In 2017/18 Kate Rawles aka @CarbonCycleKate rode the length of South America on ‘Woody’ a bicycle made of bamboo that she built herself at the London-based Bamboo Bicycle Club from bamboo grown at Cornwall’s Eden Project. From Colombia to Cape Horn, (or as close as you can get to it on a bike), Kate and Woody – the UK’s first ‘home-grown bicycle’ - travelled for 8288 miles following the spine of the Andes through an astonishing variety of landscapes and ecosystems, from Pacific ocean to high Andes paramo; from cloud and rainforests to Bolivian salt flats and the Atacama desert. The aim was to explore biodiversity: what it is, what’s happening to it, why that matters and, above all, what can and is being done to protect it – and then to use the adventure story to help raise awareness and inspire action on this hugely important but relatively neglected environmental challenge.
En route, Kate, who rode most of the journey solo, visited a wide range of projects and met some truly inspiring people. From a school whose entire curriculum was based on turtles to a group of young people standing up against one of the largest gold corporations in the world; from a woman who bought millions of acres of Chile to turn then into nature conservation reserves to an organisation protecting endangered monkeys by showing local people how to earn money by turning waste plastic into high fashion handbags rather than by catching monkeys for the illegal (but lucrative) wildlife pet trade. Having arrived back in the UK by cargo ship, Kate will share pictures and stories of her adventure, the highs and lows, the challenges, the ethical dilemmas and sustainability learning, the people and places and of course, the bamboo bike.
Kate’s previous ‘adventure plus’ journey, The Carbon Cycle, a ride from Texas to Alaska exploring climate change, lead to a slide show and a book that was shortlisted for the Banff (Canada) Mountain Festival Adventure Travel Book Award. Writing The Life Cycle book is underway!
Twitter & Instagram: @CarbonCycleKate
FaceBook: The Life Cycle@biodiversitybikeride