Charlie Bauman has been on the road for over a month now. He’s making his way from Elmira, ON, to the state of Alaska. His goal is to raise funds for World Vision Canada to assist impoverished children and families. And he’s doing it all on a bicycle.
Charlie began biking for World Vision last year.
“I’ve always enjoyed cycling and travelling, and I was like, ‘You know what? Why don’t I do something I like, and try to make it for a good cause.”
Prior to putting his wheels in motion for the Christian organization, Charlie biked across Canada in 2010 and spent a couple days raising funds for cancer research. Last year, Charlie biked across the US in an effort to raise funds and promote World Vision. But for Charlie, it’s not about the recognition he gets from accomplishing these trips.
“I believe in what World Vision does,” he says, “I’m trying to find a way to make a change.”
Unlike his trip across the states last year, Charlie is pressing forward on his own. Without a bike partner, there are some challenges he encounters.
“It’s a constant battle,” Charlie says of completing the trip alone.
“It’s much harder travelling alone as there’s no one to push you when you feel like quitting. Sometimes, I’ll just take a few minutes and not cycle or listen to music or talk to myself.”
Even though the road ahead of him is long and difficult, Charlie’s positive attitude is still present.
“I’m treating every day like a first,” he says, “It’s no different than life. Most rewards come from a struggle.”
For Charlie, each day brings on new adventures.
“I enjoy finding places to sleep and trying to outdo the last site,” he says with a laugh, “I enjoy the people I meet and learning more about them.”
Although he’s raising funds for World Vision, Charlie is completing this mission on his own accord. He’s not being sponsored by the organization and he does not have someone assisting him with canvassing for donations. He’s a social individual, but he still has moments of uncertainty.
“The most difficult thing for me is approaching people,” he says, “I try and make myself open so they come to me, but I’m still working on it.”
Along the way, he has spent his time canvassing in various small towns he’s been staying in.
He explains that he’s wearing World Vision gear to help promote his trip in hopes that it will encourage donations.
“People will always ask me, ‘Oh, you’re a World Vision guy?’ I’ll say, ‘No, I’m just helping raise funds for it,” and I’ll tell them about it. They’ll say, ‘Oh, here, let me give you a few bucks,’ and those few bucks add up.”
Currently, Charlie has reached Grande Prairie, BC, and will continue to travel between 150-200 km per day.
“I obviously enjoy cycling or I’d be nuts,” he says.
But there are days, he often feels defeated by weather, long kilometres, or sheer loneliness.
“My first day out, I wanted to get to Orillia,” he says, “The day was beautiful, then gradually it got cooler. I knew rain was coming, but thought, ‘It’ll pass over or be a light rain.'”
That, however, did not happen. Instead, Charlie got caught in one of the worst summer storms Ontario has experienced this year. For Charlie, situations like this help him to feel a little closer to the cause he’s biking for.