The story of “Why I Ride” is many years in the making. While I long dreamed of a bike ride across the United States, the courage and a worthy reason were lacking. Approaching 50 years of age, someone very close to me challenged my motives for wanting to ride across the USA. It was one of the best challenges I’ve ever received.
In my Facebook post the day before I left on that journey I wrote, “Why exactly am I doing this? Is it just to challenge myself? Is it to seek Olympic style glory? Is it to see the country in a unique way? If I am honest, there’s an element of truth in each of those statements. But there is much more to it.
Although I could do a lot better, I try to allow my faith to guide my priorities. I do not think that God is necessarily leading me to do this ride. Rather the question I have asked myself is, how can I use this desire and gift (using the term loosely) to serve Him? How can I make the world a better place through bicycling?”
2019’s Roundabout Ride frequently prompted the same question- why? I answered it this way:
- As a personal challenge,
- To help others (see above), primarily through World Bicycle Relief,
- To engage the community with some crazy fun on a bike!
2017’s ride across America fulfilled my long-held dream, as I visited nearly all of SRAM’s USA offices. Over $16,000 was raised for World Bicycle Relief on Tour de SRAM USA 2017 (TDSU17): 3600 miles, 28 days, over 1 million pedal strokes- and 1 rattlesnake encounter.
What surprised me, however, was that rather than being the end of a years-long dream, riding across the US was the beginning of a journey. Joining Mark Beaumont for a day on his “Around the World in 80 Days” World Record setting ride (the second one!) just a few months later was a pivotal moment. Reading Mark’s book about his first world record provided the inspiration to ride across America. Riding with him on what at the time was the longest ride of my life made me realize that my long-distance cycling and helping others could and should continue.
2018 brought a shorter but tougher ride: “Insanity to Inspire (Helping others through The Power of Bicycles)”, from Indianapolis through Chicago to Mackinac City, Michigan. I managed to ride 830 miles in 82 hours and although I raised less than $2000, this ride made it certain that my annual crazy endurance rides for WBR had to continue!
After months of prayer, thought, and input from family and friends, “Why I Ride” came to be in late 2018. This is the home to announce new endurance rides for World Bicycle Relief and to share stories after those rides are done.
My lifetime goal is to provide 1,000 bikes! Accomplishing that will require raising $147,000 (each WBR Buffalo Bike currently costs $147). You can track progress and donate directly to World Bicycle Relief at https://fundraise.worldbicyclerelief.org/WhyIRide
The photo below is with 2 Buffalo Bike recipients, Teddy & Aaron, who were able to stay in school in Africa and are now exchange students in the US. They plan to attend college here before returning home to use their education in turn to help others.
Why I Ride: it’s not about bikes and it’s not even about raising money, it’s about helping people.