Cycle a continent, or cycle the world.
If you are going to do it, do it with these guys;
1.Why did you pick cycling as the mode of travel?
I read a blog recently that referred to bikes as “tools and vehicles that make life better.” I think this does a great job explaining why we chose cycling as our mode of travel. Cycling, and cycle touring specifically, has this unbelievable ability to transform an individual. The freedom, the challenge, the adventure, and as the blog mentioned, the ability it has to make you think bigger and get beyond your own community, offers amazing opportunities for people.
As kids we all loved to bike if for nothing else the opportunity it presented for exploration, learning, and escape. As adult we don’t get this opportunity as much in our daily lives, but we believe cycling can still provide that. Through our trips participants not only get to have a wonderful physical travel adventure, but through biking they are given the opportunity for a challenge, an opportunity to explore the world, and an opportunity to learn what they are truly capable of both physically and mentally.
2.Your whole staff seems to consist of young people…..
-What kind of message are you trying to send out to people?
A lot of our staff are starting to get a bit older and it is getting tougher to classify them as youth, but we are still very much a youth driven organization. We believe that the determination, energy, and innovation of today’s youth is and will continue to be instrumental in making the world a better place. We strive to support inspired youth and we want to send the message that our generation is ready to take a stand against poverty, inequality, environmental destruction, etc…
3.How do you think taking part in a tour can change the participants life?
This is a great question and I’ll let one of our alumni answer it:
Michal Tellos (2011 Pacific Coast tour) “Prior to the tour, never had I been so nervous about successfully completing anything, but at its conclusion, I had never been so confident. This confidence doesn’t relate merely to my physical ability to cycle 100 km daily, but to any seemingly insurmountable challenge. During the tour, we had to wake up, and ride our hardest every day to get where we wanted to go. I learned that with a similar approach to any task, I can achieve similar outcomes. The winding hills that never seem to end start off as a physical challenge, and somewhere along the way, morph into empowering psychological metaphors.”
4.What kind of feedback do you get from participants?
Again, I’ll let our participants answer this one:
Kaleigh Heard (2011 Europe tour) “RTBTC Europe 2011 was by far the most daring, impulsive and absolutely wonderful experience I have had in my life! It is truly designed for those who want to make a difference and see the world the way it should be seen”
Elize Morgan (2010 Europe tour) “The Europe tour was one of the best experiences of my life, and it’s an amazingly fantastic experience for everyone involved.”
Sean Peters (2007 Pacific Coast tour) “The Pacific Coast tour is an amazing experience. It’s one of those life-changing experiences where, when you’re 80, you’ll be able to say that you did that; you accomplished something so audacious and rare. There’s nothing in the world that can describe it- the sense of accomplishment is overwhelming”
5. There’s a recurring theme in giving to charity; that the people who the money is intended for, never get it, instead their government or multinationals or someone along the way ends up with it. How do you know this isn’t the case with yours?
First of all, we have a clear distinction between money raised for operating costs and those raised for the projects we support. We want to be clear with donors where their money is going. When it comes to the projects we support we put a lot of measures in place to monitor where our funds go whether it is the months and months we spend vetting the projects, sending staff or volunteers to visit the projects, or receiving frequent updates from them. Above all else though we work very closely with our partners so that we are not providing just finances but expertise as well. That said we are in the business of supporting community driven projects. We don’t pretend to know the solutions to poverty in communities around the world but we know that there are local there that probably do and we strive to support them. We spend a lot of time getting to know the individuals behind the projects and we are confident that our money ends up in the right hands.
6. Has anyone been on every tour?
Nobody has done all of our tours yet. A couple of people have done three and a bunch have done two, but we mostly get new participants each year wanting to take on the challenging adventure!
7.Is the plan to continue opening up new routes across the globe? Where do you have in mind next?
We are definitely interested in opening up new routes. Our plan was always to open a new route every two years and so far we are ahead of that goal. We have a few options in mind that we have started investigating: West Africa, Canada, Australia, and possibly the Silk Road.
8.You guys are all young, which I love and ambitious which is getting rare to find in the youth of today (I am allowed say this because I am also young) How have you managed to step away from this stereotype and strive to live out your dreams?
-Have you confronted any older people yet who automatically judge you as the lazy stereotype associated with a youth? What did you say to them?
I guess we have managed to step away from this stereotype with our actions. We don’t just sit idle, we are always improving, always learning, always engaging with the community, and always seeking to find the best solutions to global poverty. And at the end of the day we are taking on epic and challenging bike tours each year and every year and we are raising significant funds through a lot of hard work and a lot of pounding the pavement.
Fortunately we’ve actually been lucky to have had little to no confrontation from older folks stereotyping us as lazy. If that was to occur I think our actions would speak louder than words.
9. Leading people on tours around the world by bike – Surely that has got to be a sweet job?
I couldn’t imagine a more exciting job! Working for Riding to Break the Cycle combines my love of adventure, cycling, and the outdoors, with my passion for social change. I get to work with an amazing group of inspiring individuals and I get to help young adults have life changing experiences. You couldn’t ask for more really!
10. Working there, what is the best think you get to witness?
I think the best thing I get to witness, besides for the success of the individuals we are helping, is the transformation I see in our participants. They join us as timid, novice cyclists, and they leave confident, mentally tough, aware, educated, and empowered to continue making a positive difference in the world.