Changing Cycles

An ongoing project exploring the use of the arts as a form of action to ensure the sustainability of the planet. and stuff.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Embra

Things have moved so fast I haven't even kept up with events in my diary, let alone online... I'll catch up soon and post some more photos but in the mean time here's a quick installment as I grab half an hour in an internet cafe in the beautiful city of Edinburgh... However, if you want to know some more about the last two weeks of my journey from some of the other cyclists I've been with go to g8bikeride.blogspot.com for accounts and lots of photos...
We arrived in Embra last night after officially ending the g8 bike ride in Lanark the day before. From here some of us are staying in town, some have gone to Glasgow and will be blockading the Faslane military base on monday, and some have headed up to the convergence space in Stirling which is the closest to the summit that large groups of protesters can get to, although there will be a protest meeting in gleneagles station on tuesday, not sure how that will go but could be interesting...
I missed the big Make Poverty History march today due to an agressive stomach bug that at least half the group contracted in Lanark, although I did venture out in the afternoon and caught some of the bands playing in the park, and then managed to find a street party where people were playing capoeira and couldn't resist getting involved... then I came to get some food in a cafe and ended up sitting next to some people who live at Findhorn which is my next stop after the summit... And THEN a guy came up to me who'd seen me playing capoeira in the street and we got chatting about my project, and he was telling me how he'd cycled around Argentina to prepare for a film he acted in. I enquired which film, he replied 'The Motorcycle Diaries', I asked who he played - 'Che Guevera'! Shit, I can't believe I didn't recognise one of my favourite actors! He was cool though, really sound guy and we had a nice chat. It's amazing the little bits of synchronicity I keep chancing upon...
Anway, I don't really have time to describe all of the last two weeks, except a few highlights such as stopping for lunch by a lake on the way from Nottingham to Nine Ladies and chasing off the guy in the speedboat who tried to make us get out of the water. We called it Critical Splash!
Nine Ladies was a highlight in itself actually, a protest camp in the Peak District where about 30 people have lived in tree houses for the last 5 years to stop the Government building a big fat road through a site of special scientific interest and an ancient stone circle...
Then there was Critical Mass in Manchester which was the most fun yet, a massive turnout and great to be back in my home city for the night. After a restful stop in Lancaster we cycled straight to Penrith, bypassing Carlisle, where we slept in a beautiful bookshop.
The next day we crossed the border en masse singing 'Flower of Scotland' at the top of our lungs, substituting 'proud Edward's army' for Tony's of course! There was a picture of us in the Telegraph too if anyone wants to look it up - weds 29th. We camped rough in a forest in Lockerbie that night and got eaten alive by midges, though we were able to keep them at bay a bit more once we got to Lanark as we could make a fire there; you're not allowed in Forestry Comission areas and the police have been paying us special attention - purely because they're concerned for our safety of course! Some have actually been quite friendly, even helping us out when we've been lost, but it's kind of anathema to a fossil fuel protest ride to have a police escort!
Although it's been frustrating at times being with a large group of people and all the inconveniences that entails, they're a fantastic bunch and I'm going to miss my new friends when I leave them next week. It'll be an adjustment to being on my own again; you take so much encouragement and energy from cycling in a group, and especially when the sound system is pumping even the toughest hill can feel like a doddle.
I have some great times ahead though, more beautiful scenery, more fascinating people and communities to visit and be a temporary part of, and more daily challenges in the form of hills, hunger, headwinds and heaving too much bloody kit around!
I'm looking forward to getting home but I'm going to miss being on the road and all the freedom it brings. But we have some people from New York in the group who have mooted the idea of riding from there to Montreal, and then of course there's the next G8 meeting... in Russia! Bring it on...

2 Comments:

At 2/7/05 23:01, Anonymous Dick said...

Fascinating stuff. You'll have to write it up, Ben. Maybe when you're nursing saddle sores back at home!

 
At 7/1/06 11:08, Anonymous [credentials] said...

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