The Grassroutes Caravan‘s mobile bicycle village will be leaving from Madison, WI on Sunday, May 13th on a five day trip to the NATO protests in Chicago on Saturday, May 19th. They’ll be arriving in Milwaukee on Tuesday, May 15th, and continuing their ride in the morning of Thursday, May 17th.
Among a number of community service projects and performances they do throughout the trip, they’ll be at the Riverwest Public House the night they arrive, May 15th, for a radical music and puppet show.
“Our mobile village will ride together for about 180 miles over five days to get to the NATO/G8 protest in Chicago on May 19. Much of the route will be on crushed limestone and paved bicycle trails through the gorgeous southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois countryside and along Lake Michigan. Along the way, we will camp one night between Madison and Milwaukee, two nights in Milwaukee, one night near the state border, and three nights at our Chicago destination.
There will be plenty of other interesting stops and scenery along the way. Riders can expect to see cows (moo!), birds, trees, towns, and people. We will eat good food and share our stories. We will do community service projects to give back to the communities where we stay and put on educational, quirky, fun performances about war, imperialism, and global finance capital. Yippie! Join us!”
A little more on the history of the Grassroutes Caravan;
“Grassroutes Caravans have been leaving Madison by bicycle since the summer of 2008 when 35 cyclists from around the country got together to ride from the People’s Networking Convention (PNC) to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul, MN. The PNC was a national counter-convention to the RNC and DNC calling for direct forms of democracy and offering workshops to participants on the roles of art and music in social activism, anti-racism, anti-sexism, alternatives to capitalist economics and cooperative organizing. Our mobile bicycle-powered village rode 300 miles over the course of twelve days. We stopped at organic farms, nature centers and towns along the way to perform community service projects and a variety show featuring puppets presenting points of view differing from those expressed in the mainstream media about the presidential elections at the time.
In 2010, the Grassroutes Caravan inspired another mobile village, this time to Detroit, MI for the US Social Forum. There were performers, musicians and puppetistas on this ride as well. Our different service projects included working in urban, organic community gardens, helping out with land projects around the Blandford Nature Center in Michigan and building a cob, composting toilet at Tall Trees Organic Farm.
In October of 2010, a smaller GRC headed to Edgerton, WI to work and play at an emerging eco-village. This mini-adventure gave new riders the chance to be challenged by a rainy ride home to Madison.
In June of 2011, we did the Soular Ride to the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer, WI and back to Madison. Our village this year was comprised of 20 adult riders and 6 children! Some of the kids were pulled by their parents in trailers, but one 10-year-old and another 7-year-old spent a lot of time out on the route with the grown-ups on their own bikes!
Grassroutes Caravan Bike Rides encompass three major principles:
I. The bicycle is used not only as a valid mode of long-distance transportation, but also as a tool for social liberation and organizing. We believe the bicycle empowers individuals to do things they normally would think are outside the bounds of possibility. This happens, in part, because we intentionally create a village of cyclists riding en mass so that if someone has a flat or otherwise needs some help, there are plenty of people to call upon.
II. Grassroutes Caravans engage with locals as we ride, providing our “people power” by volunteering in community gardens, helping out with ecological restoration projects and otherwise giving back to those who would host our tent village on their land. GRC rides emphasize cooperative living and working together collectively to bring about the world in which we wish to live.
III. Our rides are made up of talented musicians, artists and puppetistas! Not only do we engage with locals in grassroots service projects, we also put together a Grassroutes Caravan Variety Show complete with puppets, folk music and skits.”
When: Sunday, May 13th – Sunday, May 20th 2012
What: Grassroutes Caravan – Mobile Bicycle Village to NATO Protests
Where: Madison, WI, passing through Milwaukee, to NATO Protests in Chicago, IL
Description: “The Grassroutes Caravan‘s mobile bicycle village will be leaving from Madison, WI on Sunday, May 13th on a five day trip to the NATO protests in Chicago on Saturday, May 19th. They’ll be arriving in Milwaukee on Tuesday, May 15th, and continuing their ride in the morning of Thursday, May 17th.”
Link: mkebke.com, grassroutescaravan.org