Steamboat Springs It all started on June 20, in New Haven, Conn.
Fifty-seven days, 2,264 miles and 1,178 newly registered voters later, the four Bike the Vote participants -- Ally Brundige, Chris Fondulas, Vanessa Herald and Jessie Hoyt -- rode into Steamboat Springs on Monday morning for an overnight stay.
Bike the Vote is a nonpartisan, cross-country voter registration campaign with a mission to register 3,500 new voters before their Sept. 11 arrival in Portland, Oregon. "The low voter turnout, the declining numbers over the last 40 years and the current statistics with three in 10 young people voting" sparked the campaign, said Hoyt.
All four cyclists, through collaboration with other voter registration groups, hope to change voting trends for the upcoming November elections.
"To have a more representative democracy, we need to be more involved," she said. "There are so many people who think their vote doesn't count."
Bike the Vote originally started as two separate groups. Brundige and Herald, after graduating from Yale University, began planning a cross-country biking trip from New Haven to register voters. Over in New York, Hoyt and Fondulas had the same idea.
Hoyt was doing research for the trip when she found Brundige's and Herald's Web site, she said. The two pairs began talking and decided to combine their efforts.
Planning the trip was "like a second full-time job," said Hoyt. The four raised about $12,000 to pay for food, equipment, health insurance and documentary costs. Lodging at each stop was arranged through churches, bike clubs and other voter registration groups.
The four riders take turns driving a green Jeep Cherokee and biking anywhere from 30 to 100 miles each day. Fondulas has been riding and filming the trip. The footage will eventually be made into a pro-vote documentary.
Brundige, who planned the route, chose a course that would take the four through November's "battleground" states. "We wanted to go in a fairly straight line and we wanted to spend time in as many swing states as possible," Hoyt said.
Bike the Vote is one of three cross-country voter registration projects on bikes, but the only one traveling from east to west. After the trips are over, all three groups will be in touch to discuss collaboration opportunities. "We could really turn this into a fully functioning organization to mobilize and energize new voters," said Hoyt.
Bike the Vote will be in downtown Steamboat Springs, by City Market and at the base of the Gondola this afternoon to register voters. To find out more information, make a donation or track the progress of Bike the Vote, visit www.bikethevote.org.