Monday, July 26, 2010

Riding With No Cause

I rode 100 km on my bike yesterday. This is my 4th metric century, the second this year. I am no longer scared but still respectful of the distance.

A few months ago when I did century #3 (actually 120 km which is limit of my envelope) I posted this on Facebook. A number of people replied to ask what cause I was riding for.

As with yesterday's century, I spent 4-5 hours out in the sun and wind for my overall health and for companionship of 1000 or so riders (most of whom passed me).

We have in our province a couple of long bike rides in support of a particular cause. We have the MS Bike Tour which is 160 km over 2 days in support of MS and we have the Ride to Conquer Cancer which is also a two day event. I have thought of going in both of them but have never been able to due to conference, call or family. To ride in the MS Bike Tour you have to raise $250 in donations; the Ride to Conquer Cancer is more ambitious,the ante is $5000 which means you get a lot of emails from friends and acquaintances looking for sponsorship.

Both trips are well supported with lots of good food etc for the riders

Treating and supporting people with MS and Cancer are worthy goals and I would certainly never begrudge them the money. However, I sometimes wonder why in the 21st century in one of the richest countries in the world, in the richest province in that richest country and with "socialized" medicine, why should we be asking people to ride a longish distance other than for their personal edification.

While having my post ride lunch yesterday, I was listening to a lady at our table talking about her recent experience in the RTCC. As I often do I drifted off into a fantasy others and I should have more frequently.

"What" I thought, "if instead of having people fund raising to provide things that society should really be providing anyway, we had fund raisers for things that society really could do without"

"Like, for example, the military. Want to send troops to Afghanistan? Have we got a bike tour for you. 50 Billion for fighter jets we don't need? Some Air Force general is going to have to run across the country. New uniforms? Have a bake sale."

Taking it further.

"Want a seat in the Senate? (for those Americans our senate is appointed much like the British House of Lords except for the lack of funny titles.) Whoever raises the most money for a worthy charity gets the seat. (and no writing a cheque on your personal account, you actually got to lean on people to donate)"

I don't ride very fast but I can dream.

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