Gorman raising money to send bikes to children in Africa
|This summer, Dave Gorman, Lombard's assistant Public Works director, and his friend Jeff Teppema will travel to the Kingdom of Lesotho in South Africa to bike the road around the entire country. The men are working to raise $20,000 so that they can send 500 bikes to the country for children. (Photo courtesy of Dave Gorman)|
LOMBARD — On Dave Gorman’s most recent visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho, a tiny country in southern Africa, in January 2010, he noticed that an old road that circled the country had been completely paved. As an avid biker, marathoner and triathlete, Gorman, assistant director for Public Works in Lombard, set a quiet goal for himself that we would return to Lesotho and bike the entire 300 mile road.
In July, he’ll return to the country where he served in the Peace Corps from 1989 to 1992 to bike the paved road with a friend, Jeff Teppema. They’ll complete the ride in nine days, and travel through a heavily-mountainous country during the southern hemisphere’s winter.
But before the two friends leave for their trip, they’re working to raise $20,000 that will cover the costs of shipping 500 bikes to children in Lesotho.
In the impoverished country of Lesotho, there are more than 100,000 orphans from the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and biking is a rare yet growing sport, Gorman said.
"I lived there for three years, I’ve been back twice and I have never seen a bike there,” he said.
To raise the money, Gorman and Teppema have partnered with a California-based non-profit organization called Mike’s Bikes Africa, which delivers bikes directly into the hands of children in Africa. For these children in Africa, owning their own bikes will be a way to broaden their worlds, Gorman said.
It will be a source of transportation, independence and empowerment, but he and Teppema are doing this just to give the children who have nothing else something they can enjoy.
“It’s not just a transportation thing,” he said. “It’s a just for fun thing.”
The $20,000 that Gorman and Teppema are raising will cover the costs of the shipping container holding 500 bikes and the import duties to bring the goods into Africa. Any addition money raised will be put toward helmets, bike locks, pumps and other accessories.
Currently, Gorman is on a speaking tour, meeting with community groups throughout Lombard and other suburbs to educate people about the trip he’s planning and the charity he’s supporting. He said he hopes to reach the $20,000 by May.
It takes several weeks for the bikes to cross the Pacific Ocean and be delivered to the children in Lesotho, and he hopes they will arrive in the country before he and Teppema do.
“We would love to see the bikes in the hands of the kids and to ride around with them when we go,” he said.
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