For the last 3 years, I have done a charity bike ride with an organization called Bikes 4 Books. Typically, we ride 320 – 360 miles from Detroit to Chicago, camping throughout the trip. The ride is very organized and for a great cause and also extremely gratifying. Over the last 4 years, Bikes 4 Books has raised over $30,000 for non-profits based in Chicago. We do everything on an extremely limited budget and literally ride over 300 miles in one weekend. It’s amazing to say the least.
Last year I did the ride with my partner in crime, Travis Tamez. However this year, he’s wimping out (actually, it’s his best buds wedding so, we’ll cut him some slack). Together we had an amazing time and even sponsored the event by providing winning riders each day with a product or two.
This year we offered severe discounts on camping equipment to help the riders focus on fundraising. Bike camping is a unique and growing activity that I highly encourage you to look into. Although buying a brand new bike can be very expensive , you can also do trips like this on relatively cheap, second hand bikes. I did the ride on a fabricated bike I pieced together via loose product I picked up over the years. The White Knight and I made it 3 years in a row but this year I had to upgrade, cause ya know, we’re getting serious here.
Hauling and Dreaming
Full disclosure, we have a van that follows behind with a trailer pulling all the equipment. Most of the people riding are doing this for their first time and are looking to really do something amazing (and they will). Riding 300 miles in one weekend is no joke. But you might be surprised how far you can push your body when you’re surrounded with encouragement as well as doing it for a great cause.
If you ever get the chance to ride over 50 or 100 miles (known as a century), do it. I’ve always come from the mind-set that, “well, what the hell, why not?” No harm in trying. Failure is always a real fear but never trying is even worse. One of my favorite entrepreneurs, Tim Ferris has a great point in one of his books:
“No on ever really got successful by wishing they were. They became successful because they acted.”
Again, paraphrasing. My point here is to simply try! Who cares if you look weird, goofy or you might fail. Just try. The only time I would caution this is gung-ho attitude is with this: if you’re attempting something like this by yourself and you have 0 to super minimal experience, educate yourself. Find someone who knows a lot about biking or go to a MeetUp group and learn.
This year is no different… only we’re riding from La Crosse, WI to Chicago to change things up and make things slightly better for logistics (riding trails instead of farm roads).
This all being said, I’m trying to raise awareness for the charity we’re riding for as well as bringing light to how you can both have fun outdoors and simultaneously raise money for a great cause. Did we mention also feel accomplished?
I’m going to try and post a daily blog from the road each day we’re out, as well as using our Instagram stories feature.
If you want to donate, feel free to do so or share this post if you’re into what we’re doing!