Tucked away in one of the highest elevated cities in the Andes Mountains, La Paz, Bolivia is a mecca for extreme sports gurus. Its scenic views attract runners and bikers from afar. Its high altitude and unpredictable weather create the toughest challenges for even the most elite athletes.

Did I mention La Paz is also home to the world’s most dangerous road?

Who dares make this bike challenge?



Bolivia Bike-a-thon 2014

Our friends at Embol S.A., a Coca-Cola bottler, invited its entire team to embark on their annual bike-a-thon. A few weeks ago, for the 12th consecutive year, the 300-person team rode together for 50 kilometers from rural Acapña to Mecapaca.



Bolivia Bike-a-thon 2014

The team gathered outside the office on a Saturday morning to show their community how much they value a healthy and active lifestyle. The 4:30 a.m. wakeup call and ice-cold weather did not deter these dedicated employees from grabbing their bikes and joining their peers for the ultimate fitness challenge. The journey, broken down into stopping points, allowed everyone the opportunity to catch up with their coworkers. The idea was to travel together and cross the finish line as a group. 

I can’t help but mention that I, too, have participated in this riding experience. This is no ordinary bike ride. Rather, the event brings out the spirit in team. Everyone extends a helping hand. I flash back to those early morning kilometers where the freezing temperature numbed my hands. Feeling like I was in a Fear Factor episode, I desperately breathed warm air on my palms when my peer offered me his only gloves. Who does that?

Now I sit here in the Atlanta Headquarters and reminisce on this memory. It truly was a "coming together" experience, uniting the team and winning through the grueling conditions. I admire this group of Coca-Cola employees. They inspire action. Since this bike-a-thon, other organizations have seen the "happiness" that results and have adopted their own team fitness challenge. It’s created a domino effect and all throughout Bolivia teams want in!

I applaud you, team Embol, you all are the kick-starters for positive change!