Newman ...
Originally from Ohio, I’ve lived in Sarasota, Florida for 16 years where I work full-time at a small manufacturing company.
About 10 years ago, I bought my first road bike and it changed my life. In an effort to get strong and fit, my first riding experiences were long distances at fast speeds, fueling with sports drinks and gels. Then I met Mike, now my husband, and he turned me on to bike travel in 2011 by inviting me on RAGBRAI.
Although RAGBRAI is considered a tour, we turned the trip into bike travel by riding the reverse route from the end town to the start town the week prior to the official ride. We stopped at pubs, quirky museums, roadside historical markers, and motels along the way while carrying our own gear and meeting the locals. I loved it.
Lately, much of our bike travel is limited to weekends and local destinations like Boca Grande, Tampa, New Smyrna Beach, Warm Mineral Springs, and the Florida Keys. I love to carry my gear and have the feeling of total reliance on myself. Not a big fan of camping, we prefer to look at the economic impact our bike travels provide for our state. When possible, we stay in mom and pop motels and eat at locally-owned restaurants and pubs where our money stays in the community.
Besides cycling, I love to sew and craft and often my projects are bike related — like the earrings I make out of recycled bike chains.
When I really enjoy doing something, like bike travel, I tend to want to get others involved too. Friends and family might say I am a little pushy. I prefer to think of it as sharing my enthusiasm. By signing up to be a volunteer, I hoped I would be able to extend my influence beyond my small group and reach others who might enjoy participating in the weekend. The opportunity to connect with other bike travelers and volunteers across the country seemed like a great way to join together and create a bike travel movement.
Social media played the biggest role in how I tried to influence others to join Bike Travel Weekend. I registered our trip on the Bike Travel Weekend website and created a Facebook event page that was open to the public. The postcards and stickers were great. I gave some of those out to cycling friends and talked about the weekend to anyone who would listen.
I already have friends who want to participate next year, which inspires me to make the weekend bigger and better than ever. Through the Bike Travel Weekend hashtag, #biketravelweekend, I also saw other cyclists who braved the Florida heat to participate, so I may want to touch base with them and put together a combined trip. Since economic impact is an important factor for me, I’m also thinking about ways to involve local businesses like restaurants and hotels in Bike Travel Weekend. Ultimately, I hope to show that anyone can travel by bike, no need for fancy gear or long stretches of time, and a weekend is a great place to start.
Adventure Cycling Association wouldn’t be able to create a bike travel movement without enthusiastic people like Kendra. Will you join Kendra by signing up to volunteer for Bike Your Park Day? We look forward to seeing you on September 30 for Bike Your Park Day!
Photos courtesy of Kendra Newman
Bike Your Park Day Bike to or within nearby parks and public lands with thousands of people around the country on the same day — Bike Your Park Day on September 29, 2018. Bring friends and family to join the ride and discover the outdoor adventures in your backyard. Make it your own experience: ride any distance; go with friends, family, or join a group; bike on trails or roads. Visit a national or state park, monument, historic site, river, seashore, recreation area, preserve, forest, wildlife refuge, or parkway. #BikeYourPark