September 2014
By Louise Law

Louise Law is the Global Communications Manager at Welocalize & Marketing volunteer at Translators without Borders.[at]



Become a sponsor

If you are intersted in sponsoring any OnOurBikes ride visit

For more information about Translators without Borders visit



Cycling for humanity

The annual OnOurBikes fund raising tour has raised 10,025 US dollars for the Translators without Borders charity. The funds help to train Kenyan healthcare translators.

Humanitarian support comes in many guises. Translation charity, Translators without Borders (TWB) is the leading charity for the localization industry. TWB provides translation support to crisis-affected communities and international aid organizations, to those in distress who need to communicate and access critical, accurate information in their native language.

Crucial to the success of TWB is the continued support from sponsors and donations through fund raising activities. One inspiring event that takes place each year in spring is the OnOurBikes long-distance sponsored bike ride. The driving force behind this is Polish-based language services provider, TextPartner. The core TextPartner cycling team consists of three members: Marek Gawrysiak, Ewa Gawrysiak and Lucjan Szreter but many more people joined the team for different legs of the journey.

For each annual cross-border bike ride, the team “sells” kilometers to sponsors at five US dollars per kilometer, and all donations go straight to TWB. More specifically, the money is put into TWB’s Fund-a-Translator program, part of the Healthcare Translator Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya, where TWB provides training, computer equipment and Internet connection to healthcare translators. The trained TWB translators also translate medical and health-related articles for Wikipedia – a service available at no cost from any mobile phone in Kenya.

“Translators without Borders uses language to spread knowledge around the world, we use bicycles to raise awareness and funds for their mission,” explains Marek Gawrysiak, Managing Partner at TextPartner and member of the OnOurBikes cycling team.

TextPartner completed the first OnOurBikes ride in 2012 when the team cycled 440 kilometers in four days from Poland to Budapest. The team raised enough money to pay for two TWB translators to train at the Translator Center in Kenya for one year. The 2013 ride took the team through the Alps and into the Ukraine. They cycled 600 kilometers across Poland, the Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia plus an extra 70 kilometers in the Alps and raised a total of 3,250 US dollars.

The Baltic Loop 2014

On May 3rd the team completed the 2014 ride, the “Baltic Loop” where the OnOurBike team cycled for eleven days and completed a 2,300 km ride through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden, and raised 10,025 US dollars! Team members stopped for a few days at the European Language Industry Association (ELIA) conference in Riga where they were given a free booth to raise awareness of the project. A highlight of the “Baltic Loop” was Lucjan Szreter, who towed a special bike trailer during the entire tour, to ensure that the logos of the country sponsors were always visible.

What’s next? Capitals Route 2015

Preparations for the OnOurBikes 2015 bike ride are already in full swing. The 2000-kilometer route will start in mid-May in Dublin, Ireland, and will continue through England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and will finish at the TextPartner headquarters in Poland. The team is planning to stop over at the Localization World conference that takes place in Berlin from June 3-5, 2015.

“The OnOurBikes team are awesome!” said Lori Thicke, founder of TWB. “The team at TextPartner does a fantastic job raising much-needed funds to train the translators at the TWB Healthcare Center over in Nairobi. Since they started this annual event, they have cycled over 3000 kilometers and raised nearly 16,000 US dollars for TWB – about 15 translators trained for one year!”

“The famous Polish polar explorer and author, Marek Kamiński, states that he uses his bicycle to write books. We use our bicycles to give African people access to critical, life-saving knowledge in their native languages. We believe access to knowledge in a native language is a basic human right. Once a year we get on our bikes to unite the translation world in its efforts to help Translators without Borders carry out their valuable mission”, declares Marek Gawrysiak.