Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It Truly Isn't about the Bike

Cycling beyond Cycling

Night had just fallen over the German metropolis of Cologne and the world-famous, gigantic cathedral at its heart overlooking the mighty Rhine River. I had come home from a long day of work consulting corporate clients of a large German bank. After a delicious dinner prepared by my loving wife, Sophia, I returned to reading a book I had just started recently: It's not about the Bike by Lance Armstrong – a rather fascinating story about the cancer survivor and the seven-consecutive-time winner of the prestigious Tour de France. It had been a pleasant read until now, and suddenly my mind went ZOOM. Here it was! Here was the glamorous and awe-striking description of one of the most magnificent places for road bicyclists on this planet – the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was it for me. After reading Lance's description of the beautiful roads and scenery, I was immediately sold to the idea of cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway. End to end. All 469 miles. I wanted to become an end-to-ender on my beloved leg-driven two-wheeler. The only question remaining was: when?

I love the vistas of the Blue Ridge Parkway
Fast forward two years to early 2011. My wife and I had selected Asheville, North Carolina, (or has Asheville selected us rather?) as our domicile, relocating from Cologne, Germany. As she is a US citizen, the move could happen immediately. For me as a German citizen, the move could happen as soon as my Immigration Visa had been approved, processed and issued. Thankfully, regardless of the status of this application, I can still travel to the US and so I decided to set a date for riding the Blue Ridge Parkway end to end. “I'm going to tackle the 469 miles of winding, up-and-down, scenic road through the Southern Appalachian mountains in September of 2011,” I 'informed' Sophia who smiled seeing the joy in my eyes. This was back in January 2011.

Setting a date for the event to happen and creating a plan to unfold was the first major step to bringing me closer to my desire. The effect of having a clear date is astonishing: it got me going and the stars and the universe immediately seemed to start conspiring in my favor. Things magically started falling into place. The first major shift for me that occurred was that I started to ride my bike and train my body regularly. Whenever possible, I'd include hills and mountains in my training loops. It was an average of three times a week that neighbors and mailmen found me pushing the pedals. The motivation to do that all came from declaring the date of my trip.

More coincidences manifested. I started to talk to people about the adventure I had envisioned in my mind. In no time at all, my wife Sophia offered to take on the role of what later turned out to be the backbone and 'MVP' - most valuable player - of the trip. She'd drive the support vehicle, photograph and videotape the ride, and cheer the cyclists on the hearty uphills of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A short while later, my cylcing buddy Phillip from Hamburg, Germany, subscribed to the idea of this challenging outing as well. On the very first phone conversation with him when I mentioned the trip to the Blue Ridge, he spontaneously and excitedly agreed to join in. “Great”, I thought. “I wouldn't be alone while sitting in and out of the saddle during the upcoming 469 miles”. I can tell you, it was such a great push for my motivation when someone fully bought into my idea and trusted my plan.

By June, my training was on course, I had a support vehicle driver and a cycling buddy to join me. Then, we decided that this 10 day ride would be a great way to raise funds for the neighboring Eliada Homes for Children in Asheville. Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause was now born. When this decision was made, even more people came to help. Our heartfelt big THANK YOU goes not only to the financial sponsors Angie Ensslin, management coach Führungspraxis as well as Dr. Sheela Sheth, but also to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. With a few weeks of preparation to go, I contacted them via e-mail informing them about our plan. You may find interesting to know that the Foundation issues certificates to all people who become 'end-to-enders' – be it as motorists, cyclists or otherwise. To my happy surprise, the kind women running the Foundation replied very excitedly in response to our plan of Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause. Just a couple of days later, we were stocked with beautiful Share the Journey T-Shirts, Kids in Parks pencils and other little items that create happiness when shared with kids and adults. The spontaneous reaching out of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation still fills my heart with plenty of joy.

