Anyone who reads my blog or follows me on social media probably knows how much I admire Sofi Tsingos of GT-Moto. She and her father, George, are some of the most selfless, understanding people I have met, and the post she has written and I’m sharing below should help explain why.
I’ll let Sofi do the persuading, but if you have just a little extra to give, please consider purchasing a raffle ticket for the MV Agusta to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Who knows ⎯ you might win the bike. But if you don’t, who cares? By participating in the raffle, you’re taking part in a long tradition of motorcycle enthusiasts coming together to help a common cause. And I think a bit of community is exactly what our world needs right now.
So, here’s Sofi herself to tell you about her experience:
By Sofi Tsingos (originally posted on gt-moto.com)
While I will always love turning sketchbook designs into real, fast, loud-as-hell machines, one of the main reasons I love the custom motorcycle world is the people. I have gotten to know so many wonderful people through the motorcycle industry — people who are always willing to help out when you’re stuck on a part you’ve never made before, people who are so close they’re like family. Everyone knows everyone! When someone gets hurt or sick, these are the type of people who will rally and find a way to help. They make the motorcycle community what it is, and they make life worth living.
Many of the people reading this post will probably remember the bike we raffled off in 2013 for St. Jude Children’s hospital. For those who don’t, that’s the build that launched GT-Moto, and it all started to help my dad keep his mind off the massive amounts of radiation that were being pumped into his body to “kill” off the cancer. It’s hard to stay optimistic when every day you’re facing doctors that herd people like cattle, just looking for their insurance money… Having this build, even if he only had enough strength to put in one bolt each day, that was better therapy for him.
As time went on, he got stronger, and more eager to finish this build, because he felt the power of the motorcycle community — which had begun to rally around him even before anyone knew who we were! Around that time, I started an Instagram account, and through the word-of-mouth power of social media we sold more tickets than we ever expected — more than 1,300 tickets — not including donations from people who didn’t even care about motorcycles, just wanted to support the cause. And that’s how GT-Moto was born.
Fast forward four years later: MV Agusta gave us an amazing motorcycle for a St. Jude charity build, and told us to make whatever we wanted. We’ve teamed up with one of the most well-known women in the motorcycle industry, MotoLady Alicia Elfving, so this time around, instead of just a small, new Instagram account, we have more than half a million followers watching us.
And yet… as I’m typing this, we have only sold 285 tickets. To be honest, I don’t really understand. It’s a better bike, the same cause, we’ve spent the same amount of time selling tickets, and we have much more outreach than we had with our first build. But yet… 285 tickets.
Puzzled, I started researching. Turns out, when we did our first build, there were only two other groups in our area doing bike raffles, and neither one was for a charity. Now, there are more custom raffles for charity than I can count on both hands — and feet! Don’t misunderstand me — it is amazing that this is catching on. I love that more people are using motorcycles as a vehicle to raise money for charity.
But, it definitely seems that’s why our ticket sales have been so low. Or, maybe people think that because we have so many followers that their chances of actually winning the bike are slim. Let me tell you right now, that’s definitely not the case!
However, because there are more people doing custom raffle bikes, I would like to take this chance to explain why we are different. First of all, we do NOT pay ourselves. The time and labor we put into these bikes is part of our donation, and we work very hard to find free or otherwise donated parts so we don’t have to sacrifice quality for budget. On average, for a charity build, we donate about 200 hours of labor. This is my hobby — not how I make money. Even the parts and apparel I sell on my website, 10% of the profits are put toward the raffle build.
So, if I’m not making any money off this raffle build, why am I telling you all this? Well, because I want you to know that we are 100% committed to changing the world for the better. I am not here to create an empire. I am not here to get rich. My goal is simply to create amazing bikes that make a real difference in the lives of sick babies. And we hope that the bikes you ride, the parts you buy, and the shirts you wear help you feel even better for being part of this great community.
My only hope is that this reaches as many people as possible so we can get back to supporting an organization that we believe in, an organization that has real research facilities that are actively searching for a cure for cancer, and has never sent a bill to any of their patient’s families. If you believe in my mission, please share this with your friends and family, because the only way we’re going to be able to make a difference in the world is if we do it together.
Want to be someone who makes the motorcycle community a better place? Buy your tickets and support St. Jude today. If you’ve already bought your tickets, head over to the GT-Moto site to get updates on the MV Agusta build, and be sure to tell your friends.