Are you feeling unmotivated and unchallenged? Did the New Year’s fitness craze and diet only last until January 2nd? Then you need a project. But what? OK, you could redecorate the house. You could learn to speak Mandarin and play the violin. But isn’t that all a bit…indoors? How about casting your energies into the wider world and signing up for a sponsored hike or bike ride. You’ll be raising money for a good cause while bagging a trip to somewhere amazing. Well it beats reupholstering the sofa right?
Charity Bike Ride Inspiration
In this edition of Adventure Ideas we’ve got 10 ideas for great charity bike rides, rides that could help you turn your life around while helping a good cause. They’re all fairly challenging, but doesn’t that make them all the more rewarding? There are many different organisations running and facilitating rides like these as part of or on behalf of a wide range of charities. Some have fixed dates, entry fees, ties to particular charities and/or minimum sponsorship requirements while others are more flexible. Some take a cut for their services and others do it for pure love as an act of charity, so do make sure you check the details.
Of course there’s no reason why you can’t organise your own charity ride and fundraising. We did a family ride from Lands End to John O Groats and collected money for Children in Need as we went. If you’re organising something independently then sites like Just Giving are very useful for promoting your ride and managing the fundraising aspects. You can set up your own fundraising page, promote your event and chosen charity, set and monitor targets, share details of your event through social media and invite people to contribute to your cause. Donations get transferred directly to your chosen charity, gift aid tax relief can be reclaimed automatically, fees are small and transparent and only taken if and when tax relief is claimed and paid. The Just Giving site also has a great list of even more ways you can cycle for charity so if something here doesn’t take your fancy, go check them out afterwards.
10 ideas for great charity bike rides
1 Follow Team GB in the Ride London-Surrey 100
RideLondon-Surrey 100 will be the first of the London 2012 Olympics legacy events. From 6am on 4th August, 20,000 riders will pedal the Olympic route on a 100 mile cycle challenge around London and the Surrey hills. This may be a charity version of the London 2012 Olympic Road Race, but it won’t give you an easy ride; it’s packed with stretching climbs and spectacular scenery. But it does come with the glory of crossing the finishing line on the Mall. RideLondon-Surrey 100 hopes to become the largest charity cycle race in the world, with the organisers of the London Marathon at the helm. Places have already been handed out by ballot, although there are a few guaranteed charity places still available. If you want to watch the race as it takes place and consider whether any family members would like to do it next year, you can check out the route and details at www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk. The race is part of a weekend festival and cycling enthusiasts will find plenty of activities in the area.
2 London to Paris – the one with the Eiffel Tower
Two iconic cities. More than two hundred miles of English and French countryside. One great ride. If you do the London to Paris you will cover up to 500km on country roads, past World War battlefields, through historic towns, and along rivers. You’ll finish at the Eiffel Tower; what could be more fun than that? But you won’t do it alone. This is one popular charity ride and a great summer challenge to work off all the carbs you’ve stored over the winter and spring.
3 Death Valley Ride – surprisingly full of life
Riding through Death Valley sounds a bit on the bleak side doesn’t it? You might be surprised to hear that it’s not only the largest National park in the USA, it’s also one of the most stunning. But you can still tell all your friends you are doing the ultimate bike ride for charity! Death Valley National Park is in the South California desert in Nevada – and it’s almost three and a half million acres of sweeping scenery and dramatic mountain range. But don’t worry, you won’t be expected to pedal it all. As a bonus you’ll likely finish up in Vegas, where you can celebrate your achievements and tell everyone you had what it took to take on Death Valley and win.
4 Paddy fields and pedalling locals in Vietnam
Tea plantations, rice paddies, gorges, mountains, hill tribe villages, bamboo and jungle landscapes, rolling ungraded road, challenging climbs and steep descents. These are just some of the highlights of a charity cycling challenge in Vietnam. If you are considering a charity bike ride, why not do it in a rural setting where the bicycle not the car is the main form of transport for locals? You may find you make a few friends along the way. Check out this post for more adventure ideas on Vietnam.
5 Island life in Ibiza
Ibiza’s reputation is more skewed towards partying than pedalling but it’s a beautiful country with amazing wildlife and coastline. You can undertake a two day challenging ride for charity before relaxing on some of its stunning beaches. All in the name of warming down of course! Best go in the spring before it gets too hot.
6 Riding through history beside The Great Wall of China
This is a classic charity ride and there are many providers and charities online that can facilitate your journey. But why bike it? Well, for a start it’s one of the world’s most important UNESCO heritage sights. You’ll be able to see much more than you would as a tourist on foot, and getting away from the crowds will enable you to immerse yourself into the past, into a century when the wall was the frontline defence of Imperial China. You will bike through mountain ranges and rural villages in the shadows of the Great Wall, and perhaps have the chance to visit ancient Ming Tombs and the Black Dragon Pools National Park along the way. If you end in Beijing, then on completion of your challenge you can explore some of the many attractions of China’s capital city like the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. Or you can extend your journey and take a flight or overnight sleeper to Xian to see the little terracotta fellas.
7 Salsa and cigar in Cuba
The vibrant home of Che and Castro is also a paradise for cycling. Mangroes, marshes, swamps, tobacco fields, sugar mills, citrus groves, lagoons, World Heritage towns and world class wildlife. On a charity bike ride through Cuba, you’ll likely pedal through all that and more. But however good the landscape and wildlife will undoubtedly be, it’s sure to eclipsed by the Cuban vibe. It’s the people and the culture that make this island a must. And there’s no place better than Havana for music and dancing. When you’ve finished pedalling you can stretch some different muscles with a spot of salsa, mambo, cha cha cha and rhumba.
8 Aztecs and volcanoes in South East Mexico
This one isn’t for those who like to cycle on the flat. To enter the heart of the Aztecs, you have to be prepared to pedal hard and uphill. But if you put in the effort, you could find yourself biking up the volcanic slopes of Popocatépetl and down into the tropical jungles of the Sierra Madre Oriental, tackling high peaks and active volcanoes. High mountain passes, lush farmland and coffee plantations will provide the view for much of your journey through South-East Mexico while you will provide the power.
9 Amazon to Andes in Peru
You can raise money for your favourite charity and have the adventure of a lifetime. On a bike ride through Peru you would typically explore the lost city of Machu Picchu before biking through the Peruvian Amazon and the Andes. Along the way you might visit the Inca capital of Cusco, cycle along the length of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, tackle the passes of the Andes, and descend into the rainforest. Dirt road, cloud forest, peaceful camp, colourful wildlife and exotic flora and fauna; this bike ride has it all.
India might not be your first choice for a bike ride but it will be up there in your memories for a lifetime. India is a country of contrasts. For example, rural Rajasthan is full of stunning hills, desert landscapes and colourful villages – a tranquil haven compared with the madness of the cities! If you can keep up with the traffic and chaos of the streets in cities like Delhi, then you’ll have no problem beating the other tourists into the Taj Mahal.
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Disclosure Note: This post is brought to you thanks to support from Just Giving. The ideas, views, experience and opinions expressed remain, as ever, entirely our own.