Cyclists travel 4,000 miles on co-op tour across the United States

Young co-operators cycled their way into US co-operative history this month, as they completed a 4,000 mile journey visiting more than 70 co-operative enterprises on the way.

Young co-operators cycled their way into US co-operative history this month, as they completed a 4,000 mile journey across the country visiting more than 70 co-operative enterprises on the way.

Co-Cycle is a student-led project where 15 riders toured the US linking co-operatives. The students set off on 1 June in San Francisco, California, and finished the journey on 1 September at Amherst, Massachusetts.

Eric DeLuca, Program Manager for International Year of Co-operatives at the National Cooperative Business Association spoke at the finishing event for the riders. He said: “The Co-Cycle team members are co-operative entrepreneurs—co-entrepreneurs—in the deepest sense.

“No one brings the co-operative values more to life than Co-Cycle. When I say co-operative values I mean self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.”

Students ranged from members of co-operatives to riders who didn’t know about the movement before they became involved.

Riko Fluchel, was a self described novice to the co-op movement. He wrote on the Co-Cycle blog in August: “A year ago I didn’t know what a co-operative was. Now, after the nine weeks of touring co-operatives across the continental United States, I know firsthand that co-operatives empower people’s lives.

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“In this historical moment of social unrest and fluctuating forms of economic oppression, I’m beginning to see a possibility, a hope, of really making things better.”

The upcoming film of the tour, To the Moon, will share the Co-Cycle story to co-operators across the world. Emma Thatcher, the director of To the Moon, said: "It will be a film that reaffirms the voice of this country's youth as a beacon for change. Instead of voices onscreen presenting a problem, these voices will present a solution."

Eric added: “Even before the film is released, if nothing else happened after today related to Co-Cycle, the tour would, nevertheless, represent a historic moment in US co-op history.

“If, over the next few years, one thousand young Americans gain the opportunity to explore, serve, and learn in pilot Co-Cycle initiatives, then a seed will be planted for innovation that benefits communities for decades to come.” 

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