Group bikes to La. to promote alternative modes of travel

Monday, October 9, 2006

An electic group of individuals rode into Cape Girardeau Sunday in route to Louisiana as part of their "Cycles of Uprising" tour.

The group is traveling by bicycle along the Mississippi River to raise awareness for ways to eliminate society's and the economy's dependence on fossil fuels. They began their trip last week and will arrive in New Orleans Oct. 31, spreading their message at universities and other venues along the way.

"Bicycles are part of the solution to growing concerns over global climate change and conflicts due to securing oil and gas resources. We're trying to demonstrate that riding a bicycle can be another form of travel," said bicyclist Alyssa Hill.

Early Sunday afternoon the group arrived in Cape Girardeau from Carbondale, Ill., and sipped on beers at Buckner's Brewery. Later that evening they performed at Broussard's.

The group consists of young people from California, Minnesota and St. Louis: Shannon Murray, Adhamh Roland and Thistle, each a self-proclaimed radical folk singer, and Hill, Art Friedrich and Daphne Saliba, who each perform using acrobatics, fire, juggling, dance and puppetry.

"Everyone has a different intention for being out here. It's been a learning process," said Murray, who met most of the inviduals on the tour last week.

The group will meet at 5 p.m. today at Freedom Corner, at the intersection of West End Boulevard and Broadway, to lead other bicyclists on a community "resistance ride" through Cape Girardeau. The ride is part of a nationwide campaign to rename Columbus Day to Native American Day, said Thistle, a 38-year-old bicycle activist.

Southeast Missouri State University horticulture student Emma Franklin plans to ride her bicycle on the resistance ride. "I think what these people are doing is fantastic," she said. "It's great to see people my age who are sacrificing their lives to support a cause."

On Tuesday, the group will speak to several classes at Southeast Missouri State University about using different methods of transportation in an effort to conserve fuel.

The bicyclists said they each held part-time or odd jobs but prefer traveling across the country to spread a message.

"It has been so inspiring to see people's reactions to a bunch of folks on bikes coming through their town. I really think that because riding your bike is so fun and good for you, that in the future we will see more and more people riding. Especially when gas prices get so high that people can't put gas in their tanks anymore," Hill said.

Traveling about 10 miles per hour on their bicycles, the group's next stop will be in Memphis, Tenn.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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