The highs and lows of tour – and we don’t just mean topography

15th July 2014 by

This past week has been incredibly busy, and it is almost impossible to summarise it all in a brief blog post! We continue to harbour a complex love/hate relationship with the Welsh hills. And the ups and downs don’t stop there…this experience has been both a physical and emotional rollercoaster!

We have met the most amazing people along the tracks and roads through Wales. Hosts and locals alike have offered so much generosity to our team in the form of directions when we were lost, lifts when we were exhausted, music when we needed to dance and hot showers when we smelled more like sheep than people. We must mention our hosts who have made us feel so welcome in their cottages, barns and field corners through north and west Wales:

  • Awel, who let us stay on an explosions-factory-turned-nature-reserve with some shy sheep and made us a delicious vegan dinner;
  • Luci and Pontus, who welcomed us into their barn at 10pm, soaking wet and tired, with smiles, a bonfire, hot food, and well-deserved chocolate desserts;
  • The Centre for Alternative Technology, Luci, and Rod, who gave us a tour of the site, took us on a mountainous hike to visit Nora the wind turbine, and showed us the best place for an afternoon swim in the mountains that anyone could ask for;
  • Suzanne and Mark, who put us up in their golf clubhouse (complete with disco-dance mood lighting!), brought us their strawberries and drove our panniers and trailers all the way to Clunderwen on our 60-mile cycle day which ended up being a 13 hour hill-climb;
  • Chris and Wendy, who gave us full run of their cottage and beautiful outdoor space for a sunny afternoon;
  • Steve, who allowed us to stay in Pembrey Country Park for free and pointed us towards the beautiful sunset-lit beach and hot-shower building (much love!);
  • Tim and Catrin, who welcomed us into their home, let us take over their kitchen to cook proper food not made on a cooking hob, and gave us a workshop on stained glass painting.

We also owe great thanks to those whose names we do not know, who welcomed us into their farm and bike shops after hours, offered us free hummus and toffee waffles from their restaurants, and cheered us on from roadsides and car windows as we crossed paths. You have all helped us on our journey!

Our travel days have been tough, but we have not yet been defeated by hills.

We were confronted with the unpredictable Welsh weather immediately after leaving Felin Uchaf near Pwllhelli on our first day of tour. We followed the infamous cycle route 8, which took the first group to the top of a mountain – not recommended unless you are training for Tour de France! The rain was showing no sign of stopping, and we were only a quarter of the way on our 45 mile ride, so the team finally gave in and took the train to make it to our host Luci’s place before nightfall. While waiting for the train, a group of kids peeked above a fence and started chatting to us, so we decided it would be a good idea to present a play scene to them. Great success!

Some of our bikes were suffering with teething problems, or only had 3 gears to face the Welsh hills, so we visited Dan the bike mechanic to sort things out. He then cycled part of the day with us blasting out tunes from his mobile trailer stereo system.

This tour has brought us so many challenges, gifts, and new experiences. We’ve had late-night evening circles, we’ve had sunshine. We’ve had delicious food cooked by tour members and so much kindness shown to us by the lovely people of Wales have warmed our bellies and our spirits. We have so much gratitude for one another, and for the support we’ve had from so many people who helped us find one another on this crazy two-week adventure. Here’s to the second half of our tour and the blossoming of new ideas!

 

Bi-monthly Challenge – March 2014

17th March 2014 by

It’s Challenge Time!

At Otesha, we like to challenge ourselves (and our readers) to live more sustainably. That’s what our cycle tours and all our other programmes at Otesha are about! Regular readers of our musings will know we set a challenge with each newsletter. We want your ideas, the challenges you want to take part in – or have already tried! Email info@otesha.org.uk to give us some suggestions!

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This month, though, a sustainable transport challenge, with a few options…

1. If your bike’s rusting away - get it out, give it some love and get it (and your lovely self) back on the road. (If you need help, pop along to our free Dr Bike workshop at our office on Tuesdays 5-6pm!) If you want some cycle training, lots of local councils offer free sessions, they can be a great way to feel confident on the road. We’d love to see photos of you and your trusty steeds. Email them to us or tweet @OteshaUK

2. If you’re a regular bike commuter - try something new. What about a mini-weekend bicycle tour? It’s a great way to see the UK, a wonderful, cheap holiday, and you’ll feel so alive! Or go and get skilled up in bike-maintenance so you can be a self-sufficient cyclista. (You could also sign uP1060484p for an Otesha tour!)

