Archive for the ‘Travel Summaries’ Category

Ride for Climate Journals

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008
Campsite in la Gran Sabana

Welcome to the journals from my 17-month 16,000-mile bicycle journey from California to the tip of Argentina. Woven into these journal entries are stories of about how the people and regions are vulnerable to a changing climate.

If you would like to search the journals, I recommend starting with these journal summaries below, or you can browse the categories as listed further below.

I followed this journey with a similar trip across the U.S., and you can read about that journey here.

Feb 12, 2007 Bolivia, Chile, & Argentina
Nov 24, 2006 Brazil, Peru, Bolivia
Aug 24, 2006 Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil
May 26, 2006 Central America
Mar 6,   2006 Mexico
Dec 10, 2005 California

or see all posts for a given segment of the trip:

Trip Preparation (7)
California (14)
Guatemala (4)
Belize (7)
Honduras (8)
El Salvador (5)
Nicaragua (5)
Costa Rica (5)
Panama (6)
Colombia (11)
Venezuela (8)
Brazil (5)
Peru (13)
Bolivia (6)
Chile (10)
Argentina (7)

List of schools visited
List of all entries on global warming

Final Thoughts from Buenos Aires

Saturday, March 31st, 2007
Descending into Ushuaia

   I write you from Buenos Aires, where I am preparing for the return home to the States. My head is still spinning a bit from finishing this trip, and organizing my thoughts is proving to be difficult. Nearly 17 months ago I biked out my front door in California and started biking south. Just a few days ago I arrived at the end of the road, as far south as I can bike in South America.

   Much happened in these 17 months. I now have personal connections with so many people across the two continents – people whose houses I stayed in or camped next to. I now speak very good Spanish, some Portuguese, and a few phrases in the native language of Quechua (useful in the mountains of Peru). I have taken a boat up the Amazon, crossed dirt roads over 15,000 ft Andean passes, luckily escaped bandits in southern Mexico, felt the wind and rain of Patagonia, and dodged buses in the capital cities of nearly every country. It is difficult to believe I was able to experience all of this, and looking through my pictures and journals is an emotional experience.

Just another campsite - 30 miles south of Huaraz
I am the fastest vehicle on the road.
An excellent 'Once' in Osorno

   Global warming is a problem that has no borders and will affect all of us, and to solve it will require all of us to work together. It will cause water problems, deadly storms, agricultural losses, rising sea level, heat waves, and major extinctions on land and in the oceans. We simply do not want a planet with these problems – why should we tolerate these results?

The Metro
School Santa Rosa de Viterbo in Huaraz

   In terms of getting the word out, I had far more success than I expected. I visited over 60 schools, giving talks to thousands of students. I appeared in the national media in nearly every country – whether television, radio, or newspapers. Thousands have followed my journey on this site. This success combined with the generosity of all the people I met along the road leaves me feeling optimistic about what is possible.

   In a few days I will return to the United States, where I am sure I will be shocked by the number of cars and size of houses, if nothing else. Many people I have stayed with on this trip, especially in the countryside, live in small houses, are poor, own no car, and have little healthcare. While they would laugh and share food with me, many want what we have, and they would tell me so. I am left with a desire to help these people, but also a sad feeling that we cannot all be rich – under our current system, being rich simply uses too many fossil fuels. If we want the world to be wealthy, we must first figure out how to be rich and not produce so many greenhouse gasses. That is our challenge.

   I ask you all now to turn your eyes to the next project, Ride for Climate USA, which my riding partner for that trip, Bill Bradlee, along with a few excellent volunteers, have been assiduously organizing while I biked. It will be a journey around the United States to promote solutions on global warming, and we will start in Boston, Massachusetts on April 21st. It is a project that I deeply believe in, as it is clear that the U.S. must take serious action if the world is to succeed. You can contribute to this project here, or check our schedule to see if we are biking near you.

