Marek Zamecnik: The TechBikers Experience

TechBikers is a way to celebrate passion for cycling, technology and charity at once. Participants cycle for a concrete goal – to fundraise money for better education for children all over the world. Marek Zamecnik, co-founder of 0100 Ventures, had a chance to experience it.

Marek, at the end of June, you had the opportunity to be a part of the global tech-cycling event called TechBikers. Is there one memory or impression that still resonates with you, even several weeks afterwards?

To be honest, the whole experience still resonates with me. The reason is that during the ride, I realized that everyone was challenging themselves to their limits (in my case for sure) to help someone whose life is challenging 24/7. Then, at the finish line, after 320 kilometers, 2 punctures, and sour muscles, you feel great. You feel great because you personally could do something to help kids on the other side of the world to get better education. We fundraised £60,000, which we are going to use to build schools and libraries in Tanzania and Laos. So you can actually feel the direct impact, which, in my opinion, is even more impressive.

TechBikers

What surprised you the most at the event? Is there something you really did not expect?

That England actually has hills 🙂 I was really pleased that everyone was super friendly and supportive. From the general partners at the largest VC funds in Europe to all the tech stars that took part in the ride. Great bunch of people, I must admit.

TechBikers

I know you had a „tough“ preparation for the event, and I don’t mean it in terms of cycling. As a participant, you had to fundraise some money. You even threw a BBQ party for that reason. What was it about?

Each rider had to fundraise a minimum of £500, which went directly to Room to Read charity. On my first attempt, I fundraised £12.50 via social media, and I thought “How the heck am I going to fundraise £500?”

So my second shot had to be right at the target. I threw a BBQ party in our office, invited some friends over, and they all came! They wanted to hear what the charity and the whole event is about. So I did a lot of talking, a lot of hot dogs (130!), and cooled off 100 beers. Everything went great, and I fundraised 520 EUR in one evening.  Supergeil!

TechBikers

What did this particular event look like? How long did it last? Where did it take place? And how many people participated?

I flew to London a couple of days before the ride to have some meetings. Then we, the riders, met on Friday morning June 24th, taking Eurostar to Paris, where we re-grouped with the French team. The ride took 3 days, 100+km and 1000m elevation a day on average. Day 1 stop was in Saint Marcel, day 2 already in the UK in New Heaven after the ferry ride, and the last day, right before entering London, we had to fight the steepest stage. It was an amazing feeling to ride through the streets of London along with 70 other riders, people would cheer on the streets, and we were getting recognized. The finish line was at Google Campus at Bonhill Street, where our friends and families were waiting with cold beers and fresh pizzas 🙂

Can we get a bit deeper into the TechBikers itself? What is the initiative about? How did you find out about it?

TechBikers was founded by several guys from the London tech scene, of whom Eze Vidra (Ex-General Partner at Google Ventures) is still an active rider, even after 5 years. Eze is also the person who introduced me to TechBikers during a conference in Vienna this year. TechBikers is a collaborative initiative of the London tech startup community to help children in need by supporting literacy charity called Room to Read. TechBikers is present in San Francisco, Berlin, London, Madrid, and in the CEE region as well.

TechBikers

How often does the event take place? Is there a chance to catch another one this year?

In each region, the ride takes place every year. We are having our first CEE ride this September (15th -17th) from Vienna through Bratislava to Budapest, and we have riders coming down all the way from Silicon Valley, Copenhagen, London, Budapest, Vienna, etcetera. If you are in tech and want to join us for three days on a bike for a good cause, you should definitely sign up. You get to ride with people from Apple, Google, or Cloudcurrency, among many others.

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One very practical question – if I wanted to participate and I don´t really do cycling regularly, can I make it? 🙂

Anyone who has basic knowledge and experience riding a bicycle can join. The ride is logistically organized by a professional company focusing on such rides around Europe, and they do not let anyone behind. Some parts of the Paris – London ride were difficult as we got to pedal to some nice hills, so a good point for the CEE event is that it is mostly flat here 🙂


Photos: Marek Zamecnik

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