3. Help someone else get on their bike. Let’s face it, some of us couldn’t cycle much more if we tried. So why not support someone else to start cycling… you could join a campaign or give more practical support with bike maintenance, or join someone on their commute to work to help them feel more confident on the road. You could check out organisations like this, this, and this, for a place to start!

4. If cycling isn’t for you, switching your travel habit, to foot, bus, or train is super too!

Alumni Spotlight: Harley

14th March 2014 by

Everyone who goes on a cycle tour, joins our green jobs training programme, or comes to us for support to set up their own project becomes part of our alumni network. We send them weekly updates, filled with  green, world-changing jobs, interesting volunteering opportunities and events, a bit of Otesha news, and something to make them smile! Basically, we like to keep in touch, find out what they’re up to and support them however we can. Here’s a little spotlight on one of our wonderful alumni!

1. Which Otesha tour did you go on?

Tastetastic 2012 – Scotlaaaand!

2. What were you100_5861r tour highs and lows?

Highs - Too many to mention but I really loved our time at Broomhill community garden in Burntisland with Elly and the founders of Fife Diet. Our first day working out in the sunshine and meeting some very dedicated and inspiring people.

Lows - Having to jump on a train on our first proper day cycling… my knee was not up for it and I was worried that was me done for the tour I’d been so excited about. (With a couple of days rest it was fine and I lived to tell the tale!)

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3. Briefly, what have you been up to since the tour?

After the tour I moved back to Newcastle and have been living up there until very recently. Living with an incredible bunch, cooking and eating tonnes of big communal veggie delights. Enjoying the beaut that is Northumberland, cycling, learning lots about growing veg, taking kids on farm tours and making them taste new things! Getting dirty growing and selling tasty veggies, dancing, adventuring and planning exciting things for the future!

4. Tell us a bit more about Food Nation…

For the past year I’ve been working on a number of projects for an organisation called Food Nation. They are a social enterprise based in the East End of Newcastle that aim to inspire people about good food. This varies from cookery classes for all ages/abilities, outreach at a number of schools, community centres, universities and events. They also have an allotment where they run a few programmes for local schools to visit and engage with gardening, food growing, cooking and tasting! They are also linked to Food Newcastle which has been set up to improve some of the food systems in Newcastle by setting up a Food Charter – read more here. It’s been a pleasure to work on such a range of food related initiatives with them and I recommend checking them out!

SONY DSC5. What impact has the Otesha tour had on you?

I was lucky enough to get onto the tour just after graduating and I think Otesha has given me a fundamental backbone of inspiration, knowledge and positivity. Learning so much more about FOOD and confirming my desire to GET INVOLVED. Falling in love with cycling. Friends! (I met the most brilliant of humans!) Feeling part of a powerful network of individuals from all over the world. Despite not living in London I have still felt supported by Otesha and looking forward to getting more involved when in London. It’s confirmed my view that by creating an enthusiastic and inspiring example (by DOing), others will feel encouraged to join in and get involved themselves. Also, by educating people with a fun and playful approach, it can be a much more influential way of changing the habits of individuals.…… I am also a lot less scared of standing in front of a class of children which has come in handy!

6. Are you still involved with Otesha and how?100_5617

Only a fan from afar but hopefully this will change now I’m a little closer!

7. What advice would you give to new tour members?

Don’t bother with those ‘waterproof’ socks… They don’t really work.

Just get ready to have a wonderfully fun and productive time, meet glorious people and learn loads!

8. Describe your Otesha experience in 3 words, a picture, or an action?

GO! GO! GO!

River hippos, summery siestas and Totally Tasty food.. notes from the Training week!

26th July 2013 by

It’s two weeks today since Sam, Iona, Catherine and Andy left us to fend for ourselves after training week, so really past time to post a blog about those five rich days.

From beginning as a group of almost total strangers on the Friday night (with Ana joining us midday Saturday following timely bike drama) we had come together with much laughter, shared food, and learning.

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We were inspired by Highbridge Community Farm, their model of community growing, friendliness and the productivity of their fields. We were also glad of the chance to help out with weeding – a great accompaniment to interesting conversation.

Games were a key part of training week, to get to know each other, energise, break out of our comfort zones – and to add to our toolkits for working with young people. Hug Tag, Monsters and Lovers, Hug Murder and the Vegetable Name Game were particularly remembered. We also sang many songs together, with one particular night of rounds to set the tone for singing to come.

