We bike for fun. We bike for fitness. We bike for meditation. We bike for solitude, or we bike for companionship. But we can also bike for charity (and still get most of the benefits listed above). While charity rides are more common on paved surfaces, there are a few opportunities for knobbies to also generate funds for others. Here are three that focus on our planet’s neediest continent.
The 50-Mile Ride for Rwanda, Orange County, California, April 20, 2016
Now approaching its decade anniversary, the Ride for Rwanda has raised over $770,000 over the last nine years, an average of over $85K/year. But the event has been growing, and they have set a very ambitious goal of raising over $150K in 2016 alone. Last year’s ride had almost 1,300 participants pedaling through the hills of Southern California and this year’s ride is dedicated to supporting Team Africa Rising and World Bicycle Relief.
Team Africa Rising has allowed athletes in the small, war-torn, and impoverished nation of Rwanda to develop an internationally competitive cycling team. In recent years they have expanded their aid to Eritrea and Ethiopia. World Bicycle Relief is the leader in bicycle distribution programs to poor areas. War and crime often spring from poverty, and one simple, clean way to help the needy on the path to self-sufficiency is to provide the means to get around… on a bike. In a nation without infrastructure, a bike can make a world of difference not only economically, but also mentally, physically, and spiritually. I’m confident that if everyone had a bike, there’d be a whole lot less war!
Atlas Mountain Bike Challenge, Morocco, June 3-10, 2017
Are you having difficulty finding an event that supports your favorite charity? Then the Atlas Mountain Bike Challenge may be for you. This is a tough, 8-day trans-Morocco ride over rugged dirt roads through a spectacular, otherworldly landscape. As you might expect, such a trek is costly. In this case, there are two ways to pay. The first is simply to pony up the full amount required to support your excursion. The other way is to put up a small, nominal fee up front, and then raise the balance for a charity of your choice.
Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater Bike Challenge, Tanzania, July 16 or October 1, 2016
If you don’t want to wait until 2017, or would rather see Kilimanjaro than Morocco, there are two similar “open challenge” (raise donations for a charity of your choice from a list of options) dates. The Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater Bike Challenge runs for 8 days, starting either July 16 or October 1, and covers 350 kilometers of classic African savanna.
Your Turn: Are there any charity events you plan on doing on your mountain bike? Please share in the comments section below.