May 01, 2010

Señor Crankee, Cycling across Japan for Hope International

The bicycle messenger burst through the doors and handed me a plain brown envelope without even dismounting.  How he got up four flights of stairs on his bicycle I'll never know.

"An urgent message from Señor Crankee", he announced, barely out of breath.

Da Crank has a message for me? I couldn't believe it.  Before me stood one of Señor Crankee's's legendary elite ninja bicycle messengers, dispatched in the middle of the night from Da Crank's secret Nagoya compound.   Whatever that envelope contained was bound to be important.

With trembling fingers I unfolded the message and began to read:

I’d like to share something with you… 
As a friend, you know me and you know I love to cycle. If I could, I would cycle to the kitchen every morning to fetch my breakfast. 
Two years ago I found myself answering yes to a question asked by an acquaintance. He asked me if I would like to join him on a two-week cycling tour of the French countryside. I didn’t give it much thought; I didn’t need to. The idea of cycling through the bucolic back roads of France while sipping the local vino was to me a simple no-brainer. The trip was as I expected; full of beauty, challenges and wonderful adventures. Most importantly, I made new friends and learned a few things along the way. I am very thankful for all the wonderful experiences I’ve had traveling with my bicycle. 
I’ve often wondered if there was a way that I could help others through my love for the two-wheeled iron donkey. I started a blog (www.crankee.me) to help people learn about cycling culture in Japan. I’ve helped many friends rediscover cycling and even helped some choose the right bicycle for their needs. Yet still, I felt there had to be more I could do through cycling to make a real difference in people’s lives. 
The answer came from my buddy and cycling partner Lowell Sheppard. Lowell suggested I join him and another ex-pat, Mark McBennett, on an eight day cycling tour through the Japanese Alps. The Challenge is to cycle from the Pacific coast to the Sea of Japan coast while following the route taken by the great 19th century mountaineer Walter Weston across the Southern Alps of Japan. Lowell added that we could also seek sponsors for the trip and raise money to help people obtain clean water and become self-sufficient. As with the France tour, this one was also a no-brainer. 
So I’d like to take a moment to ask if you would consider sponsoring me during this tour. I can promise you that 100% of what you pledge will go towards helping people in Cambodia obtain access to clean water and thus lead them down the road to self-sufficiency. Your pledge will help keep me motivated as I cycle up some of the highest peaks in Japan with nothing more than the power of my legs and the thought of making a difference in another human being’s life.
You can read about our Coast to Coast Challenge here:
http://www.hopeglobalchallenge.com/newsdisplay.asp?id=90
I've worked with HOPE INTERNATIONAL in the past, and I can assure you, your donation really does help farmers in Cambodia become self sufficient. Like the old saying goes, why give a man a fish, when you can teach him how to fish for a lifetime.
To start, just go here
http://www.hopeglobalchallenge.com/participants.asp?id=77
Scroll down until you see my name. You can pledge a specific amount per kilometer that I cycle or any fixed amount. Please take a moment to make a pledge and sponsor me while I struggle to cycle across some of the highest peaks in Japan. Your pledges will keep me motivated and help make a difference in someone’s life.
Kind regards,
Tony Torres

Once I finished reading I looked up only to notice the messenger had disappeared as mysteriously as he had arrived.

With a sigh of relief I wiped the sweat from my brow.  For a moment I thought I had displeased Señor Crankee and the message was to summon me to Nagoya where I would have to ritually disembowel myself with a tire lever to atone for my transgressions.  Instead Da Crank was asking for my help.

In turn I ask for your help in supporting  Tony, Lowell and Mark on their 8 day tour across the Southern Alps of Japan.  By making a donation you're not only helping bring fresh water to villagers in Cambodia, but are also giving Tony and the team the inspiration and motivation to complete their journey across Japan from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan.

Please take the time to visit the Hope International Japan Coast 2 Coast homepage to learn more about the journey and donate as much or as little as you can. For regular updates you can follow the Japan Coast 2 Coast Challenge blog or Facebook group.

Your generosity will mean the next visit I get from Señor Crankee's elite ninja messengers won't be asking that I sever my pinky finger with a bicycle tool.

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