It happens every time. A small intake of breath, a concerned expression, a sympathetic tilt of the head. “Fukushima? You live in Fukushima?” I nod, and there’s a moment of shared silence before the conversation continues. That silent moment is filled with memories of the earthquake, the tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear power station failure. In the last two years, many people have given time, money and support to help those affected by the disaster. Cyclists are doing their bit too.
There are two upcoming events which aim to raise money for 3/11 relief through cycling.
Tokyo Brits are a self-labeled group of middle-aged men in Lycra who are riding to raise money for the Save Minamisoma Project. On the 19th of April, they plan to
put down their beers, hold in their stomachs, clad themselves in Lycra and cycle approximately 300km from Tokyo to Minamisoma in three days, aiming to raise at least Y1,000,000 (USD$11,000) to support the Save Minamisoma Project.
Leaving Nihombashi in east Tokyo early on April 19th, our intrepid heroes trek 150km to the the coastal town of Hitachi in Ibaraki on day one. On the second and third day, they travel north through Fukushima, and finish their journey in Minamisoma. All of the cyclists involved are proudly amateurs, and so the ride will be a real challenge of both body and mind. You can find out more about their trip in this interview with the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and make a donation via the link on their website. We’ve pledged to lend our support in any way we can.
Cycle Aid Japan 2013 is a series of mass participation rides in the Tohoku region across two weekends at the start of June. There are twelve different day routes on offer, with middle length courses between 45km and 75km, and long courses from 80km to 105km.
The routes cover three prefectures, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. We have signed up for back-to-back rides, the 45km course around Lake Inawashiro on June the 8th, and the 80km course from Inawashiro to Fukushima city on the 9th. More than 2,000 people are expected to participate, and all money raised will support those affected by the disaster. Find out more at their website.
Two years after the disaster more than 300,000 people are still homeless. These events, and others like them, raise money to help those who need it most. If you can offer support in any way, please do.