As the holidays approach, our thoughts inevitably turn to wrapping paper and mistletoe. When sitting down to write your holiday wish list, filled with 11-speed drivetrain components, GoPro 4’s, and the latest MIPS helmet, it is also import to remember to give back. Some will choose to donate canned goods, work in a food bank, or give gifts to under-privileged children. Maybe you already do one of these things, or maybe you just don’t have time or have never pursed it. Regardless of your current charitable donations, I propose a new avenue that will donate on your behalf while you are riding your bike, and it doesn’t cost a dime—talk about a win-win! No longer can friends and family complain about your four-hour Thanksgiving morning ride in preparation for the big turkey. You can tell them that you are riding for a cause, and that every mile you ride raises money for a non-profit of your choice. The Plus 3 Network is a website sponsored by organizations like Art’s Cyclery and Running Warehouse to benefit various charitable causes.
Every time I ride my bicycle—mountain or road—I use my Garmin Edge 510 to record the ride. Upon returning home, I perform my post-ride ritual; I mix my recovery drink, roll out my legs on a foam roller, and upload my ride data. But lately, I’ve added another step; after uploading to Strava, I head over to Plus3.com and upload my ride data a second time. After uploading, Plus 3 rewards me with Kudos for every mile biked. I am rewarded with 5 Kudos per mile on my road bike, or perhaps I opt for 50 Kudos per hour on my mountain bike since I’m not covering as much distance. Plus 3 has a full points breakdown that lets you know how different activities count. That’s right, it’s not just for biking, they will record activities for anything from running and swimming to snowshoeing and squash.
I went on a nice little lunch ride the other day, didn’t go very far or very fast, just a relaxing maintenance ride, but now I have the added benefit of raising 10 cents for World Bicycle Relief, IMBA, and the SLO County Bicycle Coalition. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot to you, but riding a few times a week and multiplying that by the number of people in the Art’s Cyclery Clubhouse amounts to quite a bit. At the time this article was written, my Clubhouse’s year-to-date donations are just a few dollars shy of $7,000. I anticipate we will raise another couple hundred dollars by the end of the year.
Perhaps you would like to support another cause? IDEO Health and Wellness donates to the American Cancer Society and Ahnu Footwear donates to the Breast Cancer Fund and The Wilderness Land Trust. Check out Plus 3’s full list of Clubhouses to see how you can help.
Beyond simply giving, the Plus 3 website is a social network that allows its members to communicate with and challenge each other to be healthier and more active. With tools to track your weight and blood pressure, you can set personal goals while raising money for other causes. You can also join workout challenges, funded by a company. Completed challenges earn premiums, such as cycling socks or bar tape.
If you are reading this article, you are probably just as stoked on bicycles as I am and do your fair share of riding. So why not put all of those miles in the saddle to use raising money? If you don’t already have a Garmin, Plus 3 offers iPhone and Android apps for recording workouts and is also Fitbit compatible. If you are already passionate about a special cause, talk to your company’s human resources department about funding a Clubhouse at Plus 3. Most companies have existing programs to give back to the community, so they may be interested in adding Plus 3 to their list. Additionally your employer can write off all their donations on their taxes since Plus 3 is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
I am proud to work for a company that donates to a worthy cause. Hopefully you can join a Clubhouse that donates to a cause you are passionate about or get your employer involved on a local or global level. On that note, I better go check to make sure my Garmin is charged and my chain is lubed, I’ve got some money to raise and some trails to shred.