Sunday, March 29, 2009

With a little help from my friends

So I've been thinking a bit about fundraising these days. Part of this is due to me drafting an itemized list of what I need before setting out on my trip and realizing that, holy cow, that is a lot of stuff. (The column for "what I have" is mostly blank. I do have the salsa shoes already, fortunately.) Part of the thinking no doubt is arising from the numerous conversations I have been having with folks who invariably ask how I am going to finance this whole thing.

I'd written to Surly to ask them for a Long Haul Trucker, but they turned me down. (I thought it was a pretty compelling letter, actually, but then, I don't make sponsorship decisions.) I wrote to Adventure Cycling asking for maps and was likewise turned away. (Bummer, as I need a lot of maps.) My goodness, is this what it feels like for guys at salsa clubs when girls keep turning them down? I wonder. (I usually will dance at least once with most who ask me. Unless they are clearly manhandling their previous partner. Or have no sense of rhythm. But back on topic....) For now, I'm working out of my savings and applying for a few small grants while trying to find used or donated gear as much as possible. (Thanks, Meghan, for the gloves -- love them!) As for additional funds, well, there have been some interesting ideas.... hosting a benefit brunch, selling bookmarks, getting sponsored by all manner of organizations, writing for biking or cooking publications. Maybe.

Just the other night I was at a fantastic dinner party at my friend Sheffy's place and somebody made the joke about how my learning to ride a bike must be just like... yep, "like riding a bike." Someone made the same comment a little while later at the same dinner party. I proposed starting to charge a nickel to anyone who makes that joke in my presence. I kid you not, I would have about $50 more in my pocket by now if I'd started charging when I started this project two months ago. (Meanwhile, I'm waiting to cash Sheffy's I.O.U. for his dime's worth this weekend....)

Just this afternoon, I attended a fundraiser not for me but for the Visions in Feminism Conference. For $5 each, my pal Rudy and I joined a biking tour (I would call it a race if we'd come in anywhere near the first ten people) that included many of our city's historic sites relating to women's rights, complete with a truth-or-dare style trivia element at each of the seven stops and ending with a potluck. It was a stunningly beautiful day with a friendly group of cyclists for my second group ride ever. I'd managed to patch the tire on PIT and we had a good ride. She didn't even balk when I started tensing up as we practically flew down some of the hills trying to keep up with Rudy and Jordan. I am nothing if not chickenhearted on the big downhill stretches, but I made it.

So, fundraisers. I have a few other ideas. For those of you with a hankering to help a sister out, I have set up a paypal account to accept any donations to this project (lord knows I am going to need a lot of tire tubes along the way). And for the jokesters in the crowd, you can always hand over a nickel.


  1. Hey Ibt, Thanks for the great ride on Sunday. Your bike skills are definitely improving but hey, it's like ri--- ummm... yeah, i guess i'll send a nickel via the paypal button.

  2. OK, OK, I'll give you your dime. We'll just cross that bridge when we come to it...

  3. What kind of maps you talkin' about here? Can you use any of the AAA ones? I'm a member! ;)

  4. Hey Kaitlin, thanks for the offer. In fact, I need bike maps. I know that Adventure Cycling has ones I could use, but I need, like, 50 of them for the course of my trip, and while they are not individually pricey, 50 of them will be. I hear the Park Service also has some, so I will look into those. Not free, either, though. I am also investigating google maps posted by some cyclists on various online biking forums (fora?). Do you think AAA has bike maps?


Thanks for your comment! Just making sure this isn't spam.... Thanks for your patience. :)Ibti