To really get this project working well, again my wife Sophia came to rescue. With the help of her guided Visualization Meditations that she offers at her Center for Meditation and Healing, Reflection Pond in Asheville, I developed a clear vision that I was able to turn into an ever-inspiring collage. This outward expression of my inner desire was no great piece of art admittedly, yet it was vital to keep and expand the vision in my mind. It helped me stay focused and excited about all the non-cycling activities that came with this undertaking. For, honestly, I do prefer spinning the cranks of my bike over planning the stages, creating to-do-lists and working the list down or writing press releases.

By the way, if you feel so inclined, we do still accept and greatly appreciate your contribution to help us help the children of Eliada. To donate, contact us under cycling4acause@gmail.com or just click the yellow button that says “donate” in the right-hand side column of this page. Unless otherwise instructed, we split all donations 50-50 between covering our own costs and passing on to Eliada Homes for Children of Asheville Helping Children Succeed. As of now (beginning of October 2011) we are grateful to have raised 315 dollars for Eliada.

On this webpage (and also on our youtube-channel), we have posted short videos of each day of cycling. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Blue Ridge mountains, get a glimpse of our route and stages, and feel the excitement and exhaustion that a ride like and end-to-end ride of the Blue Ridge Parkway brings with it.

Imagine yourself going along the road – and out of the blue there is white-tailed deer next to you, grazing in peace, her small one biting oak nuts right behind her. You freeze. All you can think of is wishing these graceful creature 'Bon Appetit'. They just continue on, realizing, yet not at all minding, your presence. This is exactly what happened to us in the morning fog of Grandfather Mountain. What a mysterious setting! What an astounding meeting!

By the way, this was just one instance of many, that we got to enjoy viewing deer. Be it lonesome bucks, stags with royal crowns, or mothers with several young ones following her – be it stagnant face-offs, easy strolling ones, or leaping jumps of several yards distance, we cherished encountering every single deer on our way.

Besides deer and many many other land and air animals, there are (obviously) other human nature lovers around. Bikers and car drivers frequently asked us about our ride and cause. Joyce, a lady from Maryland, on a bus tour through the Blue Ridge Mountains, even gave us a warm, motherly hug. Once on a lunch time Overlook, a Californian cyclist called Ryan came up the mountain with his trailer, prepared for another few days in the wild. We also met Connor and Gaelan from London, Ontario, who were on their bicycling trip all the way to Georgia, staying overnight in welcoming churches and in touch with the rest of the world via free WiFi-Spots of well-known fast-food restaurants. It is fun to get a feeling of community on the Blue Ridge Parkway and meet great people, hear great stories, and fill up on great inspirations!

Emotionally, this end-to-end adventure was a roller-coaster ride. During the first days, when my legs were fresh and strong, it was a breeze. Coming out of day 3, the longest of our stages, I thought: “is that right - another day of cycling before rest day? Will the rest day be long enough to recuperate from the strenuous profile?” An hour in the hot tub of Hot Springs Spa in Hot Springs, NC, helped! Another two days later – my energy level equaled zero. I didn't even care about what would be on my pizza anymore! After the second rest day (another hour in the hot tub), however, the final two days were fun and joyful. The jump into the waters of Sliding Rock helped – freezing cold or not! On our last day, on the last climb (up to Waterrock Knob) cycling became fun and easy. We seemed to be flying up the hill as if on a one-hour-training loop. It all climaxed in the downhill into Cherokee, NC, when on the last ten miles of the entire trip the butterflies in my stomach made me feel like freshly in love. I just had to let it all out by countless outcries of joy.

Indeed, our journey turned out to be an experience of such fantastic impact, that I can say, “yes, we do want to do it again!” The exclamation regards both dimensions: Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as Cycling for a Cause. While it was meaningful already to go bicycling – of personal meaning that is – there is great satisfaction in going beyond the bike. I am thankful for everybody and everything that appeared into my life to shape this trip into what it was: an amazing process and an unforgettable experience. That's true meaning in the deepest sense.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

End-to-End Video Playlist Is Now Available

The Cyclists for a Cause celebrate reaching
the highest elevation on the Parkway
Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause from one end to the other has truely been a great adventure. I am grateful that everything went very smoothly, we had good weather most of the times, and the mood among the team was great all the time.

