We got back to the UK on a very cold and grey day, a few days later we had Brexit and all the ensuing madness - a political revolution in London, or just more of the same on (super) fast-forward? Stuart's blog from a year ago as we left London proved remarkably prescient when predicting a 'bloodbath in the corridors of Westmister'. We were starting to wonder why we had bothered to come back to England, so to take our minds off things we got back on our bikes and made sure we cycled over 11,000km (as we had reached 10,000km in Hong Kong).
We cycled our own version of the 'London Revolution' riding over 500km around the South East, visiting schools and friends along the way. Our route took us to several schools in Surrey, Cambridge and London as well as two days at the Telegraph Festival of Education at Wellington College.
At the festival, we addressed teachers on 'how to bring an adventure into the classroom' and students on ‘Overseas Aid; Who Benefits'. We were delighted to have various photo calls including renowned Philosopher AC Grayling.
A AC Grayling at Wellington
We had another Brompton day from Bedford to Cambridge with Chris and me on Bromptons and Ted Williams, on the back of Thandie. Lots of other friends and family joined us for rides. We were especially impressed with Daisy, Alice and Jonnie (ages 9 and 8) who managed a 30km hilly ride through the Chilterns. We had a great send off from The Leys School in Cambridge when a group of 10 staff and students rode with us out of town. Our final ride was a beautiful Surrey Hills loop with 10 others mostly in the beautiful sunshine although the heavens did open about 10km from the end. Again we started at Giro Cafe from where we rode off almost exactly 10 months earlier. Massive thanks everyone for joining us, supporting us and especially to Jess and Ted for their own fundraising efforts.
Bromptons & Ted on their way to Cambridge
Another Fairphone makes an appearance in Cambridge
Beyond the Bike at Box Hill
Several of the (drowned) group at the end in Esher!
Obviously it is fantastic to reach our target but if anyone else wants to donate then please do here. We were tipped over the target amount by Colfe's School and their end of term Mufti day but all donations big and small from friends, family and strangers have been so generous and will go an enormous way in the very deprived areas in Zambia and SE Asia.
Jodie Collins from Beyond Ourselves reports:
We are thrilled to be able to further invest in and empower the teachers at our partner schools in Zambia which Beyond the Bike cycled to back in October 2015 along with the Cranleigh School group. This money will help bring the focused training and mentoring needed to develop the schools to sustainability, ensuring that 950 children each year receive a quality education in to the future.
Patricia, one of the Beyond Ourselves teachers, at work in Zambia
Tim Howarth from United World Schools reports that the money will be spent in two ways:
1. Developing a new community school for 200 children in Stung Treng Province, Cambodia. The province where we began 'Ride Cambodia' in March 2016. Building will commence in September after the monsoon rains.
2. Developing and growing the UWS Teams, to enable us to develop both the quality of our educational programmes, as well as the scale at which we are operating - this means we will reach even more out of school children in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal.
A UWS lesson in action at one of the schools we visited in Cambodia
A few projects we encountered en route will also benefit such as a primary school in rural Uganda and Gamerangers International in Zambia.
Beyond the Bike will help with a school we spent a (rainy) day near Masaka, Uganda...
... as well as funding some of the great work protecting wildlife of Game Rangers International in Zambia
People keep asking us ‘what was the best bit?’ This is an impossible question to answer. The entire experience was incredible. Yes, there were some bad bits but they were usually due to tiredness/falling off/bum hurting (and mainly just me suffering, not Stu). We have seen amazing places and met such wonderful people and been humbled by their generosity and interest. We finished our ride in China and so it seems fitting to end with a bit of Chinese philosophy. As Confucius says 'To have friends come from afar is happiness is it not?' As this adventure reaches its end this quotation rings ever so true. We hope to see all our friends, new and old, from the 20 countries we have passed through over the last 10 months!