Environment: Brothers Ride for Clean Water

Brothers Ben and Ron Somerville ride motorbikes for clean water

Guest columnist Liza Weidle.

Cary, NC- On May 16, two brothers – Ben and Rob Somerville – will set out from Cary on a 3-month motorcycle trip to raise awareness for the world water crisis. Their mission is to raise $1 dollar per mile for each rider. This means every mile they travel makes a difference.

The goal is to raise $15,000, enough money to provide for at least 750 people. The route begins at their home in Cary, North Carolina, heads down south into Florida, traveling west through the southern states, north through California, and back east across the northern states.

Trip To Haiti Sparked Idea

The idea for the project was sparked last summer as Ben traveled to Guatemala and Haiti where he noticed the lack of clean water and wells. “Every week, millions of women and their children walk more than 14 miles just to get water for their families. Most of this water is contaminated, but it’s the only water they have. They take the chance of catching diseases like bilharzias and schistosomiasis (parasites) – with every sip,” said Ben.

At first he felt like there was nothing he could do to change it. Then he learned about the  charity.water  organization and started talking to his brother about a plan that involved “No hotels, no luggage space, just two guys and the open road.” As Ben says, “Sounds rough, right? Well imagine doing all of that without clean water.”

The brothers formed RideWater and partnered with “charity:water” because of their unique model that donates 100% of the proceeds raised to water projects. 

Facts about water

  • Almost one billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water.
  • 42,000 people will die this week from diseases related to poor drinking water – 90% of those are children under the age of five.
  • Unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all disease and kill more people than all forms of violence, including war.
  • While 1 billion is a large number, just $20 can provide one person with clean water.
  • $5,000 can drill a well and provide water to hundreds of people in a village.

“Our sense of adventure combined with the mission to raise awareness for clean water, formed the foundation that we built the rest of the trip on,” said Ben.

The Riders:

  • Ben Somerville – (25) Ben has spent considerable time over the last year traveling and training in 3rd world water technologies. He has been interested in water awareness for two years, and has been riding motorcycles since he was old enough to get a license. He is studying Mass Communication & Non-Profit Business at NC State University and lives in Cary, North Carolina.
  • Rob Somerville – (18) Rob has considerable experience in motorcycle repair and has been tearing apart vehicles since he was strong enough to hold a wrench. He plans to become a mechanic when he returns from the trip.

Charity: water has selected 17 developing countries to focus their efforts and impact. These areas have very limited access to a safe water supply, high rates of water-related deaths and exemplary local partners working to implement sustainable projects that tip the scale. Globally, the greatest water needs are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, so most of the projects are located in those regions.

Consider making a donation today and be sure to follow the brothers on the route. Pictures and videos will be available at the end – proceeds from those will also benefit charity: water.

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  1. Michelle Muir
    Michelle Muir says:

    Thanks to CC and to Liza for the article. Happy and safe travels Ben and Rob, we look forward to celebrating with you when you get back!!