As we crested another climb, only to find another stunning view of the crystal blue Adriatic Sea, it was funny to think that this adventure in southern Italy had begun back in Mill Valley, California, four years ago. It was João’s annual ride for World Bicycle Relief, and SRAM’s co-founder Stan Day suggested an inGamba trip to raise money for WBR. The idea stuck and since then we’ve hosted trips in Tuscany, northern Portugal, Alentejo and Puglia. The trips have raised nearly $500,000 for the work of WBR, which I think is a testimony to the generosity of the people who make up the groups on the trips as well as the greater InGamba community who have supported them from afar.
This year in Puglia, we shared miles hugging the sea, climbing through white-washed villages and meandering through narrow roads lined by stone walls and dotted with the region’s unique structures, dry stone huts with a conical roofs known as Trulli. We were greeted by herds of goats, the occasional pig and the ever-present scent of figs and olives. As we rode our beautiful Pinarellos throughout the wonderful landscape, we held close to the thoughts that it was World Bicycle Relief that had brought us together and we remembered that to many in rural Africa, their version of the F10 is the Buffalo Bike.
Chatter around the dinner table included stories from the day’s ride but they also included conversations around the importance of mobility and the critical work of WBR. To all of us, our bikes represent freedom, joy and opportunity and, as an organization, inGamba believes that this is something worth sharing with as many people as possible.
On our final ride in Puglia, our group cycled through a rugged-coastline with frequent views of the sun glistening off the Adriatic. From there, we stopped for coffee in a little town with views of the water. And, then we turned inland for a final, long climb back to home.
We did that final effort as a group – pushing one another mentally around each bend and working through the final few steep kilometers together. When we reached the apex, we stopped for a few high-fives and a group photo. It was a special moment and symbolic of the trip, because journeys like this are best when shared. I for one am grateful that I could share it with a great group, and I know we were all grateful that we could do something together that benefits so many people in rural Africa.
The 5th annual trip for World Bicycle Relief will be in Catalonia in September 2019. Please consider joining us.