   Now, though, Ride for Climate The Americas is over. This is the last entry in these journals – all future entries will be found on the Ride for Climate USA blog. Thank you again to everyone who was a part of this journey, from those of you I stayed with to those of you who simply sent a small email of support. I hope I have given you a bit of a sense of what it is like to cross the Americas one village at a time, and made you feel a little bit connected to the many people who live across these continents. See you at Ride for Climate USA,


   Thanks to my excellent sponsors: Tarptent, Mike’s Bikes of Palo Alto, Chaco, South American Explorer’s Club, the bomberos of Latin America, and everyone who helped with this trip.

River boats at the dock in Manaus
The beach in Placencia
Into the Andes

Miles by Country
USA (California): 853

Mexico: 3,052

Guatemala: 130

Belize: 339

Honduras: 463

El Salvador: 225

Nicaragua: 299

Costa Rica: 404

Panama: 344

Colombia: 1,123


Brazil: 651

Peru: 1,964

Bolivia: 547

Chile: 2,233

Argentina: 2,106

Total: 15,921

Travel Update – Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Welcome to update 4 from Ride for Climate!

    Since last update, I have biked across Colombia, Venezuela, and northern Brazil, traversing the Andes, the Amazon, and crossing the equator. I crossed the ‘half-way’ point of this trip in Venezuela, and the trip odometer has passed 9,000 miles. Ride for Climate continues to reach a wide audience, and since last update, I have visited schools and appeared in newspapers and television in almost every major city I have visited. I write you now from the banks of the Amazon River (map).

Campsite in la Gran Sabana
Rain is good for some things
Chicamochoca River Canyon and Cactus

   Below are entries from the past three months.


  • 5/28 Elections in Colombia
  • 6/5 To Medellin and into the Andes
  • 6/12 Medellin to Bogota – lots of rain
  • 6/19 Bicycles in Bogota
  • 6/19 Mountaintops and Climate Change
  • 6/26 Bogota to Bucaramanga
  • 7/5 Bucaramanga to Venezuela

  • 7/12 Is Oil Good for Venezuela?
  • 7/12 Cars and Politics in Caracas
  • 7/18 Floods and Climate Change
  • 7/26 Biking with Tom Hunt
  • 7/27 Coral reefs in Venezuela

  • 8/15 Into the Amazon and learning Portuguese
  • 8/22 The future of the Amazon?

    A bombero celebrates his birthday in Medellin, Colombia
    Bicycle commuters in Bogota, Colombia
    A bike is faster than an ambulance in Caracas, Venezuela
    Truck full of kids yelling ‘gringo! gringo!’
    Entering an indigenous reserve in the Amazon


    Cartagena sits barely above sea level

       Due to rising sea levels, many of the coastal areas I visited, and especially the historic city of Cartagena in Colombia, are at risk. The water source for Bogota, Colombia’s capital, is also at risk (see journal entry), as the ecosystem that supplies the water sits at the mountain tops and may not survive global warming. This would also undoubtedly cause extinctions. In my journals, I also wrote about floods in Caracas as well as potential droughts in the Amazon – there is a chance that global warming will cause the Amazon to dry out. I also wrote about the coral reefs that I visited off the coast of Venezuela – these too are at risk.

    The Paramo - a strange grassland at the mountaintops
    A healthy reef
    Nice forest - look at the diversity of trees!

       One topic I have not discussed in my journals, but hope to do so, is the possible spread of tropical diseases. In Colombia and Venezuela, the majority of the population lives in the mountains, where it is too cold for many tropical diseases such as malaria or dengue. As the climate warms, more of these centers may be exposed to such diseases.

       I am currently working with people in the U.S. to plan the next phase of Ride for Climate – a loop around the United States to promote solutions to global warming. I will be sending you all an email shortly about this project and asking for your help, so stay tuned!

        Over the next few months I will be stopping in the following cities: Iquitos, Yurimaguas, Huaraz, Lima, Cusco, and La Paz, as well as potentially other locations. If you know of people along the way that would be interested in hosting a ride for climate presentation (or simply help with a place to stay), let me know.

