The Thanksgiving Challenge

I propose a Thanksgiving Challenge.

What: Ride your bike somewhere and perform some sort of community service.

Give thanks for all that you have and pay that forward. You could pick up rubbish along your favourite bike path or in a park that you engage in Coffeeneuring. If you live in a civilised and cultured society where rubbish isn’t a problem, or it’s too dang cold to stay outside long, then ride to a soup kitchen and volunteer for a shift. Or get some kids together, take them for a ride and show them traffic safety, etc. Show them how to fix a flat.

Doesn’t matter what you do – just show some kindness and give thanks somehow.

When: Anytime in the month of November. Go just once, or build some karma and do multiple acts of kindness/community service.

How: To participate in this Challenge, you must show proof of your ride to/from your site of service. You must also show some evidence of your service (e.g. show us your rubbish haul).

Who: You! And anyone you can get to be involved.

Where: Anywhere there is a need.

Why (how did this come about): I ride a lot in one particular national park. There is no charge to visit. I was thinking that I should give back by joining the “Friends” group of the park. However, at a recent lunch with old coworkers from my PhD days, a couple of the people had joined and said the “friends” were a bit intense and sort of plant nazis. Anti-social Em can’t really handle that sort of thing. So another friend suggested that I should pick up rubbish as I ride (he visits the park a lot, too) as a way of giving back. So I decided that the weekend after Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US that I would do a specific ride in the park with empty panniers ready to fill with rubbish. And then I thought… what if these little acts could be spread all over the globe in our group!


Nerdy chick in Australia who loves to ride and is accompanied by the crew: 'The Commander' Verne and the 'Mental Health Specialist' Kermit.

11 response to "The Thanksgiving Challenge"

  1. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: November 1, 2018

    Hey that’s a great idea, Filling up panniers with rubbish, this could go viral. I feel that it’s a losing battle here with bogans throwing their junk out of cars, but we shouldn’t let these pigs win.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: November 1, 2018

      yes, I’ve got a couple roads I ride where a lone person would not be able to keep up with what’s tossed. But the national park is a bit different and I feel like I’m doing more of a service there.

      No one is obligated to pick up those used soft drink bottles with dark yellow/brown liquid in them though!!

  2. By: Seasidejanet Posted: November 1, 2018

    You can be a regular “David Sedaris”!! He walks his local village in West Sussex and picks up trash beside the road daily…..been doing it for yrs. If you can listen to one of he’s readings!!

    • By: The Navigator Posted: November 1, 2018

      Picking up litter is just one idea – don’t feel limited to that idea. I’ve always been a rubbish-picker-upper – but not always on the bike where I’m moving faster.

      • By: Seasidejanet Posted: November 3, 2018

        Jack and I always stop and pick up nails, screws and any other tire hazard (if it’s safe to stop) while on our bikes. It’s our “play it forward” to the tire gods.

  3. By: Kathleen Jones Posted: November 1, 2018

    Great idea, Em. I’m in. Also, I have to deal with friends groups; it’s interesting how unfriendly they can be despite the good work they do.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: November 1, 2018

      I have a theory about “Friends” groups related to people that don’t normally feel they have much power all of a sudden having some… and not always wielding it in the most advantageous way….

  4. By: NancyG Posted: November 1, 2018

    Interestingly, I have done litter pick up by bike along our neighborhood roads many times. I haven’t done that for a month or two, so this is good incentive to begin again. In our rainiest month. If I knew how to post photos in replies, I could show and tell a few of my pics of the litter!
    Good idea Em. I will join you for the challenge.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: November 1, 2018

      Soggy litter – you get extra points for the Challenge! Don’t feel like you have to do litter though – I’m sure there are other creative ways to give back to the community in a very rainy month. I, too, always pick up litter when I am riding the rail trail after work. I don’t usually see any, so when I do, I do pick it up and dispose of it properly. The national park dedicated ride is just a way to give back in a particular location. Have fun! Thanks for joining 🙂

  5. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: November 1, 2018

    I regularly pickup street junk when walking to the shops or cycling the country lanes. It’s surprising just how much there is – who chucks it? who it so careless about their community? who just doesn’t give a stuff? I understand that after Friday and Saturday nights there will be alcohol related containers dropped but what about all those lolly wrappers, fast food boxes and the like.

    Stop whinging Tony. Get out there, get a haul together and get the pictures !!

    • By: The Navigator Posted: November 1, 2018

      It is a social research dream to see what is left behind and when. The funniest I’ve seen on tour was when I was riding through an area that was strongly Mormon. They aren’t supposed to drink. But I saw whole cartons of empties discarded through there… of the cheapest, most awful beer. The concentration of alcohol litter and where it was was just hilarious. I had images of them all going out to the country to drink so they wouldn’t be seen doing it and then leaving all the evidence behind.

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