“Which charity are you riding for?” is one of the questions I have been asked a few times (usually after “are you mad?”)
It seems unusual these days that anyone does anything more strenuous than tying their shoelaces, without asking for sponsorship. Here’s my reasoning why I don’t want to be sponsored for this bike ride:
Cycling is something I enjoy and do for fun. Cycling a longish distance in a couple of weeks may turn out, at least in parts, to be “Type 2 fun” (see The Three (And A Half) Types of Fun), but it will be fun nevertheless.
I have always found it difficult when someone asks for sponsorship for something they really wanted to do. “Sponsor me to go skydiving”, “Sponsor me to climb Mt Kilimanjaro”… I know you’re not asking me to pay for your holiday, but I can (and do) donate to charity without stroking your ego while you’re having a great time.
You want sponsorship? Do a proper “Type 3 Fun” activity. A few years ago, running was something I needed persuading to do, as I never liked it. Getting sponsored for a 10k felt borderline even then, but the idea was just about unpleasant enough to go round with a sponsorship form. Now, I run for fun and wouldn’t do it for charity again. I might as well doing a sponsored wine tasting…
If I wanted to collect money for a good cause, then anything to do with heights is definitely not fun while I do it, nor after the event. Abseiling from Plymouth Civic Tower? Bungee Jumping? I’d want my charity of choice to receive at least a grand for that, otherwise I’d have absolutely no motivation to sign up for such madness.
But spending two weeks with my friend in a beautiful country, doing a few hours of exercise daily, then setting the wold to rights over good food and drink? Why would I want to pretend that’s a hardship worth donating a fiver of your hard earned? I really don’t get it.
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. I’ll get down from my soap box now, lest I fall off and twist an ankle, two days before we start our little middle-aged adventure!