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.