“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
- Albert Einstein
Thank you for our best year so far!
The Cycling4Gaza team would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all our devoted supporters and generous donors. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to raise US$280,000 this year for PACES Charity. We are proud to announce that this is by far the biggest contribution that has EVER been raised in the history of Cycling4Gaza since our humble beginning in 2009!
Where do these funds go?
The funds contributed will go to support a program which aims at getting girls and boys into sports, with a focus on marginalized girls who are at home and feel less engaged and less productive than others and vulnerable boys who are at risk of being on the streets exposed to violence. These sports programs provide a solid platform that enables the empowerment of these young girls and boys to be more integrated and engaged within their local communities.
You can still donate to help this great cause! All you need to do is click this link
The Norway Cup
Cycling4Gaza’s eighth cycle was held in Norway to coincide with the Norway Cup—the world’s largest football tournament for youth—in which four teams from PACES Charity had participated. Many of the C4G 2016 cyclists arrived in Oslo a few of days before the cycle to watch the games and cheer for the PACES kids. It was a great chance for the children to feel the support from the cyclists. In return, the cyclists were able to learn and experience firsthand what the PACES program is all about and to connect with the children. This allowed for the provision of a unique opportunity for marginalized Palestinian girls and boys to play sports, engage and connect with other children from diverse backgrounds and in turn flourish and grow in nurturing sanctuaries.
Watching the PACES coaches’ dedication and the kids’ perseverance and determination to win and to represent Palestine was truly an experience on its own and an eye opener to the positive effects that sports have on the children. This was reflected by their extremely positive attitudes, fair play and their utmost respect for their opponents and surroundings.
In the days following the ride, many of the cyclists expressed that they felt more engaged and connected to Palestine as a whole, especially after meeting the incredible children that represented their country wonderfully.
Fifty cyclists from across the world cycled for Gaza this year. The cyclists came from the UK, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Bahrain, France, UAE, and USA and met at Oslo airport, before taking the bus to the starting point in Gaustablikk, where they were greeted and welcomed by the PACES kids and coaches. That was a great push for the cyclists just before the start of the trip!
Day 1: The first day began with a three-kilometer steep hill climb. Despite the challenging start, we kept a positive attitude and everybody pushed their way through. Although there were plenty of steep ups and downs, and not to mention heavy rain, the cyclists persevered and completed approximately 85 kilometers that day and arrived at Kongsberg—exhausted, but unstoppable!
Day 2: The second day was the longest day (about 95 kilometers) where we rode through all types of terrains: forests, lakes, fjords, and coastlines. The beautiful scenery helped us carry on cycling. Lunch that day was special, as the PACES kids and coaches came to meet us. It was a reminder for all the reason they were there and provided the perfect motivation!
Day 3: Despite the heavy rain throughout the last 75 kilometers on the third day, the team spirit stayed high and we made it to the first finish line at the famous park in Oslo, Vigelandsparken, where we celebrated the end of the cycle, soaked and freezing cold! We then all chose to continue for another four-kilometer sharp climb (and I mean sharp) up to the ski jump, for a second and final finish line!
An Evening to Remember
We were very lucky to have two cyclists with us who shared their experiences on one of the evenings; the first being Adnan Abu Sharar, our four time cyclist who grew up in Gaza and shared his stories and thoughts about the situation in Gaza and what it’s like to grow up there. Rana Muwahid, our two time cyclist who is a dentist currently based in Dubai, shared her experience as well as she went on a medical mission across Palestine, including Gaza. Two inspiring stories which added to the magic of a wonderful evening.
The Norwegian Support
On our first night, Monica Vee Bratlie (picture below), the mayor of Hurum, attended our dinner and shared her kind words and support of our efforts and the cause. In addition, Rina Mariann, Oslo’s Vice Mayor of Culture and Sports, greeted us at the finish line in Oslo!
We extend our deepest gratitude to the cyclists for their determination and hard work, to our charity partner PACES for being such an inspiration and for giving us the opportunity to support their critical efforts, and last but definitely not least, our supporters, donors and friends for making all of this possible. Without you all we couldn’t have been able to do this.
The Cycling4Gaza Team