A lot of time was given to practical tour prep – learning workshops, consensus decision making and bike maintenance as well immersing ourselves in why we were there, our stories, motivations and tour goals. Putting together small sketches as part of the workshop learning share process was hilarious and ultimately very useful, as from these we created a play for school assemblies whilst on tour. We decided on our food mandate, a long process that put the group’s consensus skills to work. We only finished it in Southampton – To shop from within Europe, organically if possible, with minimal packaging. We would be vegan, except sometimes would buy eggs if they were from very local and happy hens.

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It was the start of the heatwave, hot enough to burst one of our trailer tyres (unladen!) and making swimming in the nearby river during our mid-day breaks/siesta an enduring highlight. This included mud bathing /exfoliation. To quote Jessie “I’m a hippo!”

Our last day worked around a visit by The Media Trust who were making a short film about Otesha. They occasionally pinched people for interviews and gave us a great chance to ride our bikes around the field ringing our bells. We finished that day though with great jubilation, completing a treasure hunt, that invited us to banquet and demanded we dress to impress… We feasted on samosas, two curries and a banana dessert before closing our eyes to receive our little envelopes, full of warm fuzzies, our Otesha T-shirts and our bells – ready to ‘Saddle up and change the world!’

Thanks Sam and Iona for all the enthusiasm, support and hard work guiding us through those days, and Catherine and Andy for keeping us full of delicious food. Also thanks to Peter Hansford Cycles in Eastleigh for their support with Ana’s bike!

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On the road from Tuppenny Barn to Poachers Roost

24th July 2013 by

 

After deciding to wake up at 5.30am in order to get the most out of the cool morning, the first cycling group managed to set of at 7am (aided by our organisation of packing the trailers the night before). However due to some faff and also some mechanical problems it was almost an hour later that me, Lyndsay, Joy and Jessie managed to get ourselves properly going. NB, since Thomas had been feeling pretty unwell for a few days, him and Amy had stayed behind and were going to meet us by train later for lunch, so we were cycling in two groups


After taking over an hour to cycle little more than 6 miles, we arrived in Chichester. After our kerfuffle to get started we were pretty surprised to bump into the others whilst looking for a bike shop, and it turned out that Tristan had a hole in his tyre which meant that they had waited for the bike shop to open in order to get a new one. So by 9am, our total number of mechanical problems was at around 4: Tristan’s tyre, my clicky bottom bracket, Lyndsay’s gears and Lyndsay’s saddle! After many of us becoming acquainted with Chichester bike shop where things were tightened and tweaked we finally managed to get in the road again!


The next stretch of the journey – in complete opposite to the first – was speedy and free of errors and in no time we had reached Littlehampton station where we met Thomas and Amy off the train. Thomas said later that one of his highlights of the day was seeing us all waiting there am that it looked like we were glowing, which put smiles on all our faces at the evening circle! So in high-vis AND glowing style, we rode off to meet the others on the beach where it seemed like all the drama had been kicking off –
on the opposite side of the river, some grass had set alight and of course, to keep things  more interesting, there were loads of parked cars in the area, one of which was also on fire! There had been people running into the madness to rescue their cars from the burning scene, though for those unaware of the inferno, they were not quite so lucky. Imagine coming back from a gorgeous day on the beach to find your car a burnt out wreck – yet another reason to promote the bicycle!


Here my day separated from the majority of the team who went swimming, whilst Tristan and I went to find a bike shop to take another look at my bottom bracket which still seems to be playing up. The lovely Glyn of Blazing Saddles in Rustington took in my bike and took pity on me for having to walk to the campsite and very kindly lent me his ‘pub bike’. With one pannier in the front basket and one on my back, we set off. The pub bike and arrangement of my things caused much hilarity on our ride to Poachers Roost as the bike was so crankety and crotchety and I just felt so silly riding it. Handlebars in the air, granny basket up in front and head held high! Thankfully, the pub bike didn’t fall apart and we made it in one piece.

