Look behind you!

25th August 2011 by

We like our cycle tour members to stay safe and sound on the road.  We would wrap them up in cotton wool and bubble wrap, but that’s probably not very sustainable and definitely would get a bit sweaty.  So instead, we make sure they’re seen and can see….behind them.  But mirrors are notoriously difficult – they’ve been known to snap and end up being more of a hazard, or they just won’t fit on the handlebars in a place that allows you to see behind you!  They’re certainly no replacement for safely being able to check behind you for traffic, but they help!

Here’s a little blog from TravellingTwo.com all about which bike mirror to choose for touring, and why you should get one anyway:

A rearview mirror is one of the best things you can do to improve your safety while bike touring.

Just like in a car, a rearview mirror lets you see at a glance what’s coming up behind you, and react accordingly if a car is going too quickly, or not giving enough space as it passes.

Which mirror should you choose? Our favourite is the Take A Look mirror, but no single mirror is perfect for everyone. Some prefer helmet-mounted mirrors, others like a mirror that goes on the bicycle and in each category there are many different designs.

Click here to go straight to their blog and read about all the options…

Come to the theatre, or let the theatre cycle to you…

27th May 2011 by

Our first tour of the summer will be hitting the road on 10th June.  We’ll be visiting schools and youth clubs from the north-west corner of Wales, up through Manchester, the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, along Hadrian’s Wall, through Newcastle and up to Edinburgh! Young people across the UK will get a chance to enjoy our high-energy ‘Morning Choices’ play and participate in a series of hands-on workshops all about environmental and social sustainability.

You don’t have to be at school still to catch a show, we have a public performance lined up at Heron Corn Mill on Monday 4th July at 6:30pm.  There are plans in the works for Newcastle and Edinburgh – so watch this space!

The schedule is getting fuller by the minute – but there’s always a tiny bit of time left to squeeze in an extra school visit or a public performance!  (I’m sure the team won’t say no to delicious vegan meals, hot showers, or spare inner tubes either, just saying!) This year we’re headed to Felin Uchaf, Bangor, Saltney, Manchester, Skipton, Beetham, Burneside, Penrith, Cockermouth, Carlisle, Newcastle, Alnwick and Edinburgh.  Our next tour will be rolling around the south of Scotland, follow this link for more!  If you’re en route for either tour and want to organise a visit, email cycletours@otesha.org.uk for more information and to find out when we’ll be in town!

The Cycle Challenge

26th May 2011 by

This month Transport for London are launching the 2011 Cycle Challenge. We’re challenging you to cycle your commute, persuade friends, family and workmates to join and get competitive about your mileage.

You can sign up as a team of friends, a school, workplace, family or even a team of total strangers. There are prizes (and fame I presume) for the teams who clock the most miles. All journeys made by bike between 9am 18 June – 11.59pm 15 July count (including work and leisure, in and out of London).

The Transport for London online calculator tells you how may calories you’ve burnt and how much carbon you’ve saved. You can also watch your progress on real-time leaderboards.

We’ve got a team, surprisingly named ‘Otesha Project‘. If your team beats us we’ll send you a prize (email jo@otesha.org.uk with your team name and we’ll race you up and down the score boards).

Our amazing training week location!

9th March 2011 by

Super news folks – we’ve found a beautiful spot for the Northern Soul training week!  The beautiful Felin Uchaf project is tucked away in the north-west corner of Wales.   “The Felin Uchaf Project grew out of a vision to create a place where people and the land on which they worked could nourish each other in body, soul and spirit and to found a Community Enterprise Centre based on a holistic understanding of our spiritual and physical needs.”   I can’t do it justice in a few words in a blog post so  – check out their website!


Amongst all our other super fun training week activities: we’ll be dining locally on fresh veg from the gardens of Felin Uchaf; doing some work exchange; and sharing our performance and workshops with volunteers, staff, and hopefully some nearby schools.

So if you’re already coming on the Northern Soul tour – get excited!  And if you’re super excited, but not yet coming on the Northern Soul tour – get applying! This is just the beginning of all the amazing places we’ll be visiting this summer…

Super Summer Cycle Tours

7th March 2011 by

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in London town.  It might not be quite warm enough for me to cycle to the office without losing feeling in my toes, but have no fear – if you join one of our cycle tours we can guarantee you six weeks of beautiful, warm sunshine*.

Just in case you don’t know already – this year we’re heading on two terrific tours.  Northern Soul will be visiting Wales, England and Scotland, and Tartan Trail will be winding its way around Scotland.

On tour you can expect to:

- get skilled up and learn loads about everything from bike maintenance to consensus decision making, sustainability to group living

- perform our play and deliver workshops about sustainability in schools, youth clubs, and festivals up and down the UK

- have more fun than you could imagine

But hurry, the places are disappearing, don’t miss out – you can find the online application form right here.

