Riders

Benjamin Lloyd Amundson

Hey All, I’m Ben, an activist in Vancouver, BC. But I grew up in Saint Small, Minnesnowda where I got my start in democratic engagement. As a youngin, I visited the School of the Americas (where Latino soldiers are trained by Americans to massacre social movements) which planted the roots for me to help lead this ride. I spent a year at the University of Minnesota where I tried to create a degree called Media and the Environment. I found that Minnesota was not quite the best place for that degree so I moved to Vancouver where I knew absolutely no one. Here I developed a program called Human Ecology of the Americas. This degree helped remind me daily about the social and ecological footprint North Americans have on countries to the south. Having graduated I hope to find work with an organization that promotes healthy coexistence of peoples across the Americas. I’m super stoked to be biking my way through the next part of life!

Samuel Elliott Brewer


I was born on an urban farm in St. Paul, Minnesota and ever since I was able to walk through my father’s garden have been infatuated with agriculture and food in general. I also have a loving relationship with all bicycles and travel as well. I feel that my bike is sometimes just a part of my body that has been surgically grafted to replace my legs for efficiency reasons. I consider this trip to be the ideal combination of my two favorite things in the universe. When I found out the trip was also for charity and I would have the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of organic farming and food security issues, I was personally unable to refuse the invitation offered to me. So here I am, biking across America. Thank you all for your support and for caring enough about our cause to read what we have to say.

Ilana Fonariov

While I’m not sure what to tell you about myself, I am sure that by the end of this trip, this mini bio will be fallacious and unsuitable, and Ill have to write you a new one. In the meantime I guess I can tell you I’ve finished two years at UBC; taken geography, sociology, biology, chemistry, political science, lots of English, economics, nutrition, Mughal Indian history, cognitive systems and psychology. Evidently I guess you could say I like to see the world for and in all its wonderful colors. The world is multifaceted and multidimensional and I strive to ensure my education reflects that.

Shockingly enough, this trip will be the most consistent and routine thing I’ve done in a long while. The only constant in my life at this moment is social activism. We live in a social world, we are social creatures and social activism is the one sure thing that I am passionate about. I remember when I was young, I asked my mom a lot of “why” and ‘how come’ questions. Why is it that so many people are hungry? How come there’s a God who lets people suffer? How come some people have a lot of money? Why can’t I have that cookie now? Why do I have to wait until after dinner? These are of course just a few, but hopefully they create some shades and shadows to give you something a little more 3d. I’ve always talked/ranted and cried about the inequalities in our world, about poverty, hunger, environmental issues, food and nutrition. I’ve probably cried more than I talked and ranted. It used to be hard not to tear up every time I thought of everything I deemed unfair and ethically incomprehensible in the world. These terms are loaded-ethics, fairness, inequality…and they will be common themes in this blog. The short story is that once I started getting active I learned how to laugh, how to be strong, how to forget about me and my feelings and see the big picture, I learned how to face a problem in the eye, smile and give it a solution. This bike trip will make me that much stronger, and I’m already smiling just at the thought of it.

Amelia Lukic-Kegel

Hello Everybody! My name is Amelia and I have worked feverishly over the past 6+ months to take this idea for a bike ride and make it happen! I recently graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a bachelor of science in natural resource conservation and cannot think of a better way to celebrate than with a cross-country adventure! It has been a long-standing tradition in my family to incorporate long distance cycling, good food, good company, and service work on our summer vacations. This tour is clearly an extension of those past trips with a couple new twists! I am so excited to be travelling with such an amazing group of people and cannot wait for all the people we are going to meet and the sights that will enthrall us along the way. Last summer I had the pleasure of working on an organic farm in northern Wisconsin, which opened my eyes to the joys of working with the land. It is my greatest dream to have my own place to produce food on in the future, and I am sincerely looking forward to picking up some hints from the farmers we meet! Amalgamating all of my interests into one, this tour will surely be a trip of a lifetime and hopefully inspire me to find what I would like to spend the next chapter of my life focusing on.

