Cycling helps me stay in shape. It gives me a sense of adrenaline and exhilaration. It can be a solitary, therapeutic activity or a great way to socialize. It has taken me all around to world and afforded me incomparable views and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. However, cycling doesn’t have to be a selfish hobby. When I participate in a charity bike event, it gives me a sense of purpose, and for that reason it so much more than just a hobby for me.

When I participate in charity races, I feel good both physically and mentally. The satisfaction that comes from knowing all your hard work means something and is going to a good cause is beyond compare- it will push you to perform at your absolute best. Here are a few charity rides around the world worth looking into- hopefully you’ll find something that strikes your fancy!

America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride- Lake Tahoe, CA and NV

Sounds pretty appealing, doesn’t it? This ride, held in June, is beautiful in several ways: the beautiful scenery around Lake Tahoe can’t be beat and the event supports a beautiful cause, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT) which raises money to find a cure for diseases like leukemia.

Cycle South Africa- Johannesburg, South Africa

This 10-day event will take you on a journey through the diverse ecosystems of Johannesburg’s famous Garden Route, from coastline to arid desert and swampy lagoons to high mountain passes. It supports The National Deaf Children’s Society which strives to create “a world without barriers” for deaf children.

AIDS Lifecycle- San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA

HIV/AIDS may not be the hopeless death sentence it was when it emerged several decades ago, but since there is as yet no cure, there remains a constant fight to raise money and awareness. By participating in this ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, you’ll experience a changing landscape of farm fields and coastline all while raising money for a meaningful cause.

London to Paris Challenge- Southeast London, England to Paris, France

As you can imply from the name of this tour, it will take you on a ride from London to Paris. This ride is definitely more on the leisurely side of the cycling scale, rather than strenuous, as you’ll pass through famous historic landmarks and gorgeous countryside. In order to participate, riders raise money for the charity of their choice!

Bike and Build- Cross-country and regional rides throughout U.S.

Unfortunately, I’m well past the age mark to be able to participate in this ride, but it’s a great option for young adults looking to stay active and gain volunteer experience. If you’re 26 or younger, you’re eligible to participate as a rider and leaders are accepted through age 29. With eight cross-country routes and shorter regional routes as well, there are options for every experience level with this organization that supports affordable housing throughout the country.

Glacier Ride- Glacier National Park, MO and Waterton National Park, Canada

Nature is a huge part of what makes cycling so enjoyable, so give back to nature when you participate in the Glacier Ride, held July 5-10 in Glacier National Park in Montana and Waterton National Park in Canada, supporting the Glacier National Park Conservancy. Pedal through 500-year-old cedar forests, elevated mountain passes, and past waterfalls and glacial lakes while learning about the ecosystems surrounding you from professional park guides and ride leaders.

Tour de Cure- various U.S. tours

The Tour de Cure rides are held all around the United States. You have 43 states to choose from, in fact. These charity rides raise money for the American Diabetes Association and are open to riders of all levels. According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population) live with diabetes and diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, so you’ll be supporting a wonderful cause.