Terrell Mathews Bikes for Outward Bound California (Phenomenex US)

Earlier this year, a friend from my company’s office in the Netherlands attained corporate sponsorship to sanction employee participation in a charity fundraising bicycle ride from London to Paris. I put my name in the hat for the hell of it.

SURPRISE. My card got pulled.

I’ve never owned a bike with gears and pedals before, and I don’t believe I’ve ever cycled for more than two miles at a time…or without a red cup. In fact, I used to laugh at the Lycra-covered, middle-aged, road-biking men taking up valuable space on the road. I don’t do that much anymore. I’ve since realized that some of those cyclists are really mentally and physically tough.

TERRELL_bicycle

The ride is in September. I bought a hybrid road/mountain/beach bike (with 27 gears) back in April. That’s five months to train for a 234-mile ride.

After spending hundreds of hours on that bike, and riding over 1000 miles (no Lycra), it turns out I got real sunburned, my legs got a lot stronger, and yet I’m still carrying around a spare tire. (I may need it somewhere along the ride to Paris, anyway.)

I’m looking to raise money on this ride for Outward Bound California, an education nonprofit that utilizes the wilderness as a classroom for disadvantaged youth.

Outward Bound’s focus on experiential learning leads to young people’s physical fitness, grit, tenacity, and compassion. They acquire technical skills necessary for survival, and relevant skills necessary for life. Hard work outdoors just feels good. I knew that growing up, and forgot it somewhere along the way.

terrell_selfie_bikeI’m raising my own child by this philosophy—spending as much time as we can on outdoor adventures like fishing, swimming, and Saturday morning hikes. I’ve been able to watch her confidence soar as she climbs trees, runs further, hooks her own bait, and connects with nature.

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