8000-miles on a bamboo bicycle through South America
A British woman has just completed an incredible 8288-mile journey through South America using a bicycle made from bamboo.
Kate Rawles, a 55-year-old writer, environmentalist, and former lecturer set off on her epic voyage in February 2017 on a year-long adventure through mountains, deserts, and rainforests. Her only companion was her bike Woody which was made from bamboo grown at the Eden Project in Cornwall, which she calls “the UK’s first home-grown bicycle.”
Having just returned from South America on an ocean freighter, she explained how the bamboo bicycle had served her well in every type of terrain and weather. It coped with extremes of heat and cold,” she said, “and it carried me over the Andes, through arid deserts and humid forests, for 8288 miles. It has a lower carbon footprint than a steel equivalent (which is already pretty low), is sustainable, biodegradable, recyclable and fitted extremely well with the ethos of the trip. I loved the idea of doing a biodiversity bike ride on a bike that used to be a plant.”
Kate’s path took her south from the port city of Cartagena in northern Colombia as far as Cape Horn, or as close as was possible on a bike. She said: “I’ve really experienced biodiversity through the astonishing range of landscapes and habitats I’ve travelled through, from coastline, to deserts, to cloud and rainforests and high mountain ecosystems. I’ve seen a stunning range of animals and plants and visited all sorts of inspiring people and projects engaged with biodiversity and nature conservation, from a school in Colombia whose entire curriculum is based on turtles; to small communities risking their lives to campaign against the devastating impacts of copper, gold and oil mining.”
She said the most spectacular spot on her trip was the salt flats of Bolivia.“It’s like riding across a hot white desert,” she said, “with hexagonal salt crystal patterns as far as the eye can see, and very very cold at night. I’ve never experienced a landscape like it. Seeing pink flamingos on a pink and orange coloured lake in Bolivia was also pretty memorable – as were Peru’s astonishingly beautiful Cordillera Blanca mountains, and the sheer utter aliveness and diversity of the Amazon.”
Most memorable however, was the friendliness of the people she met and the inspiring conservation many were involved in. Kate now plans to turn her adventures into a slideshow and book and you can keep up with her latest plans at her website.