Friday, September 25, 2015

100 Miles of Nowhere: Giving Within Giving

If you are a fan of the Fat Cyclist blog, you may be aware that Elden has an annual event during which he encourages members of "Team Fatty" to sign up for a 100 Miles of Nowhere ride.

The event takes place in individual participants cities (which is the best part - no place to travel other than out your own front door). The purpose of the event is to raise money for Camp Kesem which provides youth who have a parent affected by cancer an opportunity to have a break from everything. It's an important organization to him because his family and his children have been affected by cancer.
Fatty's t-shirt for 100 Miles of Nowhere participants
*Image here
As I was reading his post this year, something stirred inside of me. I don't normally participate in this event because it takes place late in the year and I'm always certain that the ground will be covered in snow. In reality, the event can happen on any day, so it's honestly a pretty flimsy excuse, but it's worked for me thus far.

I'm also generally ill-equipped physically to cover 100 miles on a bicycle, making the idea of committing to this ride something of a challenge. Perhaps this excuse is less insubstantial, but frankly it's still not a great reason, particularly as the money is going to a good cause whether I complete the distance or not.

The last several months there has been a lot going on in the world. I have felt like I need to do something - something for myself and to help the world in some small way. I've had my own challenges with riding this year and have covered about 1/10 the distance I'd normally cover in the summer months (maybe less).

I've also been dealing with injuries that have provided ample time for me to whine about my inability to actually do much.

It's made for a difficult riding season and has frustrated me beyond belief. The longest distance I've traveled in one stint throughout 2015 was just under 40 miles... and that was back at Easter when Sam and I rode to Boulder to see what sort of stores might be open. Not exactly my most glorious year.

When registration came up for the 100 Miles of Nowhere, I thought maybe it would be an opportunity for me to get in a longer ride. One of the best parts is that the day could be of my choosing.

Still, I hesitated. I'm in no way prepared physically to take on this challenge by any means.

Then I wrestled internally with my lack of community involvement this year and the reality that I've not done much to help myself or anyone else. I do think it's important to give to our home area as well as to give to those afar who we may never actually meet in person. So, perhaps I could turn this 100 MoN into something mutually beneficial?

That got my wheels turning - the mental ones anyway.

"What if I did my own 100 Miles of Nowhere?" I said to Sam one night as he was trying desperately to go to sleep. "I mean, it wouldn't be nearly as grand or get the donations that Fatty's event will, but it could be an opportunity to involve our friends and community and hopefully get a little help for an organization here in town that would benefit." Sam nodded along, probably because he just wanted me to be quiet so he could go to sleep.

But, the idea was now rolling. I just needed to pick an organization (because there are many locally) that we'd want to help a bit this year. Plus, we'd have to figure out a route that went, well, nowhere.

Part of the 100 MoN is that it has no real destination. It's just a short path that the participant repeats over and over (and likely over) again. I didn't have a firm grasp on a route quite yet, but I had an idea of the organization I'd like to help locally.

The organization I want to help in some small way is the OUR Center. We have donated items to the center in the past, but I know that they do a lot of good locally in many forms. Some of the resources and assistance they provide to people in our city and the surrounding communities are:

- Temporary family shelter or housing assistance
- Rent/Utilities assistance
- Healthcare expenses assistance
- Local transportation
- Daily hot meals
- Groceries
- Clothing
- Child Care

I know that a large portion (larger than many non-profits) goes directly to client services and assistance, which is great because donations are getting to those who really need the help.

It is also an organization that speaks to me personally. As someone who in the past has lived without a home and food, if I can do a small bit to help someone else in a similar situation, why wouldn't I?
Rendering of the future OUR Center
*Image here
The OUR Center is in the midst of a huge building project. Their services are spread out over the area and a centralized, much larger facility is currently being constructed near the center of the city to offer services in one location. Not only do they need financial assistance to build this center, but also to continue to provide the services throughout our community.

