The Beauty of the Bicycle

I spotted a blog post titled 25 Beautiful Photos of the World’s Favorite Transportation recently on the Compassion Blog. I highly recommend reading the post and checking out some bikes from around the world.

As a cyclist, I love opportunities to highlight the beauty of the bicycle.

There are more than a billion bicycles in the world – used for sport, work and regular old transportation. In the impoverished communities where we work, a bicycle can mean so much more than just a thing that gets you from point A to point B.

It’s sometimes a child’s only toy. A teen’s only way to get to class. A means to attend the only church in a 100-mile radius. An opportunity for a street business to provide for a family. Bicycles are sometimes a catalyst for a little … Hope.

The post reminded me of a couple of bicycle photos I took while in Rwanda a few years ago seeing Compassion at work. The photo at the top of this post is one I snapped when I saw an older gentleman cycling along the road I was standing beside. You can click on the photo (or the others in this post) for a closer look.

The photo below shows Emmanuel and the bicycle he uses to earn a living for his family. He collects and delivers water as well as transporting groceries from the local markets for others in his village. This is one of my very favourite photos.

Emmanuel is holding one of his babies. His wife had triplets. I can’t imagine the mixed emotions of finding out that you’re pregnant with triplets when you’re living in poverty. On the one hand it would be such a blessing but on the other hand, you would be wondering how you would be able to support these new, precious lives.

Thankfully, Compassion was right there partnering with the local church and was able to ensure a good pregnancy and a healthy birth. Those triplets were gorgeous and Emmanuel was absolutely besotted with his little family.

This brings me to another bike photo. This is my 2012 Giant bicycle which I’ll pedal more than 4,300 kilometres across Australia later this year to raise funds for Compassion. It’s for people like Emmanuel, his wife and their triplets that I’ll be riding.

If you’d like to support my ride you can do so in two ways.

I am personally seeking to raise $15,000. I really need your help to make that a reality.

You can make a direct donation to my fundraising page. Your donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world through Compassion’s Highly Vulnerable Children’s Fund.

Every child in poverty is vulnerable, but some children are at risk of the most deplorable situations in the world.

Children whose parents who have left, died, or are unable to provide for them, children exposed to exploitation and children with special needs are highly vulnerable. They often find themselves on the edge of extremely dangerous situations like child labour, gang violence, trafficking, and life on the street.

So far, I received donations from $10 to $1,000 from some generous friends. All donations above $2 are tax deductible in Australia. Your contribution, of any amount, will put me closer to my target of $15,000.

The other way you can help to boost my total is to sponsor a child living in poverty. By using that link your sponsorship will count towards my fundraising goal while releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to discover Jesus’ incredible love for them.

Sponsor a child. Give them a brighter future so they, and eventually their own children, can live free from poverty.

Whichever way you choose to support me and however much you choose to give, your contribution will not only help push me closer to reaching my target, you’ll also change the life of a child or children living with the devastating effects of extreme poverty.

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Sharing the Knowledge

The world is your classroom … but what are you teaching?

As I cycled home yesterday I spotted a fellow cyclist by the side of the bike path with his bike upside down and his back wheel in his hand. Whenever I spot someone with a flat or mechanical issue I slow down enough to ask if they have all they need to get back on the road. Most of the time the cyclist will have everything under control and so I just keep going but Glen was having a few issues.

He had owned his carbon fibre road bike for four months and this was his first flat tyre. He had absolutely no idea what to do. The interesting thing was that he said he couldn’t get good reception on his phone so he couldn’t head to YouTube for help. After giving him a quick lesson on tyre changing he was ready to get back on the road.

Doing what comes naturally

After that encounter I started thinking about a couple of things. Firstly how most of us have skills that we just take for granted that we can pass on to others. I’ve changed way too many flat tyres over the years so I can do a change in fairly quick time. I sometimes forget that something so natural for me is anything but natural for others.

What simple skills can you pass on to other people?

YouTube is your friend

The other thing I thought about was the rise of YouTube as a way of learning from each other. While Glen couldn’t get reception to watch any tyre changing action, he did say that he was going to watch some YouTube clips once he got home to learn more about the process.

Several months ago I had the unenviable task of changing parts inside our toilet cistern. I had the parts but no instructions so I searched YouTube to find some guy with the same cistern as us demonstrating what I needed to know. He wasn’t an expert, just a guy who had the same difficulties as me so once he figured out what to do he videoed a demonstration. Brilliant.

Do you head to YouTube to learn skills of any kind? Have you ever created a YouTube video to show how to accomplish simple tasks? Maybe I should video myself changing a bike tyre.

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Ride to Work Day

How do you get to work each day? Thought of cycling?

Wednesday the 13th of October is Ride to Work Day in Australia and several cycling bodies are getting behind the push to get more of us on our pushbikes.

While Australia is stuck in peak hour the Ride to Work Day program is helping Australian workers embrace an affordable, hassle and carbon emission free mode of transport.

The free program assists those wanting to try riding to work as an alternative mode of transport which can ease the pressures of modern life.

You save money, your health and your peace of mind. You arrive to work energised and arrive home unwound from the day.

Will you be taking part?

You can register your participation online and then plan to take a healthier trip to work.

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Why do you ride?

While this is a US campaign by peopleforbikes.org I still love the video.

If you’re in the US you make like to find out more about their campaign to promote cycling and to get noticed by the US government. If you’ve ever been captivated by the thrill of cycling you may like to just watch the video then add a few reasons that you love cycling in the comments of this post.

Why do you ride?

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Wheely Good Music

This is truly amazing.

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