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Giving Forward: This Is Our Way

Have you learned of an interesting way to give back?

One of the things Adam and I have been doing throughout the country is giving presentations along the way about our tour and our charities.

Though in the beginning we were a bit more money-driven, worried about how we would reach our donation goal of $25,000, that has not remained our ultimate goal. What we would really like to do is inspire people to find their own way to give forward or give back. We do this by explaining to people why we're on this adventure.

We could have chosen so many different ways to give back, but we melded our passions together and formed the Give a Bike: 50 State Tour. We love teaching people about why we're riding and how powerful a bike can be for someone in need.

But we also like to take this one step further and try to inspire our audience to take action. This can include making a donation to our charities, or finding their own way of giving back or giving forward.

Some of our audiences, though, don't need any inspiration from us to find a way to give forward. Sometimes, they inspire us to want to do more!

Green Options Buffalo was one of these groups. We had a presentation at their shop while in Buffalo and got to tell our story to a group of 20 or so people. They listened intently to our 45 minute presentation complete with pictures and video from the trip so far. We shared stories from the road and explained about our charities while they were chowing on ice cream (maybe they weren't even listening... maybe they just came for ice cream!).

But our time there wasn't just about our trip, we got to learn about how they are giving back. Taking in old bikes, refurbishing them and selling them back to the community at cheap prices is just one way that they help. They also hold classes to teach about bicycle safety and maintenance and even have an after-school program for kids to get the chance to Earn a Bike.

After seeing this, I thought about starting something like this in Connecticut when we return, but after a quick Google search, noticed it already exists in New Haven. The New Haven Bike Collective (www.newhavenbikecollective.com) teaches you how to put together two bikes using old bike parts, and allows you to keep one while donating the other.

The Cleveland Colectivo (www.clevelandcolectivo.org) is "a group of like-minded friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have joined together for the purpose of giving." We met with this group while in Cleveland and though we shared the purpose of our trip with the group, we learned so much more from them. They wanted to do something for the greater good of Cleveland and formed this giving group for the purpose of helping to fund innovative projects that promise to help make Cleveland a better place.

For seven years now they have been pooling together their own money and donating it back to the community. As they talked, Adam was inspired to write down ideas about projects he wanted to do. I just listened and enjoyed the energy in the room as they discussed different ways of how they were going to give away their money. As with us, their pleasure in being a part of this group wasn't about the money, but instead it was about the socializing, the feeling they got when learning about the different projects people wanted to implement.

The meetings were a way to energize the group and get them excited about helping in whatever way they could. I guess it's ok that neither of these groups decided to ride their bicycles to all 50 states and raise money and awareness for bikes. They are giving back in their own way.

Have you learned of an interesting way to give back?

Christy and Adam are currently in Ohio and Michigan. To find out more, check out their blog at http://giveabike.blogspot.com/ or their Facebook Page at https:/ /www.facebook.com/giveabike. To see where they are, you can check out this map at Track My Tour. Christy will be writing occasional stories for Patch as she and her husband make their way through the U.S.

Madison Patch is proud to be the Connecticut sponsor for Adam and Christy's trip. If you'd like to sponsor their trip, visit this page on their website.

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