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Brock Tully shows us that kindness is the (bike) path to happiness.
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”
– H.G. Wells, Prolific English Novelist
What are the chances that one man, using only a bicycle and the force of his charismatic personality, could make a real difference in the world? If you’re Brock Tully, the chances are very good.
First, about that bubbly disposition. He wasn’t always that way. In 1970, at the age of 23, Tully was depressed and suicidal. “I was ready to take my own life,” he said. “I realized right then and there that I was either going to kill myself or get on my bike.” He chose the latter, and he didn’t just ride to the local corner store.
Before anyone had even heard of a cross-country bike trip, the audacious Canadian loaded a backpack and his rear rack with gear and rode for 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers). Over the course of six months, Tully pedalled from Canada, around the continental US, down to Mexico, and back. “I found that on my bike, I could listen to the voices in my heart instead of my head. That bicycle trip healed me.”
Tully also met thousands of people along the way and learned a lot about the human condition and our need for connection. He returned a changed man with a renewed purpose. “It became really clear to me that what the world needs more of is kindness.” That’s when he co-founded the Kindness Foundation of Canada and the popular Kindness Rocks concert series in schools to prevent bullying. He also penned a series of books about his cycling adventures titled, “Reflections”, that have sold more than 140,000 copies.
Today, Tully travels across North America delivering his Cycling For Kindness keynote speeches and working toward a kinder world at conferences, corporate events, and schools. While he doesn’t ride to all those appearances, he has made two more epic cycling journeys totaling 30,000 miles (48,280 kilometers). “I’ve spent a lot of time in the saddle.” Tully says, “What I’ve discovered is that the longest and most difficult journey is the 12-inches from your head to your heart.”
This article is part of our week-long coverage of global bike-based organizations changing the world two wheels at a time. Check out 10 Great Cycling Organizations to see more of their inspiring wok.