In the early fall of 2009, upon the official decision to actualize this ride, we began the discussion of how we might be able to use the trip to help the greater good. We were all clearly aware of the apparent positive affects that taking part in a journey such as this would have on our own lives. However, we could not help but think that such a venture could also allow us to aid others. Even more ideally, we believed that our efforts might serve as an effective catalyst in invoking the cooperation of those around us, to provide for the benefit of the broader population. This is where the idea of Bike For Progress was born.

Our next task was to come up with a cause that we felt worthy of intertwining with an undertaking of such personal importance to us. So many ideas were put on the table at this time, and we came to realize how many causes need the assistance of regular people. We began to think that with all of the deserving charities, foundations, and causes out there, we would need to come up with some other system of calculating the channel through which we would be able to have the biggest impact. It came to our attention that there are two main categories that such causes can be divided into: those that help a very specific group of people with a very specific issue/problem, and then those seemingly more rare ones that affect a very broad range of people on a basic level. We decided that narrowing our selection down to the latter would provide the greatest means of helping the greatest number of people on the deepest level possible.

As an avid reader, and a person who believes that the written word is one of the most effective ways of spreading important ideas, one of the causes that I had put on the table from the beginning was helping to fight illiteracy. I remember a very specific conversation I had with Dawson one afternoon where I was explaining to him how strongly I felt that teaching people to read could have a positive impact on the lives of generations of people. I very clearly remember Dawson’s response, which was “It really depends on what they read.” This statement resonated with me in a very special way, and it was the first time that I considered the National Coalition Against Censorship as a cause for our trip to benefit. I first became aware of the NCAC several years ago from their involvement in the annual Banned Books Week event, and after more in-depth research on the coalition and discussion between Dawson and myself, it was decided that there could not be a more worthy cause.

Dawson’s statement that day made one thing evident to me: even if one was able to eliminate illiteracy in the world (though a very noble cause), the suppression of ideas through censorship could surely uphold the status-quo, and therefore suppress progress nonetheless. It can then be concluded that a means of combating censorship is one of the most effective ways of enabling the progress of humanity, and we believe that the NCAC is diligently toiling to do so.

Click here to read about some of the ways the NCAC is working to combat censorship.

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