       I am currently taking a boat up the Amazon River from Manaus into Peru. From Peru, I will bike across the Andes, and then follow the mountain range south crossing Peru and Bolivia before crossing into Argentina and Chile, at which point I will send out another update.

       Thank you again to everyone who has helped with this journey, and feel free to send me an email! Best,


    Miles by country:
    Colombia: 1,123
    Venezuela: 1,188
    Brazil: 651

    Travel Summary – Central America

    Friday, May 26th, 2006

    (You would receive this entry as an email if you are signed up for the email list)

    Hello from South America!

       Since the last update, I have biked the length of Central America, visiting all 7 countries (see map of my route) and adding 2,400 miles to the trip. This trip continues to exceed my expectations, and I have visited schools and appeared in the national media of almost every country I have biked through. I am now in Colombia, where I arrived from Panama only a few days ago.

    In La Prensa - Panama's national newspaper
    Camping on the beach, near Las Lajas
    Escuela El Progreso, Los Arroyos, La Union


  • 3/12 Mayan ruins and climate change
  • 3/17 Dennis Murphree joins me for Belize
  • 3/21 Learning to SCUBA and the fate of coral reefs
  • 3/26 Dennis Murphree speaks
  • 3/31 Honduran countryside
  • 4/7 A week through El Salvador
  • 4/15 Should I bike Colombia?
  • 4/15 Media coverage for rideforclimate
  • 4/16 Honduras, Nicaragua, and swimming with the locals
  • 4/18 Hurricanes and climate change
  • 4/29 Pops joins me from Nicaragua to Costa Rica
  • 4/30 Biodiversity and climate change
  • 5/8 Costa Rica to Panama City
  • 5/14 Deforestation in Central America
  • 5/15 A sailboat through the Panama Canal
  • BEST VIDEOS FROM CENTRAL AMERICA (click on the links below to watch)
    Scuba diving in Belize
    Kids dancing at pool in Nicaragua (large file – watch only if you have a high speed connection)
    My father joins me and rides a silly looking bicycle
    Dogs chasing me in Costa Rica
    Riding through the Panama Canal

       Central America is a region highly vulnerable to climate change. Rising sea levels and stronger storms could cause hardship, especially for the poor (of which there are a lot in Central America). Climate models for the region show warmer temperatures as well as perhaps less precipitation, both of which will be bad for agriculture. Many species as well may be threatened by a warmer climate. Finally, the coral reefs that line the coasts are greatly threatened by a warmer earth.

    Monte Verde Cloud Forest
    Building a house out of adobe (mud blocks)
    Coral Reef in Belize

        Environmental Defense has a new website to help you reduce your carbon emissions: On this site you can calculate how much carbon dioxide you put into the atmosphere, and learn how to reduce these emissions.

       I have created a paypal link so that you can give money on my site to the Union of Concerned Scientists and Environmental Defense. Many people have also offered to help with my travel expenses, and there is now also a link for this. These are on my take action page.

       Did you really think I would stop biking? I have decided I need to take rideforclimate to the U.S. Here are the tentative plans.

       In Colombia, I am biking through Cartagena, Medellin, and Bogota. I’ll then head towards Venezuela, following the northern coast before turning south into Brazil. I will arrive in Manaus, which sits on the Amazon River, where I will likely send my next update. If you know of organizations, schools, or researchers to visit on this route, let me know!

       I am now in Cartagena, Colombia, on the northern coast of South America. If all goes to plan, in 10 or 11 months I will be at southern tip of the continent, in Ushuia, Argentina.


    Total Miles Biked: 6321

    Flats by country in Central America:

    four flats in one day

    Belize: 0
    Honduras: 4
    El Salvador: 1
    Nicaragua: 0
    Costa Rica: 1
    Panama: 10 (ugh)

    A Ride for the Climate is sponsored by:
    Mike’s Bikes of Palo Alto
    Clif Bar
    Hobson Seats

    Leave a Comment!

