This post was written by Michael Bagdes-Canning of Tour de Frack

I live in the shale fields of western Pennsylvania.

What do you do when your neighborhood becomes ground zero in the “extreme energy” war and international terrorists Shell, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil (and a host of other rogue corporations) start operating in your backyard?

If you’re like me, you hop on your bike.

Tour de FRACK (Freedom Ride for Awareness and Community Knowledge) started in the fertile imagination of Jason Bell, a fellow organizer with Marcellus Outreach Butler (Butler County, Pennsylvania).  The concept is pretty simple – travel by bike from Butler to Washington, DC along the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath, link up with other folks along the way, put on some concerts, share stories, gather signatures on a petition calling for an end to toxic fracking, build a regional network and join others in the Stop the Frack Attack Rally on the Mall in DC on July 28.

The idea thrilled me.

After the birth of our first grandchild (Dougie), my wife Karen and I participated in the March on Blair Mountain last June, we were arrested in front of the White House on August 22 as part of the Tar Sands Action, we were part of the Ring Around the White House in November and we haven’t looked back.  Little Dougie needs to grow up in a world freed from the tyranny of fossil fuels.  There is something about rubbing elbows with climate activists of all stripes, all ages, all races, and from every region of the world that lets us know that we aren’t in this alone, that there is hope.

Winding 400 miles from Butler through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and ending up in Washington, D.C. (map), the Tour de FRACK will run from July 14 – 28. We are already building networks.  We’ve been endorsed and joined by folks opposed to mountaintop removal, tar sands oil, fracktivists in our state and others, folks for wind and solar, sustainable farming, communities and economies.

The Tour de FRACK is not to be confused with the Tour de France.  We’ll be traveling through some of the most beautiful scenery the eastern U.S. has to offer on rail trails and the towpath.  We’re camping, hostelling, and couch surfing with local folks.  Most days will include a concert by some pretty exciting musicians, networking with local groups, and spending time with other riders.

There are plenty of ways to get involved.  If you think you might like to participate in one of our events, ride for a day or the entire two weeks, or help us in any other way we would be happy to add your voice to ours.  Contact us at [email protected] or

See you on the Tour!

Mike Bagdes-Canning