Across America on two wheels
Man bikes cross-country to promote sustainability
Rob Greenfield shows his bamboo bicycle he pedaled on a cross-country bike ride. (Bill Smith/Union Leader)
The trip began April 20, in San Francisco and rolled into New Hampshire last week after a bicycle trek from Boston to Nashua. On Saturday night, he completed the leg from Nashua to Manchester, where he spent much of the 100th day of his journey at Arms Park, sitting by the Merrimack River while his water jug filled with water leaking from a fire hydrant several blocks away at the Manchester YMCA.
The idea of a trip across the country to demonstrate the ability to survive while using fewer natural resources was born of a month Greenfield spent living off the land in Hawaii on $750.
"I would be living off the grid, not using elecricity from on the grid, not using water from on the grid not buying packaged food," Greenfield said. "The idea was to take something of a step backward, not to the caveman days but to the point where we weren't wasting our resources so much."
"I had only a 40-degree sleeping bag and it got down to 18 degrees," Greenfield said. "I would make a fire in an aluminum pan and bring the coals into my tent with me."
"You have this flatland in front of you and you're looking at it and thinking 'I can pedal that' but the wind just pushes you backward," he said. Greenfield's bicycle pulled a small bike trailer in which he kept his supplies, including two solar panels used to power a laptop computer.
His journey across Iowa was done with the bicycle seat removed to "stand up for sustainability." He spent no money across Pennsylvania under the slogan "Penniless in Pennsylvania" to highlight the benefits of re-use over disposability.
For most of the trip, his drinking water came from rivers, ponds and rainwater — aided by a $375 portable water purification device.
From Manchester, Greenfield was to set off on the final 150-mile leg of his journey, with arrival in Waitsville, Vt. on Thursday.
Reflecting on the trip on a warm summer day, Greenfield said he hoped that by writing and blogging about it, he would inspire some to roll back their consumption of non-recyclables and waste of natural resources.
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