Sharing, socialising and awareness. In a single word, cycling. This year, Ride with Us went to Bonn

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Sharing, socialising and awareness. In a single word, cycling. This year, Ride with Us went to Bonn
November 2017

Is there a way to combine two very different passions into a single, unique project? When you find it, the result can be surprisingly amazing, and go beyond our little daily lives.
Daniele Pernigotti, environmental consultant and journalist, author of the book “Con l’acqua alla gola” on global warming, has found a way to bring together two of his greatest interests - cycling and climate change - by creating Ride With Us. It's an ambitious, important project that allows you to enjoy the environment from a privileged point of view: the saddle.

Credit Gabriele Regini

Here's what he told us about his project!
The first question that arises is this: where does the idea of Ride with Us come from?
Ride With Us
is a project created in 2014 by me and Claudio Bonato, a dear friend of mine who loves cycling just like I do. We are both passionate about the issue of climate change and its impact on the environment and people's lives. For us to actively support climate conferences means to give form to and boost people's interest in an issue that is becoming increasingly urgent every year.

And what does this awareness of yours translate into?
Ride With Us is our personal answer. It's an initiative that we have been proposing for four consecutive years with increasing success; it's a bike ride that starts from Venice and reaches European cities that host important events on climate change each time, such as the UN Climate Conferences. We chose bikes because we don't only want to show or prove a point; our desire to make people more aware of climate change starts with something that people can actually change, that is their personal mobility, which must absolutely become environmentally sustainable. And what is the most sustainable means of transport today? Bikes.

Credit Gigi Barbiero

How do you organise your journey to cities that host climate change conferences?
It begins the night before leaving, with a climate conference that we always organise near Venice, to which we invite a different scientist every year. This year we had oceanographer and writer Sandro Carniel, who talked about climate and oceans. The group leaves the next day from Marghera and travels 130 kilometres per day on average, towards the city hosting the Conference. In 2017 we went to Bonn, but in the past years we reached Copenhagen, Paris and Turin.

Credit Gigi Barbiero

Our goal is to promote reflection and awareness through socialisation, which is why we organise events and meetings with leading scientists and researchers along the way, such as Carniel for example, or Renato Fabrello who, during our Borgo Valsugana leg, talked about the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which still affect the world today.

What are the entities you partner with?
We are mainly sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment and the municipalities that we come across along the way, which support the project by organising meetings and conferences on this topic that matters so much to us.

How can people support the project?
There are different ways to do this; first of all, by taking part in it, that is by joining the ride; it is important, because it's a way to get to know new places and new people, to build relationships of friendship and collaboration, and to take real action to combat climate change. Another way is to support us as we cycle across Europe with equipment that make it easier to ride. Just like Selle Royal, which took the Ride with Us project to heart since the first edition in 2014, and has always supported us by providing saddles to all the participants.

Credit Gabriele Regini

This year, SR has made it much more comfortable for us to cover 80 miles every day from November 1 to 10 to reach Bonn. For example, I never used a chamois for the entire 750 miles, and I can tell you that the Respiro saddle by Selle Royal made my ride incredibly comfortable, so I didn't feel sore at the end of the day!

How do you join Ride with Us?
It's actually very easy: you just need to contact us by filling in the form on our website or through the project's Facebook profile, if you want to leave from Venice with us and do the whole journey together. But anyone who wants to join the ride, or even just a little part of it, can find out where we are through our updated map on the website and wait for us to arrive. There are no constraints and you don't pay to subscribe. From advertising to conference speakers, nothing is paid; everything is based solely on volunteering.

Credit Gigi Barbiero

What about the future of Ride with Us? When is the next trip going to be?
No doubt there will be a new ride to the next town where a climate conference will be held, that is Katowice in Poland, in December 2018. We will start to meet those who are interested in the project from January, to plan the route and its legs, and to organise the events that will take place along the way. We are also planning to expand the project by making Ride with Us become part of a network of similar groups, leaving from several European countries to get to Katowice, all together and all by bike.

It is a beautiful way to raise people's awareness of climate issues and at the same time share passions and emotions.

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