After making the decision to attempt a fundraiser to help out the OUR Center, I also decided to sign Sam and me up for Fatty's 100 MoN, so it would be a kind of double benefit. Fatty gets our support for an organization he likes to help and hopefully we can help an organization locally that is important as well. Sounds like a win-win, I thought.

But, here is where I need some help from you. The point of this (other than challenging my body to do something it is absolutely, in no way prepared to do) is to help out a local organization, and this is where you come in.

You can help in two ways:

1) I would love it if you would take a moment to donate - in any amount - to the OUR Center. You don't need to send a check. You can make donations directly via their website here in any amount.

If you can spare $1, that is outstanding. If you can skip one morning coffee and donate that amount, I would be ecstatic. If you are able to give more, I would do (internal) somersaults (let's face it, there's no way I'm doing any flips, especially with current physical restrictions).

2) If you would be so kind to help spread the word to others, that will only help build the base of request number 1 above, and will aid in getting more to this organization.

Now, I know how things like this go. We see a request and think either that our one measly dollar isn't going to do anything to benefit anyone, or believe that enough others are giving that we don't need to. I have to tell you though, those one dollar donations add up.

Imagine if every person who saw this post donated just $1. One dollar. It doesn't sound like it would do much on its own, but imagine if 200 people donated that dollar, or 500 people or 1,000 people. What if they all gave $2? Then, imagine that each of those people asked just one other person to donate $1. What a great gift we could give to a resource always in need of help!

Please, don't ignore this request or think that your donation won't help. Every single amount will allow the OUR Center to offer just a bit more to those in need.

I very, very rarely ask for financial resources from those who read here, but I'm asking today that you take a moment, go to the donation page here and give an amount that won't put you into financial hardship. It will definitely help those in need.

Some information about the donation page...

The page allows you to specify where you'd like the funds to go within the organization. If you're particular, pick one of the categories, otherwise you can choose to allow the OUR Center to select where the funds are best put to use.

There is also a section down the page that allows donations to be left in memory or honor of someone. If you have a person in your life that you'd like to donate in memory of, please feel free to put in his/her name. If you don't, simply type in Endless Velo Love or G.E. of Endless Velo Love in the name box.

Whichever you choose, please also send me an email after your donation (endless velo love AT gmail.com - take out the spaces and replace "at" with the symbol) with the amount you've donated so that I can keep a running tally of our cumulative donations (I'm also trying to get a local company - or companies - to sponsor dollar for dollar donations, so this will help provide a total of these dollars).

Remember: No amount is too small.

If you'd prefer I not use your name in any posts or social media, just let me know in the email and I promise not to do so... however, I wouldn't use identifying info beyond a first name (and perhaps a city or state) or a nickname/screen name, so there shouldn't be too much concern for anyone.

My plan is to ultimately share the total amount raised with all of you so that you know just how much good a little bit of giving can do.

I'm also debating a giveaway for those who donate. I have a few (bicycle-related) leftover items from holiday time giveaways last year. I was also pondering pulling a randomly drawn name from the list of those who donate. The winner would receive a small portrait painting (completed by yours truly) of a pet, friend or family member. Let me know what you think about this idea and what you'd have interest in potentially winning.

As for the date and route for the 100 MoN, that information will be forthcoming. I know the route will probably be a relatively short distance that gets repeated until we reach (hopefully) 100 miles, but we've yet to actually settle on a route, so that may change. The ride will all be completed within a single day (most likely sometime in mid-October - which means I don't have time to train - Argh)... which also means Sam may be dragging me with his bike by a rope by the time we've covered any kind of distance. I'm glad at least one of us is physically prepared to take this on.

As always, thank you for reading here, and please help by donating whatever amount you can and by spreading the word. Remember, your donations are tax-deductible and will be greatly appreciated!

2 comments:

  1. What a lovely thought. I've made a small donation and will send you a note about it. No need for give-aways. I obviously won't be riding the same route as you, but I'll do my best to do a solo century on the designated day.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your generosity. It is greatly appreciated. :) I'll keep you posted on the date we plan to do our ride here, but if you plan on doing your own, please don't feel the need to do it the same day.

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