The hero of so many memorable performances goes on a new journey, aiming for records but also for solidarity: crossing 48 United States in a period of time (48 days) that would make her win a second Guinness World Record, but also to collect the funds needed to purchase 48 bicycles to be given to as many Ugandan women.
The Ivrea athlete will start on April 27 from Montana and she will travel more than 12,000 kilometers, with approximately 60,000 meters in altitude and through a varied landscape, from the mountains to the desert, from the forest to the city. For her technical support there will be the Sport Plus Health app with all the company staff, technical sponsor of the initiative.
But what drove Paola Gianotti, who won the Guinness World Record for the world tour by bike, author of “I Dreamed of endless” and testimonial for the “Bike the Nobel” project that brought her up in Oslo to nominate the bike for the Nobel Peace Prize, to engage into this new adventure? We spoke directly to her. Here’s what she told us.
How did the idea for this new project born?
The idea came because I decided to think to a new record, I wanted to try a new Guinness but above all I wanted to combine a big sport adventure with a big social one. I thought about women because of course I am a woman, to carry on what I do. And I thought to Africa because I have always visited it: it’s a country that stays inside of my heart and not having crossed it during the world tour seems like an error. Moreover Africa really needs help.
How will you feel crossing the United States, where you had a bad accident?
It will be definitely touching, although I have already been there after the crash. On the other hand when I’ve gone all over America, this was the place where I felt safer, more comfortable, the place where I felt better. I like it because there are very large roads and this is a country that makes me feel protected in case of need or emergency. I have a love/hate relationship with the United States and this is one of the reasons why I go back. The path that I will follow this time isn’t the same of the previous record, thus it is completely unknown to me, and I’m curious to discover these 12,000 kilometers of the United States absolutely new!
Why did you choose Uganda for your social initiative?
A dear friend who goes there every year to volunteer for an hospital has always told me that there is a need of bikes as, for example, nurses have no means of transportation available and often they fail to arrive on time in the villages to treat children. Uganda is a very poor country, where there is a great need. I found an association to lean on: it has been founded by an Ugandan who as a child took malaria and he was saved thanks to the use of a bicycle. Years later, he moved to New York and founded this association that provides bicycles to people who need it thanks to microcredit. I think this thing is very beautiful, because it is not just a gift but an aid that gives a value to what you receive. Taking back the money you can then buy new bikes and help other people.
How can we contribute?
Whoever follows me can help me browsing to keepbrave.com or paolagianotti.com and from there, under the new adventure which is 48 days 48 states for a good cause (http://keepbrave.com/48-stati-48-giorni-48-bici.html), you can purchase a stage or half-stage: practically you can subsidize the purchase of a bicycle or half of it with 120 or 60 Euros. When I come back from this trip in June I will go personally to Uganda to buy the bikes from a local producer for supporting the local economy too. Supporters will receive a keep brave bandana or my book as thank for helping these women to improve their lives.
Photo credit: Raffaella Rivarolo https://www.facebook.com/iRRegular.videomaking