Techbikers Copenhagen to Berlin 2017 – Mission Accomplished!

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday Sep 17 2017?—?Techbikers Copenhagen to Berlin

This weekend was my 7th Techbikers ride, and the longest one we had: Copenhagen to Berlin (450km). I’m not a great cyclist. Rarely can I keep up with the ‘fast group’, but I’m not quite at the back either. My main workout is jogging 3 times a week. Hardly enough preparation for over 150km of cycling a day. This time, while I helped the wonderful Ricardo Sequerra Amram and Benjamin Ratz organise, I only signed up to ride after the deadline, and only two weeks before the ride. I felt excited and nervous at the same time. But I’m so glad I did. Not only did we far exceed our own target on donations raised for Room to Read, but also we got extremely lucky with just about everything: a fabulous and diverse group, perfect weather and a beautiful, safe ride. We also broke a few other records – shout out to Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen on the most money raised by a single rider ($22,500).

 

Trying to sum up the ride will have to wait for another post. Instead, I’d love to share some of the thoughts that riders shared after the ride (I kept them anonymous for privacy). One can meet people for ‘industry events’ over drinks 10 times and struggle to make a connection. But cycle with them for 3 days, and you would have made friends for life. Hope to see you in one of our future rides.

The endurance and persistence of people on a mission

There are lots of images, moments and people I take from #Techbikers, I could tell you about all the painkillers, carbs and Snapchats we shared, the fact that we named our bikes #bitches, those strong arms that pushed us at the right times across the beautiful German landscape, the endurance and persistence of people on a mission and that explosive feeling of riding all together towards Brandenburg Gate.

But, above all, there’s something new I learned that will stay with me forever. For the first time in my life, I realized how it feels when you start at the end, how hard you have to fight not to fall behind and how difficult it is to catch-up if you do. The difference it makes when you start at the front, last day was a blast! I guess that applies to life as well. And now I know how it feels. Thus, I’m more convinced than ever to work to support causes like Room’s to Read. Without the proper education these girls are condemned to start at the very back. They deserve the chance to start at the front in life. That’s why we’ve raised our fundraising target to £2k, which will pay for 2 schools and make sure a lot of girls in developing countries have a fair start. Because equality is about all kicking off from the same starting line.

A real sense of community

We did it! #techbikers2017 Copenhagen-Berlin was an eye-opening, butt-gruelling experience. From training throughout the summer, to learning in real time from literally *pro* bikers on the trip, I am so glad to have put myself through yet another physical and mental challenge that tested my limits. Thank you for supporting me throughout.

I have come to see our European tech community from a different angle than most days. The nearly gender-neutral group of ca 60 people from 20+ nationalities and 13+ countries made me proud to be part of an ecosystem that thrives with diversity, acceptance, and individualism. We not only surprised ourselves from a personal point of view by accomplishing this goal; i think that many of us caught ourselves off guard multiple times from a community perspective: from encountering people we never thought we would see on such a trip, to spending 3 humbling days in lycra pedalling our way through differences of opinion on all sorts of things from music tastes to views on AI, to pushing and being pushed when we most needed it. I am so proud of the inclusive and helpful community that we are.

Whilst the padded lycra bonanza is over, the cause we’re supporting needs another push. We’ve beat our GBP50K goal for this trip. But that’s not enough. We want the first CPH-Berlin ride to beat the record of any single first ride that @Techbikers have organised. As such, I am increasing my goal from EUR 1,000 (thank you so much for getting me to 2x that already!!) to EUR 3,000. The kids we are supporting need our community as much as I needed it during this trip. There’s only so much we can do by ourselves, no matter how strong a fighter we might be. Lets face it: i would not have cycled 450km by myself. I’ve seen time and again that there is a major difference between starting at the bottom and building your way up alone, and having a community to fall back on when you need it.

Please support me in getting more kids one step closer to realising dreams they sometimes dont even know they have. Please help me support more girls in particular to dare to dream and fight out of backward societies. Every EUR 20 will supply education materials for 1 kid for 1 whole year. Let’s do this.

What it’s all about

A general thank you to all the riders. You guys are incredible. There wouldnt be a Techbikers without you all. Seriously, thank you for joining this first edition of this new chapter!! We had people from 20 different conpanies, coming from 13 different cities and 10 different countries!! WOW, it was a totallogistical nightmare but I now can say with all certainty it was 100% worth it.
I usually say there are 3 main reasons to do a Techbikers.
1- personal challenge?—?doing something we thought would be impossible is such a great feeling
2- charity?—?in the end we’re doing this for a cause. And it makes us all feel good to know we’re supporting people with less opportunities than us.
3- meet people/network?—?the way you get to know people is paramount to the everyday network we all have to engage in.

This ride for me was really about the 3 points above. Thanks for making it special.

A time for reflection

Back in London with time to reflect on an incredibly rewarding weekend of pain, community and friendship. With my IT band on the outside of the knee getting badly enflamed already on day 1, I inadvertently turned into someone that needed support, the occasional push and tons of painkillers from fellow riders. I feel so blessed with the kindness and generosity from them over the three days, resulting in my being able to ride the full 160km on the last day despite the pain.

I dearly hope the students in the new schools built by Room to Read feel the same encouragement that I got to feel this weekend. It’s incredible to see what the body can do if the mind feels supported!

Please help me get to my goal of £1,500 in funding, which runs a school in Vietnam


Looking back at all those kilometres we did, I can’t help but miss the open road, the camaraderie, and the cathartic feeling that comes with giving it all physically, while clearing your head mentally. I hope to see you on one of our future rides. Sing up to our Techbikers newsletter here: https://goo.gl/mbdAQK

Thanks to our sponsors who made the ride possible, to our volunteers who put their time skills and passion into making these rides happen on top of their day jobs – I’m so grateful to you. To our riders who made the ride fun, to our thousands of donors: friends, family, colleagues who’s moeney help kids in developing countries get a shot at education, the crew from CycleFriendly, who have been like family and with us from the start, and Room to Read for the wonderful job they do. We share the belief that world change starts with educated people. If you’re interested to support this important cause, please donate: www.techbikers.com/donate (all proceeds go to Room to Read)

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
Follow me

Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.