Biking the Shoreline for a Sustainable Future

How 12 riders rode over 200 miles and raised over $20,000 for GreenWave’s network of sustainable ocean farms.

A few years ago, Brendan Coffey, my brother from another mother helped co-found a nonprofit called GreenWave, which exists to mitigate climate change, restore our oceans, and create jobs through the creation of regenerative ocean farms.

When I was the little kid on the beaches in Connecticut, I used to put every kind of seaweed in my mouth, take a bite, chew, and throw it back in the ocean. So when Brendan told me he was working with his partner Bren Smith to cultivate edible seaweeds just an hour north of where we grew up, I was hooked. 
Not only could their 25-acre kelp farms produce edible seaweed and shellfish, but they also help to transform fishermen into restorative ocean farmers while building the foundation for a new blue-green economy that doesn’t recreate the injustices of the old industrial fishing economy. I jumped in.

Thimble Islands Kelp Farm

GreenWave graciously made me an adviser and Brendan told me that as a nonprofit, the thing they needed most were funds to keep going. Mission accepted.

A few years prior, I signed up for a 200-mile charity ride from Paris to London with 40 European based entrepreneurs called “Tech Bikers”. The experience — from the physical training and charity raising — was extremely rewarding. And I realized that adventures like these are one of my favorite ways to really get to know people versus more common networking settings like festivals and conferences.

I created a similar format — charity raising on the promise of cycling 200 miles over 3 days with a group of awesome entrepreneurs and innovators — and we chose GreenWave’s farm in New Haven as the starting point and Woods Hole, MA on Cape Cod as our final destination. We launched signups, secured lots of snack sponsors, and one very awesome fiscal sponsor (big thank you to Bobby Buka MD — New York City’s most
sought-after dermatologist!), and then we drove the route to plot our course, hugging the coast line as close as possible from Connecticut to Cape Cod.

Illustration by Catch the Cuteness

On the morning of Thursday, May 11th, we drove a van loaded with snacks and bikes to the GreenWave farm in New Haven. Riders took turns getting on the boat to tour the kelp farm whilst others munched on Barnana bites and set up their gear (like super cool bike bags from JammyPacks!). We set off just after noon to accomplish a 60-mile ride in our first day.

Day 1 was a mix of scenic Connecticut seashore, hilly forest roads, and plenty of sunshine. We finished our day with a few bottles of YesWayRose at the Inn at Mystic — a cute and affordable property with a great restaurant. We ordered everything on the menu, multiple times.

We woke up on day 2 to slightly ominous weather — but the skies held — and we cycled over 80 miles without getting rained on. Day 2 was by far the hardest (made easier only with the support of Health-Ade Kombucha, Runa, WTRMLN WTR, Aloha bars, Emmy’s Organics cookies, and good old Skippy’s peanut butter).

What I love about charity rides is that it’s rarely about the speed or getting there first. It’s about the cause, the people, the journey, the adventure…and most importantly, the present moment. It’s about the deep and honest chats you have with others during flat stretches, and the self-talk and affirmations as your thighs are burning hill after hill — “I can do this”.

And it’s also about the reward for torching 5,000 calories thus justifying the fried seafood, pastas, pizzas, and chocolate desserts — enough to feed a small and hungry nation.

Day 3 was by far our most relaxing day as we hugged the Massachusetts coastline and made our way over the Bourne Bridge to Cape Cod. We finished the ride as a team as a small group of friends and family awaited us with lobster rolls and champagne at a local Woods Hole restaurant called The 41–70.

In the days that followed, we raised over $20,000 for GreenWave, blowing past our goal and funding the future of regenerative ocean farming. It was our way of giving back to Mother Earth, and fighting for our planet in a time when she needs it most. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our donors and sponsors, listed below:

The event was such a success that we are turning #BIKETHESHORELINE into a nonprofit organization this year with plans to ride more shorelines and work with a group of ocean-related nonprofits and charities in the years to come. If you’re interested in joining our adventures, sign up to our mailing list by clicking the hyperlink below.

Stay in touch on GreenWave, #BIKETHESHORELINE, and all things kelp!