Build a Bamboo Bike for The Life Cycle!

by carboncyclekate in Ulverston, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 27th September 2016 we successfully raised £3,740 with 94 supporters in 28 days

Build a low-carbon bamboo bicycle for The Life Cycle: an 'adventure plus' bike ride, raising awareness and inspiring action on biodiversity.

by carboncyclekate in Ulverston, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

If I exceed the target, I'll use anything else to help fund the kit I need for effective on the road communications, so I can tell the biodiversity adventure story as well and as widely as possible. This will include:

  • lightweight laptop
  • editing software
  • good quality sound and video recorders
  • camera

The Life Cycle

In December this year I leave by cargo ship for Costa Rica for The Life Cycle: an 'adventure plus' environmental bike ride. My aim is to ride from Costa Rica to Cape Horn, following the spine of the Andes and exploring biodiversity: what it is, what's happening to it, why this matters and, above all, what can be done to protect it.

The Carbon Cycle

Ten years ago, I cycled from Texas to Alaska along the Rockies, exploring climate change. Using the adventure bike ride has proved a powerful medium for communicating important environmental issues in an unusual and engaging way. I've since given hundreds of talks on climate change to a wide range of audiences, and my book The Carbon Cycle (Two Ravens Press 2012 & Rocky Mountain Books 2013) was shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Festival Adventure Travel Book Awards and a runner-up in the UK People's Book prize. A second edition of The Carbon Cycle will be published by Word Power Books later this year. 

The Life Cycle will build on everything I've learned from The Carbon Cycle to create compelling communication through social media, articles, talks and another book. When I'm back, I'll be organising a UK Life Cycle to show how the issues explored in South America relate to UK wildlife and biodiversity - and what needs to be done to protect and restore it. The overall aim is to inspire effective action locally, nationally and internationally on one of our most urgent, least understood environmental issues.

Why a Bamboo Bicycle?

The Carbon Cycle was built on a dilemma. I flew to do it. Flying has a high carbon cost, contributing to climate change; and climate change is (amongst other things!) one of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss. Cycling is a brilliantly low-carbon way of travelling but this time I want to do everything I can to keep my carbon footprint even lighter. I'm cutting out the flight. And I want to build a bike - an adventure in itself! - with the lightest possible environmental footprint, coherent with the aims of the journey. I'll be working with The Bamboo Bicycle Club to build 'Woody' at the end of Sept, with UK sourced bamboo from the Eden Project in Cornwall.

What I'll use the money for

With your help, I'll be able to pay for the bamboo, The Bamboo Bicycle Club workshop (an extended four day version to make sure I do a good job), my tranport and accommodation in London (I live in Cumbria), the non-bamboo bike components (wheels, gears, etc!) and a fee for a University of Cumbria Outdoor Studies student, Lizzie Gilson, to make a short film about the amazing process of transforming some bamboo canes into a robust and beautiful long-distance bicycle, capable of carrying heavy loads on and off-road for about a year... If I exceed the target, I'll use anything else to help fund the kit I need to tell the story as well and as widely as possible ie good quality sound and video recorders, camera, lightweight laptop, etc.

About me

I'm a former university lecturer (University of Cumbria, Outdoor Studies, and Lancaster University, Environmental Philosophy) and a freelance writer, lecturer, activist and Outdoor Philosopher. I have a passion for tackling 'big picture' environmental challenges and suitably radical solutions. I'm also a cyclist, hill-walker, sea-kayaker and bookworm. I'm a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a member of The Adventure Syndicate and I sit on The Food Ethics Council. I left my paid work to plan and do The Life Cycle. 


I'll be blogging and vlogging at

You can follow me there and on Twitter @CarbonCycleKate

Look out for The Life Cycle slide show talk, The UK Life Cycle bike ride, and the bestselling Life Cycle book when I'm back!


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

A big thank you for believing in my project!

£10 or more

£10 Reward

A thank you postcard from a country on The Life Cycle route.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

A signed copy of The Carbon Cycle book (second edition, to be published with Word Power Books later this year).

£50 or more

£50 Reward

A signed copy of The Carbon Cycle book, two postcards en route and a very big thank you!

£100 or more

£100 Reward

A signed copy of The Carbon Cycle book, a postcard and a signed copy of the Life Cycle book - eventually!

£250 or more

£250 Reward

A signed copy of The Carbon Cycle book and a Life Cycle talk for your local community/group/club/school.

£500 or more

£500 Reward

A signed copy of The Carbon Cycle book, a Life Cycle talk and a bike ride in your area with Kate and the bamboo bicycle when they get back.

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