30 Days of Biking, a challenge in which people pledge to cycle every day throughout April and share their experiences on social media with #30daysofbiking, is gearing up for its biggest participation.
“I think this is our most ambitious year ever,” said organizer Patrick Stephenson of Minneapolis in an e-mail interview. “We’re more engaged on our social platforms, our kickoff ride on April 1 is a bigger deal, our fundraising for World Cycle Relief is more intense — it’s awesome.”
While this challenge began here in 2010 — and has grown ever since — it isn’t a little Twin Cities affair. Participation is across Minnesota (Stephenson will attend a kickoff ride in Fergus Falls), and has transcended state borders. And Stephenson expects as many as 10,000 pledges this year. “I believe Peru and Argentina are both new to the pledge this year. We typically have 100-plus countries participate.”
The main kickoff ride in downtown Minneapolis begins at 11 a.m. at The Commons and finishes at Surly Brewing.
The goal isn’t just to roll, but also to raise money for World Bicycle Relief, benefiting students, entrepreneurs and health workers in rural Africa.
Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Stephenson over e-mail:
What’s the vibe as April 1 approaches? More energy, more work, more participation than previous years?
Incredible! I love the excitement as April gets closer and closer, and I love watching people’s pledges roll in. It’s cool to scroll through to see why people have signed up and see all the inspiring reasons they’ve chosen to join us. In terms of the work, I think this is our most ambitious year ever. We’re more engaged on our social platforms.
What countries are new to 30 Days of Biking this year?
I believe Peru and Argentina are both new to the pledge this year. We typically have 100-plus countries participate, with especially deep and devoted communities in Spain, Belarus and Ukraine. The riders in Belarus in particular have flooded the pledge this year.
Minnesota has clearly embraced the commitment. Is it generally statewide?
Yes! Particularly in cities like Fergus Falls, Little Falls, Bemidji, Rochester and Duluth. I’m visiting Fergus Falls on April 8 to attend their kickoff ride. Someday I’d like to do a statewide tour and visit all the cities participating in 30 Days of Biking throughout Minnesota.
There are new partners, new beneficiaries like World Bicycling Relief? How important is the fundraising component?
As a community, we’re aiming to raise $10,000 for World Bicycle Relief. In addition to making the 30 Days of Biking pledge at 30daysofbiking.com, people can sign up for a fundraising account on our World Bicycle Relief page. Every dollar up to $3,500 will be matched by Surly Brewing, and our overall goal is $10,000. This money benefits students, entrepreneurs and health workers in rural Africa with sturdy and reliable bikes.
Hopes and dreams for 30 Days of Biking?
I want us to be a fully functioning nonprofit by year’s end. For this round, I’d obviously like it to have more sign-ups than ever before. But what I’d really like to see is someone who’s never given every day biking give it a chance, and have it become a part of his or her life, and have it change that person’s life in the same way it changed mine. We have stories like that, and they’re really meaningful.