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Pedaling Philanthropy

Local Cyclist Pedals on the Trek Boone 5 to Help Greek Athletes

Article by Brenda Ruby

Photography by George Karmokolias

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

By the time you read this he'll already have flown away. George Karmokolias is many things - cyclist, world traveler, Trek Bicycle employee, son of Potomac - but most importantly, he identifies as Greek. While George grew up in Potomac, attending Mater Dei and Bullis, his mother and father both hail from Greece. "In terms of tradition and culture, so much of it revolved around the church; I always identified more with the Greek side." So it comes as no surprise that he's had a plan "since birth" to move to Greece. But that "someday" gained a lot of momentum when he biked across the country last year.

The cross-country ride came about while discussing the Greek economy with his best friend. Conversation turned to the lack of economic support for Greek athletes and an article the friend had read about a 2016 Greek Olympian competing without an official uniform. "We were having a few drinks and I think it was the liquid courage that made me say, 'Why don't I just bike across the U.S.?' Make it a fundraiser." With his friend's family in Crete and their beekeeping business as the sponsor, a plan was hatched to raise money to give directly to the athletes.

And that's exactly what he did. In a two-and-a-half month, 4200 mile journey, averaging 86 miles a day on his Trek Boone 5 bicycle, George raised €2500 - donating it to five Greek athletes - all women. "The gender revolution that's been brewing forever inspired me - it's women that are overlooked, it's women that don't get the same support, in my own way, let me speak against that."

The cross-country ride, the trans-Atlantic move, all seem to be only the beginning. "My priority is to help people and develop a foundation do this on a larger scale. Not as an athletics driven organization, but a humanitarian driven organization. But starting at home because I care about where I come from."

Follow George and his adventures, philanthropic and otherwise, on Instagram @thekarmidance

Sidebar:

The Ride

Trek Boone 5

Upgrades - George made the following upgrades:

-Wheels: Bontrager Aeolus 5 wheels. (www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/retail/rockville)

-Crankset: Ultegra Hallowtech II Crankset - 2x11 lightweight crankarm design optimized for power-transfer efficiency.

-Handlebar: Zipp's SL-70 Aero - light, high-performance carbon bars allow for all-day riding without numbness.

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