During the weekend of Sept. 16, Chautauqua Institution will become a hub of two-wheeled activity, as the Chautauqua Climate Change Initiative hosts its first-ever Green Fondo Climate Ride for cyclists from all around America. Equal parts fundraiser, social gathering and showcase of Chautauqua County, the Green Fondo is open to all levels of riders, and non-riders, who recognize the critical need for action on climate change.
“Part of the Chautauqua Climate Change Initiative’s charge is to turn talk into action, and an event like the Green Fondo provides a great way to infuse our work with a sense of fun and accomplishment while raising awareness of the initiative and the issue overall,” said Mark Wenzler, director of the Chautauqua Climate Change Initiative. “As an avid cyclist myself, I’m excited to introduce fellow riders to Chautauqua Institution and some great rides around the Chautauqua region.”
The Green Fondo — not to be confused with the years-old annual Chautauqua Gran Fondo held on Aug. 20 — is coordinated through Climate Ride, a well-known nonprofit that mobilizes people to protect our planet through life-changing adventures. Climate Ride works to “organize charitable biking, running and hiking events to raise awareness and support sustainability, active transportation, and environmental causes,” according to their website.
Proceeds from the Green Fondo will benefit organizations dedicated to climate, clean energy and bike advocacy. Registrants can choose their preferred beneficiaries and proceeds will be distributed to the Climate Ride grants program based on their selection. Beneficiaries are selected from a list of more than 100 extraordinary nonprofit organizations, which include Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, and Chautauqua Lake Association. Thanks to a generous donor, every dollar raised will be matched one-to-one.
The two ride days will feature cycling mileage for all types of riders, who can choose from grande, medio or piccolo options. The routes are intentionally not timed to encourage participants to enjoy the ride, including stops along the way to take in scenic surroundings and chat with new friends. All bikes are welcome, from e-bikes to race bikes.
With its diverse topography, Chautauqua County and the immediate Chautauqua Lake region have long been a favorite spot for cyclists seeking moderate to challenging rides. From the flat roads that follow the Lake Erie shoreline to the rolling hills around Chautauqua Lake, cyclists find lush grape vineyards, Amish farms, plentiful lake views and beautiful, lightly trafficked roads.
More information on the three-day schedule, ride length and difficulty, and accommodations can be found on climate.chq.org and scrolling down the page to the section on the Green Fondo. As part of this charitable adventure, individuals are required to fundraise or self-pledge at least $500 by Sept. 1 to participate in the event.