This article is from Edition 12: Ride the Change - Cycle to COP26
Adventure Uncovered
Published on 24th November 2021
7 min read

Ride the Change was all about the people, here we spotlight a few of the 175 riders that took part in the 500+ mile cycle from London to Glasgow, October 24-31, 2021.

What inspired you to get involved in Ride the Change?

Matt Hocking:
I discussed this ride with Hermione back a few years, back pre-covid, I'm all about alternative activism, so ridivism works as a cycle lover, rather than re-activism or inactivism, I've spent 20 years doing all I can for people and planet with my design agency but we all need to show up and act in every way we can to draw attention to the futures ahead, this was an opportunity to show up, share my voice and leg power in riding for change, and people are loving the whole pledge not ££ way, I've had so many say they didn't know their pledges had an impact when I explain it's not just carbon, it saves them money, helps their fitness/wellbeing, it's a win-win. Legs for pledges:) Plus I'm 50 in November and my love handles need work.

Nicola Baird: Helping to get people I know talking more about climate crisis and the COP26 meeting - it makes it more personal.

Matt Hocking, Cornwall and Nicola Baird, London.

Craig Boggon: Keen about child and people health and wellbeing. Feel society can be a whole lot better if it adopted car free cities. Bikes are life! Motion is lotion!

Claire Marion: Ride the Change brings together my two passions: cycling and climate change! I love bike touring and the feeling of freedom that comes with it. I am also deeply concerned about the climate crisis and have been volunteering for various charities for a number of years to try and do my bit, and become the best antidote for climate anxiety is ACTION! I am at COP26 to represent Climate Fresk, a climate change education charity. Climate Fresk run workshops using a serious game based on the IPCC reports. In only 3 hours, participants can understand our climate system and the consequences of its disruption. The workshop fosters team spirit and collective intelligence. So far, more than 210,000 people have participated in a workshop, and the facilitator's community counts more than 9,000 facilitators in 42 countries!

Jennifer Plummer: I've been thinking about cycling to COP for 2 years now and have a passion for cycling and want to shine a spotlight on the COP26 climate conference.

Chris Cayley: I cycled to COP15 in Copenhagen and vowed I would ride to another COP. When it was scheduled for Glasgow it was time. I’ve also been a Trustee at Possible so heard about the plans and was introduced to DoNation, so everything came together!

Anne Dixon: I wanted to show that I loved my grandchildren enough to make this effort to help ensure their future. I could see friends taking different actions and wondered what I could do to show people my concern - something more than words- which would demonstrate the level of effort we need to make to bring about change in our attitudes and lifestyles.

Kristien Lust: Worried about the state of our planet, I want to inspire people to take action!

Bénédicte Herbout: Making climate action fun and enjoyable, showing that adventure can be in your backyard! 

Claire Bonham-Carter: To send a powerful message of the need for action to leaders and raise awareness among friends and colleagues.

Ben Smith: I wanted to make a statement linked to COP26.


What do you hope the Ride will achieve / What do you hope to see happen at COP26 / What impact or outcome do you hope to see?

Matt Hocking:
  I am hoping that the talk is over, it's real seismic action now and for the future, no more wrangling over whose doing what, this is the pivotal conference of our time, however, we can't wait on world leaders/governments we've all got a role to play. I'd love to see the come into legislation. We've got to create balance for all and protect our natural and social capital. After all a healthy planet = a healthy population (WHO). And of course, the way things are are not the way they have to be. Together we do this. Optimism and action all the way.

Nicola Baird:

  1. A timeline of how Uk especially will cut carbon use dramatically.
  2. Info about the climate crisis embedded into everything rather than as an add on (eg. from school curriculum to office policy).
  3. Help locally (ie from councils) about how to find builders and energy experts who can make homes more energy efficient. Right now it is not at all easy.
  4. Ending of the no VAT rule on new builds so that old homes/buildings are not just knocked down.

Craig Boggon: So far local authorities need clear power to make local changes to cycling infrastructure. National rail needs to be national again not for companies and enable better public transport. We need to lower car use drastically and implement similar enforcements such as the smoking ban on driving under 10km! 

Jennifer Plummer: I hope to raise awareness of the conference via participating in the Ride. I want to see pressure on world leaders to agree and (importantly) implement meaningful policies that avert climate catastrophe. I want our Government to 'get its house in order' and show integrity and money towards climate action and cutting carbon emissions.

Craig Boggon, Newcastle upon Tyne and Jennifer Plummer, London.

Chris Cayley: I hope to see some genuine leadership from our political leaders and a recognition that the time for action is now.

