Green travel to green places

In search of climate and wildlife stories…by bike

1000 kettles and 5 other reasons to cycle to London. — May 29, 2015

1000 kettles and 5 other reasons to cycle to London.

Why on earth am I cycling 520 miles to London in June? With 2 weeks to go I’m not questioning the reason why any more, just the asking myself how! There still seems to be a lot to do to get organised, publicised and fit.

Here are the reasons why I’m cycling to London, in no particular order:

  • The main reason is because there is a climate rally to attend. I wouldn’t choose to ride to London – riding round Scotland would be a more beautiful ride – but Westminster where the MPs are so we need to get there, and not be late!
  • Cycling is zero carbon transport so getting there by bike will save 33kg of CO2 compared with travelling by train. That’s equivalent to not boiling a kettle 1000 times. The other alternatives would be emitting 70kg going by car or upwards of 91kg by air (based on figures from http://www.ecopassenger.org/)
  • It will be a challenge. I love cycling but have never done anything like this before – maybe I never will again. Originally I was planning to go solo, which would have been more of a challenge, but now I have 3 other lovely team mates to keep me company and share the pain.
  • We are going to raise awareness of climate change along the route. Climate change is having an impact on our precious wildlife now and it is only expected to get worse. Scientists have estimated that for every 1oC rise in global temperatures 10% of the world’s species will become extinct. That’s because they can’t adapt. Climate change is affecting the UK’s special wildlife sites now and will do so in the future – like the RSPB reserves we will visit along the way.
  • The biggest reason for doing this is because the world needs a new global deal on climate change signed at the UN conference in Paris in December. This new Kyoto agreement on reducing emissions must include binding targets for countries and money for developing countries to help them adapt. Plus quite a few other things I am sure. The For The Love Of… campaign http://fortheloveof.org.uk/ is aimed at helping to show that there is public support for a strong global deal so our small part in riding to London will hopefully go a long way.
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Rallying for the Climate in Edinburgh — May 28, 2015

Rallying for the Climate in Edinburgh

What I was up to yesterday!

teamskylark

Yesterday Thom, Zoe and I joined 300 others outside the Holyrood parliament building for a rally organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland. We handed over thousands of campaign postcards which have been signed by people like you over the past weeks. Each one asks the First Minister to act on climate change because of all the things we each love and care about which may be affected by climate change. Unfortunately Nicola Sturgeon was busy listening to the Queen’s Speech but the Minister accepted the cards and a good number of MSPs attended and gave speeches.

Here are a few photos and if you look carefully you will see some of the postcards in the box have pictures of animals and nature stuck onto them that children drew as part of our RSPB activities.

PHOTOGRAPH FREE TO USE FOR FIRST USE PRINT AND ONLINE. EDINBURGH, UK - 27th May 2015:  Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) hand over thousands of heart shaped postcards addressed to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outside the Scottish Parliament as part of their "For the Love of" campaign.  The postcards feature messages which highlight things Scottish people care about that are threatened by climate change and let the Scottish Government know they want delivery on Scotland's climate commitments both at home and internationally. Pictured 3 year old Dougie Cook from Dunkeld hands over thousands of postcards to Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod outside the Scottish Parliament. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)PHOTOGRAPH FREE TO USE FOR FIRST USE PRINT AND ONLINE. EDINBURGH, UK - 27th May 2015:  Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) hand over thousands of heart shaped postcards addressed to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outside the Scottish Parliament as part of their "For the Love of" campaign.  The postcards feature messages which highlight things Scottish people care about that are threatened by climate change and let the Scottish Government know they want delivery on Scotland's climate commitments both at home and internationally. Pictured 3 year old Dougie Cook from Dunkeld hands over thousands of postcards to Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod outside the Scottish Parliament. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)PHOTOGRAPH FREE TO USE FOR FIRST USE PRINT AND ONLINE. EDINBURGH, UK - 27th May 2015:  Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) hand over thousands of heart shaped postcards addressed to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outside the Scottish Parliament as part of their "For the Love of" campaign.  The postcards feature messages which highlight things Scottish people care about that are threatened by climate change and let the Scottish Government know they want delivery on Scotland's climate commitments both at home and internationally. Pictured 3 year old Dougie Cook from Dunkeld hands over a giant heart representing the thousands of postcards handed over to Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod and MSP's outside the Scottish Parliament. (Photograph: MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY)

EDINBURGH, UK – 27th May 2015: Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) hand over thousands of heart shaped…

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A different sort of cycle training — May 27, 2015
Team photo — May 26, 2015

Team photo

Hey there. Here is a team photo of our intrepid team members? We all happened to be together at Scotland’s Big Nature Festival at the weekend. Great to have a photo at last. I was running a For The Love Of… campaign stand at the event – you can see it behind us. We created a Love Wall made of hearts drawn on by the kids who visited the stand. We asked them to draw their favourite animal or something they love in nature. We explained to them and their parents that we are concerned that climate change will affect all the things we love, especially nature. 

Tomorrow all the hearts (now stuck on campaign postcards) will be given to Nicola Sturgeon as part of the Climate Rally in Edinburgh. I hope she sees all the lovely pictures from the children. 

  
  

New parts — May 19, 2015

New parts

Here’s a pic of my new front gear change mechanism fitted for me by my local bike shop. This one of those jobs I should have done ages ago because my old one had been partly seized for months and meant I didn’t have my lowest (easiest) set of gears. Not much fun getting up hills without them – but good training! 

 

So now I have a full set of gears I’m going to get on and buy new tyres, inner tubes, bar grips and brake pads. Exciting.  

My JustGiving page, and a lovely skylark — May 15, 2015
Headwind — May 8, 2015

Headwind

Yesterday I rode 25miles from an RSPB reserve on the banks of the Forth near Falkirk to Glasgow. It was hard going into a stiff breeze all the way. I tried the road and the Forth and Clyde canal towpath with no getting away from it. It was my first ride with a continuous headwind and boy was it tough. I was actually relieved to get a puncture as I neared Glasgow so I jumped on a traiimagen.

Now I am really worried about headwinds. Fortunately with our 4 person team we can ride along like Olympic pursuit cyclists in the velodrome taking it in turns to cut a path though the wind. Apparently by tucking into someone’s slipstream it can save 20% of your energy. So having a team will be excellent and much better than struggling alone.

I’m also worried because really we are riding the wrong way! It looks downhill to London when you look at a map but most people ride Lands End to John O Groats rather than the other way. That’s because the prevailing wind is from the south west. So sorry guys, from the 11th June I’m wishing for a cooling North wind to blow us all the way to London.