On the road: 2007 tour

To kick off Otesha UK’s cycling revolution, a team of nine adventurers saddled up and cycled across southern England from Reading to Cheddar Gorge in the last week of July 2007.

The adventure

It took us five days of cycling and camping to get to our final destination, a festival in Cheddar Gorge called the Big Green Gathering. Along the way, we stopped to present the Otesha skit and test-run a workshop about the secret life of a banana, all in the hopes of exploring the connections between big issues and the choices we make every morning. We also did some planning for the project’s next two years.

For this first of many adventures, we were accompanied by our trusty bio-diesel camper van and equipped with rain jackets and high hopes. Our highlights? Mid-afternoon blackberry picking by the side of the road, impromptu sing-alongs, fantastic chats with people we met along the way, sunny picnics beside beautiful streams, exhilarating moments speeding downhill and, yes, even the feeling of tired and aching muscles (they’re sore in a good way, we swear!).

What we accomplished

We cycled a total of over 130 miles in 5 days, starting in Reading and traveling west through Wiltshire to Bath, Bristol and finally Cheddar Gorge. We put Otesha values into practice. For example, we bought our food from local farmer’s markets along the way, ate vegetarian (and often vegan) meals, and minimized our water and energy use. We also tested out the Otesha play and workshops to see how they’d go over in the UK. Our first stop was the Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol, where we performed two scenes (food & fashion) to a group of amazing young people at their summer media camp. We were lucky enough to see a few of the videos they’d put together, which were absolutely hilarious and inspiring. Our second presentation was at the Big Green Gathering in Cheddar Gorge, where we found our stride with the food & fashion scenes and had a great chat with audience members about how best to communicate sustainability. We also did a trial run of an Otesha workshop (the Great Banana Chain Game) in Bristol.