Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ain't Skeered

The route on this morning’s group ride went by the site of my crash.  Without my even saying anything, my friends who were with me today were very perceptive and considerate, asking whether it was the first time I had been back there. It was, but I wasn't afraid.  Going back there does make me a little reflective, though.

Some people have asked me whether I have started riding again.  An understandable question, perhaps, but I always laugh to myself as I tell them I got back on my bike six days after the crash and raced a time trial the day after that.  (By the way, the fact that I did ride and race again so quickly may make it sound like my injuries weren’t severe, but they were.  They just didn’t physically prevent me from riding.)   If I really loved mass-start races, i.e., road races and crits, I’d probably still do them.  There are just so many other types of cycling that I enjoy more.

A healthy approach to cycling – and to life – requires a reasonable assessment of risk and benefit.  Sometimes people’s perception of risk is way off, as when they are afraid to fly but think nothing of driving their car every day; they are much more likely to die in a car crash than an airplane crash.  I don’t know what the probability is that I might ever have another cycling accident, but I’ll bet it’s a lot less than the probability of developing some chronic disease if I gave up cycling and starting lying on the sofa and eating bonbons.  Besides, the benefits of cycling are pretty compelling: the feeling of flying as the wind rushes by, the good kind of fatigue after a hard ride, camaraderie with cycling friends, and enjoying food and wine so much more.

During his first inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  (For some good reading, check out this quote in the context of his speech:  He was referring to the Great Depression, but people often – not incorrectly – extrapolate this wisdom to other life situations.  I like to think that his words inspired other polio victims that he met when he went to Warm Springs.  Another place that FDR frequented on his trips to Georgia was Dowdle’s Knob on Pine Mountain.  There’s a nice park there now.  Robert and I visited it for the first time a few years ago.  Maybe it’s not a coincidence that it was right after we did the Wheels o’ Fire Century.

1 comment:

  1. Really like your post today, Betty Jean. Proud of you!