Wylie Mao is a 16-year old photographer, writer, dreamer, and adventurer hailing from Seattle, Washington.
Years before he hatched up the plan to cross the country by bicycle, he had long dreamt of running off to a faraway place to document the sights, faces, and colours he would encounter. He would stand in front of a map and stare at the dots and symbols that stood for remote islands, towns hidden away in mountain ranges, and bustling cities full of life, imagining what it would be like to travel there. Growing up with a father just a touch crazier than him, he had come to value the unknown at a young age and continues to seek out experiences outside of the ordinary.
As a result of veering off the beaten path and travelling to places less frequented by other tourists, he was introduced to a world of beauty and hope. It was also through these travels that he was exposed to the injustices brought by the lack of clean water. Although the issues are complex and the effects catastrophic, solutions are very simple. It is for this reason he is biking across America to raise awareness for the global water crisis.
No, Wylie isn’t a super-athlete or a hardcore cyclist. He hasn’t done an Ironman Triathlon or run a full marathon. There isn’t anything especially distinct about him, but in a grassroots movement, you don’t have to be. He chose a bicycle because it is human powered and travels slowly – running at an average speed of 12 mph. By travelling without luxuries, he seeks to meet new people, share stories, see his country from a new perspective, and above all, connect on a deeper level to everything around him. The challenge of the water crisis is a long battle far from won and he is simply joining One Day’s Wages in the fight.
To encourage others to travel, commute, and get from point A to point B by bike; whenever it is possible. By cycling over 3,000 miles across the country, he seeks to inspire himself and others alike to realize that biking is a practical way to commute, a unique method of travel, and an easy way to stay fit.
To raise awareness about the global need for bicycles and their role in poverty alleviation. Using the word global, not international, because now more than ever, bicycles have a role in job creation and community building in the United States too. Bicycles are catalysts in make our world a more equitable and accessible place.
To bring light to the water crisis that affects 800 million – 1 billion people. Make a dent in the issue by funding the building of a well and brining clean, safe drinking water to ~250 people in a community previously without it. Inspire others to donate their birthday and start their own campaigns to turn the tide on the issue. The battle is far from won, but all we can do is join in the fight.