Everyone has someone in their lives that continually inspires them, proving that there really are selfless, compassionate people in the world who will work tirelessly to help change the world for the better. Over the years, we have met countless people who fit this description, but one individual truly tops our list time and again. Our young friend, Brenna Coupland, has been making her mark on the world around her for some time, spreading a message of community, caring and inspiration in many ways. We consider ourselves lucky to be counted as her friends.
We first met Brenna shortly before the birth of our son, about six years ago. At the time, we were looking for a reliable babysitter for our then toddler little girl and soon-to-arrive baby boy. Who would have known that a chance meeting due to a flyer in our laundry room would lead to a wonderful, lasting friendship. Our children bonded instantly with her, and it didn’t take long before Brenna had become a permanent memory in their early childhood. But through speaking with Brenna about her ambitions, it was clear she was destined for more than just life as a yogi and childcare provider in Vancouver. The catalyst for change began with a bike trip from Vancouver to Winnipeg, sparking a passion for bike-touring. Within months, Brenna had grander plans, and over the subsequent years, she would cycle across the remaining Eastern Canadian provinces, along the West Coast of the United States, into South America, and throughout Africa.
It was the trip in Africa that would forever change her, and provided the inspiration to combine her passion for cycling with her desire to make a positive impact on the world. About two years after her initial journey, Brenna returned to South Africa, where she has been working for nearly one year. There, she is providing inspiration to a whole new generation, offering bike mechanic programs to women and youth in Cape Town, and even taking part in local races with enthusiastic groups of young people. Her vision is quite simple:
- Help create a world where bicycles are universally accepted as legitimate, respected, responsible and enjoyable forms of transportation and recreation.
- Ensure bicycles and the knowledge of bicycle maintenance and repair are accessible to all who wish to learn, regardless of gender, age, race, sexuality, financial situation or any other discriminatory factor.
- Promote the message that bicycle power is used as a means to increase the efficiency, strength and health of communities and promotes a consciousness of environmental stewardship.
Brenna’s most recent initiative is the Cape Town Cycle of Giving, a fundraiser and donation campaign collecting used kids bicycles and hosting a 24 hour repair marathon with youth mechanics and adult volunteers. In February, fixed bicycles will be distributed to children in under-resourced - and under bicycle'd - communities like Fisantekraal and Kayamandi. Although the event will take place in Cape Town, people around the world can help by donating money and spreading the word about this fantastic program. You can find out more about Brenna’s story and make a donation by visiting her blog, Beeyond A Bike. As always, Brenna, we are inspired by your passion, strength and beautiful spirit, and we at Modacity wish you all the success you deserve for 2015!