Reflections on my 35th Ride

12 Jul 2023

“I can’t describe the personal journey of growth that I have been on over the last five days. Never could I have imagined that a ride over five days in Thailand would deliver so much. I am a coach at home and this has taught me so much. It has made me a better person and will make me a better coach for those I service” said Haran.

Thomas said “This has been my second ride and I was looking forward to the learning that I would take from the ride and it is ‘Hope.’ The journey and the work of Hands gives him reason to believe in hope”.

Michael who was completing his fifth ride said, “It allows me the growth to be a better person and atone for the wrongs and mistakes I have made in the past.”

The five day ride that I just completed from Hua Hin to Takua Pa was my 35th ride, but in many ways it was also my first. It was the first ride that was run by Hands Experiences Thailand, our new social enterprise that exists to provide income and opportunities to the kids we support. The income generated from the ride will provide the funds to employ, train and nurture our community in Thailand. It will fund the growth of the Hands Foundation in Thailand and importantly it will create employment opportunities for our older kids who see this as a career opportunity for them.

On this ride just completed we had Nunn our General Manager of Hands Experiences Thailand lead the team and the ride. He was the Captain on the Road and he was the Captain Off the Road steering the time. Whilst it was his and our first ride, it felt like we were a dozen deep. I asked for patience and forgiveness from our riders in the initial briefing as we found our way. I promised we would work hard to create an experience we would be proud of but acknowledge we had our training wheels on and there would be mistakes. We had the riders patience but their forgiveness wasn’t required. There were learnings, and we will do better, but the delivery was exceptional.

So where does the personal and community growth come from? After all, aren’t we just riding a bicycle for five days from one point to the next? Yes we are, but whilst the experience has to be experienced to truly understand what it is all about, let me try to explain.

I believe that some of our greatest achievements occur on what we believe to be the edge of our limitations. So when Izzzie came away on her first ride and never having ridden 100 kms in a day before, she was absolutely right to be proud of herself for her achievements. We were and therein lies a part of the magic. We achieve and we celebrate as one team. We lift each other up during our struggles and hold that space for each other to achieve their own victories. When the riders think they have no more to give, but with the safe support and encouragement of a fellow rider, they find the capacity to go on, just for five more minutes, then five more, then they reach their goal. Perhaps without the support they wouldn’t have continued.

Seth Godin said “The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and soul”. Dan Pallotta followed it by saying “People are tired of being asked to do the least they can possibly do, people are yearning to measure the full distance of their potential for causes they care about deeply.”

I find unparalleled joy in riding my bicycle in Thailand, never more so than down the other side of one of the rolling undulations that we ascend, but the greatest joy is the deep privilege I hold in participating and observing our riders, first time riders in particular, experience their ride. The highs and the lows, and the personal and professional growth. It is profound and I am forever grateful for the gift it gives me.

So here is my challenge for you. Consider the ride experience and really search within yourself for a reason not to say Yes. Maybe you have heard about the ride for years now, ten times? Twenty times? Maybe now is the time to take the gift of the ride and join us. With the beginning of Hands Experiences Thailand, I can tell you that the experience is only going to get better. Next year we are also offering a new ride experience that will not only challenge physical limits, but will be an exercise in leadership lessons from some great thought leaders. The Leaders in Motion Ride. My hope is that you will consider joining us, that you will take the opportunity to measure the full distance of your potential. For me, there is no greater gift. But I think you will find the gift is also yours if you take it.

Peter Baines, Founder, Hands Across the Water