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18/12/21, 22 days, Fundraising?

About one and a half year ago I participated in the RoPaRun, a 520km relay run between Paris and Rotterdam, running about 70km’s in two days. The aim of this run – which is organized annualy – is to raise money for palliative cancer care. The only condition for teams to participate in the run is that they actively engage in the fundraising efforts. So I thought this run would be a nice challenge and I didn’t mind asking family, friends and collegues for a contribution to this cause. I raised some money, did the run and our team brought together some €25.000,- (which compared to many other teams was actually a relative small amount). 
The thing with an event like the RoPaRun is that it is so much more than just a nice physical challenge. Along the route there are thousands of people cheering you on. But not just to encourage you, like at any other regular running event… No, the people are cheering you on and are simultaneously thanking you, because you are raising money for their sick parent, their sick child, their sick friend or any other sick acquaintance. Or the people are actually sick themselves! 

I found it very hard to cope with this gratitute from people who have been through a lot. I was just there to run. And with the Tour d’Afrique it’s the same: I just want to ride my bicycle, because I like riding my bicycle and discovering new places. I have no other motives whatsoever 🙂
So despite the fact that there are always Tour d’Afrique riders that use the tour to raise funds for a variety of organizations, I am not going to use my four month holiday to actively raise funds for a charity. Moreover I fear that my family, friends and collegues get bored with me when I ask them for money again 🙂
Participating in the Tour d’Afrique is not cheap. Actually I think i’ve spend a ridiculous amount of money on fees, gear, bicycle, flight tickets, insurances, visums, vaccinations and so on. The only reason I was able to pay for all this was because I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last year abroad. And when I received my first expat paycheck last year I imediately knew that this was my opportunity to save enough money to participate in the Tour d’Afrique. However, I also decided that it would not be healthy to spend all the money just on me. And for this reason I have donated my December salary to the Tour d’Afrique Foundation.

The TDA foundation was founded at the same time as the first edition of the Tour and has two main goals:

  1. To give something back to the people of the areas that the Tour passes through
  2. To raise consciousness about bicycles as an alternative and sustainable means of transport

To fulfill these objectives the Foundation focuses on three areas

  1. Donating bikes to individuals and organizations in Africa
  2. Supporting bicycle advocacy 
  3. Promoting projects that protect the environment.

The TDA Foundation has donated more than 2300 bicycles to more than 70 grassroots organizations and communities in 8 African countries and India.

I like bikes. And I think more people should use bikes. And I’m really sad that in Vietnam nowadays its only motorcycles and no more bicycles. I would have loved to see Hanoi with clean air and full of bicycles 🙂 Must have been magical!
So yes, I like the sound of what the TDA foundation says it does. And if you feel the same, feel free to make a donation to the foundation here as well. Or maybe you have more affinity with any of the good causes that other riders support:
Tom Bell is riding for Hospice Care
Tim Forde is riding for the Lion & Tusk Museum
Paul Bullen – Smith is riding for Médecins Sans Frontières 
Alex Harling is riding for Dougie Macmillan Hospice
Frederic Antille is riding for the Lessons for Life foundation
Vikas Patel is riding for the British Columbia Cancer Foundation

Lucy Preece is riding for Medecins Sans Frontieres and Mission Rabies

Already shows that there will be some interesting people joining the Tour 🙂 
Anyways, it’s still possible that you don’t like any of the above causes, but then maybe you do know some other non-tda non-rider affiliated good cause that you would like to support… Please do.
I’m not fundraising. There will be no final score at the end of the trip. But it feels good to be able to support others while at the same time I’m able to do something that I really like 🙂 And i hope that I will be able to do this more often in the future!

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