Spinning to End Finning does it again

Mark DiMaggio enjoys a break from this summer's ride

Mark DiMaggio enjoys a break from this summer’s ride

Teacher, conservationist, and cyclist Mark DiMaggio and University of California at Davis sophomore Devon Lambert have been taking action for the last few years against the slaughter of sharks by riding their road bikes across the country in multiple summer installments on an initiative they call Spinning to End Finning.

2013 marked the end of their cross continental bike ride as the team rode  from  Louisville, Kentucky to Washington D.C., a trek of about 1,200 miles spanning 3 and a half weeks (June 15-July 8).  This latest summer installment culminated a ride that began a few years earlier in California where Mark and Devon are teamed up with photographer, teacher, and naturalist Gaylene Ewing, who manages the campaign from home.

Mark, Congresswoman Lois Capps, and Devon

Mark, Congresswoman Lois Capps, and Devon

Undertaking a ride of such lengths during the North American summer months might seem enough of a challenge in and of itself, but consider this: the team also raises awareness before and during the ride for the plight that sharks face from the nefarious practice of “finning” where a shark is caught, its fins cut off and used to make shark fin soup, and the body – often still alive –thrown back into the water to die.  Upon their arrival in Washington D.C. in July, Mark and Devon met with their California Congresswoman Lois Capps to discuss shark conservation policy.  This is just one example of how this initiative is not just a well-managed bike ride, but one with a thoughtfully designed purpose as well.

Adding the team’s commitment to ending finning is its initiative to raise money for shark conservation initiatives.  One month before this year’s ride began the team staged a “Waves of Change” ocean and shark benefit concert that kicked-off this year’s

Spinning to End Finning's benefit concert

Spinning to End Finning’s benefit concert

awareness building and fund raising activities.  Year to date, one hundred percent of the funds raised to support efforts to protect and preserve shark populations have already been sent to ARCAE and Pretoma, two Costa Rican marine conservation non-profits who work to promote shark conservation policy in the Eastern Tropical Pacific’s waters off Central America.

For a day-to-day account of this year’s ride, go to the Spinning to End Finning blog.

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