Chris Kegel

Over 35 years ago Chris started working at Wheel & Sprocket, a bike shop in Milwaukee, WI, as a mechanic. He always knew he’d run a bicycle shop so it wasn’t long before he became partner and then owner of Wheel & Sprocket. Now, having expanded to six stores and an internet counterpart serving southeastern Wisconsin, the Fox Valley and world wide web, Chris takes an active role in both the business of biking as well as its advocacy and enjoyment. He surrounds himself with talented people who share his committment both at work and within the community. He also makes it his misson to advocate and move forward a bicycle-friendly world. Chris can frequently be found riding his recumbent throughout the city, or wrenching at one of the many charity rides that Wheel & Sprocket sponsors and provides ride support at.

Amy Nordrum

I grew up in Lucasville, a small town in southern Ohio best known for a maximum security prison and its rolling Appalachian hills. I’ve spent the past four years trying to figure out how to best approach environmental issues, including an internship in Yellowstone National Park, employment with the Office of Sustainability at Ohio University, and a brief stint as a college dropout. I spent last summer working on an off-grid organic berry farm in northern Wisconsin, which deepened my interest in and commitment to sustainable food systems. I recently graduated magna cum laude with a degree in journalism from the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University but am most interested in organic agriculture and the ways in which small farms in the U.S. can expand their business model to include year-round income and fair wages for workers. My participation in this tour was made possible with the help of a few incredible Athens, OH businesses- Casa Nueva, The Farmacy, and The Village Bakery & Cafe– and several friends and family members.

Dylan Smith Jedhucian Rawlyk

Hello, and thanks for reading this. My name is Dylan. I have been living in Vancouver, BC, Canada for the past four years working on a Botany degree at the University of British Columbia. I grew up on a small acreage outside of Saskatoon Saskatchewan and loved the outdoors. This young love has blossomed into my current interests of food, water, human impact, and plants, looking at how we can create a positive cycle between all of these. I have spent a lot of my life trying to think critically about how to tackle some of our generation’s environment problems. I believe that the best method is to not get bogged down by the negative issues, but instead gain happiness, ideas and purpose by growing positive change. With this bike trip we will be talking to so many individuals from many different backgrounds face to face; some farmers, some city-folk, some wanderers, some workers, some relaxers. All of these people have important things to say and having a group of people (the biking crew) who are simply listening to them about their thoughts on our current food system and engaging in discussion will hopefully allow for the positive ideas to be shared and grow, allowing people to realize that there are like-minded people all across the states (and the world), and finally encourage people to follow and do what they truly believe in.

Rodrigo Samayoa

I was born in Guatemala City in 1990. At the age of 4 I left the country and have since lived in Ecuador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Vancouver. Currently I am studying Political Science at UBC Vancouver. Throughout my extensive travels I have been able to see the inequities in the world present not only in isolated communities or countries, but rather everywhere, even in the so called developed countries. Over the years I have also developed a desire to see the world and find adventure. This is why this bike trip is so important for me. It satisfies both my craving for adventure and my struggle for social justice. With this trip we can promote ideas dear to me like food security which has been threatened by the modern global trading system.

Barrett Swinhart

Hello, my name is Barrett Swinhart. I just recently graduated from UBC, and I am pretty sure there’s no better way to put off entering the real world than to bike across the country for a couple months. The fact that we are doing it for a worthy cause just makes it all the more gratifying. I grew up in Vermont, a state full of struggling independent farmers, so the idea of food sovereignty hits close to home for me. I have never done a trip like this before, but with all the great organization and genuine passion that has been put into planning this journey I’m sure it will be an awesome experience. Without that organizational support, and especially without the generous donations of friends and family, this trip would not have been possible.

Natalie Carver

I’m from Arlington, Virginia, just across the river from Washington, D.C. Growing up, I didn’t think much about where my food came from. I didn’t question shopping at chain grocery stores and Costco. It wasn’t until I moved to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia that I became aware of the movement toward local and organic food. I realize that these ideas are not as talked about in certain parts of the country, and am keen to see the pockets where they are. Apart from our focus on food, I am excited to experience this country by bike. I love being outside and couldn’t be happier living on the road with a diverse group of riders. After the trip I will return to UBC and graduate next year with a degree in anthropology. For now, I’ll simply ride east.