For those among you followers, that have followed us throughout the 8 days of cycling, you have already seen all the short videos that we edited and published at the end of each cycling day. Now you can watch all of them together in one single youtube-playlist. Use this link to get there - or watch it right here below. Enjoy!

By the way, we still accept and very greatly appreciate donations, if you like what we were doing. To donate, contact us under cycling4acause@gmail.com or click the yellow button that says “donate” on the right-hand side of this very page. Unless you tell us to do differently, we split all donations 50-50 between covering our own costs and passing on to Eliada Homes for Children of Asheville Helping Children Succeed. As of now we are grateful and happy to have raised 315 dollars for the kids of Eliada. Thank you very kindly for your support.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mountain Times and Blowing Rocket Report about Cycling for a Cause

It's been two days since our road bikes, support vehicle and us reached the finish line of in Cherokee, North Carolina. Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause has inspired the Blowing Rocket, newspaper of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, as well as its sister organisation Mountain Times of Boone, NC, to write about our ride and cause.

Thank you, Jeff Eason, editor of both newspapers, for creating the article and publish it as one of the main cover stories in today's edition:

Cyclists Take on Parkway
First it was runners, then it was cyclists.
On Sept.9-10, Blowing Rock was the midpoint for a 208-mile Blue Ridge Relay Race that began at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia and ended in Asheville. Read more...

Or check it out on Mountain Times:
Bicyclists journey length of Blue Ridge Parkway for Eliada Homes

It was a great adventure for us, we'll be back on the Blue Ridge Parkway for sure - and other places to do Cycling for a Cause. Contact us if you want us to ride for your cause.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 8 - 57 miles - 4:10 hours

Today was the final day of us cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause. Overjoyed and kind of sad at the same time I am feeling after having completed the last 57 miles of our journey. They led us from Milepost 412 (Wagon Road Gap) to the final Milepost 469 in Cherokee, NC.

Yes, we made it. The final day brought with it again many different variations of weather, and left us happy and proud of our achievement, in awe of the beautiful nature,
Fall Colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway
and greatful that all went so well and smoothly.

This last stage was one of the most beautiful and joyful ones. Beautiful, because the scenery and vistas are breathtaking and the weather cleared up 2 hours into our ride. Joyful, because it's full of exciting downhills and - most importantly - our legs were feeling super motivated to ride up the final climb up to Waterrock Knob. Plus, the last ten miles my belly was filled with this lovely feeling of anticipation of a major achievement: undescribably sweet!

Have fun viewing the pictures of our end-to-ender-celebration

Also take a look at the best-of-pictures of today's ride

Enjoy our last-riding-day video blog - thanks for watching it and following and supporting us!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 7 - 28 miles - 2:31 hours

Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause has been an extraordinary nature experience so far. A lot of different kinds of weather we have been through, today we could add rain to the repertoire.
yes, we reached our goal - even in the rain

We are very grateful for the warm air - mid to high 60's - that came with the refreshing drops falling from the sky.

We are also very grateful to have met a lot of people at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville today who were genuinely interested in our ride, our cause and us. One of them, Joyce from Maryland on a bus tour through the Blue Ridge Mountains, even gave us a spontaneous and warm hug. Thank You, Joyce!

Our ride today started at Milepost 384 (Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville), led us up the 14 mile-climb to Mount Pisgah (Milepost 408) and a little beyond to Milepost 412 (Cold Mountain View at Wagon Road Gap, where Route 276 and the Blue Ridge Parkway meet). The brief cycling day of 28 miles warmed us up again after yesterday's rest day, preparing us for the final 57 miles into Cherokee, NC.

Best-of-pictures of today you can view right here

My highlight of the day was clearly the jump into the waters of Sliding Rock (8 miles off the Parkway on Route 276 toward Brevard, NC). That was a total bliss, even in the not-so-summery weather conditions...

