In May, William Harris ’12 and his girlfriend, Nahia Antoranz, embarked on a trip full of big ambitions — a nearly 7,000-mile journey, not by car, plane, train, boat or even horse but by bike.
Started in Bilbao, Spain, this cross-continental trip will end in Thailand this spring. Their adventure is about more than daily cardio and sightseeing. It’s about giving back and spreading a message.
Before departing, Harris reached out to classmate Muyambi Muyambi ’12, who started Bicycles Against Poverty (BAP), an initiative to bring bicycles to regions and people that need them most. “I knew Muyambi was doing great work, and we wanted to see if there was a way we could do fundraising and raise awareness about Bicycles Against Poverty. He thought it was a great idea,” Harris says.
The BAP model essentially equates to providing a bike for every $100 raised. Harris is using his GoFundMe page to raise $2,000, which will fund 20 bikes. The bikes will be loaned to those in need, who will make payments until they reach the $100 purchase price. BAP is not the only humanitarian effort that inspired this trip. The other goal is to raise awareness that “sustainable tourism” is possible.
“[When you’re biking] you think about environmental issues and ways you can travel in a sustainable way,” Harris explains. “We know that cars pollute, that buses pollute, and we know the amount of gas that a plane consumes. You can go to places in ways that are good for the environment and experience those places in a slower, more intimate way.”
Before moving to Antoranz’s hometown of Bilbao in August 2017, Harris taught English in South Korea, an experience that inspired his exploration into other cultures. Once they complete their journey, the couple will return to Bilbao, where they hope to partner with other organizations in the city to further promote bicycles as sustainable transportation.