Announcing My Bicycle Powered Speaking Tour of the UK
This Autumn I’m spending a couple of months touring the UK to give talks and lectures about my expeditions and conservation work in Borneo…
I’ll also be meeting with clients and donors, attending some courses, delivering a few workshops, and catching up with friends and family. I’ll be starting in London, heading up to Scotland, coming back down to Cornwall, then heading to London before flying back out to Indonesia.
When I started making initial plans for this a few months ago I considered my options for travel. I need to hire a car for the first leg up to Scotland because I’m moving some of my things out of storage, but when I looked at the cost of hiring a car for 2 months, plus paying for fuel, I quickly decided against that idea.
Then thought about buying a cheap estate or van and then selling it again. I probably wouldn’t lose too much money and the cost of insurance and fuel would be less than using trains, plus I’d have much greater freedom over when to travel, what routes to takes, and which hills to bivvy out on. I still didn’t feel too good about this idea however.
In the end, as often happens when you allow thoughts and ideas to float about in your head for long enough, two lovely strings came together as round the world cyclist and blogger Tom Allen announced his attempt to cycle from Lands End to John o’Groats without any money, and using only a bike and gear that he’d put together for about £25. He called it #freelejog
The Go Fossil Free UK Cycle Tour
I really enjoy cycling and for the past few years I’ve had the odd day dream about going on a long cycle trip, so thank you, Tom, for inspiring me to combine a trip that I need to take anyway with an adventure that I’m not sure I would have found the time to do on it’s own merit any time soon.
Since I’m starting in Scotland and finishing in Cornwall anyway, I’ve decided to do it properly and cycle from John o’Groats to Lands End. I’ll do it over the course of a month throughout October, stopping at schools, universities, clubs and societies along the way to give talks and lectures, about deforestation in Borneo, focusing on the Go Fossil Free campaign that has now spread to about 34 universities in the UK.
I might even see if I can persuade Tom to let me use his £25 set up as a sort of really cool extension to his fantastic #freelejog experiment. Perhaps we can get this bike to relay up and down the country as a symbol of the free and awesome adventure that’s always on our doorsteps.
Building Adventure into my Life
Planning this, and recognising that I do this sort of thing a lot (sleeping outdoors instead of in hotels, signing up to races because it forces me to train and travel to new places, tacking mini-adventures on to either side of work trips) has also inspired me to write a series of blogs about how to build adventure into your life. This is an example of strategy number 5 on my list right now: “View All Travel as an Opportunity for Adventure”.
So there you have it. It’s announced and public now which is one way I make sure I do at least some of the cool things I dream about (too embarrassing to back out).
Another one of my strategies for building adventure into my life is to force myself out of my comfort zone by looking for ways to make things harder than they need to be. Cycling is already harder than driving, but here are a few ground rules I will set myself to make this an even more interesting and rewarding journey:
- Take at least 30 days to complete the journey
- Give at least one talk about deforestation in Borneo and the Go Fossil Free Campaign every day (even if it’s to a group of yocals in a country pub)
- Never sleep indoors (back gardens are OK)
- Run at least 4 races on the way, including at least one marathon (have to keep up my training for a sub 3 hour marathon!)
- Spend no more than £100 on the bike and gear for the trip (I’m allowed to use stuff I already own)
- Climb at least one new mountain in Scotland, Wales and England along the way
- Do something I haven’t done before with film, photography, or sound to document the trip
- Donate the bike and gear to someone else to cycle it back up to John o’Groats
I might add some more rules as I develop this idea, but that’s enough for now. If you would like to help then please use the comments. Any and all advice and support is welcome because, as I’ve said, I’m totally green when it comes to cycle touring.