Northern Soul's School Days – part 3

8th July 2011 by

Fun Facts:

Bicycle Punctures: 5 regular punctures to date (4 go to Erin, 1 goes to Heni, both have purchased new tyres). 2 inexplicaple inner tube explosions (both on Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres….uhoh!)

Trailer Punctures: 4… the thorns got us good.

Miles cycled: 420

Schools and youth clubs visited: 10

Bee attacks: 1  (but well compensated for by honey and mead)

Minor bicycle mishaps:~5

Kilos of peanut butter eaten: 8 (that’s 1 per person)

Baby hedgehog saves: 1

The real blog:

Last Tuesday morning the entire Northern Soul team wriggled out of a tiny two-man tent to find 100 primary school children sitting in neat rows (this may have been planned).  It was one of many great visits to schools over the past couple of weeks.  The performances and workshops always remind us why we’re on tour.  The children’s and teachers’ laughs make the performances so much fun, and their ideas and initiatives inspire fantastic conversations during workshops.

Although the funniest part of the play for the children is repeatedly a tree in the Amazon being cut down, interactions with the children after the play and during workshops assure us that they are really engaging with issues of sustainability.  The only thing children don’t like about our Fairtrade workshop is the reality that many people in the production chain of a non-fairtrade banana don’t get paid fairly!  Children have told us about significant changes they will make in their (and their families’) transport choices; they’ve also told us (half-way through a workshop) that they’ve just used less toilet paper!

It’s great to see so many projects going on in schools already, led by students and teachers alike.  From gardening projects to bike-ability classes, and keeping chickens to composting, the schools really impressed us with their knowledge, motivation, and desire to learn and share with us.

We’ve experienced such wonderful hospitality from schools: from donuts for breakfast, to moving meetings for us to use their staff room, to letting us camp in the school hall or field, and even gifts of Fairtrade chocolate, juice and oatmilk.  These school visits along with the hospitality from all our other wonderful hosts has given us new faith and hope in humanity.

Legendary tales from the Northern Soul cycle tour – part 2

27th June 2011 by

This past week has been eventful… to say the least. Like the winding hills of North Wales, we have seen many summits, a few tight corners, and some good steeps!

We bid farewell to our lovely friends at Felin Uchaf on a sunny morning and only an hour behind schedule (good, we are told). Successful journey to Busybees organic farm where we managed to spend an entire days budget (almost) on their incredible honey, eggs, and fresh strawberries! All of our dreams come true. That extra protein and sugar helped us power through our first performance and set of workshops — which were a total success!

Whoever would have thought that carrying a bicycle pump in our bike maintenance trailer would be SO hilarious to a bunch of primary school kids. After a few hours worth of workshops and one hour of playtime, we were delighted to hear the kids requesting more fair trade products in the canteen, and the banana song being sung in all corners of the playground. It was so nice to have such a positive response from the kids and teachers — it has given us lots of motivation for the weeks ahead!

And then… 3 exciting days of cycling. We won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say they included several modes of alternative  transportation (land rover + horsebox, train) resulting from a few bicycle mishaps.
Until next time…
Peace, love and Marzipan biscuit sandwiches to you all! :) x

Meghan, Pete, Erin, Susanna, Holly, Heni, Rachel & Iona
The Northern Soul cycle tour team


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