Check out the video below to see the jump into the gushing waters of Sliding Rock.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 6 - 80 miles - 5:52 hours

pointing out the weather divide from Mt. Mitchell 
A long day 6 of our Blue Ridge Parkway Bicycle Ride for a Cause came with many magic moments - close up deer viewing, hot chocolate warm up, Red Salamander, long range mountain views, and being on top of the Eastern United States.

From fog to clear skies, from mist to sunshine - day 6 of our end-to-end-adventure disclosed many treasures of the Blue Ridge Parkway to us. We cycled from Milepost 304 (Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center) to Milepost 384 (Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville) and enjoyed Mount Mitchell and Craggy Gardens, white-tailed deer and much much more on the way.

Check out best-of-pictures of our ride today by clicking here

By now, time has really become relative - if not even arbitrary. We find ourselves saying to each other: "only 2 hours of cycling left" - well, putting that into the perspective of our everyday lives, when we try hard to carve out half an hour or a full one to go cycling, speaks for itself. Especially considering, that our legs have already pushed ourselves and the bicycle through the hilly nature for some three hours already, when these words leave our mouths. Figure that one out!

Our video blog of today is now live, play it and enjoy the scenery!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 5 - 67 miles - 5:17 hours

What a mystical day! Virtually all day long, we felt like riding in heaven - consistently surrounded by fog.

Riding the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause - Day 5 - we headed off from Milepost 237 (Air Bellows Gap), came via E.B. Jefress Park Picnic Area (Milepost 272), Blowing Rock (Milepost 292), and ended up a little cold and soaked - but happy in delighted - at Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center (Milepost 304) after some good 5 hours cycling time.

The magnificent nature on the way as well as the outstanding achievement of civil engineering of the Linn Cove Viaduct, we could only imagine. Too thick and white was the jacket of fog laid around us. But again, it was exactly that which fascinated me throughout our ride. Amazing!

Best-of Pictures you can view here

Enjoy the brief videoblog with some nice impressions of the day - thank you for hanging on and staying tuned!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 4 - 58 miles - 4:23 hours

We have made it through Day 4 - meaning we have reached half time in both, distance and time. Tomorrow is our first of two rest days. Now is time to sleep, and tomorrow I will update y'all with the latest thoughts of the day. Right here and right now - so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, click here to see the best pictures of today

Enjoy our videoblog!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 3 - 84 miles - 6:35 hours

Starting at 75° F, ending at 55° F, we were happy to have our support team ready to help out with warm clothing just when we needed it most. Thank you, Sophia!

On this exhausting yet fulfilling stage of our ride "Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway", we made it as planned from Milepost 90 (near Bearwallow Gap) all the way to Milepost 174, which is where Rocky Knob Cabins are located. What a rustic place to spend the night, we are fully enjoying the stay in the middle of wilderness!

Day 3 showed its beauty by displaying a lot of nature's astonishing creatures. Many encounters of white-tailed deer, hawks of all kinds - even in close-up... and of course dogs, groundhogs and spuirrels :) We are grateful to being able to cycling the whole Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy Mother Earth's grace to its full extent.

Today's final highlight was for sure the incredibly tasty veggie-pasta dish and the succulent wildberry cobbler served with ice cream by the friendly and welcoming staff of the Woodberry Inn in Meadows of Dan, Virginia.

Best-of pictures of today you'll find clicking here

And make sure to enjoy our videoblog - right here:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 2 - 63 miles - 4:40 hours

Thanks y'all for staying tuned and reading on, while we are out cycling the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause. Day 2 took us from Milepost 27 (Tye River Gap) to an Overlook of Porter Mountain, located right at Milepost 90 (near Bearwallow Gap).

Today's ride brought some new acquaintances into our lives:
First, we met Connor and Galan who were with us on the Parkway on their way from London, Ontario, down to Georgia! Now, isn't that an amazing trip?
During the remaining miles a gorgeous dog, huge red-tailed hawk, as well as a full grown dark brown deer crossed our way, which made it an extraordinary experience beyond the furious downhills and strenuous uphills amidst awestriking landscape.

