musings on music, radio, digital media, branding/marketing and life in a london warehouse
70 bikers, 16 libraries… and no hair? THANK YOU!
Wow, what a ride!
- Friday 27th Sept > Sunday 29th Sept
- Paris > LDN
- 200 miles / 320 km
- 79 cyclists
- £50K raised (and counting)
- 16 libraries funded (and counting)
Nuun tablets, energy bars, bananas, nuts and slow burning carbs aplenty.
We did it.
The #Techbikers crew arrived at Google Campus at 5pm on Sunday 29th September, with exactly £50,000 of donations raised for Room to Read. Amazing.
At the end of last week, I wrote a blog post about why I’m doing this which I shared with my amazing, generous friends and fam. I was astounded to see my funding total shoot up from £700 to £1,700 over the next 48 hours.
Thank you so much to everyone who has so generously contributed.
Since I wasn’t expecting such a terrific response, I set myself a forfeit of shaving all the hair on my head (stress, head only!) if I reach £2K.
I am currently on over £1,900, so that forfeit is looking increasingly likely.
Cycling and Education - please sponsor me!
On Friday, I’m cycling from Paris to London with >70 people from the London tech community to raise money for the brilliant literacy charity Room To Read.
I’ve put together this blog post to explain why I am doing it.
Last week’s London to Cambridge practice ride on Strava
After signing up to the ride, I racked my brain for days and weeks to come up with an amusing forfeit that would encourage more of my friends and family to donate. This was based on the unvalidated assumption that people would be motivated to donate based on social factors - notably the opportunity to embarrass a loved one.
Turns out I was pretty weak in the imagination department and due to my procrastination, I am only sharing these words with you all 1 day before the ride. The upside of this procrastination is that I have realised perhaps I was searching for the wrong fundraising motivator.
I am doing this ride partially for the thrill of the challenge and the opportunity to spend 3 days with 70 brilliant people; but mostly because I am passionate about the cause. So please allow me a few minutes to share why I care; hopefully you will find this interesting and motivating enough to put your hand in your pocket. And if not, well hey, keep reading, perhaps I thought of a forfeit after all!
#BikesUp shot at the top of the gruelling Highgate Hill.
The chosen charity - Room to Read - is a great fit for the community involved in the ride and the industries we represent.
Education is a massive democratiser and many of us are fortunate enough to have had access to some of the best teaching, facilities and learning resources in the world. Likewise, technology is a democratiser that is changing the nature of education all over the world, for the better.
It is this TED Talk from Salman Khan of Khan Academy fame that first piqued my interest in the intersection between technology and education, over 2 years ago. Khan paints a compelling picture of a world where content and e-learning radically disrupt the classroom. A world where kids do the class at home and the homework in class, freeing up the teachers to focus on areas of maximum impact - interaction, inspiration and facilitation.
The mission of the Khan Academy: “A free world-class education for anyone anywhere.”
Earlier this year I visited Delhi for the Google and Guardian ”Big Tent Activate Summit” where I met Neil D’Souza, passionate founder of Zaya. His desire to democratise education is equally as infectious as Khan - in fact he used to work for Khan!
Neil broke down the challenges of “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere”, describing the 3 essential technology ingredients of hardware, content and connectivity. Initiatives like the Khan Academy are indeed democratizing, but only for those who have the devices and connectivity to access the content in the first place.
Zaya - with their “Class Cloud” product - are focused on the connectivity problem. Their technology creates 2G/3G mobile wireless networks via battery powered devices with very low power consumption. Neil’s vision is to use these devices to bring online education resources to remote classrooms in rural areas.
This is the power of technology on education.
However there remains one major assumption for all of this to work: basic literacy skills. This is where Room to Read comes into play.
The work of the charity is based on the fundamental belief that literacy empowers people for lifelong learning. They believe that to teach literacy effectively, it needs to be taught in the child’s native language. Imagine learning to read and write in a language you can’t speak.
The money we raise from this ride will go towards building schools, libraries and importantly local language learning materials for children in various parts of Africa.
This is the hardware and software needed for literacy.
Room to Read’s platform is "World change starts with educated children". Their vision is a world where all children can pursue a quality education in order reach their full potential. They work across Asia and Africa to develop literary skills and support girls to complete their education.
“Literacy unlocks the door to learning throughout life”, said Kofi Annan.
This is why I am cycling from Paris to London. To raise money for Room to Read.
I appreciate that everyone has a cause or a belief they are passionate about and many of you already give generously to charity.
Hopefully these thoughts will encourage you to give a bit to Room to Read… and as a final kicker, if I hit the ambitious target of £2,000, I will shave off all the hair on my head. Completely bald.