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Poachers Roost was absolutely beautiful, loads of woodland which provided plenty of shade from the heat, a blissful rest from many of our others which had been in full sun. There was also what can only be described as a ‘winter wonderland’, where loads of fluffy seeds like dandelion had gathered on the ground in such vast quantities that they looked like snow! Another highlight of the campsite was that there was a fire pit and that evening, Rowan and Thomas treated us to a fabulous meal of chargrilled vegetables – the leeks were absolutely magical, definitely trying that one at home – and potato scones (one of my favourites). Mmm. With the addition of ale and ciders thanks to Jessie and Amy’s trip to the shop, and a wee sing-song, it was the perfect end to a long day.

Totally Tasty hits Tuppenny Barn

24th July 2013 by

As I write this the sun is setting with pink and orange streaks across the sky. I’m sitting in a beautifully crafted living willow shelter with the rest of the team buzzing around me getting ready for tomorrow’s early start. I love watching them work together, helping each other out with humour and affection – I can’t believe that we only met less than two weeks ago, I feel completely integrated into our little community, like a cog in a very happy machine!

Today has been particularly wonderful. We are staying at Tuppenny Barn, a tranquil and creatively planted organic small holding run by a wonderful lady called Maggie who welcomed us last night with homemade elderflower cordial and a mountain of the ripest and best strawberries I’ve ever tasted.

Back in 2004 this land was empty except for a large barn burried in brambles. It is so inspiring to see how Maggie and her team have transformed it into such a paradise – a place bursting with delicious food waiting to be harvested, flowers and herbs, and orchard, bee hives, an amazing plastic bottle greenhouse and a soon to be completed community centre.  Maggie’s plans for this centre are really interesting – a space for the community to hire, fork -to-food cookery lessons, pop-up restaurants, a library of books about environmental issues and food growing, educational school visits, a farm shop and lots more. I hope to get to visit again in a few years when it is in full swing. This tour has reminded me of the importance of community so it is great to see people who are actively trying to nurture it in their local area.

We spent today gardening, learning new songs, picking raspberries, gooseberries and black currants and having lovely conversations amongst the plants. Our lunch was a deliciously fresh salad, including the first crop of tomatoes. Then at 5 we were treated to a cream tea.

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It has been a perfect day and we are so grateful to Maggie and Becca (the site manager) for the generosity we’ve been shown here. I’m really sad to leave Tuppenny barn so soon but am sure I will be back one day.

Jessie, Totally Tasty tour liaison 

Working the Workshops with Totally Tasty

22nd July 2013 by

I am lying in Lynn’s garden hammock looking out at the massive oak tree in the park next door. “You look extremely happy”, Jessie says as she walked past. I am a bit. I feel really enriched after everything I have experienced and taken part in today. This morning we woke up at 6.37am. All ten of the Otesha tour members were sleeping in the Rope Walk Permaculture Project’s garden shed just behind a mosque.Yesterday was our first day on the road and today we were introduced to the world of environmental and social workshop facilitation.

This morning we cycled to a local school to spend the morning at the, maybe paradoxically named, “inclusion unit”. It was for children who had been deemed not adapted to be within a conventional class room. The average number of children in these inclusion classes were between four and six. Students would stay on a single floor on which all of their needs were catered for. All their subjects, tutors and even lunch was provided on this level. The teachers were all amazing and it I think we learnt much from seeing how they spoke to and engaged the students. While one team delivered another workshop, my group was presenting a workshop on Fair-Trade which looks at all the different people involved in the production on bananas; from the logger who has to clear-cut his beloved rainforest to earn enough money to get by, all the way to the consumer in the UK.

Later that day, I was shown a feedback sheet with Alex, one of the students had written after the class but had seemed one of the hardest to engage. In it he  recalled with great detail several of the facts concerning fair-trade and gave many interesting suggestions for how we could improve the workshop. In the second group, also four students, was one girl who was full of enthusiasm, excitement and charisma. We had one who wanted to read many of the character cards describing what each person in the supply chain has to do. After each card she would give a particularly conscience summary of what had just been said and apply it to examples she was familiar with as well as explaining it within the greater whole of the exercise. After class, the teacher, told us this student was normally the most introverted and shyest member of the class. He had never seen her as enthusiastic and engaged as she was. We felt we had been of use and that our presence at the school was being appreciated.

The last workshop was the one I thought was most successful. The four boys in the class seemed genuinely interested in what we were talking about and shared their knowledge about pesticides and GMOs. Later in the day, we discovered that this last group we had worked with were reputed to be the most difficult to engage with. Quite a result, we told ourselves.

