Want to learn how to build a legacy that truly stands the test of time? Well, it only took this intrepid cyclist from Mexico City a couple of years to have a lasting impact on his adopted Colorado community! The Legend of Rafael helps us see the potential that exists in our own lives! Just take a look for yourself.

Following the sparks of an idea can take us to amazing places. And sometimes, those sparks are so contagious that they grow into movements that are able to live on without us!

When Rafael and his dog Roscoe left on a bike tour from Mexico City after a bad breakup, the last thing that was on their mind was starting a movement that changed countless lives! And yet, as the saying goes, one good deed led to another.

Build it and move on!

Is something truly a movement if it can’t live on after you’re gone? A lot of us may believe that we’re the central force behind the programs, businesses, or organizations we start, but if we’re lucky, it’s about far more than just the founder. The best ideas are the ones that are picked up and carried on by others!

In Rafael’s case, he landed in a small, unfamiliar town at 28 years old with only a few hundred dollars in his pocket and absolutely no plan. Eventually though, through kindness and community, his skill set inspired a town to take care of each other in a way they never had! Utilizing his knowledge of bikes, he helped his underprivileged neighbors find freedom and life-saving opportunities on two wheels. And now, long after Rafael moved on to new places in 2011, this nonprofit bike shop lives on!

Maybe our legacies don’t take our entire lives to build?

Give this a thought as you watch The Legend of Rafael, a short film brought to us by Reel Motion Media and directed by Jesse Levine!

Enjoy more work from Reel Motion Media over on their website or Vimeo channel!

The Fort Collins Bike Co-op is still up and running today! They keep perfectly awesome bikes out of landfills by refurbishing them, sharing their knowledge, and keeping their community mobile. You can find out more about them by visiting their website or following on Facebook!

“Legacy” isn’t later, it’s now

Have you ever thought about that? I hadn’t. In my mind, “legacies” have always been something that comes later on, after we’re dead and gone. But we leave a legacy wherever we go, don’t we? It’s active, not passive. We build it.

Okay, great, but how?

Well now, that’s the question, isn’t it? How exactly do we go about guaranteeing that we leave a legacy that’s actually positive, that represents who we truly are?

Luckily, looking at Rafael’s story, one way to do this doesn’t seem all that complicated! When you break it down to the basics, he made a life-changing impact just by going where his interests led him. He acted from a place of kindness, gathered others around him, and moved on when the work no longer served him, before things got sour.

I can’t tell you what this looks like in your own life, but I do know that if you live in the pursuit of joy and kindness, you’re going to leave positive memories in other people’s minds. And that’s all a great legacy is, isn’t it?

For more inspiration, check out these heartwarming stories of others with phenomenal legacies—they’re some of my favorites!

6 minutes

Meet the 97-Year-Old Saving Thousands of Bluebirds!

Can one of us really make a difference? After hearing the story of Al Larson, there's no doubt!

Read More

8 minutes

Mr. Gluck and the Not-So-Secret Secret to Creating a Legacy that Lasts!

What's the secret to getting through some of life's darkest moments, inspiring those around us to do the best work they can, and creating a legacy that will be talked about for generations? Well, as it turns out the answer starts with a little thing we can all choose to do every day!

Read More

10 minutes

Now THIS is How You Start a Chain of Kindness

Not all heroes wear capes; some don a straw cap, grab a can of gas and jump into their car with their dog to do what they can. Meet a hero who has been keeping the chain of small acts of kindness going for 53 years! You may just find yourself inspired, too!

Read More

As always, my friend, stay open to new possibilities! Go where you feel joy and you’re sure to inspire those you meet along the way.

  • Sam

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Notes:

  1. Reel Motion Media. “The Legend of Rafael.” Vimeo, 2 Jan. 2021, vimeo.com/336689458. Accessed 6 Jan. 2021.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.