Harvard's Cyclists Fighting Hunger (CFH) decided to join efforts with the nationally based Bike-Aid for this year's cross-country bike tour to raise funds for public service projects.
Last year, when Bike-Aid was first created, both groups sponsored rides to promote awareness of poverty and hunger issues and development projects in the third world and the U.S. Bike-Aid and the four-year-old CFH decided this fall that, rather than compete as they did last summer, they should collaborate.
"We just had to overcome our egos and join forces," said Mary B. Kroetch, Bike-Aid's current coordinator.
Sponsored by the Overseas Development Network (ODN)--a student-run organization devoted to development efforts with chapters on more than 40 campuses nation wide--Bike-Aid includes riders from colleges all over the country. About 75 riders participated in last summer's trip which raised a total of $132,000 for ODN projects.
Otherwise known as "Ride for Life," CFH sponsored about 50 riders last summer who collectively raised about $100,000 for Oxfam and Save the Children.
Bike-Aid organizers said that next year the two programs combined could include as many as 180 riders and raise more than 250,000 dollars.
Members of the CFH board of directors said that one of the key factors in their decision to merge with Bike-Aid was that no students offered to assume responsibility for next year's CFH trip.
"We all feel we did the right thing," said Robert Saltonstall Jr., one of two University administrators on the board. "This will enable us to continue operating this year under the sponsorship of a group that seems quite well organized and, depending on next summer we will decide whether to continue to work with Bike-Aid."
"It will be better being one group because we can work on it just as hard, hopefully raise just as much money, and not have to deal with two different rides," said Quinn Sloan '89.