After some not-so-vegan egg and cheese sandwiches the school kindly provided, we headed back over to Southampton Common [we had cooked an epic dinner for ourselves there the night before] to meet a home education group. These were children who were educated by their parents or grandparents and all met up on a regular basis so as to learn and play with their kin. These children take an active role in deciding what it is they are most interested in and would like to learn more of. “I drive my grand-daughter around 200 miles a week so she can receive lesson from all the specialist teachers in the region” one parent told us. The children now in front of us couldn’t have been more dissimilar from the ones we had spent time with that morning. Surrounded by supportive, reassuring parents, they spoke, read and posed questions with clarity, self-assurance and calm. At one point when talking about the distribution of money amongst the different actors on the supply line, they took the debate completely into their own hands and we  no longer needed to facilitate and actually stepped back and watched (slightly in awe) as children of six and seven discussed who in the supply line deserved the most pay. This seemed like a million miles away from the disheartened students we had met earlier that same day.

Personally, I felt greatly privileged and enriched to have had the opportunity to experience these two polar opposite worlds. We had witnessed first hand how socio-economic segregation is passed on from one generation to the next as a result of systemic causes within our society. These skills and experiences are fantastic to get, and the whole team is developing in leaps and bounds ready for all the schools we have ahead. Thomas

Totally Tasty’s first taste of touring!

17th July 2013 by

At half past eleven on Thursday morning, the first cycling group rolled out from Highbridge Farm, towing Candy  the cooking trailer (named after our training week cooks, Catherine and Andy) soon followed by the second and third groups. We were only half an hour later than our aspirational/ non- negotiable 11 o’clock departure time. The sun shone and there was still a coolness to the air as we headed south down the start of road, shaded by the hedgerows. There was a shared sense of elation, of finally being on the road, the tour being underway. We had woken early, with tidying and packing to do, our group and personal belongings scattered freely across the field.

Our first ride was short, 7.5 miles to Southampton common (a site of special scientific interest) to meet for lunch by the fabled model boating lake (there were no model boats being sailed). This didn’t stop each group from getting lost as we traversed the boundary from the countryside into the city. Our route crossed the M3, and one after the other the cycling teams took the wrong turn down, to the round about entering the M3! We made it

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though, the joy of riding again not beaten by busier than ideal roads and wrong turns.

A brief picnic salad (a learning curve on the appetite of a tourer vs training weeker) and we were off again to Green Space community garden, were we met Felicity, Otesha alumni of Wild West fame. We built a bug hotel, a stack of pallets, with the gaps stuffed with rolled card and newspaper, straw, grass clippings, pinecones, flower pots to encourage solitary bees, different pits of stick and wood. By providing habitat this will encourage a diversity of invertebrate life into the garden.

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Thank you Felicity for the fresh dug potatoes, the nasturtium, sorrel, beet leaves, parsley, lavender, and fennel, they made our dinner! We ate that night in the common, a feast of fried potatoes, curried beans and vegetables and beautiful salad, prepared together, with lots of laughter mixed in for extra flavour. The sun went down and we burst into song and more laughter, before riding to Ropewalk, our base for the next few days. A cluster of day-glo yellow, shining reflectors and flashing lights, we happily rolled through the dark, quiet streets. Craig, our generous, enthusiastic host, met us and settled us in. We slept in the shed, a line of sardines amongst the spades and rakes, with Tristan stretched outside in a hammock. Friday came, our first day of workshops. We ran through the workshops quickly before leaving, on time, at 8 am…

Totally Tasty Ready to Ride!

27th June 2013 by

Hello, I’m Jessie, one of Otesha’s three liaisons for this summer’s Totally Tasty cycle tour.  I first came across Otesha cycle tours last year and though they seemed totally perfect for me I was too busy studying.  Finally, a year later, I’m very happy to be off cycleventuring, learning, laughing, teaching, eating, wild-swimming and deep-exhausted-tent-sleeping with a bunch of likeminded people!

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I’ve been here in the office since Monday with Lyndsay and Rowan, the other lovely liaisons, busy sorting logistics, packing up the (yet to be named) trailers, phoning tour members and hunting down maps in local libraries.  Now that these maps are spread out on the table with orange post-it notes marking our campsites – all in exciting foody projects that I can’t wait to visit – it is finally sinking in that we will be on the road in 8 days time!

