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Biking the Northwest, Saving the Gulf

George Makrinos and Brian Bolen fell in love with bicycling early in life, thanks to its long list of benefits — including transportation versatility, personal and community health, and of course environmental sustainability. But with millions of gallons of oil spewing from the BP oil-spill disaster in spring 2010, biking took on more significance than ever for both men, specifically as a means of independence from fossil fuels. As Makrinos declared, “Wars cost money, oil spills cost more than money. Bicycling can help remove the incentive for these violent conflicts by releasing fossil fuel's grip on the world economy and psyche. We say, ‘So long, addiction to oil.’ ”

In June 2010, Makrinos and Bolen — along with fellow bicyclist and architecture enthusiast Leo Salom — decided to say goodbye to oil addiction in the best way they could think of: through a well-publicized, 2,000-mile bicycle tour from Alaska to California, which they dubbed Bicycle-Pacific-Northwest. Besides spreading their pro-bike, anti-oil message through public outreach surrounding the tour, they decided to make the endeavor a fundraiser for the environment — specifically, for efforts to fight the destruction caused by the Gulf spill and to prevent further oil spills from devastating wildlife, habitat and human well-being.

In addition to taking on this ride as a way to make themselves and others aware of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and to promote the bicycle as a viable means of transportation, riders George Makrinos, Brian Bolen and Leo Salom have a goal of raising money and awareness to benefit the Center for Biological Diversity’s Gulf Disaster Fund and help protect valuable land and habitat from the dangers of offshore drilling.

“This is more than just a ride,” they declared. “This summer we’re riding with a sense of urgency. In the face of the recent coal-mining and oil-spill catastrophes, we’re invited to reconsider the consequences of our fossil-fuel appetite and act toward solutions to avoid future costs to our environment. Bicycle-Pacific-Northwest's goal is to promote the bicycle as a viable alternative means of transport by identifying with the public-opinion shift away from fossil-fuel dependence.”

Track Makrinos and Bolen’s daily progress on their Bicycle-Pacific-Northwest blog.

Donate to the Center’s Gulf Disaster Fund by supporting the Bicycle-Pacific-Northwest tour today.

Learn more about the Center’s campaign to combat the causes of the BP oil spill and end offshore oil drilling for good through our updated-daily Gulf Disaster webpage.

Want to share your story in our Activist Spotlight?
A sea change can begin with bike-crazy conservationists — or maybe, it can begin with you. If you or someone you know has found a creative way to turn concern for the planet — and for endangered plants and animals — into change for the better, we'd like to share your story with the world. Send us your spotlight idea here.

And check out other activists we've honored here.







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Banner photo © Robin Silver