Cycling towards Syria for The Bike ProjectA fundraising project by David Charles
Our Plan: Cycle 3,000 miles across Europe, following routes of migration back towards Syria. Along the way, collect and share stories of migration (see www.davidcharles.info).
If you'd like to support the idea of the ride, then I'd be honoured if you stop a minute and read why The Bike Project is great.
I used to think bikes were for people who either couldn't drive or had an unhealthy interest in Lycra. But for six years I'm proud to say saddle and butt have rarely been parted. Why?
1. Independence. Back in 2009, I'd booked to fly to Bordeaux, but when my stupid plane was cancelled I cycled instead. Since that trip, I haven't looked back (except when overtaking smelly cars). I go anywhere, any time.
2. Companionship. I've made cracking friends and shared howling adventures while cycling - it's how I met Caz (my companion on this trip). Friendship really blooms when you're crouched in the mud fixing a blown tyre.
3. Competence. Never blown a tyre on the Black Isle? I have! Gradually, I've learnt small skills from various gallant mechanics and I'm slooowly becoming competent (in the judicious use of duct tape).
IMHO, no one upholds the glories of cycling quite like The Bike Project.
Their mission is simple: take abandoned bikes, give them a lick of love and pass them on to refugees. Travel in London is heinously expensive and asylum seekers must survive on £36 a week - only 6 trips to the shops if you use the tube.
But at The Bike Project refugees can help fix up a knackered stallion and ride it home that evening. A bike cracks London open like a nut: with access to meals, lawyers, hospitals and schools. Independence, companionship, competence.
I've been volunteering at TBP and urge you pop down to Denmark Hill to lend a hand, or donate your own guilty garage secrets. If you can't do that, then you could do much greater harm in the world than to slip them a tenner (or a twentyer) by clicking on that DONATE NOW button up there.