Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No, thanks

It’s charity-ride season. This is the only time of year when Alaska has these big, organized recreational rides. Unfortunately, they all come with the obligation to solicit donations.

I’m all for giving to good causes. Multiple sclerosis, heart disease, whatever. Those problems need to be solved. Cancer? That crap killed my father, and I know I might get it one day. Spending money on research to cure it is a good thing.

I just don’t like asking people for money. Never have. Especially when doing so looks like I’m asking them to donate so that I can go for a bike ride. It makes me feel like someone else is paying my entry fee, and that feels wrong.

Yeah, yeah, I know that’s not what charity rides are supposed to be about, but let’s be honest: How many bicyclists do you know who spend any other part of the year raising hundreds—or thousands—of dollars just because they care? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

With a pile of T-shirts and the promise of a few aid stations, charities turn thousands of people into surrogate fund-raisers. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. I just don’t care to play. And I'm not all that thrilled with the appearance of so much "research" money paying for overhead expenses such as shirts, advertising, event insurance, silly promotions, yadda yadda yadda.

No offense to anyone who likes doing these events. If they make you happy, good for you. But wouldn’t it be a lot easier skip weeks of hustling donations, and just grab some food and water, and ride 100 miles with a few friends? If you shove a couple of $20 bills in a jersey pocket, the world is full of 24-hour aid stations.

And when you get back home, you can mail a check to the charity of your choice.


rambn said...

Your honesty is refreshing. So many people spew the socially correct sentiment regarding these events.

And I kind of agree with you, however if someone wants to pay for my ride/adventure, great! I'm just not going to ask/beg for the money.

Anonymous said...

Dana Carvey modeled his Grumpy Old Man character on you, didn't he?

The cynic in me (and you know how cynical I am...sorry, can't remember my log-in) is with you on this. But while I personally detest mooching for dollars, if such events are what it takes to shake the lethargy out of even minute elements of a nation that doesn't mind spending more on weapons and war than all other nations combined, but can't be bothered to pursue something like medical research, well, then I say "good on ya." More importantly, as I've seen first-hand in the past year, these events give otherwise sedentary people the motivation to get off their asses and DO something good for themselves and others. If that motivation comes only because they've been out begging, well, in that case I'll say the ends justify the means.

But jeez, Woodrow! This is kinda like ripping on Santa Claus, isn't it (oh wait...you've already done that)? Next thing, you'll be ripping on team sports (whoops...too late...but hey, the Red Sox are ROLLING!). Umm...is there anything out there you DON'T feel superior about? Ya grumpy ol' fart, you!

Tim said...

Getting sedentary people to do long rides is definitely a positive element to fund-raising rides, Luke. I almost said that in my post but, you know me, I'm all about brevity.

And doing a charity ride is still a far better use of time than watching baseball! How do you do that anyway, beach boy? Don't you get sand in your TV?