This is great for BMX, so why aren't more people supporting it?
Why the Share a Bike - Share A Smile Project needs help from all of us
18 Apr 2023
noun: NGO; plural noun: NGOs
1. a non-profit organization that operates independently of any government (Non-Governmental Organisation), typically one whose purpose is to address a social or political issue.
So, what’s that got to do with BMX you might ask?
Well, this is an interview with one regular BMX rider who has taken it upon himself to use his own time (and often his own money) to help less-fortunate and less-privileged riders around the world. Effectively Gabriel Goldsack has created a BMX NGO with the formation of ‘Share a Bike - Share a Smile’ (aka SABSAS), which along Steve Crandall’s work with RadShare, is really making a difference reaching out to help and inspire and support those new riders and emerging scenes worldwide.
People who shout about ‘just wanting to grow the sport’ or continually lecture other riders and brands online about what they ‘should’ be doing in BMX, could learn more than few valuable lessons from Gabriel’ Goldsack’s approach; Less complaining and more actual action - putting yourself out there and making a genuinely positive difference. An independent non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) created for all the right reasons.
We caught up with ‘Gabo’ to find out more. Check it out out and please lend some support HERE if you can.
Hi Gabo, how are you? So, where is SABSAS based?
I'm doing good thanks. SABSAS is based in Germany. I'm in Australia at the moment, escaping from the winter in what was supposed to be a holidays with my girlfriend, but suddenly turned into a SABSAS thing, (as always!)
I'm helping the Brisbane locals Harry, Josh, Troy and Johnny Mackellar building a DIY skatepark for an unbelievable 3 jams in 3 days event. All 3 spots are DIY, and the last jam at the place we are building will collect founds to support SABSAS.
That sounds amazing, do you always push personal things aside to push your non-profit project?
I do it often, if I think about it, way too often. But I have to say that SABSAS is fairly small, it's a DIY setup. I'm doing pretty much everything on my own from the communication with riders all around the world, BMX media, shops that support the project etc, to printing our own t-shirts to generate some income to help pay the shipping costs. We don't get a lot of support so I take any opportunity I have to get some money for the next shipment.
We lag behind skateboarding where more than a dozen NGO's have flourished and have reached the point of building skateparks around the globe. Why is that? Why aren't there more people supporting your project?
Don't get me wrong, we get a lot of support. I've got more parts than many bike shops to the point that I even had to momentarily stop accepting more because I don't have anywhere to store them anymore. We also get support from places receiving donations for like The Cut and 360BS, The Loading Bay just naming a few… or Kunstform here in Germany that offered helping us with our website plus more things like friends organising events for us, so there's a lot of support. What happens is that most of the support we get is in the form of BMX parts and that's just one part of the equation, we cannot send those parts if we don't have money to do so.
We need more people giving us a few bucks, but what we need the most are people spreading the word, following us on Instagram and sharing what we do. I believe the project will be stable once we have a decent amount of people stoked and following us. Usually, the amount of people donating money is fairly small, let's say 0.5%, having 5k followers, there are only 25 people possibility donating, meaning that they'd need to donate bigger amounts of money and more often so, they get eventually tired.
Now imagine having 500K, the amount of possible donors goes up to 2,500 meaning that you only need half of them donating 1€ a month to send packages regularly. I know that having such an amount of followers in BMX is highly unlikely, so we need to combine donations with other approaches like selling our own products, but I don't want to turn this into some sort of brand so I'd like to have the least amount of products as possible.
That's interesting, are you planning on changing your Instagram approach to be more attractive to the general public, and why aren't more people already stoked on SABSAS?
I'm always thinking of things that could potentially be helpful, after all I want this project to be a success because this is really meaningful for many riders in developing countries and it's changing people's lives, bit it gets to a point where you cannot change much. We basically collect BMX parts and donate them to those in need of them, wether you like it or not. I believe there are lots of people stoked on it, every time people talk to me in person, I can see they're stoked, the problem is that we haven't turned that into followers/supporters yet. for that I've some thoughts:
To start, no one has ever done anything like this in BMX. I'm 100% sure there were and there are people collecting parts & giving them away, but no one has done anything of this magnitude. We have sent BMX packages 22 times to 19 countries in less than 2 years and a half and we keep going. This is clearly ground braking & people doesn't know how to take it. Most people shares on Instagram what they think it's cool, but psychologically speaking that idea is depends on what the people they consider cool think about it.
For instance, do you remember when Mike Aitken started using skinny jeans and all of a sudden everyone in BMX did so? This is the same. If the cool dudes started following and sharing, that would start a domino benefiting our NGO.
The next problem is the need of more empathy and it's hard to be emphatic if you can't see yourself in a similar situation. That's why fundraisers to help a rider that needs surgery are highly successful & we are struggling every time.
You can see yourself crashing and in need of help, bit you can't see yourself as an African kid for instance, because you were already born elsewhere. It's hard to imagine living anything like it.
On top of that, we live in a highly competitive & individualistic society, everything is about being the best, focusing on you, your projects, etc. Focusing in helping others isn't common and confuses people. I do SABSAS for free, people doesn't get why, running this means lots of hours of free labour, who does that? I've been constantly asked with the question: what do you get out of SABSAS? Often people don't believe that I don't get anything out of it, at least nothing material. I have a huge satisfaction on doing this and I feel true happiness when I see the smiles of the riders we help. All this is already enough to make people doubt about the project and if you combine that with the next factor, it's quite understandable why we don't have more support. We barely get any time on the BMX media, regardless of how much we are doing we are still not there. So why would people trust something that's already confusing if not even the media shares what they do? I get it, BMX has a really small industry, there's not much money and most of the BMX media also struggle to see any benefit, so they need to keep the air time to promote the brands and shops paying them. However, I still think that sharing 2 stories a week wouldn't mean much for all those platforms and could potentially mean a lot for the NGO which translates into supporting riders in Africa, Asia or South America.
So those are my thoughts on this, I'm still quite positive though. We only need to change one of those things and we could potentially see a big change.
Sounds like you have spent a lot of time thinking about this. We have one more question for you, is there room in BMX for more NGO’s?
I did spent quite some time thinking about it haha. Of course mate, there's plenty of room! There's plenty of support for us and more NGO's if the BMX scene gets united. It's just a matter of time, slowly but surely big names in BMX are getting in touch and helping the project, like Julian Molina, Nathan Williams and Anthony Perrin. If we keep pushing and people start sharing a bit more we'll get to the point of sustainability, I'm quite confident about it.
Any last words?
Thanks every single person that has supported SABSAS in any way, you're awesome!
Thanks to my girlfriend Kerrin that support and help for me on this crazy journey.
And to the people out there, be the change you want to see in the world! Things won't happen on their own, so do it yourself.
Support here www.ko-fi.com/shareasmile and help Share a Bike, Share a Smile.
JAMAL ZOGA - MOROCCO | Share a Bike - Share a Smile
"Jamal has spent several years riding at a really high level without owning his own bike" - More Info
Pin it to win it