Rikolto Bike Classic Vietnam 2023, An Unforgettable Experience for A Great Cause!

Rikolto Bike Classic Vietnam 2023, An Unforgettable Experience for A Great Cause!

in News

“Biking together with all your friends, collecting funds for the programmes of Rikolto, you discover Vietnam in a unique way with all your senses. An experience you will simply never forget!” assured Pascale Stappaerts, one of the bikers from Bike Classic Vietnam 2023.

From 21 to 28 April 2023, Pascale and 28 other bikers from the Flanders Region of Belgium participated in the Bike Classic, a fundraising event of Rikolto that allows you to explore the various beautiful landscapes of Vietnam and its culture, while contributing to a better food system. Together they were able to raise 80,000 euros, equivalent to about 2 billion Vietnamese dongs, to support Rikolto's programmes around the world, and of which 30% will go to its programmes in Vietnam.

“400 km of beauty and authenticity in rice fields and tea plants,

4000 meters in altitude through villages full of smiling happy people,

We experienced 9 days filled with pleasure and friendship (and a little bit of suffering).

Vietnam touched all of our senses and gave us

Memories for a lifetime!”

(Liesbeth Lemmens, a biker)

The Bike group completed a 400-kilometer journey, for which they each raised at least 3,000 euros, across seven Vietnamese provinces and towns, including Bac Kan, Tuyen Quang, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Hanoi, Ha Long, and Hai Phong. Overcoming many high mountain slopes, bending or winding roads in the highlands, or near the sea, the brave bikers- mostly women - were always eager to bike in unity, curiosity and with a free mind. Affected by some unanticipated physical health concerns, extreme weather, broken bikes, or being lost on the route along the journey did not weaken their drive to bike, but rather intensified it thanks to the spirit of teamwork from all members.

The bikers delved into the diverse and beautiful landscapes, cuisine and culture by biking through numerous locations in Vietnam such as plains, mountains, midlands, and seas. Many members exclaimed, "Vietnam is such a beautiful country, with endless impressions of beautiful landscapes and great cuisine!". Through cultural exchange events and learning about Rikolto's programmes in Vietnam, including rice and GF4C (Good Food for Cities), each member left with their own lovely memories of all the kind Vietnamese people.

I was very curious about the food programmes in Vietnam. What impressed me the most was the PGS: farmers who work with all other stakeholders for a good certification. A splendid co-working method! It’s great to see our collected funds will make a difference in these programmes in the future!

Kathleen Devroe, a biker from the group

(PGS – Participatory Guarantee System is a reliable and affordable quality assurance mechanism with the direct involvement of all stakeholders, especially producers and consumers in the quality control process. Since 2010, Rikolto has been working with local authorities and farmer organisations in Vietnam to adopt the PGS in the production of safe vegetables and fruits.)

The Bike Classic Vietnam 2023 is the fourth event in Vietnam since 2017 and the final in Rikolto's series of Bike Classic events. Before, Rikolto in Belgium successfully organised the Bike Classic events in Senegal, Benin, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Ecuador and Indonesia with the help of the Rikolto offices around the globe.

For Rikolto, the support of people, both financially and as ambassadors, has always been important and we are always looking for new fundraising opportunities. Fundraising with peers linked to an unforgettable experience felt like the way to go. Cycling through a foreign country, visiting the people and programmes you support, tasting their food, experiencing their climate, smelling new flavors, ... There is no better way to get to know a country and get a taste of the needs and opportunities where an organisation as Rikolto can make a difference.

Rikolto was the first NGO to launch this type of fundraising event in Belgium. We started organising these Bike Classic events in 2010 in Senegal. Afterwards, two new destinations, Benin and Nicaragua, were added in 2012. From 2010 until now, more than 800 people realized these adventures. From planning to biking, all of them were full of enthusiasm and ready to immerse themselves into a new culture. Yearly, the committed participants raised around 75,000 to 90,000 euros for each Bike Classic event. To do so, they shared Rikolto’s mission with their families, friends and colleagues.

That has always been the most important value of the Bike Classics: the strong ambassadorship and reach within their peers. We hope to see most of them engage in future events for Rikolto.

Bert Wallyn, sportive events coordinator of Rikolto in Belgium

Bike Classic Vietnam 2023