|AJET Charity Bike Ride: Everyone on Sunday Morning before the 2nd day Ride|
The Oita AJET organization hosts several events every year like a scavenger hunt, welcome parties, sayounara parties, etc. This past weekend, for the 2nd year in a row, I participated in the yearly bike trip . This cycling event is organized to raise money for charity. Last year the money went to a charity in Japan. This year the money will go to Foundation 18, a charity that helps children in Indonesia. The Oita AJET charity bike ride is popular and we get JET ALTs and their friends from all over Japan. This year I think the furthest participants came was from Okayama, about 300 miles away.
The organizers have a big job to do! This year Nichole and Rhianna selected the route, tested it, drove it, mapped it, and found rental bikes for people who wanted to participate but don't have a bike, like me. They also had to get a truck to transport those bikes to and from the meeting places. They arranged food for all of the approximately 65 participants including snacks all day for the riders and volunteers, dinner on day 1, and breakfast on day 2. They secured cabins at the campground that we rode to, ordered t-shirts, towels, bags, and rider numbers, collected participation fees and charity donations from all the riders, and informed everyone what they would need before, during, and after the trip. Nichole and Rhianna also recruited volunteers to ride in cars along the route to make sure riders made the correct turns and always had food and water if they needed it. Nichole and Seiichi were ready with knowledge and tools in case any riders broke down or needed assistance. They did a lot of work!
I volunteered last year and drove the route and supplied food, water, and directions. We had a great time and I wanted to try to bike this year, so I signed up, but I had doubts since I hadn't ridden a bike in about 15 years. I borrowed a friend's bike for a practice ride a few weeks ago, and that went alright, although my seat was too high even on the lowest setting and I was really sore for days after. On day 1 I showed up and picked out my bike. It became clear that I don't know anything about bikes, or I wouldn't have attempted this 80km ride (about 50 miles) on a little town bike. I thought my bike was so cute and I loved it. People were giving me doubtful comments before the ride started. I did not take heed.
|My total crap bike|
I got to a volunteer vehicle and stopped for a rest. One thing some of the volunteers are asked to consider is riding for a cyclist for a while if they need a break. I was going to keep going, despite how arduous the past 25 miles had been, but a volunteer, my friend Kate, kinda wanted to cycle for a while and asked if I would mind. I don't think I ever would have quit, but since she asked, I enthusiastically lent my bike to her. I sat in the car with a serious endorphin high. I had worked really hard to get those 25 miles down the road.
|My friends Kane and Patrick|
|The cabin 6 girls from left- Lena, Francesca, Me, Bekah (Not pictured, Azusa)|
Then we played Bingo and I didn't win, but Martin won both of the Plumeria flower hair clips and he gave them to me the next day. :-)
Then I went to bed at about 9pm.
|My beloved road bike... I made it!!!|
|The 1st and Last to arrive|
I wasn't tired after the ride. I actually felt energized. But I knew that really I must need rest. I got home and took a hot bath and did 1-load of laundry 'cause I absolutely had to, and I hit the sheets at about 9pm.
At one point I had convinced myself that I would likely fall off my bike and get mortally wounded. But, I never fell off once! Yay!
Today I feel great physically. I mean, I feel tense and sore, but I can feeeeeel the goodness it did for my body to be out and active in the fresh air, in nature, all weekend. The other day I realized that I hadn't really spent any time outside for days. Just car to work to car to house. So I took about an hour and a half to walk to my Starbucks date and rode the bus home. I love the way my body feels after this ride. I'm worn out in the healthiest way and I can feel how good it is for me.
AND I raised ￥8000 for charity! Here is the website for Foundation 18. If you think cycling 50 miles after not riding a bike for 15 years is awesome, donate for the kids!!