The reasons I ride for polio eradication

The Asia Team behind Masa Kato

The Asia Team supports Masa Kato, third from right, who is part of the Miles to End Polio team.

Masa Kato is a global communications specialist at Rotary International. He is one of six Rotary staff members who will join Rotary General Secretary John Hewko in biking El Tour de Tucson in Arizona 23 November to raise money for polio eradication.

By Masa Kato

The six staff members who will be riding in El Tour de Tucson later this month all have different personal reasons for being part of the Miles to End Polio Team. But we all have one thing in common, a desire to help Rotary’s effort to eradicate polio. My main objective in riding is likewise to support our top priority of ridding the world of this disease. But I have two other personal reasons. Continue reading

Getting out from behind my desk, pedaling to end polio

Kris Tsau is an advocacy specialist at Rotary International. She is one of six Rotary staff members who will join Rotary General Secretary John Hewko in biking El Tour de Tucson in Arizona 23 November to raise money for polio eradication.

Kris Tsau

Kris Tsau, part of the Miles to End Polio team, on a training ride.

By Kris Tsau

As a PolioPlus staff member, I’ve been working toward a polio free world for over 20 years. The vast majority of that work happens at a desk behind a computer screen or on a telephone. I have often joked that I’m eradicating polio one email at a time.

Joining the Miles to End Polio Team has been a great way to get out from behind my desk to pay tribute, in a very physical way, to the dedicated men and women who work on this global effort and especially, the front-line health Continue reading

Images from the 2017 Ride to End Polio

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By Rotary Voices staff, Photos by James S. Wood

The 2017 Ride to End Polio posted another successful year at El Tour de Tucson in Arizona, USA, in November. A team of staff members and Rotary General Secretary John Hewko joined 120 cyclists from 18 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, Australia, Brazil, Germany, and France. In addition, the effort was joined by 18 Indoor Ride to End Polio teams, including six district teams and 12 club teams comprising more than 300 participants.

As of 13 December, the ride had raised $11.7 million for polio eradication, after the match by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the total funds raised since inception of the ride to a little more than $47 million. Miles to End Polio staff riders raised $278,000 this year. About $66,000 was raised through the team’s Rotary Ideas page.

What excites me about Miles to End Polio

Kea Gorden before a training ride in Evanston.

By Kea Gorden, planned giving officer

On World Polio Day, I watched Rotary’s livestream event and realized that I really am in the middle of history in the making. As part of the Rotary staff Miles to End Polio team, I will be riding 106 miles on 18 November in the El Tour de Tucson. Riding that far is not something I’ve ever done before. But it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to feel like I can be a part of an effort that is having such a significant impact. As I watched Bill Gates announce his belief that this year will be the one where polio is finally stopped, I realized how close we really all. Continue reading

Ready to ride for more

By Chelsea Mertz, Community Specialist, Rotary Service Connections

Since starting at Rotary in August 2015, I have been fortunate enough to support both the 2015 and 2016 Miles to End Polio teams. While supporting these teams, I’ve come to know many Rotarians and staff who are committed to funding the fight to end polio. I admire their hard work and dedication; they’ve inspired me to do more, to finally put myself forward and join the ranks of Rotary’s volunteer army. Continue reading

What I think about when I cycle

Rotary riders at the start of El Tour de Tucson in 2014.

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary 

On 18 November, over 18,000 wheels will be gliding through the Sonora Desert. Those wheels will be propelled by 9,000 cyclists participating in the annual Tour de Tucson. Many ride for fun; many ride for the challenge of completing the long course of 106 miles; and many ride to raise money for humanitarian causes. Close to a hundred of those riders are fortunate enough to ride for nothing less than one of the greatest public health achievements in our time.  Continue reading

Photos from the 2016 Ride to End Polio

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On 19 November, Rotary staff joined Rotary members from District 5500 (Arizona, USA) and around the world in El Tour de Tucson, one of the premier organized fundraising rides in the United States. This year’s staff team met the challenge head on, completing 104-miles in good spirits and with only one flat tire. Continue reading

Pedaling for polio in three countries

Dave Stumpf and Christian Pepera during a training ride at the Wisconsin border.

Dave Stumpf and Christian Pepera during a training ride at the Wisconsin border.

By Christian Pepera, Rotary staff

In true Rotary fashion, my training for the Miles to End Polio ride has been an international affair. During the last three months, I have logged more than 700 miles. By the time we reach Tucson, I will have pedaled my way through five U.S. states (Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin), along the shores of two Great Lakes (Michigan and Ontario) and in three countries (Canada, Spain, and the US). Continue reading

Pushed to the limit, for a good cause

Jose Zambrano on a recent training ride.

Jose Zambrano on a recent training ride.

By Jose Zambrano, Rotary staff

It’s been almost two months since I started my training as part of the Miles to End Polio team. I can honestly say training for El Tour of Tucson has pushed me to my limits, but has also been an unbelievable experience.

Although I love outdoor activities, and am a very active person, my longest previous ride had been 40 miles. So trying to accomplish 104 miles is a huge challenge for me. Continue reading

104 miles? I got this!

Nora Zei and team mates.

Nora Zei, right, and fellow team members Christian Pepera and Courtney Drew near the halfway mark of an 80-mile training ride. We are “This close” to ending polio — and the Wisconsin border.

By Nora Zei, Rotary staff

When I was selected for the Miles to End Polio team, I was both nervous and excited. I’ve loved cycling since I was a kid. But the longest ride I’d ever completed in a single day was 60 miles. I signed up to do 104 miles? Yikes!

But I’ve learned a little fear actually helps me, driving me to take my training seriously. Continue reading