CWC 2017! What a journey it was? 700 km in 6.5 days cycled by 22 high-spirited cyclists from all corners of the world. The adrenaline may have left our bodies by now, the memories never will. The ride had reached its destination, but the momentum of the journey continues on to bring hope for a better life to those less privileged we aim to reach.
We came from diverse backgrounds and religions, spanned an age range of 40 years, included Ironman finishers and some that didn’t ride a bicycle for years, some were veterans of long distance cycling tours and some never rode more than 50 km before. Yet, for this one week, we were One; we cycled together, we ate together, some shared the rooms together. We were bonded by the same spirit, by the same desire to achieve something extraordinary, to make a difference. AND WE DID!
I am keenly aware of the sacrifices all of the riders made; precious vacation days taken, the price for the tour, the airline tickets (some came from as far as Germany, Australia, India, Japan), the training hours put in, time away from family and loved ones and long, long hours in the saddle of a bike. Your achievement is heroic and all of you have my deepest respect. I am humbled by the privilege to have been allowed to share this ride, company and this experience with you.
And it is not only your cycling that is exemplary. Your hearts, compassion and commtment to our cause are equally outstanding. You have raised the amazing amount of over AUD 50,000 with funds still coming in. Rest assured that this funds will go a long way in helping our chosen beneficiary Effective Aid International to continue their wonderful work in bringing better lives to those beautiful children under their care in North Thailand and Myanmar.
The highlight of CWC 2017 was again the visit and the closing ceremony at the Baan Fah Sighy Children’s Home, one of the facilities supported by EAI. It was heart warming to see this Oasis of Love created by Phil and Wanida. Thank you, Phil and Wanida for making us feel so welcome. Baan Fah Sighy has become a part of CWC and are happy to be associated with EAI and Baan Fah Sighy.
For the first time this year we introduced a family ride and the option for family, friends and sponsors of the cyclists to join part of the ride and the closing ceremony on the last day. Eleven day trippers took up this option. Three adults and five kids took up the challenge and rode a portion of the last day stage and all 11 cycled into the children’s home with the rest of the riders.
The vision, Selina and I have for CWC is to provide positive impact beyond the annual one week ride and that the awareness we create with our ride brings ongoing support and help unrelated to the actual ride. And it is working as the following example testifies: when returing home from last year’s CWC, Grace – like all of us – was impressed by the wonderful work Phil and Wanida are doing at Baan Fah Sighy and she conceived the idea to visit BFS with some fellow parents and children from the Singapore American School. In August 2016 they did visit BFS and immediately a strong bond was formed by the parents and the children from Singapore and BFS. What better proof that our world is not completely lost, when children from diverse cultural backgrounds simply tear down any barriers and form friendships that will perhaps last a lifetime. Our world leaders could learn a lot from our children. It was only logical that some of the parents and children would join the family ride. Thank you so very much, Roy and Kenneth, Dinh, Helen, Ryan, Alicia, Rebecca and Alex for joining the family ride. And it didn’t stop at just riding. Together with other parents, Pauline and John as well as Doris and Andreas they donated 10 new bicycles to BFS, with most of the money coming from the children.
A big thank you also to our corporate sponsors. Not only your logos make our jerseys look pretty, your financial contribution forms the foundation of our donation effort. Without your support, CWC woukd not be possible. While we always have representatives of some of our sponsors cycling with us, for the first time this year a non cycling representative joined our closing ceremony and even cycled into the children’s home. Thank you, Paul Baragwanath, Managing Director of Underwater Shipcare and Salinah Baragwanath for joining us and for the support you have given Selina and me for the various cycling charities we were involved in for the past 10 years.
The 22 cyclists of CWC 2017 collectively cycled nearly 16,000 km in this one week – without a single incident. Certainly a divine power – whatever name we may call it by – had sent guardian angels to watch over us. And they were supported by the amazing support team provided by our tour organiser Spiceroads Cycle Tours. Our guides Khun Woody, Khun Noom and Khun Prasert and the drivers Khun Pong, Khun Wat, Khun Fam and Khun Chiang…., you were nothing short of amazing. Big thanks to you and everybody at Spiceroad that made our tour possible, especially to the outstanding Khun Kie. Thanks, Daniel Moylan, GM of Spiceroads for all the support and for joining us on the last day of the ride.
CWC 2017 is finished for now, but CWC 2018 is already in the planning. The dates are fixed for January 27 to February 3 and we will again end the ride at Baan Fah Sighy. The final route is in the planning and it will be a surprise. Stay tuned! CWC 2018 again will be by invitation only and limited to 25 participants. Participants of previous CWC will be automatically invited.
For now, God Bless and safe cycling, always...