One year down the road, how is Dirk doing?

It’s been a year since Dirk arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina. He came through 16 countries, supported 15 projects and put just over 30,000 km of cycling under his belt in 20 months.

99%RIDE was a (first?) cycling expedition to raise awareness & funds for children’s and educational projects in Central & South America. In September 2013 Dirk left Amsterdam behind, after selling everything he owned, and settled out to do what he thought was right.

How? By cycling from the northern tip of Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina. Along the way 99%RIDE would raise awareness by speaking at schools, universities, companies and organizations. Funds were raises by events organized along the way and in The Netherlands. People grabbed their bicycles and went on charity rides, joined Dirk along the way and supported the mission and vision of the foundation; to help those in need by sharing a little of what you have.

Time for some questions…

First a short interview with his brother, followed by some questions from different people that have been sent in.

An interview with Dirk, one year later… from Dirk Spits | 99%RIDE on Vimeo.

First of all, how are you feeling right now? It’s been a year since you finished, how do feel when looking back at all of it?

Everyday I think about what 99%RIDE has brought to me, the adventure, the help, the support, but mostly the realisation of what we have in our personal lives and the possibilities there are. There’s so much to see and do, and so many people to have an impact on if you share your voice and thoughts. 99%RIDE has changed the way I look at the world, I’ve always been fairly optimistic person, but I have that even more at the moment. It’s a new form of energy I feel. There are moments I really enjoy and appreciate having, being with family and friends and having the laughter around. I realise this every day, even if it’s only a split second I think about it, it’s definitely there.

What are you currently doing? You left The Netherlands quite soon after you returned from Ushuaia.

When I came back to Amsterdam I loved the fact that I could see everyone who had supported 99%RIDE from The Netherlands, cycling around the city again, seeing friends and family. Yet I couldn’t really feel at home, but that’s not a strange feeling I guess after being on the road so long.
As many people maybe don’t know, I had fallen in love with a girl I had met in the south of Colombia, she lives in Switzerland, and I was lucky to find a fun job there soon after I had arrived back in Amsterdam. The decision to move to Luzern was quickly made and after being “home” for three weeks I packed my bags and went.

Are there any plans for you and 99%RIDE, what is your next step? Do you want to do anything with what you have learned and experienced?

That’s a very difficult question; I really enjoyed the whole process of setting up the foundation and the entire experience that came with it, the ups and downs, the highs and lows. At the moment I am really thinking hard what I actually want to do with the extra knowledge I have obtained and how I want to use this. One thing is certain, the next thing I do will also involve charities and raising awareness, but how it’s all going to look and be carried out is still something I’d like to keep to myself.

Are you still in touch with the projects 99%RIDE supported?

With most of the projects I am still in touch, I am curious how they are doing and what progress is being made. Some of the projects are very fun to follow online, as they have been using more social media than before. It was a really good experience to witness first hand how so many projects work, who they are helping and who is actually behind the project. There are a lot of very dedicated people out there making a huge difference every day, they deserve all the help they can get.

Just recently Ecuador was hit by an earthquake, a project I visited in Guayaquil (La Sonrisa Naranja) decided to take action and started helping villages that needed basic things like fresh water, medication, food supplies etc. Major cities and larger towns were receiving help from larger NGO’s, but many people at the coast also needed help. They are currently in the progress of setting up a new crowdfunding campaign in order to raise more donations to be able to help more people. When the campaign is up, I will post the link for everyone who wishes to contribute.

Is there anything you would like to share with us that you have learned? Is there a lesson from 99%RIDE?

It might sound like a cliché, but we do need to remember who we are, where we are from and how we got to a certain point. Don’t lose track of others, of the people that matter the most to you. Let go of certain things (materialistic for example) and see if there is any kind of charity you can get involved in, you’ll be surprised how it makes you feel once you put some time and effort into it…

If there are any more questions you would like to ask Dirk please leave a comment or contact him.

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