Cycling Visionaries Awards – Project Details

Spread the ride! We want the trails

Spread the ride! We want the trails

National Parks in Patagonia and in many other places are packed with precious trails, but for some misterious reason, administration has not yet awakened for the use of it. Finding the myths that take these key people to believe it is not possible or appropriate to ride inside PUBLIC parks is our mission, and it is good to see we are not alone! A lot of dialogue and positive attitude to share.

Since 2008, we have been organizing around a common goal, which is that of breaking the mind block separating the eager fat tires of mountain bikes and the sweet endless trail surface of so many national parks in South America. Initially started as a university project, a group of friends decided to cycle and visit as many national parks as they could, meeting authorities, administration, park-rangers, politicians and whoever had the transformation potential to help break so many myths that avoid the enjoyment of an endless riding potential. Some never saw it and don´t know it is possible to ride off-road. Others worry about those who go there to walk and don´t believe that sharing the trail is possible and healthy. Some use the excuse that bicycles will destroy the trails but we did not really think they believe it. Anyway, we go there to show our intentions, the good practices and all the positive aspects of riding bicycles in close contact with nature.
Advocating for bicycles is easy once the bicycle itself does great part of the job. Every person has been a child one day, and has had the joy of learning how to balance, the feeling of autonomy from self-propulsion and the emotions that rise from movement. And in this journey we have seen of everything. Parks where bicycles and trekkers share the trails the way we always dreamed of, park rangers who rode with us, others who took us to places we could not even dream of riding. And parks where from the first moment we noticed we were not welcome. We understand that parks are preservation areas, and many times the administration faces a series of other problems to keep the structure running to a minimum impact and at the same time pleasing the public. We value and respect very much the work of those who keep those areas and all the attention dedicated to us.
The curious thing is that the fact of having a common goal, the spirit unifying a group is magic. We unite, separate, each one goes back to their daily lives, but that vibe keeps growing. It is one idea, one influence, an informal story telling that transmits to others the feeling of change, the potential to believe and share what we love doing.
And the most beautiful part is the surprise in seeing that the seeds grow faster and bigger than we could imagine. It is that person who comes to you with tricky questions, impossible plans. Those who exceed in imagining prohibited adventures. Those who want to do something that has never been done before. It is your mother asking you to take her on a bike trip.
The responsibility of taking people on a bike trip for the first time has captured our hearts, once we recognize how important the first time is. You take them once and then they create autonomy, people then want to do it by themselves, bring their partners, their friends, surfboards, dogs... Each of them in a special particular way.
Feedback from parks is very rewarding. Bikes being accepted, happy tourists, happy park staff, new opportunities, jobs and activities. And it is amazing to think that all the potential existed before, all we do is unmasking it.
We expect to keep on gathering hearts around common goals and seeing this world change. We have the tool to transform people and places, and all we have to to is to pedal and share the ride.
The initial idea was re-used, re-defined and keeps on rolling. 3 long trips with all first-timers happened successfully. From the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean (Pto. Montt-Pto. Madryn - 2008); to the end of the world (Pto. Montt-Ushuaia 2010) and the old continent (Milano-Istambul 2011) account for 4.500km and 12 people going on a bike trip for their first time. All of which nowadays recognize the dimension that the use of bikes took in their daily lives since then. But besides that, having the mission to change something along the way, has taught these people to travel with a purpose, to bring and to take positive postures, believe their own effort and the potential to change.

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Leonardo Sanches Lima
Carugo, Italy

Category: Advocacy and Social Projects

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