Frequently Asked Questions about Ride for the Future
What are the dates of the programs?
Ride for the Future is from May 17th – August 1st 2014.
Do I need my own bicycle?
Yes, you are expected to provide your own bicycle. If you do not already have a durable bicycle that can carry you and your gear up to 1000 miles (and if you cannot afford to purchase one), please let us know. If you are accepted to one of the programs and commit to riding this summer, we will make sure that an appropriate bicycle for your physical frame and the demands of the program is available for you to borrow for the summer. If you DO borrow a bicycle, we request (but do not require) a $75 donation to cover a tune-up and parts for the loaner bicycle.
What other equipment, besides a bicycle, do I need?
Check out last year’s packing list. An updated list will be provided to this year’s confirmed riders. We do not expect to alter the document much for 2014, so the sample should give you a good sense of what you might need. By December 15th, we will post updated packing lists for both programs (which will differ slightly).
Does it cost money to participate in a BFP Summer Program?
No, there are no direct fees associated with participating, and food and housing is covered. Riders are asked to provide their own bicycles and some gear, and also need to transport themselves to and from the starting and ending locations. We do also encourage riders to fundraise to help support the program.
Will I be required to fund raise if I participate?
While fundraising is not required, it is strongly encouraged. We hope that you will see that our work is worth funding, and we will encourage you to approach family and friends for small donations so you can help us build out a stronger funding base. In the past, most riders who have committed to fundraising to support a summer program have been able to raise between $500 and $1,000. And don’t worry, we have materials to support your fundraising efforts and staff mentors to coach and cheer you on.
Is financial assistance available?
Yes! But in limited quantities. We know that in order to commit to a program like Climate Summer or Ride for the Future, many young adults need financial support. If you need assistance and are admitted to one of our programs, our staff will follow up with you regarding the process of requesting financial aid. If we cannot provide the funding you require directly, we will work with you to identify other possible funding sources. Please do not apply for financial assistance unless you sincerely need the support.
What skills will I need to participates in the programs?
While we have no formal requirements, the following are strongly recommended:
- A strong commitment to a better future free from fossil fuels;
- Willingness to talk to many different people to both learn from them and share your message;
- An understanding of the importance of movement-building;
- Ability to travel by bicycle; and
- Ability to work closely with a team for the summer.
A formal training in organizing skills, media, relationship-building, bike safety and maintenance, and other skills will take place at the beginning of both programs.
What is an average day like? An average week?
This is a frequent question, and hard to gauge. Some days are riding days, where you’ll spend several hours biking 30-40 miles from one town to another. Most days involve you working with one or more local partners, helping build a community garden, interviewing a green local business leader, getting interviewed by the press, taking a “toxic tour” of an environmental justice community, meeting with local government officials, etc.
Where do we sleep at night? And what do we eat?
Food and housing are provided by the program. Most nights, you will sleep in houses of worship or other community centers. Occasionally, you may sleep in the home of a community partner. Each team has a food budget that allows them to cook their own food for their meals, though many community partners will also donate food to the teams or host potlucks for/with them.
Do I need to be an experienced cyclist?
For the Ride for the Future Program, we ask that only people who are in good physical condition and would feel comfortable riding 30-40 miles/day for almost half of the days of the program consider applying. If you start training at least a few months in advance, you will be in good enough shape to participate in Ride for the Future. If you are not already an avid cyclist and you choose to apply, we ask that you be prepared commit to training in advance. Being able to ride with an average speed of 15+ mph without most of your gear is a good goal. A bike computer, smart phone, or online tools and a watch can help you track this. The program Welcome Packet offers a range of suggested training plans.
Can I receive internship credit at my school for this?
Policies vary by school, but we are happy to work with you if your school allows you to get internship credit. Some schools even provide funding for unpaid internships- check to see what your university’s policies are.
How is Ride for the Future different from Climate Summer?
There are several differences between the two programs:
1) Geography: Climate Summer takes place in New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, and VT), while Ride for the Future takes place in the Gulf Coast (LA and TX).
2) Politics: Related to the geography, Climate Summer takes place in a region where political leaders have shown a great likelihood to accept and act upon the validity of the climate science, whereas Ride for the Future takes place in an area where the Petro-Chemical Industry is a powerful political force.
3) Focus: While both programs will highlight the work of those building a better future and the harms of the existing dirty energy system, Ride for the Future will highlight many more of the harms along the Gulf Coast, and visit fossil fuel corporations’ headquarters, while Climate Summer will spend most of its time highlighting the benefits of the transition away from fossil fuels, and less time drawing attention to its immediate effects to communities in the area.
How is Ride for the Future different than other internships?
This is not a traditional internship. This is a leadership development program that is also designed to support and enhance the work already underway in communities. You will have a basic job description and responsibilities. Staff will provide training and ongoing support and coaching, but we will not dictate tasks. Rather you will be working with a team of peers to develop a team agenda to work with community leaders, setting the team’s schedule, organizing events, conducting volunteer work and other activities and meetings at the team’s discretion. Staff will support your work with contacts for community partners and some pre-scheduled events and meetings, but what you accomplish during this program is up to you and your team.