Next Year’s Long Bike Ride and Cause
August 18, 2011
After two years on the Bike Rally I’m going to take a year off. My friends, coworkers, and strangers who sponsored me were incredibly generous and over two years pledged around $8,000 – more than I ever thought possible. Peoples’ generosity was really inspiring and did much to lessen my cynicism in a world that sometimes seems more than a little rude, selfish, and unkind. That said, I do want to give my friends’ wallets a break after pretty much continually asking for pledges from about December of 2009 to just about a month ago.
This doesn’t mean, however, that I won’t be doing a long ride next summer. It also doesn’t mean I won’t be trying to bring more good into the world by doing it. And so I present next summer’s project – designed to continue to reduce both my own cynicism and hopefully yours as well:
Next summer I’ll be riding from here in Toronto – what many consider to be Canada’s least friendly and rudest city to what many agree holds that title in the United States: New York City. I won’t be asking for any mone. Instead I’ll be asking for a different contribution from you. Between today and my departure next summer I want to collect pledges of acts of kindness – at least 500 to be exact – so more than one a day. Like any charity ride, I know the pledges will vary in scale and can be as little as buying a coffee for someone or giving a friend in need a hug. I also know from some of the stories I’ve already heard that they can be pretty huge. The point is that while North American culture is portrayed as a cold, selfish one, I’m pretty sure that there’s still no shortage of good things being done without anything being expected in return. And having been on the receiving end of many such acts, I can also say that even the smallest acts can make someone’s day and make them more likely to pass the goodwill on.
Over the upcoming weeks I’ll be setting up a site to collect these pledges, and their associated stories and I’ll be sharing them with you. In the meantime, I’m collecting stories of acts of kindness you have received to encourage others to pledge by showing them how these acts are valued by those who receive them. If you have a story to share, please message me or contact me and do let me know if you would like to remain anonymous as well.