By Mihai Androhovici, Romanian Federation Sport for All
I am the Vice President of the Romanian Federation Sport for All, and next week I will drive to Krakow, Poland, with three of the organisers of Skirts on Bicycles in Suceava city to bike with the Journey of Hope team and join in the side events on 6 September.
You may ask why are we travelling 1000km to be part of the tour?
It was a crazy idea that came in a short time, after the Skirts on Bicycles event (Fustite pe Biciclete). Two of the ladies on my team put forward a bold question: What if we go to see them in Krakow, to join the Journey of Hope?
For a moment I laughed. But then I saw that they were thrilled by the idea and wanted to support it.
When I asked them how they saw the plan, they said that our event, Skirts on Bicycles, is intended for women who use bicycles as a means of transport in the city. With their own bicycles. But what if they were tourists and would like to cycle in a foreign city to discover it? To rent a bike and ride around, seeing the beauty of the cities, to breathe the air in an ancient or modern city. And here they pointed out that although Suceava City is a tourist area, it does not offer rental bikes – either provided by the municipality or a private company. In this way, they want to see good practices from others, to find out how their systems work. And then, on returning home, they want to implement what they have learned.
At the moment we are working on a plan to stop in at least one city in each country along the way. From Suceava to Krakow we will travel through Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.
Why do we want to support the Journey of Hope? First, I was delighted that ISCA gave us the opportunity to support 3-4 projects aiming to create a local and regional impact through cycling in the city or mountain biking (for example, the Rarau Radical Race on 3 September). Secondly, I believe that cycling is a universal language. It allows us diversity: health, relaxation, transport to work or recreation, socialisation … or to draw a line on map from Copenhagen to Vienna and go for it
We believe that the Journey of Hope is about people: those who dare to be heroes for a few weeks riding long distances, braving the weather, cars. But it is also for those who support them locally, showing that they care about health and the environment. I think, despite the fact that we are only riding with them a short way, we will still manage to convey our message of support for them. In Krakow we will rent bikes and we will join the caravan. And we will spread the message to other cities in Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
What do we hope for? First of all, we hope to see our Turkish friends, whom I had the pleasure to meet at ISCA. Secondly, we hope that the experiences of the tourists pedalling with the team in other cities will give them ideas that they can implement at home. Here we want to share our experiences with people from the local community, but also with businesses that could invest in a bike rental system and new bike trails.
We are 4 persons. Me and 3 ladies. We will come by my car. The road will be long and difficult because there are not many highways. We will drive mostly at night. We leave on 4 September and hope to return home on 8 September in the morning. We will be in Krakow for one day on 6 September to be part of the Journey of Hope tour and side events there. When I arrive home I will travel another 450 km to Bucharest because on 9 September I’ll have a press conference at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This year I am Official Ambassador of the European Week of Sport in Romania.
That is why I said it is a crazy idea. But we love it, because that is one of the conditions of being a member of our organisation: to be inventive and always active.
The Journey of Hope is co-funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Sport programme and promotes the #BeActive message.