Chilkat Valley News - July 8, 2004
Cyclist embarks on journey for environment, stops in Haines
By Kristin Bigsby
In 2000 at a shoddy hotel in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Kristin Sullivan met a Swiss couple that had just completed a several-month bike trip from Alaska to Central America. Having pedaled across so much of the continent, their legs had become strong and their souls seemed enriched, Sullivan said.

A Peace Corps volunteer from Philadelphia. Penn., Sullivan, 27, wasn't much of a biker at the time, but she got into it shortly after.

"I never asked why they stopped in Tegucigalpa, "she said, "I thought, why not go through? Maybe that's what I'll do,"

And she's doing it.

Last week, after a 653-mile ride from Fairbanks, Sullivan pulled into Haines on her lightweight Jamis Nova, gear trailer in tow, which she plans to ride south to Ushuaia, Argentina.

Kristin Sullivan, ready to pedal to Argentina.
Photo by Kristin Bigsby
Her mission: to get others to think about their impact on the environment. She's planned presentations with conservation groups in cities along the way, and gained sponsorship by Clif Bar (which has offered to provide its food products), Patagonia (which has clothed Sullivan) and the Rudy Project (which is supplying sunglasses and a helmet). She said she hopes to complete the journey "in just under a year."

"I wanted to combine something I love to do, biking, with something I really believe in, the environment," said Sullivan, who studied environmental science and biology in college, and most recently worked at an energy management firm in Philadelphia. "Nova, of course, means no go in Spanish. I keep thinking...the Chevy Nova didn't sell well in central and South America. I'm hoping the bike won't get stolen in Mexico. It probably won't."

Last Tuesday, Sullivan spoke t0 21 Haines residents at the public library, a presentation in conjunction with Lynn Canal Conservation's monthly educational program, "LCC Presents."

She shared her website,, which displays her itinerary, and tips for lowering the impact on the environment, such as buying locally grown food, using fluorescent light bulbs, and recycling.

Patricia Blank said it was "refreshing" to meet someone who's willing to "walk their talk, or rather, bike their talk."

"I was inspired by what she's doing and her commitment to what she believes in," said Blank, who brought Sullivan a recipe for an eco-safe weed killer. Four parts white vinegar, one part salt and a few drops of liquid detergent - also called "Poor Man's Roundup" - works best after a dry spell, she said.

"This is exactly what I'm looking for, people like Patricia to share their knowledge with me... I can add it to the website and we can all benefit from the knowledge," Sullivan said.

Sullivan left Haines last week on the ferry, which she will ride to Prince Rupert.

"My friends said I was cheating by not riding that distance... but I can reach more people through the naturalists on the ferry than by riding all that way where I won't hardly see anyone."

She hopes to arrive in Seattle, Wash., at the end of the month, and San Francisco, Calif., by the end of August. In October, she plans to be in Mexico, and in November, Guatemala. She'll spend Christmas in the hometown of her Peace Corps days, Peublo Nuevo, Honduras, just outside of Tegucigalpa. After a total distance of 11,355 miles on her bicycle, she hopes to reach Argentina by May.

"I had a false sense of ease. I thought this was going to be easy. The challenge is so worth it, though," she said.
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