I must admit to having a selfish reason for wanting to pedal my bike for a charitable cause. To be honest, it would encourage me to keep going. Call it the ultimate peer pressure. If I knew that every pedal stroke further down the road helped raise funds for a community, I'd be far less likely to take the easy way out one rainy miserable afternoon when I was confronted with my third flat of the day. When I remember previous tours there were times when I seriously wondered what I was doing out there. My "Day From Hell" comes to mind. When those times come (and really, it's not a matter of if, but when), it becomes tempting to throw in the towel, pack up the bike and find another way home.
I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks or so chatting up this idea of somehow securing commitments from others to make contributions to a charity of their choice for the distance I cycle this fall. I'd like to find out if the idea is feasible. I may post a link to this, for example, at the Adventure Cycling website, perhaps ask them to post something in their bi-weekly "Bike Bits" newsletter.
So, rather than pedal for my cause, I want to pedal for your cause. I want to inspire as many people as possible to contribute to their community in whatever way makes sense to them. The idea is that many communities potentially get the benefit, while I get the peer pressure to keep going.
Perhaps it could work like this. Someone in, say, Louisville, Kentucky sees this & decides to make a pledge to donate a penny for every kilometer I complete to support their local youth organization. If I do the entire ride of about 3000 kilometers, $30 is raised for an important local cause. When I'm informed of the pledge, I post a link to it on my website, & encourage the contributor to follow along for the ride as I pedal south. They let other community members know and before you know it five other people think it is a good idea, and a total of $180 is raised. One of these people shares the link with their cousin in Melbourne, Australia, who decides to make a similar pledge to support their local hospice, and, well, you get my drift. With the Internet, this can, & does, travel around the world in the blink of an eye.
My side of the bargain would be that everytime someone makes a pledge, I post a link to encourage more contributions to that cause. I also would commit to maintaining a daily blog, posting my distance through a gps enabled website (either strava or mapmyride) that would allow anyone to track my progress.
I think it is a wild & crazy idea. I don't know if I will get the ball rolling on it, but, I would like to. I haven't received any responses yet on my previous blog post on this, but I am not going to let it discourage me. I'm just going to keep "chatting it up" for now. Regardless, I'm going ahead with my plan to pedal into America this fall, and see what I can learn about my neighbour to the south.
As before, comments & suggestions are welcome.