While he is riding through the United States, 99%RIDE founder Dirk Spits and his crew will stop in several communities to speak at schools and raise awareness about poverty in other countries.
Special to Mustang News
Dirk Spits is on one hell of a mission.
Armed with only a bicycle and a backpack, Spits will ride roughly 17,000 miles — from Alaska to Argentina — to raise awareness for his charity, 99%RIDE. Spits sold everything he owned, except for his trusty bike, left his home in Amsterdam and devoted himself completely to helping underprivileged children in South America.
On his way through California, 2,500 miles into his journey, Spits stopped by Cal Poly to talk about 99%RIDE and his gargantuan task. In his presentation, Spits urged students to give 1% of their knowledge, time or money to those who need it most.
“It’s such a small amount,” said Spits. “If everybody shares a little, then we can make the world a better place.”
The foundation is working with four different charities that focus on educating children and keeping them off the streets. While Spits is riding through South America, he will visit each of the charities, videotaping the progress of their efforts.
One of the foundations, Niños de Guatemala, works to fund schools and provide the children with the necessary school supplies for their education.
“Teach them, and they will learn,” Spits said.
While he is riding through the United States, Spits and his crew will stop in several communities to speak at schools and raise awareness about poverty in other countries. They have raised $6,000 and inspired people to send school supplies to the charity.
“I think that it’s fantastic,” kinesiology freshman Zachary Wims said. “You can tell that (Spits) really loves cycling, and he’s found a way to incorporate charity with his passion.”
Spits said the hardest part will be the ride through the Andes, one of the world’s highest mountain ranges. Though he’s already made it through Alaska and Canada, he is anxious to get through the mountains, where the temperature can drop 30-degrees below zero.
Despite the hardships that he’s faced and the ones that lay ahead, he still retains an impossibly optimistic attitude.
“There’s been some highs and lows,” Spits said. “But the good days are enough to get you through the bad ones.”