Why I Ride: Jesse Tyler

Jesse Tyler

While it may seem a bit backwards, love of cycling is far from the greatest reason I’m cycling across America this summer. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy time on my bike, but I only bought my first road bike less than a year ago. Heck, before preparing for this, the furthest I had ever ridden was 35 miles. Simply put, cycling is a means to achieve the goals I’ve been working towards for years already.

In June 2012, I had a batch of thirty t-shirts made featuring a photo that my mom had taken of a Green Peace march in Sweden in 1979 and the words “Take Notice, Take Heart” printed across the bottom. Friends and family bought them and the proceeds were given to Speed the Light, a nonprofit providing vehicles and communication tools for missionaries around the world. That first round of t-shirts was the beginning of Take Heart Apparel Co.

A year later, I moved to Springfield, Missouri, and met Giancarlo Ospina. We hit it off right away and shared similar goals and values. The idea of using business to give to the causes we cared about most energized us and brought us together. He became my partner in Take Heart and we continued to build it and use it as a means to support nonprofits serving people around the world. Our mission was to give and to inspire others to give.

Towards the end of summer in 2015, I found myself low on creative energy and motivation. While I love Take Heart and it’s incredibly special to me, I knew that I was hungry for something new.

When I first started cycling, Giancarlo and I had both talked about how cool we thought it would be to do a long distance cycling tour someday. Why not now, though? And if we were going to do something so significant, I knew this could be a platform to give more in a few months than we had given in years through Take Heart. Giancarlo had just returned from a trip to Korah with I Pour Life and he saw firsthand the transformation that was happening as a result of their 10×10 program. Dollar for dollar, we believed this was the most powerful gift we could offer. So we decided we would cycle cross-country for the women of Korah.

Ride for Korah restored the motivation and energy I thought I lost and had been hungry for over the past year. As I’ve prepared for this journey, I’ve been given new clarity on what drives me and gives me joy. I ride because I’m happiest when I’m using all of my skills, talents, and resources to build something greater than myself, something that gives and inspires others to give in their own way. And the cherry on top? I get to do this with some of my best friends while seeing America one mile at a time.

My hope is that this ride inspires you to do something of your own to help others. Giving money to help sponsor a woman through our campaign is one easy way to have an impact, but there are endless ways in which you can use what you’ve been given to make a difference.

Background photo taken by Austin Elliott of Locke + Stache Media 

Showing 5 comments
  • Justin

    This is a great thing you guys are doing! Cycling across the country sounds like such an adventure and it’s safe to say it will leave life-long memories. It’s actually something I’d consider doing myself if given the opportunity! Although I’m curious, how are you all able to take months of time away to do this?

    • Jesse Tyler
      Jesse Tyler

      Justin, thanks so much for the encouragement and kind words. One thing that makes it easy is that we’re all single dudes 🙂 We personally saved up over the past several months to cover our bills and personal expenses along the way and were able to get businesses to sponsor our travel expenses (flights, shipping our bikes, food, occasional lodging costs).

  • Katie

    You know you’re going to have to provide me with some tangible addresses for “the mail” along the way.

  • Henry

    What a great cause and what an adventure! Henry Murphy, a long time bike rider and professional friend of your mom.

  • R. Briley

    That’s great adventure. Loves your story. Thanks for sharing.

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