A Patriot’s Exhibition Advancing Community and Environmentalism, on a Scooter
In August 2008, the largest Peace sign in history was created. Alix Bryan drove 22,000 miles on a 125cc scooter, her route “tracing” a Peace sign onto the U.S. map. The ride, which started and ended at the White House, took six months (over two years) to complete and went through over 30 states.
“We must know what the word means before we can acquire it,” Bryan says, “and lasting Peace must always come first from the individual.”
Proving that women can safely travel alone and that little scooters can do big things, a Patriot’s Exhibition Advancing Community and Environmentalism (P.E.A.C.E.) on a Scooter is focused on promoting peace and examining what barriers keep us from it. To illustrate the importance of community, Bryan volunteered with organizations around the country; serving meals, loading disaster relief supplies and assisting at a recycling center.
In March 2009, former Ohio U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich personally acknowledged Bryan for her, “outstanding efforts to bring a message of Peace to our nation.”
In 2007 I purchased my first scooter, a 49cc Honda Metropolitan. This was logical progression for me, a two-wheel advocate, who had been cycling to get everywhere since 1998. My friend had just bought one, I took it around the neighborhood and decided a scooter was going to save me time without compromising my environmental transportation credo. One spring day in late May 2007, after what was my longest scooter ride yet, 30 miles, I decided I would take my scooter around the country to promote Peace.
The week before, at an art exhibit, I had seen a John Lennon quote that really affected me. “If a billion people were thinking about Peace, there would be Peace in our world.” I realized that defining Peace was not easy, but very important.
People will say, “Oh, Peace is impossible.”
But before one can draw that conclusion, they must know what it IS to know we can’t have it. Sadly, many people who diss on Peace have no idea what it really is. But then again, how many of us really DO?
So I decided that Peace really needed to be put on the U.S. map. Literally. I announced this idea to my friends and yes, they thought it was just a joke. Within two days I had purchased an atlas and began to piece together the route. The next question was to do this on a 49cc or acquire funding for a bigger scooter?
My research led me to the Genuine Scooter Company.
I decided that the amount of miles in the creation of this Peace sign would require a bigger scooter. Possessing little mechanical knowledge led me to a scooter that had won performance reviews and had a 24-hour roadside assistance package, two-year warranty. I began “training” by riding my Honda 120 miles roundtrip, to MotoRichmond. I checked out the Buddy125 and knew that was my steed of choice. A letter was penned to the company and within 12 hours of sending it, I had confirmation of Genuine’s full assistance. Thank you, Philip McCaleb!
I knew the trip was going to happen, I just did not know how. I had no gear, no money, no dogsitter, no camera-just some bizarre idea-that I believed in with all my might. Thankfully, my friends chipped in with their various talents and within two weeks the buzz began generating. Once this website went up, there was no looking back. Within 40 days of the plan’s conception, I was suddenly packed up and on the road!
There I was, suddenly on an open road with 22,000 miles ahead. I had no experience long distance scootering. Just a plan to ask hundreds of Americans how they define Peace and how they would teach it to their children. Not the most popular time to do this, it seems, while in the middle of a war. To me, however, it continues to be the most necessary time to do this. The idea, “Point Two fingers, not one,” popped into my head.
Instead of focusing on differences (for us or against us was the mantra at the time) I decided to focus on how we can make a difference. My focus is personal peace–I’m not asking what you think about the war or the next Presidential candidate. You can, of course, leave comments about that stuff. P.E.A.C.E Scooter is just a genuine act of showing love for what we have here in America, despite all the goofs, while asking you what you think this one word, Peace, actually means.
Truly wanting to do my part in improving the world, P.E.A.C.E Scooter was also a fundraiser. What started as a little plan has changed my life. P.E.A.C.E Scooter was many things: an art project, a demonstration, an endurance test, and maybe a documentary or a book one day, hopefully. Simply, it was a way to promote peace with every mile.
Thanks for reading, Alix