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Apologies that I couldn’t make it shorter – but I wanted to explain exactly why I’ve chosen to make fundraising a core part of this ride, and why I’m reaching out to you, my readers and followers, for donations to help us reach our goal. There is no reward or perk, aside from the feeling that you’ve contributed to something good (and, in the very near future, having the ability to bikepack what’s turning into one of the most spectacular long-distance trails on Earth).
Once the international hiking community has established the Caucasus as the next big thing (again, this is already happening), other industries will line up to diversify the region’s offer.
Mountain biking will naturally be one of the first.
At that point, those with the clearest vision for what a mountain bike trail network should look like will be best placed to lead the effort to build it.
In other words, the route we’re testing over the next two weeks will likely form the backbone for a much broader biking trail network in the region.
Now, starting on Sunday, I’ll be leading a group of 8 riders who’ll be joining me from all over the world to ride more than 800km over the mountains of Armenia in just 14 days.
As we do so, we’ll collectively aim to raise ,000 USD for charity – specifically, for the Transcaucasian Trail Association.
The people I have in mind are already working here as trail-builders – indeed, many of them began their careers as local trainees through our volunteer trail-building camps. Most charity fundraising bike rides dedicate a paragraph or two at best to the ‘cause’ and why it’s important.
They already have a personal connection to the trail. I now realise that I’ve written a thousand-word essay about mine.
This is a major step for me; something entirely new in almost every way.
For years I’d been wondering how to reconcile the community with this new project that had always advertised itself as a trail for hikers.