Anne Dixon: I don’t need to hope. I can see it happening already! I can see the concern for the planet and our future in the people on the ride and the people we speak with as we travel. This is a grassroots movement and we all know this is how real change comes about. When a body of people come together in this way to say something their collective voice is amplified and hard to ignore. Politicians and world leaders will listen if we speak with one strong and confident voice.

Patrick McCool: To show that the people want real action to deliver the change needed - there is so much to do if we want to keep global heating below 1.5°C.

Bénédicte Herbout: For COP26 not much is to be expected I’m afraid, but for what people are doing next to COP, such as Ride the Change: sharing positive narratives and show we are ready for, and demand change.

Claire Bonham-Carter: I want an end to fossil fuel subsidies! 

Ben Smith: The ride should raise awareness of the actions we can take as individuals. From COP I would like to see commitments that support a pathway on or very near 1.5°C.

Liam Callaghan: Raise general awareness around everything we consume (food/clothing/energy) and that more people realise that cycling is for everyone and available to the general masses. One thing (and there are lots) that I would like to see come from COP26 is that more towns/cities/countries adopt/install more and more cycle paths and greenways which make it more sustainable and economical for people to travel and commute.

Derek Dishman: To tread more lightly on the earth and to inspire others to cycle more.

Kristien Lust: Obviously I hope world leaders will take action, but I would also like us all to get out of our comfort zone and think about what we can do to help our planet in our everyday lives.

Derek Dishman and Kristien Lust, Barnet, London.

What was your best highlight about the Ride? Go on.. get sentimental :)

Matt Hocking: Connections, seeing whose rallied around me to support the ride, people I've never met contacting me saying their whole family is going veggie to support and how inspired they are. My partner Georgie's proudness. My team at organising a spin bike to match our miles each day from the studio in Truro, sooooo cool. Coming together from all walks of life to show up, do the green thing and journey together.

Nicola Baird: I've learnt a great deal about riding a long way and realised I don't need to use public transport in London.

Craig Boggon: The social support when infrastructure isn't up to scratch. I'm sure they'll be many more great moments! 

Jennifer Plummer: The best part of the ride was turning down the wrong canal path (wait for it) and seeing a rainbow turning back the correct way - it gave me hope! I've enjoyed cycling through the seasons too...picking blackberries along the route in September, stumbling upon a sunflower field in the Cotswold, finding the 'Groot tree' in Cannock Chase area, seeing the Autumn leaves between Manchester and Preston in October... it's all been really special (even the rainy 40 odd miles between Broadway and Birmingham, I went a slightly different route than the proposed one).

Chris Cayley: Meeting so many people who are passionate, engaged, innovative and fun - and so committed to making a difference while also being so down to earth and humble about it. Hope to have a chance to catch up with everyone at some point on the trip.

Claire Marion: I am excited to meet like-minded people who care enough about the climate to brave hills and rain in the UK in October to raise awareness, that's quite a commitment!

Chris Cayley, Buckinghamshire and Claire Marion, France.

Ben Smith: The sense of community and the rolling hills and wind turbines between Dumfries and East Kilbride.

Liam Callaghan: Cycling through the Scottish valleys on the Dumfries to East Kilbride section of the trip. Those views were insanely beautiful, some of the best cycling I have ever done.

Derek Dishman: Camaraderie and ace organisation.

Kristien Lust: The people, riders and organisers, you are all the best!

Bénédicte Herbout: Day 5! I have your my panniers, you gave me people to ride with and here I am, flying on my bike, breaking my own record (km cycled in one day) meeting with new people and enjoying myself way too much in the wet wind on top of the hills.

Claire Bonham-Carter: Riding with my nephew, being with old friends and meeting great new people. The energy from the organisers. And the stunning scenery. What a ride!

Bénédicte Herbout, France/Germany and Claire Bonham-Carter, Kent.

Patrick McCool: The camaraderie, the bonhomie, the energy of all the positive people taking part in this wonderful event.

Sébastien Aubagnac: Day 5 when we finished at 7.00 pm. Impossible to do it alone. Group gave me a lot of strength. Thank you so much. It was my personal record in terms of miles in a day. I will never forget it!

Anne Dixon: I’m riding solo but you are never really alone in a ride like this. As people ride alongside they chat for a few moments to exchange stories of who they are and why they are doing this. When you are feeling tired and low there’s someone to cheer you on and support you, with a smile, or hug or practical help with a bike failure. These are the best of people who care about the planet and show that in their care of each other.

Did you get involved in Do Nation's pledges? If yes, how many did you receive?

Ben Smith: I got 60 pledges, still pushing. It was a week I will remember forever.

What's the ONE main pledge or climate positive behaviour change that you'll commit to? 

Ben Smith: I’m going to build a Passivhaus and rewild a field.

Liam Callaghan: Giving up meat.

Ben Smith, London and Liam Callaghan, Ireland.

RTC Impact Report has Landed!