Where: Start at the WORT Block Party (at the corner of Bedford and Doty Streets), and ride around Lake Monona (approx. 13 miles)
Cost: $25 registration fee (includes organic, union-made Tour de Timor T-shirt); riders are encouraged to collect pledges, with the highest pledge-raisers winning prizes
For more information: See www.aideasttimor.org, call 608-241-2473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The 12th annual "Tour de Timor" bike ride will be on Sunday, May 22, starting at 1:00 pm at the WORT Block Party, near the corner of Bedford and Doty Streets in Madison. Participants will ride around Lake Monona to raise funds for community projects in Ainaro, Madison's official sister-city in the Southeast Asian island nation of East Timor.
For a $25 registration fee, participants will receive an organic, union-made Tour de Timor T-shirt. Participants are also encouraged to collect pledges. The highest pledge-raisers will receive prizes from Tour de Timor co-sponsors, including Hempen Goods, Family Farm Defenders, Yellow Jersey, Revolution Cycles, Machinery Row Bicycles, Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, Rainbow Bookstore, People's Bakery, Planet Zebulon and the Progressive magazine. Madison's community radio station, WORT 89.9 fm, is welcoming the event, which will start and end at the station's annual Block Party. More information and pledge sheets can be found at www.aideasttimor.org.
The Tour de Timor has become a tradition within Madison's international solidarity community. The first ride was held in August 1999, as the people of East Timor prepared to vote in a United Nations-organized referendum on their future. They overwhelmingly voted for independence, bringing an end to the brutal, quarter-century-long Indonesian military occupation of their country. Unfortunately, as the Indonesian military left East Timor, they destroyed an estimated 70 percent of its infrastructure. In 2000, the Madison chapter of the East Timor Action Network (ETAN-Madison) established a sister-city relationship with Ainaro, to help the rural community rebuild. That work continues today.
Madison has a long history of solidarity with East Timor. In 1992, during the U.S.-supported Indonesian military occupation of East Timor, local residents (including Indonesian students) formed ETAN-Madison. In 2001, Madison and Ainaro formed the first official sister-city relationship between U.S. and East Timorese communities. The Madison-Ainaro Sister-City Alliance, a project of ETAN-Madison, has organized several delegations to Ainaro, including one this March. Previous Tour de Timor bike rides have raised thousands of dollars for Ainaro battered women's services in 2009; the Madison visit of two Ainaro community leaders in 2008; helped fund a joint international / Timorese election observer project in 2007; and provided grants to women's income-generation projects, sustainable agriculture groups, a local radio station, and other community-led projects in Ainaro, East Timor.