Cycling for Hope
“Maybe if I ride my bicycle 100km every day for a month I can raise $1,500 towards the land Nakuru Hope needs to grow food.”
That's how Cycling for Hope was born. I could have waited until September – a month that has just 30 days. But I wanted to get started right away before the enormity of what I had promised to do sunk in. So I cycled 100km every day from July 19 to August 18.
In 31 days I cycled just over 3,100km. To put this in perspective: it's 3,020km from Adelaide to Darwin, 3,040km from Melbourne to Townsville and 3,100km from Brisbane to Katherine in the Northern Territory.
But I didn't get to ride all those exotic roads, I still had to go to work and university during the challenge. So I spent much of my time cycling in darkness not seeing anything but the small part of the world that the moon, stars, street lamps and my bike headlight made visible. I'd drag my body out of my warm bed at 3.30am to hit the road. At night I'd often still be out well after dark, spinning my pedals in the cold night air. At night, I got home exhausted, falling asleep almost as soon as I uploaded my photos and ride report.
As tough as this challenge was, it was also magical. Have you ever watched the sun rising over the glassy waters of Moreton Bay? Or ridden through a stinging rain squall only to come out the other side in full sunshine? Have you ever spent a month being able to eat anything and everything you wanted without fear of gaining weight? Have you ever been so tired you're asleep before your head hits the pillow and sleep soundly until the alarm goes off?
Cycling for Hope was a tough way to raise money for charity. I raised just under $2,000 in donations, just 66c per kilometre. But I'd do it all again in a heartbeat, because while we sit in our warm houses complaining about our first world problems, the families of the Kaptembwo slums near Nakuru in Kenya live in flimsy boxes barely larger than the average Australian bedroom. Children in Kaptembwo eat five small meals a week provided by their schools; they have no food over the weekend.
It's slightly embarrassing to admit, but my favourite television show is Touched by an Angel. In one episode, the character Tess says, “The courage of a single person can change history but only if they recognise the call when it comes.” Cycling for Hope won't dramatically change history but it will help the children of Kaptembwo have food for their stomachs. And who knows, one of those children might one day change the world.
What's this got to do with being GLBT? Everything. The GLBT community is part of the global world. A world that needs our care and commitment so our collective tomorrow is somewhere we are proud to call home.