*Unfortunately we don’t quite have the power to control the weather, but you will feel the warmth and beauty of making many new and amazing friendships.

Commute like you care

1st December 2010 by

This month we’re challenging you to commute like you care and dance like no one’s watching. Tempting as it may be to bundle yourself into a car or suddenly take up a taxi habit, the climate doesn’t stop changing just cos the weather got cold

For all the fair weather cyclists out there 10:10 have some tips for surviving winter cycling: wear the biggest gloves you can find (ski gloves are good), invest in some waterproofs, get visible, get some mudguards, take care of your bike (keep it clean and oiled) and charge your lights. There aren’t many good things to be said about hills, but pedalling up one will get you warm.

For those of you waiting for buses and trains in the cold, we recommend star jumps (the warm glow will last longer than the stares from your fellow passengers). Dancing will also do the trick.

As the nights draw in

2nd November 2010 by

It’s officially the end of British summer time. Anyone who wants to moan about British summers can go live in Spain with all the other annoying, sunburnt Brits abroad. But whatever you made of it, it’s long over.  Last week the nights were all drawn out into the mornings, but since the clocks went back the nights are really drawing in. November typically has only 10 hours of daylight, from 7am to 4pm, this means most of my cycling will be in the dark for the next few months.

I recently became a convert to the hi-vis vest, it’s part of a long slow decline from puberty to anorak-hood. But the hi-vis never runs out of batteries, like my bike lights. It doesn’t crack if you drop it on the floor, like my helmet. As car headlights get closer, the hi-vis only get brighter. I am fully aware of the new levels of geekery that I have attained, but the hi-vis is my favourite new safety device.

So the only sensible thing to do is to get yourself seen…

Otesha 10:10 update

19th October 2010 by

Involved in the 10:10 campaign we commit to reduce our carbon emissions by 10%. Check out the photos with our office changes!

Winterbox – Get ready for the winter season with cosy jumpers (instead of overheating)

Changing bulbs to energy efficient bulbs (big energy saving factor!)

Cycle to work together office plan – We try to get involved more people from the office in cycling. We organise meeting points for people from same areas or directions to have company on a way to work.

Growing our own food and flowers in our office garden.

More information about the 10:10 campaign: http://www.1010global.org/uk

Mohamed On The Big Screen

24th August 2010 by

In June I took part in a short TFL film that promotes cycling, here is a previous post that I have written during the filming. Last Friday, 20th of August, was the big launch of these short films. I featured in 2 films, that are both on YouTube and the TFL cycle site. One is my personal story and the other is the group video. The group video is also been screened at Cinema’s across the UK before the feature film (during the adverts). This is the video.


Read the rest of this entry »

End to End – tour journal 6

19th August 2010 by

The new week began with the usual scramble to leave on time. Bags loaded and with our temporary new recruit Helena on board (Mike’s girlfriend), we left Newcastle in search of Alnwick. It was a beautiful 50 mile journey along the coast to the place of Harry Potter’s Castle. We slept away the night in style at Alnwick community centre, which was full of luxurious treats such as a tuck shop and table football! But the slumber was short lived and once again the morning, along with the youth of Alnwick, was upon us. The play and bicycle maintenance workshop were met with much enthusiasm which powered our pedals through the treacherous thunderstorm that was to come on our way to Budle Bay campsite (the wise amongst us hibernated with coffee and cake whilst it passed over).

Sleepy cyclists crawled out of their tents at the cry of the time lord “6am everybody!!! Breakfast in fifteen minutes”. Greeted by a glorious blue sky, the day began with a pretty trundle along the coast. After a euphoric boarder crossing, Scotland kicked in and we struggled with our first mountain! Celebrations at the top included a puncture and a heavy shower. After that, all that remained was to cruise downhill to Edinburgh (although the ferocious headwind meant that pedalling down hill was a must!). But all arrived safe and sound 83 miles later at Mike and Helena’s flat, and after chips settled down to a restless night excitedly anticipating the day of the Fringe!!!

After a quick rehearsal and a run through of our new final song we made our way (fuelled by Irn Bru) through the streets of Edinburgh to the Royal Mile. We were greeted by more rain, but it ceased long enough for us do our work in all its splendour. The audience were not only treated to the delights of Mike in his kilt (and all that entailed) but witnessed the LEJOG crew at its best. The day off in Edinburgh that followed was most enjoyed by all (various activities included haggis eating, fringe watching, Arthur’s seat climbing), and concluded with a magnificent ceilidh, in true Scottish style.

Next stop…. Kirkcaldy!!!! And an easy peasy lovely jubbly pucker 35 miles over the magnificent Forth Bridge and along the coast. Here we experienced our first wild camp, as we pitched down on the beach front ready for our early morning dip. A misty murky morning lay ahead for those brave souls who ventured down to be greeted by a somewhat refreshing wake up call!!!


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