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Chris Cayley
Written by Chris Cayley
Published on 18th October 2021
3 min read

Chris Cayley is a busy man. A busy man with a bicycle! By day he’s Director of Cayley Coughtrie, a legal recruitment specialist, and by night, he’s training for cycling to COP26 in Glasgow with us on Ride the Change. Here he writes about his decision to cycle with us...

Cycling to COP26 in Glasgow has been in contemplation for a long time and was, of course, postponed when the COP was postponed last year because of the pandemic. It was uncertain whether it would go ahead this year, but it’s all go now.

Why am I cycling to COP26?

There are many reasons, the main one being that I cycled to COP 15 in Copenhagen in December 2009 and vowed at the time that I would do it again. Cycling to Warsaw wasn’t practical, for example, but when it was announced that there would be a COP in the UK there was no longer anywhere to hide and no more excuses to be made! 

More recently, when I’d be training for several months, still hoping the trip would happen, my wife asked me why I was doing it. It pulled me up for a bit, not least as cycling to Scotland in late October could mean some challenging weather, but the feeling didn’t last long. 

I’m doing it because it’s something in my power to do

I’m doing it in support of the urgent aspirations of the COP and two organisations committed to sustainability and tackling climate change, Possible and DoNation. I’m not asking anyone for money and am very grateful to have the support of my colleagues, Sarah Coughtrie, Andy Wintle and Michelle Corneby, who unhesitatingly agreed that our business, Cayley Coughtrie, should sponsor and support the trip and to let me go! Via DoNation I will be encouraging people to pledge to take positive steps to reduce their carbon footprint – more on that later. 

On the road: cycling in the UK

It’s easy, at times, to feel powerless and fatalistic in the face of climate change

But we have it in our hands to make a difference. That includes the changes we can make in our lives and the conversations we have with family, friends and colleagues. These days you’re more than likely to get a warm reaction. A recent UNDP survey revealed that 81% of people in the UK recognise that there is a climate emergency, and voters in the UK see it as the next most important issue for the country after Covid. We want action! 

I cycled to Copenhagen full of hope (only to be disappointed), cheered when David Cameron said the coalition would be the greenest UK government ever (only to be sadly disappointed again) and was encouraged by the Paris Agreement of 2015 (jury still out?). I tell myself we’ve made progress in the last few years, that people now recognise that there is a climate crisis, but I must admit that the current surge of interest and activity in ESG and sustainability sometimes makes my head spin. 

I wonder what’s real and what’s greenwash? 

I wonder where to focus my own efforts when sometimes the task seems overwhelming. 

I’m not jumping on a bandwagon.

So, for now, I’m taking on a challenge that simply needs me to focus on turning the pedals for long enough to get to Glasgow in support of the need for positive action and a positive mandate for meaningful change. 

I’m adding my effort and my voice to what I hope will be an almighty collective call to arms that world leaders simply can’t ignore.

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You can follow Chris on LinkedIn and follow the ride on Instagram.