Let’s ride bikes for Japan

Tokyo Bike Bag

The bag that sparked my mind.

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I’ve got this couch on my balcony at my place and whenever I sit on it, for some reason I have heaps of crazy ideas. Other people have also experienced this phenomenon. Some are good, some are zany, but whilst sitting there thinking about the devastation that the earthquake has wreaked on Japan this past week, I struck upon what appears to be a good one.

I was thinking of ways I could help the relief effort more significantly than by making a token donation to some charity or other – something that would have a big impact on the people there struggling to rebuild their lives and infrastructure. I’d visited my favourite bike shop in Sydney that particular day – Tokyo Bike – and while staring at the awesome bag they’d given me, it hit me. Organise a charity bike ride in their name and get loads of people involved to raise much needed funds.

The idea is simple. The venue would be Centennial Park – a beautiful, flat, circular route that is conducive to riding laps. Riders would register and pick a target amount of laps to complete – from say five to 20 or more if they have the energy. They gather sponsors ahead of the ride who, upon completion of the laps, pay their donation and we throw it all in a fat envelope and send it to Japan with love and hugs. A registration fee would be applied – some of which would help us to organise things, but the bulk of which would go to the relief fund. A good friend also suggested getting a local Japanese restaurant to cater for the day, if they possibly could. A portion of money raised from that could also be tipped into the jar.

The owner of Tokyo Bike, Yuki, seems excited by the idea, which is great. Many friends have also offered support and said it’s a good idea, so I’mm totally going to try and make it happen somehow. I’ll be catching up with Yuki soon to discuss the finer details and to see if it’s at all feasible, but in the meantime, she’ll be using sales in her shops to generate some cash quickly. You’ll be able to either buy something there, or offer a simple donation in the boxes she’s planning to set up in the Surry Hills garage where her business is based.

There is not much more to report for now, but if you’re interested in helping out in any way, please leave a comment hearer via my Facebook or Twitter. We’ll need help – marshals to count laps, organisers, marketers, first aiders, and other things. If you know anyone that can help – chefs, mechanics, masseurs, musicians, photographers, really anything at all, even cheer squads – it can all help. All work would be voluntary, of course, but I’d love to think that together we can really do something positive and fun to help those in need.

Any one who knows me understands my passion for Japan and its wonderful people. I’ve got some dear Japanese friends both there right now and also in other parts of the world, including Australia. I’m going to do my absolute best to put some smiles back on those faces and also to help rebuild one of the best countries I’ve ever visited – no matter how small a gesture that might be. I hope through reading this, you’re similarly inspired and want to join me.

But for now – arigato!

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