Cycling is largely an individual endeavor. We often ride in groups but the goals we set are ones that we typically achieve by ourselves. Some achievements are small (fixing your first flat) and some are much larger (completing your first century ride). We don't often get the chance to ride for something more than our own sense of personal achievement.
My plans to participate in the Etape were initially motivated by my desire to test myself and to see if I could finish just a single mountain stage of the Tour de France. But while thinking about this little adventure, I thought it would mean so much more if I could make this ride bigger than just a cycling challenge.
Working in collaboration with the World Bicycle Relief
Imagine you were a farmer and you had produce that you grew on your farm. But you couldn't bring that to the local market because the market is 10 miles away and you had no means of efficiently transporting 30 pounds of produce. A bicycle could help with that problem. Or imagine you were a student who had to walk 8 miles a day to get to school? What if a bike could help you get to school in 45 minutes instead of 3 hours? Over equal units of time, a person on a bicycle can cover 4 times the distance or carry over 5 times the weight of a person on foot. The World Bicycle Relief is a charity that recognizes that mobility is one of the greatest assets an individual can have and that bicycles are one of the cheapest and most environmentally friendly ways to address this issue. Over the past 5 years, they have built and donated over 70,000 bicycles to communities in Africa. Their work has been so effective that they were just recently named as one of the top 25 best philanthropies by Barrons! $134 funds a bike (which is less than many spend on a fancy dinner).
Ride a bike, change a life. How cool is that?