Meet Team LACBC Climate Rider Michael RippensMay 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
Tags: Climate Ride, profile
Last but not least in our showcase of our LACBC Climate Riders, we have Michael Rippens. Michael has been a member and volunteer for the LACBC since moving back to California over seven years ago. He was also one of our winners in our Laemmle Theatres contest last month.
After Michael’s college years, he found himself living in Brooklyn, New York, and saved up money to purchase a “cheap, clunky, Frankenstein-esque hybrid bike.” He mainly used his bike to run errands and to meet up with friends and one day he was invited over to a Critical Mass ride from a friend of his who works at Time’s Up.
“My mind was blown!” he recalls. “Taking over the streets of Manhattan at night with hundreds of other cyclists. . . was hugely empowering and probably the most fun I ever had on two wheels. I’d never before felt ownership of city streets in that way and realized that the roads are public spaces that should be made safe and accessible for everyone–not just cars, cabs, and the occasional parade. Just as importantly, I had the epiphany that the simple act of riding a bicycle could be a powerful tool for engaging in activism and inspiring change.”
After moving back to Los Angeles, Michael purchased a road bike to get around, and when he went on his first Critical Mass ride, there was a lot of frustration in how difficult and unsafe it was to get around via a bicycle. He soon became a member of LACBC and continued commuting to get around wherever he could via bike. Soon Michael heard and attended the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride in 2007 and had a great experience from it. While riding this, he was able to pick up the bike touring bug that has gotten him to continue riding not just locally but beyond the L.A. County limits.
In terms of preparation for the ride, Michael has been training with a couple of friends by going on weekly rides to build up stamina and mileage. They all went on a overnight tour to San Diego. Sadly, a week after the tour and after he found out that he was a winner in the Laemmle Theatre contest, Michael injured his elbow from a pickup soccer game. Luckily, nothing was broken and he has been recovering through therapy. Although he is somewhat nervous about the rigorous five-day Climate tour, he is still determined to ride for the causes he supports.
Through the ride, Michael hopes to raise awareness of environmental issues and also support LACBC in our daily goals. He hopes that riding over 300 miles without burning a single drop of gasoline will make a bold statement in how we get around and that there are alternative ways that are more efficient, healthier, and also environmentally-friendlier—such as a bicycle!
Says Michael: “I bike to make a statement that bicycles belong on city streets and that our infrastructure needs to evolve in order to allow biking to be a safer, more efficient and practical alternative to driving. I bike as a tool for raising awareness and support for causes that I care about and to hopefully inspire others to support my efforts even if they can’t ride themselves. I bike to experience nature while also expressing my respect for the environment by transporting myself in a sustainable, non-destructive manner. I bike to stay active and healthy and to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride by challenging myself physically. But mostly I bike because it’s just darn good fun.”
Michael also knows that alternative means of transportation are hard to swallow but he also knows that organizations like LACBC and movements like the Climate Ride are here to educate and spread the word on these types of issues.
On an ending note, Michael is still working hard to fundraise for the Climate Ride. At the last CicLAvia on April 21st, he brought along a floor pump and searched around for anyone who would need air for their tires. Michael collected donations in a box with the Climate Ride logo on one side along with “Air for People” and “People for Air” to advertise this event on top of fundraising. Although he only managed to raise $18 during the ride and a little more on his donation page, his favorite moment came when a kid standing on the side of the road pointed and screamed out “Hey, it’s the People for Air!” It made him laugh and gave him an idea that maybe he should start up an organization named that. Wouldn’t you support an organization named People for Air?
Lastly if you would like to make a donation to help Michael, do can do so here.
He’ll also be co-hosting a karaoke fundraiser this Friday night if you want to sing some tunes and support LACBC and his Climate ride. Here are more details from Michael:
Join us this Friday, May 10th for an evening of song, dance, food, drink, prizes and good vibes all in support of the 2013 California Climate Ride. It’s free to get in, but proceeds from song donations and the silent auction will benefit three Climate Ride beneficiaries: Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, GreenAmerica and B-Lab!
When: Friday, May 10th / Karaoke from 7 pm – 10 pm / Hang out from 10 pm – late
Where: Subrosa – 3416 Glendale Blvd., L.A., 90039 (Enter trough the alley next to Thank You For Coming)
Why: To help stop climate change and have fun while we’re at it!
What can I win: Silent auction prizes may include bike gear, movie tickets, a guitar and even a virtual Climate Ride experience!
Hosted by Climate Riders Michael Rippens & Garrett Schneider. This event is made possible by the generosity and awesomeness of Thank You For Coming. We encourage everyone in L.A. to visit TYFC for lunch, dinner, a quick snack, or to just drop in and say “hi.” They will be open for dinner during the Fun-Raiser.
Many thanks to our intern Vincent Ho for writing another profile and for Michael Rippens for joining our Climate Ride team and taking the time to speak with us!