Microsoft employee and son experience a special STP ride

Vijay, left, and Amol Garg rode the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic together and raised money for the nonprofit Asha. - Courtesy photo
Vijay, left, and Amol Garg rode the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic together and raised money for the nonprofit Asha.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

When he’s not working as a senior program manager for Xbox Engineering Services on Microsoft’s Redmond campus, Vijay Garg can often be found cycling with his son, Amol.

On July 12 and 13, the duo grinded it out together in the 200-mile Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (STP) for the first time and raised $1,160 for the nonprofit Asha, an organization that focuses on education for underprivileged children in India. Amol took the fundraising reins and had a goal of $750 in mind, but friends and family members’ donations helped guide him well beyond that amount. Vijay’s Microsoft workmates donated $500 and the company will match that figure.

“It’s outstanding to do something that makes a reasonable difference in the community and the world,” Vijay said of Amol, 14, who fell off his bike on the first day of the STP and injured his right leg (while at the same time dealing with the blistering 95-degree temperature), but rebounded to finish the ride the following day. “Amol is persistent. It was definitely by no means an easy (ride).”

Added Amol: “It was a huge deal to compete the STP, it was one of my lifelong goals. If there is a will, there is a way.” Amol said he had the desire, passion and support of his dad and fellow Team Asha riders to complete the mammoth task — and all for a cause that’s special to him.

Amol feels that if Indian children receive a solid education they can become self-sustained by earning degrees and jobs and could “break the cycle of poverty.”

Sammamish residents Vijay and Amol (along with two Asha teammates) began their ride out of Seattle at 4:45 a.m. on July 12 and cruised about 120 miles on country roads to Winlock, where Amol was injured at about 2 p.m. They spent the night at nearby Toledo High School (where they planned to stay anyway) and continued the ride at 4:45 a.m. the next morning and finished in Portland by 12:30 p.m. Along the way, riders took breaks at food and water stations.

“He wanted to finish it in one day. He’s a boy,” Vijay said with a laugh about Amol’s aspirations. Overall, he’s glad his son — an incoming freshman at Skyline High School — spends so much time biking rather than getting sucked into social-media sites. Prior to participating in the STP, they spent 14 weeks biking — with Team Asha and as a duo — approximately 800 miles to prepare for the ride. The 18-member Team Asha also included several other Microsoft employees.

“I feel very proud of him,” Vijay said of Amol. “Even I get inspiration from him.”

Added Amol about his dad: “He helped me a lot during the journey. I think doing (the STP) with my father was a real bonding experience for me.”



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