My good friend Rachel Johnson with Touch A Life just cued me in to a cool group of guys who have been inspired by their adventures abroad to spark a wonderfully simple yet brilliant concept – the idea that giving a bike to a kid can change his/her life.
It makes me think back to when I was 5 years old and was given my first real bike for Christmas – we’re talking the real deal Huffy, no training wheels, and it even had some cool neon spoke thingies. Within no time I was king of the neighborhood, I could now exceed my boundaries and make it back in time without getting caught. I could keep up with the big boys. I could get to the neighborhood park in 72 seconds flat. But most of all, I could get on that bike and feel like a free man (ok, boy). So when I came across Dan Austin’s organization, 88 Bikes, the concept really resonated with me.
The 88 Bikes Foundation has a very simple goal: to provide a sustainable, joyful, empowering form of transportation to young people in developing countries, in situations where these children have been challenged to be their own heroes due to war, conflict, poverty, disease, or other regional hardships. In early 2010, 88bikes will travel to Ghana, India, Nepal and Vietnam, endowing orphanages, ashrams, centers and schools sheltering children rescued from human trafficking. The Moment of Happy will occur in January, 2010 at more than a dozen sites throughout the world. 300 children will receive a bicycle and the training to maintain it.
Ride on guys, ride on.