For the best-of pictures of today click here

Highlight of the day was for sure the 11 mile and 3,300 ft. climb from Otter Creek and James River (the lowest point of the entire Blue Ridge Parkway) up to the highest Parkway-elevation in Virginia: right on Apple Orchard Mountain. It not only exhausted ourselves, but also our video camera's battery - which explains why the last part of our videoblog is comprised of the still pictures we took.

Enjoy the film!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 1 - 27 miles - 2:15 hours

In perfect weather and great mood, we got our bikes up and running and headed off!

Riding our bicycles 'for a Cause' has been a great motivator to us. It's become easier to make time for training and to gather courage to talk about our project. Now, the premier day of our Blue Ridge Parkway cycling tour has been a real beauty - in all aspects.

Now it's your turn to enjoy the pictures and our videoblog. Thank you for following us - stay tuned :)

For the best-of-pictures of the day, please click here.

Backpack for Our Support Vehicle

Not only our minds and bodies need to be prepared, but also our equipment. See in this video:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Itinerary not Set in Stone - but Firmly Intended

The itinerary is set. Here is a brief overview of our schedule.

Day 1 - Sep 13th: Milepost 0 - Tye River Gap (Milepost 27)
Miles on bicycle: 27

Day 2 - Sep 14th: Tye River Gap - Bearwallow Gap (Milepost 91)
Miles on bicycle: 64

Day 3 - Sep 15th: Bearwallow Gap - Rocky Knob Cabins (Milepost 174)
Miles on bicycle: 83

Day 4 - Sep 16th: Rocky Knob Cabins - Road Closure near Rt. 21 (Milepost 232)
Miles on bicycle: 58

Day 5 - Sep 17th: Rest Day

Day 6 - Sep 18th: End of Road Closure (Milepost 237) - Linville Falls (Milepost 317)
Miles on bicycle: 80

Day 7 - Sep 19th: Linville Falls - Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center Asheville (Milepost 384)
Miles on bicycle: 67

Day 8 - Sep 20th: Rest Day

Day 9 - Sep 21st: BRP Visitor Center Asheville - Wagon Road Gap (Milepost 412)
Miles on bicycle: 28

Day 10 - Sep 22nd: Wagon Road Gap - Cherokee (Milepost 469)
Miles on bicycle: 57

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Three Media Partners Are Covering Bicycling for a Cause on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Bicycling for a Cause joyfully welcomes its new media partners. A reputated outdoor magazine as well as two well-established local newspapers are planning to cover the Blue Ridge Parkway end-to-end bicycling ride in September 2011 that helps to raise funds for Eliada Homes for Children of Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville, NC, August 30th, 2011. A very warm welcome and thank you to our three new media partners. We greatly appreciate their help to spread the word about Bicycling for a Cause's Blue Ridge Parkway ride to help raise funds for Asheville's Eliada Homes for Children. The youngsters of Eliada love bicycling and would love to have a few more than their current three bicycles that are available to enjoy the rides around the home and the attached farm. Moreover, the farm hosts the therapeutic animal program, where funds for taking care of llama LLary, horse Kiwi, and all the other animals - big and small - are very well appreciated.

The first editor-in-chief to respond and suggest to print a feature essay of the riders' motivating drivers and experiences during the physically and mentally challenging adventure, was the outdoor magazine that is well-known throughout all of the Southern Appalachians. It's the Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine of Charlottesville, Virginia, that also runs a local office in Asheville, North Carolina. The offer from the magazine to run the article is really great as it has a broad reach and can speak to many Blue Ridge enthusiasts who also have a dream of riding the mountains. We greatly appreciate it.

Asheville's is located in Buncombe county and our neighboring county to the West is Haywood County which has some of the Blue Ridge Parkway's most popular climbs. The roughly 15 mile-long climb from Asheville, NC, up to Mount Pisgah will be mastered by our cyclists on their penultimate day of being in (and on this uphill part, surely out of) the saddle. Haywood County has been served for well more than a century by one and the same newspaper, the Mountaineer. This newspaper publishes local and regional news and they certainly stand out of the crowd: when you visit their website, you will find mostly positive, up-beat news that uplift the readers. We find that remarkable and are glad to hear, that the Mountaineer will be running some of our upcoming press releases.

