Resolution Race: Four Women, Two Cargo Bikes, 1000km
On December 26th, four intrepid women (on two cargo bikes!) set out from Edinburgh, Scotland and rode 1,000 kilometers (self-supported) to Copenhagen before the New Year. The Resolution Race was conceived to promote bike travel, a climate neutral Edinburgh, and shine a light the challenge we’re all facing. Find the trip report and photos here…
UPDATE (November, 2020) – You can now watch the trailer and rent the full 46 minute film. Find it at the bottom of this post.
The two pairs of women, included Scotland’s Active Nation Commissioner Lee Craigie, and around-the-world cycling record holder Jenny Graham, pedaled nearly 24 hours a day with their partner on the front of the bike as “cargo.” Lee and Jenny were joined by Alice Lemkes and Phillipa Battye. The two pairs swapped positions every hour or so, and by doing so they were able to eat and sleep on the move, and finish their 1,007 kilometer route in just over six days.
Their route left Edinburgh on the Sustrans National Cycling Network and followed Route 1 around the coast to Tynemouth. They then crossed the North Sea by ferry to the Hook of Holland before heading up through Germany to Denmark making best use of the network of segregated cycling routes the continent has to offer.
Why Cargo Bikes?
The challenge was dreamt up by Lee Craigie while on a recent visit to Copenhagen. There the number of bikes exceeds that of cars and 41% of all journeys are completed on two wheels. As a result, she felt the city was quieter and calmer; people were less stressed and more connected with each other and their environment. The cargo bike is a common sight in the Danish capital city where they’re used frequently as a healthy, environmentally friendly alternative to carry heavy loads and shuffle goods around town.
Lee and team envision other places in Europe following suit. The City of Edinburgh has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030, and by linking up the two cities, The Adventure Syndicate hope that people might be encouraged to consider how cars and vans (which are currently responsible for 40% of our carbon emissions within our transport system) aren’t the only option to get around. And, there might be some fun and creativity involved in getting active for our shorter journeys instead.
To help tell this story in real time and to gather enough footage for a feature length film next year, each bike was outfitted with recording equipment. The riders were followed by a small media crew from the University of Edinburgh Sustainability Department and Edinburgh based photographer James Robertson, in an electric van supplied by LDV and the Energy Saving Trust.
Scroll down for two trip reports; all photos by James Robertson…
Lee’s Trip report
Words by Lee Craigie (@leecraigie_)
We made it! 1000 self supported km’s over six days between Edinburgh and Copenhagen pushing our partners in cargo bikes.
The #resolutionrace brought the global challenge we’re all facing with our climate into sharp relief. It’s so easy to become despondent and apathetic about the tiny changes we make to the way we move about and consume things. How much impact are we actually making by using our bikes instead of a car for those short trips or by buying local produce without tons of air miles attached?
But we discovered during this challenge that there is value in the doing. The way you feel in that moment when you’re making that change or taking that chance; liberated, focused and energized.
There is fun to be had even in grim, cold, sleep deprived times because it’s then we are most likely to be living with our eyes and hearts wide open.
This crowd made this happen. Four cargo bike riders and three story tellers in an electric van all muddling through and problem solving their heads off to get to Copenhagen in time for New Years Eve.
After this photo was taken, Catherine Dunn and Jack drove for three days to get the electric LDV UK van back to the U.K. Phillipa and Alice caught the overnight bus to Amsterdam and hopped on the ferry to Tynemouth as foot passengers. James flew home. Lee and Jenny flew to Malaga to work a training camp near Granada.
We are busy calculating the carbon footprint of this adventure right now but think it’s important to be honest about our less than squeaky clean impact on the planet. This is part of the story and we hope it helps remove some of the guilt that paralyses is all from making small changes to the way we live. None of us are perfect but most of us are good. We look forward to changing the world with you all.
Alice’s Trip Report
Words by Alice Lemkes (@lemkiss)
We were all out of our comfort zones on this one. Edinburgh to Copenhagen on non-electric assist cargo bikes, carrying our partner when not riding: 6 days, 70 hours ride time and 1007 km followed by our fabulous media crew in an @ldvuk electric van. We’re so used to operating as individuals, packing the bare minimum and feeling in control of our autonomy to eat, sleep, and ride when we choose.
It takes a lot of trust to encase yourself in sleeping bags and sit precariously on a moving ledge with all ability to physically manipulate your situation taken away from you.
But we could only have arrived in Copenhagen when we did by working for and with each other, by trusting, caring, communicating and—importantly—compromising.
It made no sense to act in our own self interest during this challenge—even though we have our own preferences and systems, often felt cold and tired and hungry and could have made demands to aid our comfort. But by doing so our team mate invariably loses out and bears the brunt, and jeopardises our chances of succeeding. So this challenge has brought the global challenge we’re facing with our climate into sharp relief. We are all inextricably connected to one another, and the only way to make change, to achieve the seemingly impossible, to endure the difficulties and rise to global challenges is to realise this, and to work together. To cherish mutual care, to trust, and be bold, together. Turns out that attempting the seemingly impossible can be quite good fun too!
UPDATE (November, 2020): You can now rent the 46 minute Resolution Race film made during this trip.
The Adventure Syndicate are a not-for-profit organization who use the inspiring stories of women adventuring by bike to encourage their audience to push through perceived limitations. Follow them on Instagram @adventuresynd.