Welcome to 1×10, where we ask 1 inspiring human 10 questions about how they are using cycling as a force for good. Read on to meet Rebecca Rusch: adventure athlete, author, speaker, world champion, Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, motivator, and founder of Rebecca’s Private Idaho, Rusch Academy and Be Good Foundation. Basically all around awesome human AND incredible athlete! I’ve been following her amazing feats on Instagram but have been equally as impressed with the philanthropic and community efforts she champions. Just this weekend she’s inspired nearly 900 athletes around the world to take on her #GiddyUpForGood challenge to raise funds for COVID-19 relief; this challenge included #Everesting – climbing (running or riding) the equivalent elevation of Mt. Everest – 29,029 feet! Through these efforts, they’ve have raised more than $110,000 to support COVID-19 relief efforts via Rebecca’s #BeGoodFoundation. Learn more about how she fell in love with cycling, her most epic ride, and more about how she’s using bikes to do good, in this 1×10 interview.
1. How / why did you fall in love with cycling?
I found cycling through my other outdoor sports of running, rock climbing, adventure racing. I was not a natural at cycling and didn’t love it at first. But slowly, I got better and soon it became the perfect vehicle for me to continue to explore the world around me and inside me! All of my sports have been fueled by curiosity and wanderlust, but cycling is the one that has stuck because of how much you can see and the places you can go on two wheels.
2. Favorite Bike (that you own or covet)?
3. What’s the most memorable ride you’ve done, and what happened?
In 2015 I rode 1200 miles, the entire length of the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It was the biggest expedition of my life physically and also the most important personal journey of my life. I went to do the expedition for myself, but also to find and visit the map coordinates where my father’s plane was shot down in 1972 during the Vietnam War. This ride helped me find my father, myself and my purpose. The Emmy Award winning documentary Blood Road is the story of my journey on the most important ride of my life.
4. Who do you admire in the cycling world?
Marla Streb was the first woman I was made aware of in the mountain bike world.
5. Top tip for a new rider, or a cyclist about to take on a new challenge?
Find a friend to show you the ropes. Riding is more fun with a friend and it’s nice to have a teacher to show you around.
6. Favorite trend or innovation in cycling?
Dropper seat post!
7. What are you doing to use cycling as a force for good?
My Be Good Foundation’s mission statement is: to use the bicycle as a catalyst for healing, empowerment and evolution. I do various projects from clearing bombs along the Ho Chi Minh trail with mountain bike trips, run a big gravel event to fundraise to provide bikes to folks who need them from Idaho to Africa and promote protecting public land and the places we ride. Cycling has given me so many gifts and I feel strong responsibility to share those and give back.
8. Thinking about the work you’re doing, what do you see as the potential change for people or the planet? If you are successful, what impact will you have?
I truly believe that the bike is a catalyst for healing, evolution and empowerment. With my work, more people will be on bikes. They may be using the bike to get to school, or to help their community, or for their own mental and physical wellness. More people outside, moving and using this wonderful two wheeled tool, the more many of the problems in our world of transportation, health, connectivity will be addressed.
9. What’s your biggest challenge/obstacle to success?
Human resources and financial resources. I have so much passion, so many ideas, and I’m just not able to achieve all of the things I dream of!
10. How can people help? Where can they learn more about your work?
Rebecca Rusch is an adventure athlete, author, speaker, world champion, Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, motivator, founder of Rebecca’s Private Idaho, Rusch Academy and Be Good Foundation. All-around ace human being!
Edited by John Kim. When he’s not out for a ride, John uses his expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility to help companies do well by doing good. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or VirtCyc on twitter or instagram.