Annie kindly asked if I wanted to write a little something to let you all know what I’m up to. I don’t know Annie personally, just through Twitter and Facebook but her support for my charity ride has been immense. How could I possibly refuse?
Anyway, my Name is Gerrard and I Love Sharks! And I’m going to ride my bike for them……………….
In April 2014 I will be riding the length of the Outer Hebrides for two worthy causes, the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation (BBFSF) aka ‘Sharklab’ and Cancer Research. I hope to raise as much money as possible for these two very deserving charities!
The Route is as follows:
- Stage 1 *Eriskay South Uist and Benbecula.*We will start in the burial ground in Vatersay
- Stage 2 North Uist to Berneray, & Grosebay
- Stage 3 Grosebay to Garynahine (Lewis – near Callanish Stones)
- Stage 4 Garynahine to the Butt of Lewis – end of ride.
It’s approximately 170 miles and 12,000ft of ascent or 274km 3658 meters BUT this does not include my navigational skills so it could be much, much longer!
I’d been thinking about doing a charity ride for a while but where, with who, and for what reason? Once I’d decided to do the ride in the Hebrides my first thought was to do it for Cancer Research, a noble charity and one which helps many people in terrible situations.
Then I had a thought. I thought of Annie from SharksNeedLove and her previous fundraising efforts for the Shaklab. Knowing my little £10 donation back in January last year helped in some way towards the Lemon sharks of Bimini, I felt immense pride knowing I had actually helped a shark, a real one, in some way!
I’ve always been crazy about sharks, I’ve read about them, watched documentaries on them and have dreamt that one day I may actually see one. Imagine that! Yes I’ve seen one or two In Melbourne’s aquarium, but does that count? I doubt they even noticed my little nod of respect towards them as I gazed at their graceful beauty cruising past my view through the glass. And anyway, seeing a shark in its natural habitat is what it’s all about. Like watching the football on the telly, it’s not the same as being there. One day.. One day.
To go on; I emailed Annie, explained my ‘light bulb’ moment and after a few emails were exchanged she put me in touch with the world famous Prof Gruber, or ‘Doc’ as he’s affectionately known! Well, he was very pleased with my chosen charities and with much enthusiasm and gratitude he also sent me the following, very relevant link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTwymzmpJI8. I had no idea. Some people are incredible, some are off the scale!
So with two charities on my radar, my mind was set, I would ride for both causes. And guess what? Something kinda magical happened.. I’ve actually spoken to more people about sharks recently than ever before! You know the kinda conversations, “Anything exciting going on”? “Yeah, I’m doing a Charity bike ride for Cancer Research and Sharks.” “Sharks!?” “Yeah, sharks.” then I explain why…..
The magic continues; even if these people, total strangers in some instances don’t sponsor me, sharks may well pop in to their conscious or subconscious (!) minds at some point and they may well view or discuss sharks in a more positive light after recalling the conversation they had with me. Since the announcement of the ride I have seen extra ‘Likes’ on Facebook, additional RTs on Twitter and petition signatures from my friends which is just amazing! I’ve already made a small difference in educating others on the threats facing sharks and/or simply sharing the beauty of our oceans top predator.
BBFSF AKA ‘Sharklab’
With the work that non-profit organisations like the Sharklab do one day I might actually get to see a wild shark. We as shark lovers need good people like those at BBFSF to continue their research to help us understand more about them and to ultimately contribute to protecting some of the 500+ species of shark that cruise our oceans.
The Media as a whole need educating or perhaps a realisation of how they truly affect the views of the masses. People that sport fish, buy shark oils in pharmacies, buy seafood such as Tuna that has high shark bycatch rates or the obvious, consuming shark itself, all need educating and the media holds this power firming in their hands. You can only educate and inspire if you have the facts, the staff and volunteers at the Sharklab are helping to get those facts to support up-to-date research and to help protect endangered sharks such as the illusive, Great Hammerhead.
Sharks are majestic & beautiful apex predators. We need them in our oceans for many reasons. I hope that the money I raise will in some way contribute towards helping the Sharklab learn and understand a few new things about sharks, so they can continue to educate us all and help protect our finned friends!
If you can afford to sponsor me, even a few pounds, I would be most grateful and very much appreciate ALL donations to both very deserving charities. You can find all details about the ride at www.myouterhebrides.co.uk Furthermore you can also locate links to additional websites which you may find useful and informative. There are even some galleries of the beautiful Hebrides!
I would like to finish by thanking Annie for giving me this opportunity to write to you all, and would also like to thank YOU for taking the time to read and share this blog.