My Bikes (Euan)

euan2solo150Thought I’d start my story by recounting the bikes I have had. My first bike was an unnamed, slightly battered, hand repainted machine with no gears. I think I was nine at the time and very proud of my new independent means of transport. Having recently seen a certain film at that time, I repainted the bike yellow and black with the name Genevieve on the crossbar. I used to cycle from home in Boreham Wood to Dunstable along the A5 on sunny summer Saturdays to play on the Downs.
My biggest expedition on this bike was from home to the North Downs near Reigate one Easter weekend with my elder brother. We cycled all the way down the Edgware Road, round Marble Arch, over the Thames at Battersea – through all the traffic that I would never let any child loose among today!! It was a sweltering day and I was dying from heat stroke, not helped by my bike’s lack of gears while my brother’s had a Sturmey Archer three-speed gear! That night we camped on the North Downs – it snowed 6 inches, our tent leaked and we got wet and cold; but at least it kept the milk fresh. Ahh, childhood holidays! I still wonder how I survived that 35 mile cycle ride – and that it hasn’t put me off punishing my body in a similar way ever since!
More about my next bike in the next post.

Riding to Ricky’s

roger150So it seemed like a good idea to have a trial run to test that the old legs still worked and the bike was fit – Launceston to Barnstaple is about 85km door to door. Ricky had invited me to talk to a meeting in Barnstaple and offered a bed for the night so it seemed a good idea to go over by bike. Unfortunately I had stuff to do in the morning which didn’t leave enough time to get there before dark, so I loaded the bike on the car and drove up to Sheepwash  which is a bit less than half way. I’d cycled out there a couple of times from home anyway – once to meet himself for a boozy lunch in the Half Moon.

Continue reading Riding to Ricky’s

My Bikes (part 2)

euan2solo150I bought my second bike at the age of 14, having saved up money I’d earned working Friday evenings and Saturdays at a greengrocers (yes, child labour was alive and well in those days!). The bike shop I went to was Don Farrel’s on the Edgware Road in NW London; it was a second-hand black racing bike (having been repainted it had no name on it) with four gears and cost me the princely sum of £7. Fifty-five years later, I still have it! It became my touring and commuting bike for many years and is now my back-up bike if my main bike is not available. It’s also fun just to pedal around on a quite venerable yet stylishly simple bike.

Continue reading My Bikes (part 2)

Never mind the bikes, what about the climate

Time we posted some stuff about why we are going.

I was struck at a meeting last night where someone was talking about the possible outcomes from Paris based on the current opening bids by countries. The headline, much (mis)reported is that current scenario based on proposed commitments (if they were all delivered, if all the positive feedback loops that have been identified but are not included in the calculation do not kick in, if the effects of already baked in changes do not derail things,…etc etc etc) will create a global average temperature rise of 3.5deg Centigrade by 2100.

The trouble is… Continue reading Never mind the bikes, what about the climate

My Bikes (part 3) – and then I’ll move on!

My newest bike is now 35 years old! But it has gone through a couple of restorations (perhaps I should too!). I have done several cycle trips to Belgium and one to Brittany – purely self-indulgent, especially when factoring in the delicious Belgian beers! However, my biggest trip was in 2010 when I cycled from Paris to Santiago de Compostela, following the pilgrim route. It was a great trip and whilst I broke no records (averaged 50 miles per day), it gave me plenty of time to contemplate life, the universe and everything. What was marvellous was the tremendous sense of camaraderie experienced at the pilgrim hostels in Spain, sharing cheap simple meals and bunkhouse accommodation along the way. In a sense, this cycle ride to Paris is also a pilgrimage – this time to try to save the planet rather than my soul! Or at least show solidarity with those who are committed to real change for the sake of all, people and planet.Euan in Paris 2010425. Arrival on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela

Another Picture…!


This is a picture of me on a cycle trip in Belgium in April 2015 – at least it shows me cycling, and gives a good idea of the types of panniers and other paraphernalia I will be carrying (not to mention a couple of dozen Climate Vision Reports and hundreds of leaflets!)

BBC Radio Cornwall Interview

Today (Friday 13 November) Luci Isaacson of Climate Vision and I were interviewed by Donna Birrell at BBC Radio Cornwall in Truro. Luci talked about the Climate Vision Report which we will be taking to Paris and I said why we were taking it there. For those early birds out there, you can hear the interview on Donna’s Sunday morning broadcast at 7.30am – the rest of you can catch it later on BBC Iplayer!

Euan (C) and Luci Isaacson (R) at BBC Radio Cornwall in Truro, interviewed by Donna Birrell (L)

Luci had also had a meeting with Sarah Newton, MP for Falmouth & Truro, and she has promised to pass on a copy to Amber Rudd, MP, Environment & Climate Change Minister, and also to table it at Cabinet Meeting!

My Bike

First, why am I cycling from Plymouth to Paris?

One answer is that I was at the SW Green Party General Meeting in Plymouth on 17 September, when Roger stood up and announced “Ricky, Ewan and I are pedalling to the Paris COP21 Climate Conference“. Oliver, my local Somerset colleague, and I looked at each other quizzically – had Roger just volunteered me for a cycle ride to Paris? In November?

Turns out there was a different Euan, who mis-spells his name with a “u”.

But, I like cycle touring, and secondly, doing whatever I can to help us take common responsibility for climate stewardship has been a personal passion since before my University days. The first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was published in 1990, my first year of studying undergraduate physics. That same year Jeremy Leggett, former Big Oil geologist, authored Global Warming: The Greenpeace Report.

Paris is not that far away, and there are few hills along the way. This bike has travelled a fair few miles with me…

Ewan Bike Shepton Montague

… Around the same time, I had a wonderful and beloved bike stolen from an underground bike locker. Raleigh Competition, beautiful black, with elaborate gold butting. My Uncle, who worked for Raleigh in Nottingham, had sourced it for me. From the parts bin, he built this new lightweight 531. He rode the London to Brighton with her, and I simply added some wider swept Italian handlebars.

We have travelled together to the Scottish Highlands three times, on the sleeper from Euston to Fort William. Over to the the Golden Road on Harris, and Calanais on Lewis once. Altnaharra (the coldest place in Britain) once. Assynt and Suilven twice.

In 2003, we climbed Bealach-na-Ba (admittedly only with a day pannier).

“This is it: the Holy Grail, the toughest and wildest climb in Britain. Anything you have read or been told about this amazing road is likely to be true. Believe the hype.”

We kept forward momentum all of the the way up the stream bed to the hairpin. The descent into Applecross was the best ride ever – well sighted single-track Scottish road, fuelled by uphill Scottish endorphins. They are natural, and they work!

More later…


Paris World Lighting Up

Along with all people of goodwill, we are shocked and saddened by the horrific events which took place in Paris on Friday night.

However, we are also still committed and determined to cycle to Paris as originally planned, to support the goal of a successful climate agreement between world leaders. A binding and meaningful agreement on cutting carbon needs to be achieved if we are not to condemn billions of people to irreversible climate change and all the attendant impacts that that will bring. Continue reading Undaunted