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Shadow Riders

In the Kinzig valley in central Germany, the second Sunday in September is always reserved for a special event: "Kinzigtal Total". On this day, the main highway through the valley, all the way from the source of the Kinzig river to where it flows into the Main river (approx. 70 kilometres), is closed to motorised vehicles from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Usually thousands of cyclists and inline skaters participate in this event and enjoy the ride along the car-free roads.

Since 2012, the "Shadow Riders" ride among them. They are riding "in the shadow" of David Argabright, who over the past few years has raised more than half a million dollars for child development centres (CDCs) in South Asia through his bicycle rides of compassion. The first German Shadow Riders event with 17 participants raised about 2,000 Euros for this cause.

children in schoolAnyone can join the Shadow Riders—the ages of participants range from 10 years old to around 70. No matter what the weather, riding as part of this group is a lot of fun, and all for a good cause! In spring 2014, the first "Shadow Riders Child Development Centre" was started, located in Unawatuna in Southern Sri Lanka. Funds raised through the Shadow Riders events will continue to support this CDC until the CDC is self-supporting or enough funds have been raised to support a second CDC in South Asia.

Get a visual impression of the Shadow Riders event in this picture gallery of the first event in 2012!

You can read more about this fundraiser and about current Shadow Riders events on the Shadow Riders page in German.

Would you like to offer a financial gift to the Shadow Riders and support child development centres in South Asia? Please select the option "child development centre South Asia" on the online donation form.

Shadow RidersThe Shadow Riders Event always takes place on the second Sunday in September.

You are very welcome to join us as a Shadow Rider or support the effort financially. For further information, please contact us on (+49) 6051 832892 or info@helpinghandsev.org.

The Background: A global effort

two men on bikesSome people turn away when they see suffering. And some people go the extra mile—literally—to relieve suffering. Like David Argabright from Virginia in the USA. Millions of children in South Asia live in desperate poverty and David wanted to do something to help them. So he started to ride his bicycle. 575 miles he rode in 2009 and called his effort "Compassion 575". Since then, he has ridden almost 9,000 miles in total. 100% of funds raised through these extraordinary tours support the establishment of child development centres in South Asia. Since spring 2012 David is joined in his effort by so-called "Shadow Riders": individuals or groups of people who duplicate the number of miles ridden by David in order to raise funds for CDCs, but on their own time frame and resources. Shadow Riders have ridden thousands of miles in several US states; in collaboration with Helping Hands e.V. the first German group of Shadow Riders set off in the Kinzig valley on 9th September 2012: a global effort.

Kinzigtal Total LogoThe Event: Kinzigtal Total

The German Shadow Riders ride during the Kinzigtal Total event (on which the main road through the Kinzig valley is closed to all motorised vehicles and open to bicycles and inline skaters) which takes place every year on the second Sunday in September. Details:

• Official start is at 9 a.m. in Sterbfritz
• The following options are available: Sterbfritz – Gelnhausen (45 km), Sterbfritz – Hanau (70 km), Sterbfritz – Hanau – Gelnhausen (95 km), Gelnhausen – Hanau (25 km)
• A chartered bus takes Shadow Riders (and their bikes) from Gelnhausen to Sterbfritz (6 Euros)
• There are regular breaks for refreshments or bathroom breaks; a longer break is scheduled around 1 p.m. at the Church of the Nazarene in Gelnhausen (buffet lunch available, ca. 5 Euro per person)
• Each cyclist needs to either find sponsors who will financially support his ride or pay an entry fee of at least 40 Euros
• Each cyclist receives a starter pack and cyclists riding for the first time receive a Shadow Riders shirt (for late applications we cannot guarantee the availability of shirts in all sizes)
• Minimum age 14 years (children between 10 and 14 only if accompanied by an adult)

The Event is approved by the Kinzigtal Total administration and mentioned in the local press. All funds raised will be transferred to Sri Lanka for the Unawatuna child development centre or, if applicable, for other child development centres in South Asia.

Kinzigtal Total route

The Project: Child development centres in South Asia

South Asia is one of the world's poorest regions and especially children from marginalised groups face extreme poverty and a future without hope. Their only chance of escape is through education. But even where school attendance is mandatory and covered by the state, many needy families cannot afford expenses for uniforms and school supplies, and the children are often so hungry that they can barely concentrate and fall far behind. In Helping Hands child development centres, 75–100 children from needy families receive regular education or homework help; they also receive a nutritious meal and health services. Additional activities address the social, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the children so that they can develop holistically and have real chances for the future. Savings and loan programs for mothers as well as awareness trainings and seeds for home gardens also help families and neighbours and can transform entire communities.

Approximately 7,500 Euros per year are required to run a child development centre for 100 children (higher costs in crisis regions with severe malnutrition). CDCs should be self-supporting within 5 to 7 years.