The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Bike to Eugene Challenge connects environmental law students to their cause

Posted by on February 22nd, 2011 at 11:08 am

Lewis & Clark students on last
year’s Bike to Eugene Challenge.

A group of Environmental Law students from Lewis & Clark College will embark on a one-day, 140-mile trip from Portland to Eugene on March 3, 2011. Their final destination is the 29th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) at the University of Oregon. They call themselves Team Eugene and they’ve dubbed their journey the Bike to Eugene Challenge.

According to Team Eugene member Liv Brumfield, they have opted to “travel to the largest environmental law conference in the world, twelve hours by bicycle, instead of two hours by car,” as a means of reducing their carbon footprint and demonstrating the benefits of bicycling as a mode of transportation. Their motto for the year is “bike more, drive less.” They hope to inspire others at Lewis & Clark to do the same.

This year’s Team Eugene is made up of around 20 to 30 law students. The group has grown four-fold in the three years its been traveling to the PIELC.

Team Eugene member Amanda Caffall expects that their decision to ride to Eugene will have a positive effect on their Law School as a whole:

“If we can get students motivated to take the Challenge together to make a political statement about how disgusted we are with global reliance on fossil fuels and personal automobiles, we can also get those same students motivated to climb through Riverview Cemetery every day to school […] Can a ride through Riverview Cemetery be one small victory? Absolutely. Can we as students help our colleagues be victorious? Definitely.”

Their decision to ride will likely be met with praise by one of the conference’s keynote speakers, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a Lewis & Clark graduate and staunch advocate of bicycling himself.

With March 3 approaching fast, Team Eugene is still looking for sponsors and donations of bicycling gear, food, and even advice. Ideally, Team Eugene’s ride to the PIELC will help their concerns about the carbon footprint of transportation gain greater importance at the conference. From the PIELC’s website, active transport and transportation reform are issues seemingly lacking from the conference’s 2011 panel and events schedule. Here’s to hoping a collection of dedicated students can effect some change at an incredibly important event; they are certainly having a positive effect at Lewis & Clark College’s Law School.

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  • Editz February 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Bring some good locks – there’s a ton of thieves down here.

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  • Brad February 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Ummmm…you’re not reducing your carbon footprint much if you have a support vehicle. Do it right – load up some panniers.

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    • Anonymous February 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      20 or 30 people using one car instead of 5 or 6 cars DOES reduce their carbon footprint. It is at least a step in the right direction. Not everyone is equipped or ready to ride without the support. Try to remain positive about the things people are doing instead of telling them how they could do it better. Pedal Power!

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    • DK February 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      Love to! You buying?

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  • Zach February 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I don’t see what the big deal is – I ride to the U of O law school every day.

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  • Drew February 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I just read that one third of Americans are expected to be diabetics by the year 2050. The major factor in this is inactivity.
    If you can avoid getting that disease, that will reduce your carbon foot print in and of itself. I had a doctor once who put “continue bicycling” as part of my general health plan.

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  • John Russell (jr98664) February 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I’ve ridden between the two plenty of times. I’m curious though, what route will they be taking?

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    • DK February 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      It’s a route combining portions of a former student’s bike commute from Portland to Salem, the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, and some other local knowledge and trial and error. It comes out to 130 miles plus change with just over 2200 feet of climbing and puts us on 99E for only a few miles. But we’re always open to improvements in the route. What’s your favorite?

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  • chrisgunn February 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Go guys go! I can’t make it this year, but maybe next year.

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  • Jerry_W February 23, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Have a fun and DRY ride, look for the many daffodils along the way!!
    As for the route, from Corvallis (Albany) take Peoria road to Harrisburg, then to Coburg on Powerline road, and into Eugene. It’s sweet, flat and free of traffic.

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    • DK February 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

      Thanks Jerry! We’re hoping for dry cool weather, but the forecast is not looking like it plans to cooperate. The first year we had superb biking weather. Last year it was a mud fest. We’ll see what we get in just about a week. Our route keeps us east of I5 until south of Corvallis and Albany. We cross over at Brownville and do take Coburg in from there. Our route has only four Cat5 climbs and is otherwise nice and flat. 2200 feet of total climbing over 130 miles isn’t bad at all. But I’m sure we’ll be feeling every foot of the route by the time we’re done.

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  • Rachel February 27, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I’m just finishing up our donation of supplies! I hope there will be lots of pictures and a nice recap of the ride when you all are back.

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  • Amanda February 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks for your support everybody! For most Lewis & Clark students, a bike ride to school entails a monster hill climb. If our ride inspires folks to bike to school year round that’s a big win for us–and for reducing GHG’s!

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