Making Strides for Education for All
Grade 10 Student Bikes Across the Continent to Raise Funds for Katcham School in Cambodia
Last summer, Grade 10 York House School student Margaux was in the gym riding on a stationary bike when she had a light bulb moment. “Why am I doing this? Riding on this bike that is not going anywhere.” This is how the idea of biking across North America to raise funds for Katcham School, a United World School in Cambodia, came to her and Margaux’s Ride was born.
“I wanted to do something I enjoyed and affect something bigger than just me,” explains Margaux. “I thought it would be a fun adventure to bike across the continent, and I wanted to help others in some way.” Margaux has always believed that people should have access to education no matter where they are from or who they are.
She searched online for grassroots charities in remote, post-conflict regions of the world, and came across United World Schools. “They involve the community in the building of the schools, and use resources from the community so that one day they can function on their own,” says Margaux.
“I picked one school to focus on as I thought I would be able to make a more personal connection this way,” comments Margaux, on why she chose to support the Katcham School in Cambodia. “Being one person, who is 15, I know that I can’t fix the problem on my own. Having a goal to fund one school for one year seemed to be more tangible.”
She first presented her idea to her mom Kara as a solo venture. “My mom said absolutely not, you are not going alone!” laughs Margaux. “She said I could do it in on the condition that she could come with me.”
Margaux was surprised by her mom’s suggestion. Biking was more her interest than her mom’s. “I think my mom initially thought I was crazy to want to do this, but she supported the heart of my idea very strongly – to help provide an education for these kids.”
Although she has commuted to school on a bike for the last ten years, Margaux has never been a tour or long distance cyclist. “Biking has always been part of my daily routine and my life, it’s always been a part of me.”
She and her mom have been training hard for the upcoming ride. They do one long ride per week (100K or more), and due to schoolwork, they train the rest of the week on an indoor bicycle trainer stand.
Margaux and her mom will bike across the continent, leaving York House on Monday, June 22nd, and arriving in Portland, Maine on August 23rd. The trip should take 55 days of riding with ten rest days sprinkled throughout. They hope to average 100km over five to six hours per day. As they are travelling without the assistance of a support vehicle, everything they need, all of their gear, will be carried with them on their bikes. For accommodation, they will rely on people in the biking community, through a program called Warm Showers that offers a free place to stay for cyclists.
Margaux is not a stranger to adventure. She lived in the Netherlands and Qatar before moving to Canada in 2013. “I’m excited to explore and see Canada by bike,” says Margaux. “We are going through Banff, Moose Jaw, across the Great Lakes, back into Canada to Montreal, and then down to New Hampshire before finishing up in Portland, Maine, where we have family and friends waiting for us.”
So far, the Canadian stereotype of “being friendly” has held true for Margaux. “I’ve really have seen it through this project. So many people in the Vancouver community have been willing to help us.”
Skiis & Biikes in Vancouver hosted a charity ride in support of Margaux’s Ride. The store has also provided workshops for Margaux and her mother to show them how to fix their bikes if they break down. Margaux now knows what to do if her chain breaks and how to fix a flat tire in under an hour.
Sugoi has generously provided them with over $1000 worth of high-performance athletic wear.
What do Margaux’s friends think of her upcoming journey? “A lot of my friends didn’t believe that I would actually go through with this,” says Margaux. “Now that I am ready to leave, people are asking how they can support me. They have been sharing the Ride on social media, and doing whatever they can to advocate for the cause.”
Margaux is now over 30% in reaching her fundraising goal of $15,000. Donation submissions and updates on her journey can be found on her website: margauxsride.com.
Check out these two videos featuring Margaux:
and Vancouver Sun Video: