If people cycled more, and more people cycled, the world couldnt but be a better place. Maybe my ride will encourage others to get out and ride. The more of us there are, the more likely changes in transportation, safety and awareness will be implimented. Adding more bike lanes and paths that then lead to more cyclists and a better, healthier, happier quality of life. The idea that one more cyclist on the road could be the catalyst that starts the whole chain reaction is something to ponder.
As is the idea of cycling to encourage donations to charity.
I've stumbled into what seems like an ongoing debate about donating to charity while researching my big ride. Apparently, it has become too cliche or something. Every blogging cyclist and his dog has a charity pitch. (this is mine by the way). I'm not sure if Julian Sayarer was the originator of the debate or if it had been a topic before he made his stand. Certainly the name of his website www.thisisnotforcharity.com says a lot. His was the first attempt at the gwr that I'd come across and he seemed so angry that a cyclist would try to raise money for a charity by riding around the world. Well, maybe it was just one cyclist in particular.
James Bowthorpe (not the cyclist in particular) was just the opposite. He was all about charity. Delving into his website one discovers that his grandfather had Parkinson's. That James became very involved in the fundraising association. Volunteering for years before the idea to ride as a means to encourage people to donate surfaced. This to me seems such a noble cause for him. An extension, really, to the path his life was already on.
To be honest, the idea of asking someone who stumbles upon my site to give money to a charity wasn't something i was going to consider seriously at all. Mostly because iI'm not driven that way. My reasons for going on this ride are completely for the adventure. To ride in places Ive not been and experience the satisfied, exhausted feeling Ive come to love about long distance touring. And maybe to prove to myself I can do it. Why that should matter, I dont know. But there it is. I am driven that way. Totally selfish I know. The time and energy ive put into the preparation for this ride is crazy.
In the end what will I have to show for my efforts. What diference will any of it make. Little if any I imagine. Probably wont even improve my time in the Test Of Metal:) All this time and money would no doubt be better spent helping someone other than myself. Yet here I am, web browsing away. Looking into other cyclists tour and advice blogs and occasionally coming across another point of view about cycling for charity. Thats when I started thinking that trying to get people to donate to a charity through my website could be as big a challenge as the ride itself and probably more rewarding if it were to succeed. When I looked at it that way, it took on an appeal.
So, what do I care enough about to solicite for? Fortunately, loved ones in my life are all doing okay. That's not to say we havent had our share of health issues. There is or has been diabetes, alzheimers mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, cancer and a score of other charitable maladies that have touched me either personally or through friends and family. Organizations that tackle any of those and a hundred others, hundreds of others probably, are all worthy of a charitable donation if a person feels compelled to help out. Nobody needs me to tell them so.
Collectively we all agree that the world could be and should be a better place and that it is up to us to change things. And collectively we recycle, try to use less water, drive less or slower at least. We talk about global warming and the melting of the polar icecaps and what are we going to do. What about the polar bears, the rain forests. We all read about it and do our part to try and be more responsible as long as it doesn't interfere with our lifestyle or our goals too much. And how can it be any other way? Here is where we find ourselves. Most of us are just moving along in the world we know. Trying to do the best we can.
I don't have any real answers to these problems other than knowing and understanding that we have to become much more efficient with our resources and drastically reduce our waste. I care deeply about this but this is not a problem we can through money at to make go away. I guess I could still ask for your help though. I wonder what a starving child in some impoverished country would think of our plight to try and save the world so far if he or she suddenly had the free time and full belly to be able to sit back and contemplate such things. Maybe if given a chance those kids would become the ones with the answers.
Which brings me back to my question. What do I care enough about to ask you for a donation?
The Oxford dictionary defines charity as...Giving voluntarily to those in need. Organization set up to help those in need or for the common good. Kindness, benevolence. Tolerance in judging others. Love of fellow man. Quite surprised to see that there was no mention of cycling anywhere in the definition. Maybe if I look in the Merriam-Webster:)
Personally, when I think about charity, the image that pops into my head is starving, malnurished children in some chaotic, lawless refugee camp. I mean who could possibly be more in need of kindness and benevolence than them.
I spent quite a while in the food service industry and came to be shocked and amazed at the amount of food we waste. Thusly, to the delight of owners and managers I worked for, I became quite good at keeping food costs down. Still, the one thing I came away with from my time as a cook (other than high cholesterol) was our indifference to over-consumption and waste and how this could be when so many people starve to death every year. The imbalance is so disturbing to me.
In our neck of the woods, teaching kids not to waste food and water is probably the first building block in teaching a society to be more frugal and waste conscious in all aspects of living. As I mentioned earlier, its also the first building block in capping our emissions.
Nutritious food and clean water (things we take for granted) are the first and most important needs in any society. Without those basic necessities, good health and education will never be an option.
So this is where I switch gears, the ride I wilI do for fun, the challenge I put on you. I challenge you to relinquish a tiny percentage of your hard earned income and donate it to World Vision.
I have set up a fundraising page through www.worldvision.ca and Im really excited about it. With your generous help, 2500 Zambian kids will benefit greatly. So if you are interested in giving voluntarily to those in need. For the common good and love of fellow man click here
I sat down with my daughter one night a while back and together we chose a child to sponsor through World Vision. This is something I have been wanting to do for years. Why I've procrastinated for so long I don't know. It's funny, but in a way, I have Julian Sayarer to thank. If this site encourages you to donate to World Vision or sponsor a child, then in a round about way, so do you.
To sponsor a child, the minimum dollar figure is $35cdn per month. I realize this may be more than some people are willing or able to part with but there are a number of global disasters that World Vision is helping with which accept smaller one time donations. As small as $10.
I encourage you, before dismissing this opportunity to put your generosity to work, even if you dont want to help out with my 2500 Zambian kids, take a boo at the website. You will be impressed by what you find.
This webpage is merely a conduit to WorldVision. All donations go directly to WorldVision and do not aid me in any way other than fueling my determination.