2 birds, 1 bike: MicroBike builds momentum for microfinance

> Posted by Charlene Bachman
Contrary to popular belief, MicroBike is not a miniature bicycle and I did not spend last Sunday in a mini-bike race. MicroBike is actually an event for (normal-sized) bicycles presented by Accion to raise funds and awareness for microfinance and ACCION’s initiatives to expand financial inclusion.
It took some time and effort to recruit our 30-member team and fundraise. But that’s the beauty of it, right? Spreading the word about microfinance by tapping other passions we have in common, like biking. Who doesn’t want to bike around the nation’s capital on a beautiful fall morning with family and friends, while simultaneously fighting poverty? 2 birds, 1 bike.
On October 3rd, our team of colleagues, friends, and family set off on our MicroBike route just like the ‘Original Microbikers’ did back in 2008. Unlike those pioneers, we didn’t climb the Appalachians, traverse the Great Plains, overcome the Rockies or beat the heat in the deserts of Utah and Nevada before finally meeting the Pacific in California two months later. But we did spend 2+ hours biking 15 miles up and down the Potomac and around some of the most important monuments in America.  It took a little longer than expected, but only because we were enjoying the sights and great company.  A cross-country MicroBike is definitely on my bucket list, but until I build up that endurance, 15 miles is plenty!
Our MicroBike team was lucky and thankful that our sponsor, District Hardware – The Bike Shop, helped our non-bikers get geared up and offered team discounts to support our cause. We also thank the Red Lion for the burgers and beverages that refueled us post-ride.
As one of the newer, young staff in the DC office, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I agreed to co-captain the ACCION DC team this year. But it was so easy, anyone could do it. And indeed, anyone can organize a MicroBike event, anywhere in the world! You just set up a team page on the MicroBike site and invite all of your friends and family to join.  The page is designed to facilitate asking donors to support your ride and the microfinance cause — and you even get a very fashionable (and socially responsible) MicroBike t-shirt!  Last year, MicroBike raised over $41,000 for ACCION initiatives in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. This year, our goal was $50,000, and with the help of 18 teams around the world, we’re almost there! If you missed out before and want to learn more about MicroBike in preparation for next year, or would like to show your support though a contribution today, you can visit http://www.microbike.org/.
I had so much fun planning this year’s DC MicroBike, but to be honest,  I’m more of a runner than a biker…I can’t wait for the Micromarathon!