By Frosty Wooldridge

Lori Bell pedals a bicycle around the United States in order to create a much-needed discussion on America’s continual participation in wars: she pedals for peace.

Bell, 49, single, and having taken a non-traditional path in her life and work career—decided America needs a discussion about how to operate in the world by forming what might be called a whole new concept: transform toward peace in the world. Instead of waging war, she offers discussions and alternatives to violence among nations through "Waging Peace".

Over 50 years ago, the United States jumped into Korea without provocation of any kind. Few spoke up before 33,000 Americans died and untold numbers of Koreans and Chinese. During Vietnam, peace demonstrators chanted, “Give peace a chance.” Over 53,000 young American boys and 2.1 million Vietnamese died with hundreds of thousands wounded. As General MacArthur explained, "The Soldier above all others prays for peace for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."

John Lennon sang “Imagine there's no countries;
It isn't hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for; And no religion too; Imagine all the people, Living life in peace.”

Someone killed him for writing that song.

If Vietnam didn’t satisfy Americans, our presidents dove into Desert Storm, then, Afghanistan and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of innocents suffered death because of Bush’s “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign. Thirteen years later, American troops continue suffering death via firefights, accelerating suicides and alcohol abuse. War scrambles men’s minds. Bell asked former US Army Captain Paul K. Chappell, turned Peace Leader: "If human beings are naturally violent, then why doesn't going to war make them more mentally healthy rather than less?" Bell's mission is inspired by Chappell and his books including the most recent, The Art of Waging Peace:

“In the twenty-first century, humanity has become so interconnected that we are all citizens of the world, whether we recognize it or not,” writes Chappell. “During the challenging years ahead, our planet will need soldiers of peace who understand this truth of our brotherhood, because our survival in an interconnected world will not depend upon our ability to wage war. The fate of humanity will depend up on our willingness to wage peace.”

As I pedaled up behind Ms. Bell north of Solana Beach, California, I couldn’t help seeing she carried a heavily loaded touring bicycle. No small feat for a man, but for a 5’5” woman carrying over 100 pounds of gear offers challenges in the big mountains like few other athletic endeavors. Her sign said it all: "The Blue Turtle - Pedaling for Peace." Access her on Facebook: Lori L. Bell. Also, theblueturtleblog dot blogspot dot com.

If you'd like to make a donation to support Bell's work, contact her by e-mailing:

“You’ve taken on quite a quest,” I said drawing even with her.

“I am Pedaling for Peace in support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the work of former Army Captain and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell,” Bell said. “To me, Pedaling for Peace is a great metaphor for what is necessary to bring significant change to the world in the face of very powerful forces. For instance, human societies the world over have been dominated by the Military Industrial Complex and the attitude that conflicts can be resolved through waging war. As I travel across the country, I face the powerful forces of sun, wind, and rain as well as difficult terrain - hills and rough roads. But in both cases, the key is perseverance - to just Keep On Keepin' On, to 'go the extra mile.' Over time every small effort adds up - days become weeks and months, miles become states and continents. In the same way, each of us can play a role in bringing more peace to the world. By riding my bicycle across the country, and sharing what I have to share, I feel I am doing what I CAN Do to make a difference, and I hope to inspire others to do what they can do as well to make the world a better, safer, more peaceful place for All Beings.”

"What successes have you enjoyed thus far and what other successes do you expect and why?" I asked.

“I feel that every contact I make,” said Bell, “every business card I hand to a curious stranger, every contribution I receive, and every mile I pedal is a little success that will ultimately contribute to the success of my personal goal as a cyclist of establishing my own geographically continuous route across the country under my own power and the greater goal of the NAPF to eliminate nuclear weapons and in so doing to bring more security and peace to the world. Of course, nothing is certain, for me, or for the world, but given the hundreds of interactions I have now had with ordinary human beings across the U.S. I continue to be hopeful and grateful for this unique opportunity. I am getting to see the world through my own eyes and not through the skewed and fearful perspectives so prevalent in the mainstream media. As my story unfolds, my friends and followers get to share in that experience which I hope will inspire them to move beyond their own fearful perspectives as well.”

"How long do you expect to pedal for peace?"

"From the beginning, in June 2011, when I voluntarily walked away from my 'cushy government job' at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, I have taken this new Life-Course one moment at a time! It has been and is some of the most challenging, meaningful, and satisfying 'work' I have ever done, but only a small part of it has gone 'according to plan'! For instance, I thought I would make it all the way across the country with my first attempt in 2012, but instead have had to break my efforts into stages, of which my current efforts make up 'Stage III'. For each stage I have gone as long as I could afford to go, financially, physically, mechanically, and practically. Even now, the end of Stage III is yet to be determined, so I'm unwilling to predict anything much beyond that!”

"What do you get out of this experience?"

“I am getting the chance to challenge myself in a unique way and I find that I really enjoy this level of challenge,” said Bell. “I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with many wonderful people as well as seeing the physical beauty of this country in a very up close and personal way. I'm staying healthy and happy and feel that I am on purpose with my life-work. What more could anyone ask for?”

"Who do you hope to influence?"

“The people who come within my 'sphere of influence', friends, family, Facebook contacts, my hosts and people I meet on the road,” said Bell. “At the same time, I could be influencing the President of the United States as he is having to consider the work of the NAPF and especially the recent lawsuits filed by the Marshall Islands to hold the nuclear armed states accountable for their commitment to disarmament under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Every person I come into contact with, directly or indirectly, can help that effort by signing the petition in support of the Marshall Islands litigation at As I continue to show with my Pedaling for Peace - every mile adds up, and with regards to the legal action by the Marshall Islands, every signature of support adds up as well.”

Citizens around the globe understand the futility of war. Lori Bell stands with the female greats of history who dove into their passions, led others to speak their own truths and inspired countless people along the way. Each of us, engaging our own actions, must transform the human race beyond the paradigm of war and, as Bell explains, learn instead to "Wage Peace".



Author's Bio: 

Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and nine times across the United States in the past 35 years. He has written hundreds of articles (regularly) for 17 national and two international magazines. He has had hundreds of guest editorials published in top national newspapers including the Denver Post, Albany Herald, Las Vegas Tribune and Daily Camera. He wrote a column, "CRYSTAL DESERT CONTINENT," for a major newspaper in Colorado while he lived in Antarctica.

His books include, Handbook for Touring Bicyclists; Strike Three! Take Your Base; Bicycling Around the World; Motorcycle Adventure to Alaska: Into the Wind—A Teen Novel; An Extreme Encounter: Antarctica; Bicycling the Continental Divide: Slice of Heaven, Taste of Hell; Immigration’s Unarmed Invasion: Deadly Consequences; America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans; Losing Your Best Friend: Vacancies of the Heart. How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World; How to Deal with 21st Century American Women: Co-creating a successful relationship. Reach him: