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.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Georgia Tandem Rally

A big reason that I was able to give up mass-start races is that there are so many other types of cycling that I enjoy so much.  One of those types is tandem riding.  The main time that Robert and I ride our tandem is at the Georgia Tandem Rally (GTR), which is a total blast!  Today we completed GTR 2013.

GTR is three days of riding with nothing but tandem teams plus fun social events.  This year there were 130 teams from 16 states.  There was even a team from British Columbia, who got the award for traveling the farthest!  The host town changes each year, and this time it was in Covington, only about 25 miles from home.  In three of the last four GTR’s, we’ve been close enough to stay at home.  It’s nice not to have to deal with dog care, but there’s also something to be said for staying at the hotel with everyone else.

Robert and I really do love the riding.  Each day offers several route lengths.  We always choose the longest one.  It’s not a race, but we do have fun riding hard, especially with whichever other teams join us.  We’ve ridden with teams in their 20s through their 60s (maybe 70s – it can be hard to tell).  By the way, the front person on a tandem is called the captain, and the back person is called the stoker.  Usually, the stronger rider is on the front (Robert in our case).  You don’t switch positions anyway because the tandem is set up to fit the geometry of each rider.  And in case you’re wondering, both riders always have to pedal or coast together.  I wish I had a dollar for every time an onlooker has joked to Robert that I wasn’t pedaling.

Getting to know the other tandem teams has been such a treat.  We look forward to seeing the Adamses, the Burketts, the Coughlins, and others each year, but we always enjoy meeting the new teams, too.  All of this is possible thanks to Eve and Roger, the wonderful GTR organizers!  Even though we never see some of the teams on the road, we get a chance to get to know some of them at one of several group activities: the Thursday evening get together, the Friday evening ice cream social, the catered lunch at the end of Saturday’s ride, and the gala banquet on Saturday evening.

A few highlights from GTR 2013:

  • At the end of Friday’s ride we had lunch at the Blue Willow Inn.  This is a regionally famous Southern buffet that became particularly well known after the late columnist and humorist Lewis Grizzard wrote about it.  It has enough fried green tomatoes, macaroni and cheese, and pecan pie for Sherman’s entire army, which marched nearby during the Civil War.  Robert and I rarely eat at buffets, but this is trough dining at its finest.
  • On Saturday’s ride Robert and I and three other teams found ourselves out front on the long route option.  It wasn’t really intentional, but of course it turned into somewhat of a hammer-fest.  After a while one of the teams called out, “Mechanical!”  Immediately, the rest of us slowed down to see what was wrong and whether they needed help.  It turns out that they actually cried, “Uncle!”
  •  At another point during Saturday’s ride, we four teams saw a single rider ahead of us.  When we caught up to him, I said to him, “Hey, you lost your stoker!”
  • The weather looked very iffy at the start of Saturday’s ride.  In fact, Robert and I drove through substantial rain from our house to the ride starting point.  However, it quit raining right before we got there, and we didn’t get rained on during our entire ride.  The teams who decided not to ride on Saturday sure did miss out.
  • We weren’t quite as fortunate weather-wise on Sunday, though.  It was absolutely storming.  Robert and I went to the ride starting point but realized it was too dangerous to ride there.  We turned around and went home.  It was only overcast there.  The tandem was ready, and we were ready, and so we went for a ride from our house.

With this being Robert’s and my sixth GTR, we were inducted into the GTR Hall of Fame!  That means that next year we’ll be able to register early and won’t have any worries about whether we’ll get in or not.  I’m already looking forward to GTR 2014!

No comments:

Post a Comment