Why did you do #BiketheWind?
I “biked the wind” to raise awareness about wind energy because I have three passions of sustainability, renewable energy and biking. Since I teach those topics and talk about them in everyday life, I thought I could combine those passions into something that will be beneficial.
What was your goal of #BiketheWind?
My goal was to increase awareness of the possibility of greater use of wind energy in Wisconsin and throughout the upper Midwest. In comparison to other states, Wisconsin lags far behind our neighboring states of Iowa and Minnesota by an order of magnitude, so I really wanted to concentrate on Wisconsin and increase awareness in the community of the benefits and limitations of wind energy.
Why did you bike instead of drive?
I biked because it is a sustainable form of transportation. It philosophically in alignment for me, an energy engineering and sustainability professor, to bike instead of drive a gas-guzzling vehicle to visit sustainability sites.
How did you plan your route?
I planned my route to go past as many wind farms as possible.
Why did you travel the distance of 1,250 miles?
1,250 miles is the number that resulted in my planning to visit as many wind farms as possible, though I ended up liking a total of 1,278 miles.
How long were you gone?
I planned to be gone for three weeks (21 days) but completed the trip in 18 days.
Where did you travel to?
I biked through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. I started in Madison, went through the Fox River Valley up to Green Bay, crossed the state through Wausau, went just north of Minneapolis at St. Croix, over to Buffalo Ridge near the Minnesota/South Dakota border, came back along the Iowa border, hopped up towards La Crosse, then came back on various bike trails back to Madison.
How many miles did you travel in a day?
Before leaving, I calculated that I needed to bike 75 miles or six hours a day to complete 1,250 miles in three weeks. However, I ended up biking longer each day, which is why my trip ended earlier than expected.
How many wind energy sites did you visit?
I visited 48 wind farms throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Were you joined by anyone throughout the journey?
I had two colleagues who joined me for the first day and others planned to join me later in the tour, but because I got about three days ahead of schedule, they weren’t able to bike with me.
Where did you sleep and rest?
I slept mostly in hotels and in some Bed and Breakfasts. I slept in camp grounds a couple of nights. I also stayed with my brother, my sister, my niece and my nephew. Wherever I could get a shower and access to the internet, I was staying.
What items did you bring along with you on your bike?
Because you propel yourself on a bike, I couldn’t bring much with me. I had a sleep bag, sleeping pad, tent, bike tools and a big jar of peanut butter. I brought three changes of biking clothes and two changes of normal clothes. Total I had 40 pounds of gear and I felt it on every single hill.
How many calories did you consume in the average day?
I estimate I was burning between 5,000 and 7,500 calories a day. I lost seven pounds on the trip so I wasn’t eating quite that much – I was probably eating 5,000 to 6,000 calories per day.
What was the most challenging part of #BiketheWind?
The most challenging part was biking through the wind. I should have thought of this, but it’s actually wind at wind energy sites!
What was the most rewarding part of #BiketheWind?
The most rewarding parts was the interactions I had with people on this blog and in person during my route. My favorite experience was talking to a 90-year-old sweet lady. I was sitting down at a little café area in a gas station, chugging Gatorade and dripping sweat all over the place. This lady comes up to me, sits down and says, “You look hot. What are you doing?” We proceeded to talk for almost a half hour about #BiketheWind, what I was doing, about wind energy and wind farms. She was so interested and smiled the whole time. That was the highlight of the trip.