"We'd like to know what day you're coming through Blowing Rock on your ride - it'd be a perfect photo opportunity" that or something very similar we heard on our answering machine just yesterday. The message had been left by a voice that belonged to the editor of the Blowing Rocket, Blowing Rock's long-time leading newspaper, published on a weekly basis. We were thrilled, of course, by this opportunity. As of today, it'll be day 6 of our tour, or September 17th, that our path crosses this lovely resort town in Western North Carolina, whose population varies between a core of some 2,000; 10,000 in skiing-season; and 20,000 in the Summer.

Upcoming press releases of Bicycling for a Cause will lay out the detailed itinerary of the 469-mile-Bicycling-project for Eliada Homes on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stay on your toes and be looking forward to them! You can become a sponsor in many ways, every penny makes a difference. And please spread the word: blog about it, share it on Facebook and email your friends who you think would be interested. Many many thanks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Donation Barometer on the Rise

We are thrilled to announce to be blessed by a couple of anonymous donors, that have brought our donations box up to 32 Cents per mile and cyclist. To do the maths for you, our total sum of donations to Eliada Homes for Children in Asheville, North Carolina, now is $.32 times 469 miles times 2 cyclists, which equals 300 US-Dollars!

Thank you for having a big and generous heart!

If you have decided to pitch in as well, in whatever way, write to us! We'd be thrilled to hear from you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How Can We Help Your Causes?

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of those places on this planet that you cannot but fall in love with. A dream of many of its awestruck visitors: to become an End-to-Ender of the Blue Ridge Parkway - getting from the start until the final milestone in one go.

Starting on September 13th, 2011, Cycling for a Cause's end-to-end bicycle ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway is raising funds for Asheville's Eliada Homes - helping children succeed. My cycling buddy Phil from Germany, best-support-vehicle-and-biggest-fan Sophia and I want to achieve the 469 miles in 8 days of cycling, getting 2 rest days in between.

Is there anything in this project, that can help your causes? That's the question we are asking potential sponsors. All sponsorship and contact details you can download here. Please contact me with your suggestions.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rainbow Ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway

It's a pleasantly warm day in August
You decide to honor mother nature's beauty
By enjoying being in it
You have chosen to cycle up a hill, up a mountain
The sun is shining
Your body is working well
In the distance you hear thunder growling, the first clouds are covering the sunlight
A breeze has picked up, it's getting ever so slightly cooler
As the first drops are falling, you feel refreshed
The quick shower washes clean everything around you
As quickly as it came, the rain passes on
All that remains of it
Is a rainbow

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sponsors Are Getting Free PR

It's five more weeks and a few days until the "opening bell" will ring. Just outside Waynesboro, VA, we are going on our way to cycle all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. They bring us passed Roanoke, VA, Asheville, NC, as well as numerous nature attractions like Mount Mitchell and Devil's Courthouse all the way to Cherokee, NC, in the middle of the Great Smokey Mountains. Our motivation: joy of life ("yes, we feel alive!") and raising funds for a good cause - from the first push into the pedals until the final revolution of our wheels.

This great venture gives us deep satisfaction, as with the intention of "Cycling for a Cause", the trip of ours goes beyond 10 days of cycling. It goes beyond the hearty uphills and the fun downhills. It goes beyond enjoying the gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains while sweating in the mild September warmth of Western Virginia and North Carolina.

Accompanying our tour, we are keeping the interested public updated by weekly press releases in advance of and daily tour updates during the two weeks of riding. Our project and story may interest local as well as regional members of the printing press, while everybody can follow it online for sure. While the donations we are gathering will go directly to Eliada Homes of Asheville, we welcome sponsors to directly contribute to our budget - to help us help others! We welcome things like a rental bike and spare parts, a bicycle roof holder and fuel for the support vehicle, hotel and camp-site stays, jerseys and other gear, as well as granola bars, sandwiches and fruits. Cash is also welcome, of course.

