Tech Cycles for Education
Tech thinks big. Even, on bikes.
London’s burgeoning tech scene has meshed with the increasingly popular cycling community to form TechBikers, a charity ride from Paris to London.
From Sept. 21-23, 40 tech professionals, including start-ups, venture capitalists, and executives, are cycling 300 km to raise money for Room to Read.
Room to Read is a non-profit organization that was founded on the belief that world change begins with education from the youngest level. In the past 10 years, Room to Read has provided 6 million children with better access to education, established 1,592 schools and 13,170 libraries, published over 700 children’s books in 27 local languages, and sponsored 13,160 girls throughout their secondary education.
Eze Vidra, the Head of Campus, Google’s new start-up space in East London and former AOL executive, envisioned TechBikers. He was inspired by, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, a book written by Room to Read’s founder and former Microsoft executive, John Wood.
Vidra sees the ride as an avenue for networking, but more importantly a way that London can differentiate from other tech scenes and unite for a great cause.
“It’s [TechBikers] an opportunity to take a weekend off that will potentially impact thousands of kids in the developing world,” said Vidra.
After TechBikers was conceptualised, Vidra enlisted Gerry Newton, a Campus resident and founder of Cyclr, a social marketplace for cyclists, and Benjamin Southworth, Deputy CEO at Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO).
Together, the trio has been busy raising money and spreading awareness about the initiative. Southworth even pledged to chop off his 3-year old beard if he raises £2,000.
“We have 40 riders, giving their time, their legs, my beard, in order to help out the emerging majority world through education,” said Southworth. “There isn’t any reason not to support us—Geeks doing good things whilst having fun on bikes.”
Newton sits at the median of the cycling and tech worlds and, to him, the two are not much different.
“The cycling community and the tech community collide here [East London], plus they are both pretty new and close-knit. Everybody is always open to offer support and advice in both worlds,” Newton said.
Cycling 300 km will not be easy. Even common commuters will need to train regularly. Every Saturday until the challenge begins the participants will go on group rides for practice. On the first group ride, they rode for over 40 km.
When asked if he felt prepared Vidra answered, “10 years ago I did 300 km on a bicycle from San Martín to Bariloche in Argentina, but that was 10 years ago and I was 10 years younger so I don’t know if I can do this, but I hope I can.”
Techbikers has pledged £10,000 for Room to Read and the event’s primary sponsors are Campus London, Yammer, and TCIO. In only a week, TechBikers has managed to raise £2,000. If you wish to be a sponsor or make a donation visit:
For more info contact Kobi Ansong, Media Coordinator/Marketing Manager, Cyclr