Saturday, May 07, 2011

Team Turtle: Riding Slowly For A Cause

Years ago the great Sheldon Brown wrote a small essay in which he asked the question "Are Charity Rides A Good Thing?" While Sheldon rightfully questions the equating of cycling and suffering, I've found that I can ride my bike, convey the joy of cycling and raise money for good causes. In the past I've ridden or helped with the Seattle Century to raise money for Bike Works and I also had a great time raising money for folks fighting cancer on the 2009 Seattle Livestrong Ride.

In 2011, I'll be riding my bike in support of a few causes and the main cause I'm supporting this year is the Arthritis Foundation. My pal Tai Lee is the smiling guy pictured at the top of this blog post and he not only has a great ride, he has a really important cause. Thanks to Tai, I have a great answer to this question:

Why support the Arthritis Foundation?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are over 50 million people in the United States diagnosed with arthritis, which is over one-fifth of the general population. Their estimate grows to 67 million, or one-quarter of the general population, by the year 2030. Arthritis is a disease that affects people of all demographics, including 300,000 children affected by chronic auto-immune diseases conditions. The CDC also estimates that roughly one-third of diagnosed cases of arthritis result in some form of limited mobility or disability and costs the US economy $128 billion annually.

The Arthritis Foundation is the only national not-for-profit organization that supports the more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Founded in 1948, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country. The Pacific Northwest Chapter covers Washington, Oregon and Alaska. The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $380 million in research grants since 1948. The foundation helps people take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis.

For every dollar raised by the Arthritis Foundation:

  • 49¢ goes towards funding research approved by our Peer Review Process.
  • 19¢ goes towards Public Education programs, such as our Kids and Teens camps.
  • 8¢ goes towards Patient and Community Services, such as Lifestyle Improvement exercise programs.
  • 4¢ goes towards Professional Education programs, updating medical providers on the latest in arthritis treatment.
  • 10¢ cents goes towards Fundraising efforts.
  • 10¢ cents goes towards Administrative costs.
The cause is good and I'm very glad to see the bulk of the money goes straight into research, support and education.

Last year my big adventure was the Tour Divide and I was able to have that adventure thanks to the help of a huge number of great friends who I tried to repay with pictures and stories from the trail. I explained the whole process in a post I called "Help From My Friends." As my son noted, "Gee, Old Man, You're really good at begging for money on the internet!" In 2011, I'm using my amazing begging powers for the Arthritis Foundation.

Years ago I raced up a chunk of the Pacific Coast and absolutely fell in love with the beauty of the Oregon Coast. I vowed to return someday, but to take my time. Last year I ultimately re-learned again that the journey really is the reward and I tried to convince people with my call-ins and my reports to just go. Get on a bike, get out in the world and go. It's a beautiful world.

I don't know how many people heard my message, but I know for sure one did: my wife Christine. We made plans, vague plans, but plans nonetheless, to tour in 2011. And then my pal Tai came along and said "have I got a ride for you!"

The People's Coast Classic is an amazing ride. In September, Christine and I will ride the length of the Oregon Coast. While this ride will be shorter and slower than some rides I've done in the past, it will be the longest tour Christine has ever done. We've formed a team, called Team Turtle and we can absolutely, positively promise that we will not be the fastest riders on the coast this autumn. We will persist. What haste we have will be of the slow variety. My friend Michael Rasmussen (who should not be confused with the bike racer of the same name) has also signed up to be a part of Team Turtle. There are a few more spots on Team Turtle and if you have what it takes to be slow and beg your friends for money for a good cause, you can join us.

If riding and begging aren't your style but you'd still like to help, you can go to either


and donate what you can. As I noted above, the money goes to a very good cause.

Here's what you get for your money:
  • The great feeling you get from doing good.
  • A tax deduction.
  • A whole bunch of blog posts and pictures as the Turtles train for, prepare and ride the ride.
  • Other incentives I'll come up with later (Team Turtle T-shirts perhaps?) Anyone who donates any amount will be entered into whatever incentive plans I come up with between now and September (Hey, I'm making this up as I go along!)
  • Huge thanks from all of us on Team Turtle.

Stay tuned to the blog for more details. Oh, and in case you folks are wondering, I'm planning on doing this ride on my little red Dahon 3-speed.

Keep 'em rolling and thanks for your support.

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA

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