Long-distance cycling can be tough, e.g. for Tour de France winners such as Chris Froome. Enduring time in neonatal care may be even tougher for preterm infants and their parents. A «tour de force». This is why amiamusica has launched a charity ride to fundraise for new empowerment music tools for them. Joerg illustrates the reasons for miles4amiamusica, how it works and shares his experiences while launching the charity ride at the 2018 Swiss Cycling Alpenbrevet.

I love cycling. I am doing it for three decades now. It never gets boring and miles are my meditation, so to say. Still, I have never really been interested in all the pro cycling events such as the Tour de France, the competitions nor have I followed particular pro cyclists. Long-distance cycling, bike packing, enjoying the countryside are more my thing.

Chris Froome vs. preterm infants

A couple of months, Julie-Clare Becher shared a picture of a slide from Nick Embleton who outlined that preterm infants may have a 25-30% higher energy requirement per kg body weight than 4-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome. Wow! So, being a preterm infant in the NICU may require more energy than cycling the Tour de France, the world’s most prestigious cycling race. The Tour de France lasts for about four weeks and pro cyclists ride 3,351 km (2,082 mi). This race is an enormous feat. Cyclists may need up to 8000 calories per day to perform and to endure the stress. Yet, from what I know about premature birth, the infants and their parents may even spend a longer time in neonatal care than just four weeks, right?

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Being supportive by riding miles4amiamusica

I can’t even imagine what it might need to race the Tour de France, nor do I have an idea about the inner strength preterm infants and their parents need to make it through those tough times in neonatal care. But what I have witnessed over the last 10 to 15 years is that music has the power to support infants and parents during those most stressful moments. So when amiamusica was launched a couple of months ago, I was asking myself: What could be a useful contribution to amiamusica’s activities?

Joining the Swiss Cycling Alpenbrevet

A simple answer to the previous questions: Riding a bike, doing some miles, asking family and friends for sponsorship to fundraise for future empowerment tools. This is miles4amiamusica. It is a small gesture of mutual support, a simple activity of raising awareness for the challenges, premature infants and their parents face everyday. During a long ride I might not even get close to a minimum of energy required by Chris Froome or other pro cyclists, let alone premature infants. But it’s a start.

Check out what the Alpenbrevet sounds like

A short clip how cyclist get motivated by supporters

As kick-off, the Swiss Cycling Alpenbrevet 2018 seemed perfect. I have never done something like that before. Riding three alpine passes, 120 kilometers, managing more than 3’600 meters vertical height. And all that in our new amiamusica cycling jersey. I was very excited that Luc, a friend and cycling enthusiast, also joined in. We both did the Alpenbrevet August 25th, Luc even in less than 6 hours, amazing…

It really was a little Tour de Force for me. I like the quiet while cycling but it was a relief that, from time to time, I could have a chat with other cyclists. Have a laugh, get in touch with others. Even share the burden a little. Reminds me a little of what it must feel like when you share your experiences with others, e.g. while caring for your premature child in neonatal care as a parent, right? Or that a dialogue with others using words or music can be relief and motivational support.

So this is why we are continuing miles4amiamusica. Raising awareness a little and collecting miles as well as funds for future empowerment projects. Tools such as the Friederike Haslbeck’s lullaby book can relief stress, empower parents in using music as a means of interacting with their child, which may reduce uncertainty and increase bonding. In my humble opinion, more valuable tools similar to Friederike’s lullaby book are needed, either in print or online. And hopefully, miles4amiamusica can provide some support to make them a reality.

Some impressions from the road

Below please find some pictures from our initial rides. You can follow our progress on the miles4amiamusica website and on Facebook as well as Instagram using #miles4amiamusica – please follow us, support us and spread the word!

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