    Travel Summary – Mexico

    Monday, March 6th, 2006

    (Travel Summaries are sent out as an email if you are signed up for the email list.)

    The Metro
    Logos School in Mexico City

       Welcome to the second Ride for Climate update! Since last update, I have biked from the northwest corner of Mexico to its southeast corner, covering over 3,000 miles. I have stayed at 7 fire houses, stayed with 16 different families, and camped on many roadsides. The awareness-raising-campaign has proceeded well, and I have talked at 12 different schools, been in 4 different newspapers, and appeared on national television.

       It is sometimes difficult to believe everything that I have seen these past three months. I have a notebook full of names of people who have helped me out and who I have promised to send a card to when I reach Argentina. Mexico has proved to be a beautiful country to bike across (although there are lots of hills), and every day – from Baja California to Mexico City to the southern coastline – has provided exciting new adventures.

       All of these experiences are recorded within the journals of my website, and below is an index with links to all Mexico entries, as well as a few additional comments. There is a lot here, so feel free to read only what interests you.

    Baja California
    A Sail to Mazatlan

    Entries in Mexico:


  • 12/12 Crossing the border
  • 12/12 My message in Mexico and my first Mexican school
  • 12/21 Riding the one-car-a-day road
  • 12/26 Riding with two Mexican professors
  • 12/31 Discovering the firehouses
  • 1/3 Water problems and climate change
  • 1/9 Hitching a ride on a yacht and wind power

  • 1/10 Home schooled kids at the Mazatlan marina
  • Mazatlan to Mexico City
    I am the fastest vehicle on the road.
  • 1/13 Stomach problems…
  • 1/19 Climbing in the mountains and dodging forest fires
  • 1/20 American School of Durango
  • 1/24 Tec de Monterrey
  • 1/26 Joining forces with other gringo cyclists
  • 2/1 5 School presentations in 5 days
  • 2/6 Millions of monarch butterflies and a few small farms
  • 2/10 Will we lose monarch butterflies because of climate change?

  • 2/15 Bicycling in Mexico City
  • 2/22 Riding to Oaxaca and playing soccer with the locals
  • State of Oaxaca - the road was never flat
    Felipe and his shrimp boat - all shrimping is done at night
  • 2/28 Climate change and small Mexican farms
  • 3/3 Fishermen along the Pacific and indigenous villages in the mountains
  • A ride to the border: ruins and bandits (not yet posted)
  •    I have also put together a short album of narrated videos providing a virtual tour of small Mexican towns.

       I have posted about water issues in Baja. You can also read about how we may lose the monarch butterflies due to climate change, as well as entry on how Mexican farmers will likely suffer under climate change. There are plenty other possible effects that I have not written about, ranging from health-harming heat waves in Mexico City to flooded coast lines in places such as where I went fishing with shrimp fisherman.

    Yes.  Those are all butterflies
    Plowing the fields

       I talked about the monarch butterflies, saying that we may lose biodiversity as the climate changes. Indeed, some studies that I have recently looked at show that the forest types all across Mexico will have to change to another forest type to survive at the right climate. According to one paper I have read, 50% of the deciduous forests here in southern Mexico may be completely lost due to climate change. These massive shifts in ecosystems, combined with the fact that there are people everywhere, will undoubtedly cause extinctions.

       If you haven’t yet, consider signing the following two petitions.
       Also, here is a great list of recommended ways to cut back your energy use.

    Mexico City
    del Fuego takes a break

       I will be traveling through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. If you have contacts with schools, local researchers, or people who have an extra bed, please let me know! (My route has changed – I am now biking through Belize instead of central Guatemala so that I can visit the coral reefs).

       You can leave a comment here!

       I am now one day from crossing into Guatemala, entering the third country of the trip! My next update will probably come in two months, when I reach Panama and prepare for the cross to South America.


    Miles biked: 3,905
    Flat Tires: 4

    A Ride for the Climate is sponsored by:
    Mike’s Bikes of Palo Alto
    Pearl IzumiChaco
    Clif Bar