Even though everyone seems impressed when I tell them I’m going to be biking 300 miles for the Climate Ride, raising the required $2400 is a much bigger challenge. Thankfully, my family and friends have been very generous. But not wanting to rely wholly on their kindness, I’m organizing a couple of fundraising events featuring raffles. So I’ve been roaming around Rockville and D.C. begging local businesses to give me free stuff. Fortunately, they’ve been quite responsive as well!
My first sponsor is Revolution Cycles, which I became familiar with through their input on the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee (RBAC). Hurray for community involvement! They’re a local bike shop with five locations – in Georgetown, Clarendon, Rockville, Stafford, and Crystal City. As you tell from their donation and involvement in RBAC, they’re quite supportive of the cycling community. In fact, they’re actually hiring an Advocacy and Events Manager, for anyone looking for a job. They’re also quite innovative. Their store in Crystal City actually focuses more on lending out bicycles than selling them. It runs a bike share, allowing Crystal City businesses and residents to reserve a bicycle online and take it around the city or to the nearby Mt. Vernon Trail. It’s only $25/year with three hours free each time, which is a phenomenal deal for folks in that area. This unique approach has earned them both Best Bike Shop from the 2010 Express Best Of and an interview on NPR. For my ride, they’ve been kind enough to donate me two $50 gift certificates!
My second sponsor is Earth Treks, a rock-climbing gym with three locations in the D.C. area. I’m actually a member of the Rockville gym, which is by far and away the best climbing gym I’ve ever been to. It has 50 ft. overhangs and more wall than I’ve seen anywhere else. Not to mention the bouldering cave or the vast number of classes they offer, including free yoga classes for members. I’ve never been to the Columbia or Timonium locations, but I’ve heard they’re different but as equally spectacular. In fact, their gyms are so well-thought-of that they’ve hosted three National Championships. Personally, I really enjoy climbing there and I’d encourage anyone who climbs or is interested to get out to one of them. Generously, they’ve donated me four two-person passes that people can either use for beginners’ open climb or as a day pass. One day pass is usually $18, so a set of two of these passes could allow an experienced climber to bring a friend or give a new one a great taste for it.
My third sponsor is Potomac River Running, a local running store with eight different locations (Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Cleveland Park, Leesburg, Reston, Rockville and Tyson’s Corner). It’s quite likely that if you live in the D.C. area, there’s one near you. It may seem like treason for a bicyclist to be sponsored by a running store, but they have loads of useful equipment. For example, I spotted clothing by local sustainable sportswear company Atayne there, as well as a variety of blinky and neon gear that would be just perfect for cycling at night. And occasionally, when I’m not biking, I actually (gasp) go running. I bought my last pair of running shoes there and they were fantastic in guiding me through the process. They also run a training program, and are the official trainers for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. They’ve donated a free membership to their PR-101 Training Program, which is worth $129!
My fourth sponsor is Java Green/Cafe Green. Java Green is the company’s original location, a fast casual restaurant that specializes in vegetarian, vegan and raw fare. Contrary to the typical view of vegan food, they carry a variety of soups, salads, and wraps that even non-vegans can enjoy. Most of the food has an Asian flair, so there’s a good chance you’ll find some surprising but delicious flavor combinations. In addition, almost all of their ingredients are Fair Trade and/or organic. Cafe Green is Java Green’s more upscale sibling. The first full-service organic vegan restaurant in D.C., both their decor or menu are attractive and ethical. The organic beer and wine flows from an elegantly curving bar and the entrees feature produce from local farms. I haven’t eaten there yet, but the description of their Yellow Curry Road makes my mouth water. Mmmm….curry. They’ve donated a $50 gift certificate, which would be perfect for at least a few lunches at Java Green or a really nice dinner for two at Cafe Green.
I’m actually going to announce my latest sponsor separately next week…so keep reading to find out why! As always, much thanks to everyone who has already donated.