Posted by Carol Hutchinson on Dec 04, 2018
Guest Speaker:  Friday, December 7, 2018
Location:  The National Club, 303 Bay St. Toronto
Topic:  Cycle for Water: 30.000km from Alaska to Antarctica
on a Bamboo Bicycle to Raise Awareness for the Global Water Crisis
Host:  Kevin Power
 
Michiel Roodenburg is a manager in KPMG’s Global Sustainability team.  As a consultant, he provides assurance, strategy and policy advice to corporations and governments on climate, environmental, social and governance issues.  After starting his career in The Netherlands and four years in New York, he recently landed in Toronto with his wife and 1 year old daughter.
 
This story is about an unlikely friendship and how Michiel and his buddy Joost, two men with totally different personalities and backgrounds, found a common goal and passion.  It’s a story about how they, through perseverance, friendship and a lot of generosity and kindness of organizations and the people they came across, were able to help people and have the trip of their lives and at the same time.
 
After finishing a master’s degree in finance and business, Michiel decided that the corporate world had wait a couple of years.  After being confronted with the severity of the water crisis when he lived, worked and studied in various parts of Africa and the Middle East, he founded the organization “Cycle for Water” together with Joost.  They cycled 30.000 kilometers from Alaska to Antarctica to raise awareness for the global water crisis, which is still leaving 1 billion people on earth without access to clean drinking water and sanitation resources.

To make the expedition an even greater challenge, Cycle for Water was the first attempt to cycle the entire route on bamboo bicycles.  Not only as an effort towards minimizing the carbon footprint of the journey, but also to demonstrate that a lot of challenges can be overcome using sustainable products and solutions.
 
The two friends spend almost two years on their bikes and made their way through the forests of Canada, urban sprawls of the States, deserts of Atacama, jungles of Ecuador and over the Andes mountain range in Chile and Argentina, until they reached their goal – Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world and eventually Antarctica.
 
Through 6 live interviews on CNN, who followed them in their footsteps, they were fortunate enough to reach many homes to tell the stories of the people that have to live without access to clean drinking water, but also the stories of where solutions lifted whole communities out of poverty.  Through Cycle for Water they funded small-scale water and sanitation projects, visited rural towns and communities and documented those interactions in order to report to the outside world.  The team set up partnerships with the World Bank, Net Impact and the WWF. 
 
The story continues.  Cycle for Water two started in 2015 when new adventurers picked up the banner and cycled from France to New-Zealand.  Preparations for the third ‘African’ edition are underway.