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One lovely feature of the Otesha office is that everyone eats lunch together. Several times we have carried a table outside and eaten in the street, soaking up the sun and amusing the locals. Yesterday we were joined for lunch by a group of people taking part in Branch Out, Otesha’s new horticultural work training programme. Once totally stuffed with bread, humous and salad we joined them on a visit to St Mary’s Secret Garden, a local food community garden where trainees on the programme get their hands mucky working towards getting their qualification in practical horticulture.

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It was a beautiful garden, buzzing with bees, visitors and volunteers.  Phil, an Otesha volunteer and one of the first ‘branch outers’ showed us around.  I was particularly fond of the ‘sensory garden’ which had fragrant herbs, interesting textures and little poems hidden amongst the foliage ‘The bay tree is the shepherd, all the other herbs are his sheep‘… Seeing such an awesome, food-centred community project gave me a taste of what is to come on tour – 3 weeks of inspiration from the people and places that are reshaping Britain’s broken food culture – Bring it on!


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Alumni Spotlight: Ellie and Robin en route from the West Bank

18th June 2013 by

In the fourth edition of our ‘ alumni spotlight’ we’re speaking to Ellie and Robin – currently cycling their way from the West Bank (yes you read that correctly) to the UK.

1. What tour did you go on?

We went on the Land’s End to John O’Groats tour in 2010.

2. What were your tour highs and lows?

Tour highs (of many) include: pedalling along sunlit country lanes to the beats of Borris our boombox, conquering hills with trailor in tow, watching Sarah Hunn do a comic plunge into a canal (bike, panniers and all!), the play- especially the tuppaware rap, a little girl telling us her action point was to recycle dead hedgehogs. OH, and meeting each other was a
slight high!

Tour lows include: Robin’s day of 8 punctures, Ellie map reading her group 10 miles in the wrong direction, taking a dip in pond then realising it was filled with the run off from surrounding cow fields…and ending up with a suspicious rash.

3. Briefly, what have you been up to since the tour?

Since LEJOG we have been living and working in Bristol. Bike related extra curriculars have included volunteering with FoodCycle and Ellie with LifeCycle, a charity which gets adults and children with visual impairments out riding tandems.

4. Tell us a bit more about your project – Right to Movement.

right to cycle posterInspired by the power of conveying a message through pedalling, we have embarked on our most recent project. We are currently cycling from the West Bank to the UK – 4000 miles, over 3 months. We are doing this to raise awareness of movement restrictions in the occupied Palestinian territories, contrasting it to the freedom of our ride. In addition, we are fundraising for a village school bus. This village of 350 people is completely encircled by an Israeli settlement. Unfortunately, bright children are not receiving high school education as this would involve travelling through the settlement, which they are too afraid to do. There is no public transport for them and taxis are expensive. We are working in partnership with Amos Trust to raise money for a bus, costing in the region of £15-20,000. If you’re interested in finding out more about this have a peek at our fundraising page, or follow us on Facebook or twitter.

5. What impact has the Otesha tour had on you?

Our Otesha tour had a big impact on us, and being part of it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It especially made us think about the impact of our daily decision making, and our individual responsibility to ‘be the change we wish to see in the world’. It inspired our yearly challenges including Ellie’s ‘dairy free’ year, and our ‘only buying second hand’ year. We’re thinking that next years challenge may be a ‘year without plastic’!

6. Are you still involved with Otesha and how?

Since LEJOG, Ellie has enjoyed a week alumni touring in Wales, and has attended one of Otesha’s planning days in London. We are both moving to London in September and look forward to being in closer proximity to general goings on! We love receiving Otesha’s updates and bi-monthly bemusings, it enables us to remain connected to what feels like an extended family network of people with similar passions, interests and ideas.

7. What advice would you give to new tour members?

Maybe up your pre-tour fibre intake to get yourself used to your potential tour diet (We decided to go vegan – which gave many of us good wind in our sails)! Perhaps double check the waterproofing on your gear in the case of any unexpected canals! Get out on your bike, climb some hills, and perhaps simulate the weight of a trailer with a heavy bag or two! And maybe make the most of your hot shower and soft bed pre-tour comforts. But have nothing to fear, as it is guaranteed to be an amazing, potentially life changing, adventure. And you will, without a doubt discover new and exciting things about cycling, how to create positive change, and yourself.

8. Describe your Otesha experience in 3 words, a picture, or an action
Here’s a photo which sums up for me the joy felt reaching our destination together, donning facepaint and high vis jackets, energised by our oat-filled bellies.

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