Tessa Lukic-Kegel

I was born in the same house I grew up in, in Mequon, Wisconsin—a northern suburb of Milwaukee. Growing up I was into all kinds of things, from catching tadpoles in streams, to acting in Milwaukee’s First Stage Theater Company, to synchronized figure skating. Though being the youngest of four meant years of torment, I have always looked up immensely to my sister Amelia and two brothers, Noel and Julian. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been hanging around and/or working at my father’s bike shop, Wheel and Sprocket. Today, I truly appreciate all of the experiences that the bike world has given me. Now, I am attending the University of Wisconsin- Madison and am currently undecided on my major. Hopefully this trip will lead me in some direction, but it is for certain I am going to learn a lot. I will also bike a lot.

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Responses

  1. I’m Sam’s mom’s friend..and she just forwarded your “website” & journey on line to me..So proud of you Sam..and what a group of great folks to make this choice in your lives!!Will be following your pursuits online!!!..Cheering you on from the sidelines!!..Sally Porter

  2. So this is where you are, Chris! Very cool! Have a great month and a great ride. I hope you post some, I’ll be looking for you! All the best!

  3. Hi Sam,

    What a wonderful thing you’re doing and loved your bio!

    Love,

    Cuzoo Kathy

  4. No picture Dylan! also, very nice Amelia

  5. Power to all of you !!!
    bundles of love and blessings to all of your journeys from my heart 🙂

  6. I’m proud of my son Rodrigo, and his friends because I Share with them the concern about the international food security.

    Go Ahead

    Carlos

  7. I am Ben’s Uncle. It is great to see these eleven individuals coming together for a cause they believe in. We are excited to hear what you have seen, learned, and accomplished. I am very proud to call Ben my God-son …….except for the term “Chicken Shit” in his blog!

  8. To the biking crew,
    We sure enjoyed visiting/feeding your group at the Prairie Dog Cafe in McLaughlin, South Dakota USA
    Happy travels to all.
    Thank you.
    Jerry and Mary

  9. Great cause! Glad we were able to help you out! We will keep track of how you are doing and wish you good and safe travels. BTW, after reading your bios I understand more about how you are all connected which was very interesting. Cheers!

    Steph

  10. Best of luck to all of the riders for a very good cause!

  11. We weren’t able to catch up with the group tonight after the movie, but we will see you in the morning for a fun little ride through south western Ontario!

    Both Monique and I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to hit the road for a day with you all, it is just what we needed.

  12. Monique and I are safely in Stratford after a good day on the road which included coconut cream pie and a pig roast…yeah, we got lucky today.

    I can’t thank you all enough for the letting us join you folks for a day. You are an amazing group on an incredible journey.

    Best of luck the rest of the way, I’ll be intently watching the blog. Enjoy the mountains, I know some of you are really looking forward to it 😉

  13. I am re-inspired and heartened by your concern with, advocacy for, and willingness to look at the difficult issues that we face as “civilized ” people. You are peering into the systems that produce gross inequalities in opportunities and resources for people in our hemisphere to obtain basic needs like food, shelter, clean water. Optimistically your group will help some Bolivians in their quest for sustaining themselves. We loved meeting you at Enid and Gordon’s in Lincoln, MA on your last night. Congratulations on an amazing journey biking across the entire country! Now another journey will be begin for all of you as you set out with this experience behind you. With this experience, you may find that “obstacles” may become challenges and you are so much stronger from this experience. Best wishes , Maureen

  14. hello barett im a studient of the amador de los rios school you are my teacher thanks for your teaching us so much english and many things more thanks

    • Thanks for looking at the site Anabel, maybe one day you will be able to take a big bike trip too! Thank you for being such a good student and keep up the good work!

  15. thanks barett we now so much thinks of English and American thinks we are all the school very grateful of have you and all the teachers of America thanks so much.ANABEL AND ALL THE SCHOOL .BYE

  16. thanks barett


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