In 2012, I (Todd O’Reilly) and my 13 year old son, Daegan, rode a tandem bicycle 1,500 kilometres from Toronto, Canada to Ottawa then over to Montreal and then down through Vermont to New York City. It was a charity ride – but no money changed hands. This is because the charity we were riding for was 500 Kindnesses (http://www.500kindnesses.com), a charity whose purpose is to raise pledges of acts of kindness. In the lead up to their trip, supporters pledged hundreds of different things including:
- Donating toys to charity
- Suprising a friend with a homemade lunch
- Bringing hand-knit caps to a hospital birth centre
- Paying for the people behind them at a coffee shop
- Visiting a newly widowed neighbour once a week
- Mowing two neighbour’s yards as a surprise
- Donating books to children in Havana
At the end of our 25 day journey, we donated our tandem bicycle to Achilles International in New York City where it is being used in a program that pairs up sighted riders with blind or visually-impaired athletes who can ride as stoker on the bike.
This year we are continuing the project and have raised 1,023 acts of kindness so far. We plan to ride again starting June 30. But we’re missing one important part. We’re looking for a new tandem bike to replace the one we donated. And we’d like your help. Tandem bicycles are not always easy to find, and come in differing sizes so not all of them will work for us – even the one we rode last summer would likely no longer fit Daegan who grew like a weed in the past year.
So here’s what we’re looking for:
- Sturdy multi-speed tandem bike suitable for touring. That means at least 3 braze-ons for water bottle cages, and the ability to install front and rear racks.
- In good repair and of quality workmanship such that it is capable of doing 1,500-2,500 km with major failure unlikely.
- Because some of the ride uses trails, being able to install 1.5″ tires is a huge plus
- Daegan and I are both about 6 feet tall so both captain and stoker positions need to be large enough to accomodate us.
- Ideally the bike would be close enough to Toronto that we could get a good test ride in and easily get it back home to Toronto.
- All told, including any shipping (which we hopefully don’t have to deal with) we can spend about $2,500.
So we’re asking you to keep your eyes open for us. Do you have a tandem bicycle in your garage that you haven’t used in a while? Does your neighbour? Do you have a friend who has one? Put us in touch and we’ll be eternally grateful.
Thanks so much!