By James Morrison, member of the International Fellowship of Cycling Rotarians, USA/Canada
In cycling, it’s not just about grinding away, perspiration flowing while crossing the finish line to the cheers of supporters. Although that’s what happens frequently in Rotary cycling.
It’s all about fitness, fellowship and some fundraising along the way. It doesn’t matter if your cycling is on the road, mountain, electric-bikes, competitive or just weekend family fun rides.
The International Fellowship of Cycling Rotarian (Cycling to Serve Fellowship) is a group dedicated to promoting cycling as an opportunity for fellowship. The objectives of our Fellowship are to develop and promote world-wide friendship through cycling competitively and recreationally; to serve the community locally, nationally and internationally through cycling activities; and to promote international understanding and peace through cycling activities.
Today more people of all ages are discovering the health and mental benefits of cycling. Let’s face it, we all are getting a little older, even if you are a millennial. What better way to stay in shape? Cycling, fellowship and service. It just doesn’t get any better.
Edwin Velarde from the Rotary Club of Westlake Village, California, USA lives with type-1 diabetes. He was diagnosed at age 29 and for decades struggled to control his blood glucose. While he was getting ready to be president of his Rotary club in 2012, a good friend gifted him a bike. In the beginning, he had trouble with this new activity, but persevered and later developed a new nutrition program. Edwin said, “Cycling sparked my life and I have found new energy I never thought existed.”
Edwin reduced his insulin by 80%, avoiding thousands of extra injections each year. Now he dedicates his newfound energy to giving back. Since then, his cycling has raised funds for polio and diabetes awareness, by cycling from Busan to the Seoul Convention, from the Rotary International Headquarters in Evanston to the Atlanta Convention, and again to the Toronto Convention. Nicknamed “Epic Edwin” by his friends, he said, “As cycling has been a gift to me, I use my bike as a modest way to give back.”
This year, Edwin’s 1,200 kilometer EPiC Journey Against Diabetes started in London, United Kingdom. He rode his bicycle through the countries of France, Belgium, The Netherlands and finished in Hamburg, Germany in time for the Rotary International Convention. This was Edwin’s 4th EPiC Journey to raise awareness about the growing global diabetes epidemic.
Over 425 million have diabetes around the world. Sadly, 3.8 million deaths are caused by diabetes and high blood glucose each year. Support the work of the Rotarian Action Group for Diabetes (RAG-Diabetes) and help address the global diabetes epidemic. Donate to RAG-Diabetes’ Give Life Project to provide life-giving insulin and blood glucose management provisions to children and families suffering from type-1 diabetes and some advanced type-2 diabetes, who are living under the poverty line in some of the poorest countries in the world.
Want to get involved with the International Fellowship of Cycling Rotarians? Contact us today!
Cycling to Serve is one of more than 80 recognized Rotary Fellowships. Throughout the month of June, we’ll be celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.