Pictures Letters Journals Bikes Camp Plan Funding/Cost MyBooks Media Support Contact


Custom Search

The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

Picture Gallery
Travel Plan

My Books
About Me
Media/Press Room


Photo Use Info

Read Sample Letter
Continue My Travels

Places I have been
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left

*Help Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.

Equipment Pages Index

How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Bike Touring Shorts

Short-wave Radio
Bicycle touring lights

Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures

See My Videos Here

(see all 3 book)

Bicycle Touring for a Charity or Bike Tour Cause;  Our opinion, The Good of giving, Bad of soliciting, and what we do.

Sponsors - Economizing/The Fugal Traveler - Stealth/Free CampingBudgeting - Charity or Cause - Receiving Donations - Health Insurance - Dreaming of Travel - Leaving It All Behind - Videos About bike tour Finances - How I pay for long term bicycle touring main finance page

Often bicycle touring cyclist and bike tour websites promote or try to raise money for a charity or cause.  This is usually done by posting a blog or web site about the trip and including a page describing a charity.  Often there is a button for visitors to donate money or a link to the charity where visitors can donate directly.

I am not talking about charity events like the MS 150 where cyclist pay a entry fee, either from personal funds or asking others to sponsor funds, then riding in the event and having a good time knowing most of their entry fee went to a good cause.  I am also not talking about getting sponsors to supply bikes, gear, or funds for your bike trip; this is discussed on our sponsor page.  This article generally discusses an independent bicycle tour where the cyclist post a journal or blog about their trip and hopes the interest the trip also brings in donations or creates publicity for the charity or cause they like.

supporting vs. promoting (You could do both)

I think it is important to distinguish between promoting and supporting a charity or cause  Promoting is trying to draw attention to the topic and supporting is when you give actual money or volunteering.  We do not promote a charity with our ongoing tour but we do support many with cash donations.  Through the sale of our books, advertising on our site, and gear sales we earn a meager living.  We have a quarterly budget set aside to donate to various charities.  The point is that you do not have to display an organizations logo on your web site or jersey to give back to society.  A common thing we hear from the people operating the organizations we support is web site hits and social network buzz is fine but money is the most useful in their efforts to help.  I am sure a lot of people who promote a charity on their travelogue also donate to it.


Believe it or not promoting a non profit group or charity while bike touring is controversial in some circles with camps on each side of the issue.  I believe it stems from an over exposure to cyclist on charity rides in the bike community

I will try to summarize each position below but please keep in mind it is impossible for me to express each sides views adequately or even impartially.

The Pro bicycle tour for a cause

Arguments for for promoting a charity include:

- Even $1 raised for a good cause is a good thing and occasionally there have been some big success stories, where a lot of money or awareness was raised, especially when cyclist have had a personal involvement in the cause.

- Riding for a cause is often seen by the bicycle tourist as a way to give back to society through the publicity they generate from the excitement about their trip and online presence. 

- Sometimes the goal of riding for a higher causes is the only way to get a potential bike tourist on the road.  We have met people who had not ridden a bike in years until they were recruited by a church group or friends to join their fund raising ride across a state, province, or country and rediscovered cycling.  This is a great example of a win/win arrangement.

- If you are on tour and don't promote a cause (like us) you will likely, at some point, get email, forum comments, asking why you do not promote a charity.  We have had a handful of such comments, almost always from other bike tourist. So, adding a cause to your tour will go a long way for your public relations.

The "Anti bike tour for a cause" camp

- Several years ago the late great Sheldon Brown wrote about how the idea of biking for charity grew from Bike-a Thons of the past.

- A common complaint is there are simply too many bikers pushing a charity on their bike tour.  I have no way of tallying statistics but I would bet that a good majority of people we meet on bike tours are raising money or awareness for something and too much of anything dilutes the purpose.  It is interesting to watch them meet on the road and promote their various charities and causes to each other.  Many, after learning how common it is become a little embarrassed and downplay the idea a month into their trip.

- Bicycle touring is a fun recreational sport that doesn't deserve donations.  I once heard it put this way, in a campground from another touring cyclist, "If I were to take a 14 day cruise (ship) around the Caribbean and post a blog about it should I be asking people to donate money to a cause. Bike touring is fun, not a hardship."  Obviously every touring cyclist has different goals and not all tours are like vacationing on a cruise ship.  I think the point is that cyclist voluntarily choose to tour in their free time.  It is not like building a house for the poor or working in a soup kitchen to feed the hungry.  It is a fun and personally rewarding endeavor even if it is grueling.

- Some will accuse you of taking some of the money for yourself.  While most bicycle tourist would never dream of diverting funds to their own pockets I am sure some have.  It is the case where a few scam artist have cast a shadow of doubt over anyone legitimately  raising money for a charity. 

- I have heard from a few that a possible downside to bike touring for charity are various commitments and responsibilities to the organization but I have not heard this first hand or know of a concrete example.  I am sure a few exist, but for the most part, I think this idea of added responsibility is speculative.  Most of the time I think cyclist go to a service like and select a charity from a list, put the donate button on their blog and do not have any commitments after that. They may voluntarily do more, and many do a lot more, but I do not think it is a requirement.

My opinion

I personally do not see anything wrong with promoting a charity or cause with a cycling tour but also do not see it as a requirement.  How could raising even a small amount of money or awareness for a good cause be wrong?  On the other hand it should never be expected that all bike tourist have a cause or that bicycle touring for pure fun is selfish in any way.  If you are thinking about raising money or awareness for a cause I think it is important to make sure your heart is in the right place and you are not doing it to promote your trip or attract gear/money donations for yourself.  The goal should be gaining attention to the cause not the other way around.  If you do not promote a cause then it is important not to criticize those cyclist who do and vise versa- especially in a public place.  We should all get to do our own thing.

Sponsors - Economizing/The Fugal Traveler - Stealth/Free CampingBudgeting - Charity or Cause - Receiving Donations - Health Insurance - Dreaming of Travel - Leaving It All Behind - Videos About bike tour Finances - How I pay for long term bicycle touring main finance page















eXTReMe Tracker

Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles

Tools and Spares

Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag


Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)

Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads

Email Newsletter











2002 - 2020 (TM) All Rights Reserved

Find out how you can use my pictures on your web site legally and free of charge.