Unsung Heroes

Natural Leadership

They keep coming out of the woodwork. Appearing when most needed and least expected. Amazing individuals that are willing to go the extra mile, unprompted and unrecognized. These are my unsung heroes. Who are the heroes in your life?

Everyday Heroes

My list of heroes has been growing exponentially over the past few weeks of my Ride the Talk campaign; a cycling adventure to raise funds for need-based sustainable design scholarships. As I attempt to leap over last minute obstacles, they have been arriving on the scene. Before I hop on my bike to trek 1000 miles from Montana to Minnesota, I wanted to take the time to recognize these generous individuals who are as quiet about their superpowers as they are about their superhero outfits. Every once in a while, if the light is just right and I use my peripheral vision, I can catch wink of a cape tucked under regular clothing or a golden lasso tucked into a brief case. I challenge you to notice the superheroes in your life and thank them for all they do to make your life better in some small way and to help us all live more sustainably on this planet we call home.

Thanks to all these folks who know who they are (in no order of preference!):

  • The bicycle mechanics who have answered every question I have thrown at them (happily) and helped me to get my circa 1982 bike into tour-ready shape.
  • My husband who has unwaveringly supported my trip despite gruesome tales from all walks of what could go wrong.
  • The fireman who is determined to have all fire stations on red alert for me as I cycle through their towns.
  • The friends who unflaggingly encouraged me to make the trip and have given me send-offs to remember.
  • My “I’m okay” relay chain and “bicycle trip doula”: for standing by for my daily check-ins.
  • My social media side-kick, who will be sure to keep the trip pulsing with digital activity.
  • The blog editors that have showed their earnest support by picking up my posts.
  • The outdoor adventure leaders who helped me through a last minute liability debacle.
  • The peeps that have offered to pick me up, schlep my stuff, and help me make connections.
  • My MCAD colleagues that have gone to bat for this adventure in dozens of ways and will continue to do so.
  • The perfect strangers that will lend pieces of lawn and warm showers all along my route.
  • All of the sage riders that have offered tips and words of wisdom that will make my trip lighter – both physically and metaphorically.
  • Each of you that have given time, money, gear, and shared the word to help me get Ride the Talk off the ground and on the road.
  • For all the superheroes that are waiting to be called into action that I will inevitably meet one day!

Campaign Update:


We are nearly to the $3000 mark with over 60 generous donations. THANK YOU!


Adventure Cycling: Missoula, MT

Alchemy Goods: Seattle, WA

Backcountry Boiler: Pittsburgh, PA

Baladeo: Bagnolet, France

Bike Doctor: Missoula, MT

Bike Fixtation: Minneapolis, MN

Good Food Store: Missoula, MT

Hellgate Cyclery: Missoula, MT

Julie Kies: Missoula, MT

Mike McDonald: Corvallis, OR

Nice Ride: Minneapolis, MN

Pacific Outdoor Equipment: Bozeman, MT

Teko: Boulder, CO

Superhero crossing image courtesy of Flickr CC @Brett Jordan.

Cindy Gilbert / Former Director

Cindy is founder and director of Alula Consulting which specializes in innovative online and sustainability education projects for educational institutions, non-profits, and corporations. Recent clients include The Lemelson Foundation, VentureWell, Green Building Research Institute, University of Montana, PBS, Silverback Films, and more. Cindy has taught numerous courses and workshops, around the world and online, in the fields of biology, sustainability and biomimicry.

Cindy was the founding director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program for 7.5 years which is home to the fully online, multidisciplinary MA in Sustainable Design (MASD) that is the first of its kind in the world. In this role, she fostered a culture of awareness and creativity through sustainable, innovative and collaborative design. Before MCAD, she served for nearly four years as the founding director of university education at the Biomimicry Institute where she developed and managed all higher education programs, including the professional certification program, annual education summits, affiliate and fellows programs, and design challenges. Cindy is based in Montana. Please contact her through LinkedIn.