This website is going to be happy to proudly show off our sponsors logos or ads. Whenever suitable, our frequent press releases will happily mention our sponsors in appropriate and favorable ways; thereby creating valuable, positive PR effects for them. There's also space for their logos on our cycling gear, be it jerseys, shorts or after-ride-T-Shirts; even our support vehicle's white makes a great background for magnetised ad boards, "magnetizing" our sponsors' audience. Everybody who is spending time on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the same time with us is going to see these logos and messages.

Imagine, what a fine occasion this Blue Ridge Parkway Bicycle Ride would be, to hold a sponsor's event like an open house or a "Ride with the Riders" for kids? Plenty of contribution to the community is possible here, while creating further PR potential, that has a long term effect on the business success of our sponsors. So, not only becomes business better, it also becomes more meaningful.

Just like our ride, that started off as a personal challenge of mind, body and spirit. For us, it has now turned into a very meaningful activity. Life is good, love is life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Final Planning of the Tour

Eight cycling days with only two rest days in between: that's how we are defining the stages of the bicycling tour that is going to lead us through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The most Northern tip of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 0, just outside Waynesboro, Virginia, serves as the starting point of this adventure. After 469 more mileposts in Southern direction, we are going to reach the other end of "America's Favorite Drive", near Cherokee, North Carolina, in the midst of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
how we want to look like at the end of the ride
The final and detailed planning of the stages will be happening within the next few days from now. So far, the rough plan we have is the following:

  1. Welcome-Afternoon-Ride - 30 miles (up to Milepost 30; Buena Vista/Vesuvius VA)
  2. 56 miles to Milepost 86 (Peaks of Otter)
  3. 83 miles to MP 169 (Rocky Knob)
  4. 72 miles to MP 241 (Doughton Park)
  5. Rest day, outdoor yoga & meditation, nature outing
  6. 71 miles to MP 312
  7. 72 miles to MP 384 (Parkway Visitor Center Asheville), including Mt. Mitchell State Park (highest peak East of Mississippi River)
  8. Rest day, sightseeing in Asheville, river rafting/canopeeing/simply resting
  9. 24 miles up to MP 408 (Mt. Pisgah)
  10. 61 miles to MP 469 (Cherokee)

So how does that sound? I am getting more and more excited about this project. The additional benefit, that we are doing it not only for our personal fun and pleasure, but also to raise funds for the Eliada Homes in Asheville - which is helping children succeed. On their beautiful campus is West Asheville, NC, kids learn in different programs to cope with the various challenges they are facing. For some of the programs they keep a farm, including animals such as the donkey Amus, several horses, a lot of cats, and even a llama named Llarry. A good reason to "bust our asses" and collect Pennys and Dollars on the way.

This will therefore be a great opportunity for sponsors and donors to help a fantastic cause, experiencing the fun of being in awestriking nature of the Blue Ridge Mountains while getting PR coverage through our continuous reporting and blogging. Just contact me to find out all the details about your sponsoring opportunity, how your logo can make it on our cycling jerseys, website or even the support vehicle, and of course what PR coverage your own cause can get.

As a donor you can make a difference starting at a Penny per mile - which will add up to a maximum of only 9.38 US-Dollars: 2 cyclists (Phil and me) times 469 miles (length of the Blue Ridge Parkway) times your commitment of a Penny. For your donation you will get an official, tax relevant receipt by Eliada.

For sure you can commit to more, e.g. ten cents per mile (comes to $93.80), a quarter per mile ($234.50) or a Dollar per mile ($938). The kids of Eliada will thank you! In a recent meditative visualization of mine about this project, a number popped into my head. It was 45! Meaning all donor together bring together a total of 45 Dollars per bicycled mile, which could sum up to 42,210 US-Dollars. Wouldn't it be great to hand over a cheque as big as that to the kids, animals, and staff of Eliada?