I like to ride my bicycle. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to bike more than 300 miles over the course of a week, from New York City to Washington DC. But it’s not the most important reason; Climate Ride 2008 organized 120 riders from across the United States to raise awareness about climate change and bring our message to the Capitol in the best (and most fun) way we know how.

Our message was simple but direct: We’re willing to commit our own bodies — five days of gruelling hills and sore legs — for strong action on climate change. We expect the same level of commitment from our leaders to ensure a safe future.

Yesterday, as we rolled up Capitol Hill, passing the Washington Monument on our way, I couldn’t help but feel an incredible reverence for this place — a country that gives us the opportunity to make our voices heard, even if we disagree with those in power. The shouts and raised fists coming from a sea of red-jerseyed Climate Riders taking over the road reminded me the we have the responsibility to use that right.

This moment in history is a critical one — it’s filled with hope and opportunity, despite the peril that we face. We have two paths to choose from: one that leads to further destruction of the planet and the people who live on it, and the other that leads to health, prosperity and a stable economy.

As we rode our bikes from the hub of the world economy to the halls of power, we pedalled down that second path towards our own prosperous, safe and healthy future. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines during this critical time, and that’s why we saddled up, donned spandex and sunglasses, and moved for the movement.

By the time we arrived in Washington DC with five full days and more than 300 miles under our belts, we showed the world and our leaders that the solutions can’t wait — that climate change isn’t in the future, but happening here and now.

It’s with hope and determination that we set off on the ride last week, knowing that with each pedal revolution, we’ll be a little bit closer to the solutions we want and the future we deserve.

Photo: Kip Pierson

Also, check out live dispatches from ClimateRide08 on twitter.