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.
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 www.outdoorphilosophy.co.uk
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!