Whale of a ride: Why this techie and his teen daughter are traversing the U.S. on a tandem bike

A Seattle woman with a love and concern for endangered orca whales hopped on a tandem bicycle along with her tech-savvy father Saturday morning to start out a cross-country trip to boost consciousness and cash to assist the species.

Olivia Carpenter, a 14-year-old freshman at Roosevelt Excessive College, is taking on the huge journey this summer season along with her father John Carpenter, the longtime IT supervisor at Madrona Enterprise Group.

On a sunny morning at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, the two shared donuts with pals and household earlier than doing a conventional dip of their bike’s wheel in Elliott Bay. Joined by one other dozen or so riders, they then headed off on the Burke Gilman Path and the first leg of the journey, which is able to take them to Oxbow Farm and Conservation Middle, 37 miles away in Duvall, Wash.

Over the subsequent 9 weeks, they hope to common about 63 miles per day and full the 3,400-mile journey by Aug. 25 — Olivia’s fifteenth birthday. Alongside the manner, some inventive expertise will assist in the effort.

“I’ve been an avid biker in all probability since school,” John Carpenter mentioned. “Each of my daughters, Olivia and the older one, Rebecca, have been biking with me all their lives and are used to the thrill of excessive speeds on the path and all that.”

About six years in the past, Carpenter purchased his first tandem bike off of Craigslist and he and Olivia picked it up in Bremerton, rode aboard the ferry to get again to Seattle and have been hooked ever since. They’ve ridden the bike throughout the metropolis and toured the San Juan Islands, the place Olivia has had a lengthy curiosity in the southern resident orca inhabitants which frequents the Salish Sea.

“My dad was the first one to suggest the thought of driving throughout the nation,” Olivia mentioned. “Instantly I jumped in, ‘Yeah, completely! This sounds so cool, it’d be a lot enjoyable.’ We rapidly realized that since we’re doing such a cool journey that we must always increase cash, and since I used to be a little child I’ve had a enormous and deep ardour for the orcas of the San Juan Islands.”

Olivia mentioned she all the time cherished the whales, however credit her grandmother and a journey a number of years in the past to a camp known as Whales and Trails with really heightening her curiosity.

“We discovered all about orcas and the historical past of the San Juan Islands and we bought to go whale watching and see the whales,” Olivia mentioned. She additionally bought to “undertake” a resident orca from the J pod as half of the expertise. That whale’s identify is Cookie.

The trip from Seattle to Boston — which you’ll study extra about through this website, and Twitter, and Facebook and Instagram — will profit Orca Network, a nonprofit group devoted to elevating consciousness about Pacific Northwest orca whales, and the significance of offering them wholesome and protected habitats.

Olivia mentioned cash raised — they’ve a aim of $10,000 — will assist with education schemes, wildlife restoration and environmental clean-up efforts. She is aware of a lot about how air pollution and toxins influence the whales and the Chinook salmon they rely on for meals. And he or she already is aware of it’s a focus she’ll preserve in her profession selection.

“It’s positively my dream to change into a marine biologist and dwell in the San Juan Islands and proceed to analysis and attempt to defend the orcas,” Olivia mentioned.

Carpenter’s spouse Emily will probably be driving a assist RV alongside the route, and that automobile will probably be adorned with RideForTheOrcas.com logos. Olivia has additionally made brochures about their trigger at hand out to of us alongside the manner.

“Olivia may have a possibility to boost consciousness as we journey throughout the nation and meet a lot of individuals who have completely different views than we do out right here in the Pacific Northwest,” Carpenter mentioned.

For his half, aside from being the lead energy supply on a bike pulling a junior whale professional to the East Coast, Carpenter is placing his technical chops to good use. He’s been at Madrona for 17 years and has discovered a few issues alongside the manner about staying linked.

“Whereas the managing administrators have been variety sufficient to let me go off on this enterprise, it’s not a full trip and sabbatical,” Carpenter mentioned.

A brand new bike from Co-Motion Cycles out of Eugene, Ore., will probably be dwelling on the street and Carpenter mentioned a Dynamo generator hub on the entrance wheel will energy the entrance and rear taillights in addition to a USB charger constructed into the bike’s headstay. That’ll hold an iPhone charged that’s mounted on the handlebars.

Carpenter may also put on a bluetooth wi-fi headset as a way to get turn-by-turn instructions from a biking app known as Ride With GPS.

“We’ve been capable of obtain all the GPS waypoints from Adventure Cycling Association for the northern tier route which we’re taking. It mainly takes Freeway 20 and Freeway 2 throughout the U.S.,” Carpenter mentioned.

Experience With GPS will probably be dwell monitoring the duo every day and these excited by the trip can visit that website to see the place they are and what variety of progress they’re making in addition to common speeds and elevation. Carpenter’s Apple Watch may also pull in his coronary heart fee — which he says he’ll be maintaining a shut eye on particularly as they ascend Stevens Cross and different mountain passes alongside the manner. Carpenter will flip 52 about two weeks into the trip.

The 2 have been going on coaching rides on Seattle-area trails for the previous couple months. Carpenter, who has been a every day bike commuter for 3 years in the metropolis, mentioned he’s trying ahead to getting away from visitors.

“It’s such a completely different expertise being on an open street in farmland on a bike than the hectic busy streets of Seattle and a every day commute,” Carpenter mentioned.

He mentioned he advised Olivia, “We must always go on a lengthy trip.”

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