In case you don’t know, the Bicycle Touring Pro travel scholarship is an annual contest of sorts conducted here at BicycleTouringPro.com where I give away a small amount of money to one or more incredible young people conducting their first bicycle tour in the coming year. The scholarship was created in 2010 and since that time more than $5,000 USD in cash and prizes has been given away to 14 incredible young adventurers from all across the globe.
Learn about the Bicycle Touring Pro travel scholarship and see the previous winners by clicking here.
Here’s How The Scholarship Works
To apply for the Bicycle Touring Pro travel scholarship, you need to be 29 years old or younger at the time of application… and you need to be in the process of planning your first bicycle tour. That’s it!
Applicants fill out a short entry form and a winner is selected (usually sometime around the beginning of April each year). The winner of each year’s travel scholarship is typically not the person conducting the longest or craziest bicycle touring adventure, but is instead the individual who shows the most passion for what he or she aims to accomplish with their travels by bike. In other words: passion, determination and purpose are more important than the length of the tour or where the individual aims to travel.
IMPORTANT: Please read to the bottom of this article. I need your help to make this year’s scholarship a success!
Why I Created The Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship
When I was 17 years old, I had just graduated from high school and wanted to do something big and exciting before I went off to college and began my professional career. I decided at the time that I wanted to conduct a bicycle tour – from Oregon to Mexico, down the California coastline. I had hardly ever ridden a bicycle before that time, I had almost no money in my bank account, and I knew nothing about self-supported bicycle touring. But I was passionate and determined to make this trip by bike a reality.
After months of planning and preparation, I hit the road and traveled for 30 days on my father’s old mountain bike – successfully cycling over 1,000 miles and spending less than $300 USD along the way (that’s less than $10 per day – for food, lodging, entertainment and everything else). It was the trip of a lifetime and an experience that has since taken me on similar bicycle touring adventures all around the world.
This is a photo of me (Darren Alff) at age 17 on my very first bicycle tour.
In 2010, after nearly 10 years of self-supported bicycle touring, creating the website here at BicycleTouringPro.com and writing several popular books about bicycle travel, I had a thought:
“If I was able to conduct a 30-day bicycle tour at the age of 17 with less than $300 USD in my bank account, what could other young bicycle travelers do if I gave them just a small amount of money to help them with their travels?”
That is how the Bicycle Touring Pro travel scholarship was born! The idea being that I would give a few passionate young people a small amount of money to help them conduct their first bicycle touring experiences. Some of those young people might blow through the entire $500 USD in a day. Others might make it last for several months. It would be a wonderful experiment… and it would surely help some people along the way.
My Goals For The Travel Scholarship In The Future
My long-term goal with the Bicycle Touring Pro travel scholarship is to get it to the point where we are giving away $5,000 each and every year (with 10 different young people each receiving $500 USD).
In the past, the money given away each year has been donated by BicycleTouringPro.com readers life yourself, or by myself personally. (Alastair Humphreys, Kate Harris and Tom Kevill-Davies have been massive supporters in the past as well.)
While I would love to give out $5,000 USD is cash and prizes this year, I am aiming for a more realistic goal of just $1,000 USD, to be given to two individuals – each one receiving $500 USD to help them conduct their first self-supported bicycle tour.
At the moment, only $90 USD has been donated by BicycleTouringPro.com readers for this year’s travel scholarship, meaning there is a $910 difference between my $1,000 goal and the current balance of the scholarship fund.
That’s why I need your help!
If you think the Bicycle Touring Pro travel scholarship sounds like a good idea and you would like to help some amazing young people get their start in the wonderful world of bicycle touring, please consider donating to this year’s scholarship fund. Even a donation of $10 or $20 would be a great help. But if you can donate more, that would be even better!
Final Details On This Year’s Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship
More than 60 young people from all around the world have already applied for the 2013 Bicycle Touring Pro travel scholarship… and there are still a few days left before the deadline for applications comes to a close on March 29th.
After the deadline passes, I will sort through all the applications and with a small team of previous BTP travel scholarship winners, we will select the recipient(s) of this year’s prize. The winner(s) will be announced on April 12, 2013.
If you have any questions about the Bicycle Touring Pro travel scholarship, feel free to leave a comment below. And please consider donating to this year’s scholarship fund! We won’t be able to keep the scholarship going unless people like you step up and support the cause.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!