Montpelier's Mayor Anne Watson just happened to be a fellow participant in a climate change workshop I attended at the city's Unitarian Universalist Church recently.

Challenged during a break-out discussion group to think of something we all could do about the number of cars on the road, I was at a total loss. Then I wondered if our mayor might be willing to inaugurate and co-lead a leisurely 12-mile bike excursion I've done many times along a scenic and practically traffic-free back road from the Montpelier High School parking lot to the Red Hen Cafe in Middlesex. She agreed.

Since then, Montpelier's Onion River Outdoors shop owner Kip Roberts volunteered not only to donate but to help install bike flashing lights to the first 10 arrivals at our event: 2 p.m July 14. The Red Hen's Eliza Cain decided to donate bike hats to the second 10 arrivals. I decided that, supplies lasting, I'd give everyone a banana (known among cyclists for its energy-releasing potassium) and protein bars. I'm waiting to confirm offers from a few other firms. In fact, altogether, it's beginning to seem like win-win, fun phenomenon.

So, if you're feeling guilty about your car use or just want to hear the incessant but brilliantly funny jokes I'm noted for (you can always bike ahead to avoid them), join us.

Sunday, July 14, 2 p.m. at the Montpelier High School parking lot. If enough people attend, this could become a weekly event. This first event —12 miles round trip — should take two hours, including a half-hour refreshment stop at the Red Hen. It's suitable for anyone age 13 or older. The routes of any future trips are open for suggestion. This is not a race. And don't forget: Helmets are required.

Let's bike for our climate.

Ron Merkin


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