Apologies that I couldn’t make it shorter – but I wanted to explain exactly why I’ve chosen to make fundraising a core part of this ride, and why I’m reaching out to you, my readers and followers, for donations to help us reach our goal. There is no reward or perk, aside from the feeling that you’ve contributed to something good (and, in the very near future, having the ability to bikepack what’s turning into one of the most spectacular long-distance trails on Earth).
The Transcaucasian Trail is a labour of love, being created in good faith, for altruistic reasons, and in a part of the world almost certainly less fortunate than yours which stands to benefit broadly and for a very long time from what your donation will help achieve. And yes – the cause could not be dearer to my heart.
Now, starting on Sunday, I’ll be leading a group of 8 riders who’ll be joining me from all over the world to ride more than 800km over the mountains of Armenia in just 14 days.
As we do so, we’ll collectively aim to raise $10,000 USD for charity – specifically, for the Transcaucasian Trail Association.
But it seems to me that this is a problem that has been solved many times before. Through this short and sweet expedition (which I have, for the convenience of Instagram and Facebook users, christened doing is declaring my intentions.
I intend to pro-actively broaden the Transcaucasian Trail vision to accommodate the growing popularity of bikepacking and mountain-biking through the brand we’ve built – while at the same time recognising the differing needs and perspectives of the two-wheeled trail user.Every year, lots of kids need to see their doctor or go to the emergency room because of bike injuries. Your helmet should have a sticker that says it meets the rules set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).Wearing a helmet that fits well every time you're on a bike helps protect your face, head, and brain if you fall down. If your helmet doesn't have a CPSC sticker, ask your mom or dad to get you one that does.And that, I believe, will be a big win for everyone, including the hikers – and not just because they won’t have riders careering towards them on narrow downhill trails.Because the fundraising target attached to this ride – ,000 USD – has been designed to meet a very specific goal.I’m not sure why it took so long to simply invite a few people to come and ride the trail with me and tell the story of how it worked out! Many readers have asked – and continue to ask – if the Transcaucasian Trail will be suitable for biking. But the truth is that while I’ve talked about building a bike-friendly route many times with the Transcaucasian Trail team, the work being done on the trail continues to focus on the hikers.I’m aware that bikers and hikers sharing trail space doesn’t always make for a harmonious co-existence.At that point, those with the clearest vision for what a mountain bike trail network should look like will be best placed to lead the effort to build it.In other words, the route we’re testing over the next two weeks will likely form the backbone for a much broader biking trail network in the region.It’s the next logical step in a process that began with deep exploration, continued with the curation of a single flagship route, and in the future will grow into a world-class network of trails for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, trail runners – you get the idea.Lest the cynical among you get the wrong idea, this is not about raising money to pay myself to do this work.