Day 1 of our cycling tour kicked off in London Inn Fields where we met up with the "stop climate chaos coalition" for the cycle tour through London. On route we met up with a lovely group who had cycled from Bradford to London to join the demonstration. They were at the end of their trip and we were just beginning.
After a few rallying speeches we set off with a friendly police convoy through the streets of London passing the BP headquarters, EON and the Canadian embassy. We were very impressed by the police; mostly on bicycles themselves, friendly and very slick; temporarily blocking off junctions ahead of us and behind us.
Maryla Hart from Biofuel watch gave a speech about food versus fuel, a topic close to Lucy's heart in particular. The current biofuels proposed in reality offer very little in carbon saving or overall greenhouse gas savings. In some areas rainforest is being cleared to make way for biofuel plantations which releases carbon, and in others peatlands are being drained. To make matters worse, many biofuels require fertilisers and pesticides for cultivation - so when a "whole lifecycle" approach is taken, biofuels may offer little in the way of reducing carbon emissions. Lucy says " a personal experience of this area of research is from studying nitrous oxide emissions from oilseed rape, the crop used to make biodiesel. As nitrous oxide is one of the most potent greenhouse gases with a long residence time in the atmosphere, these emissions play a significant part in the cost/benefit analysis. In some cases the production of oilseed rape biodiesel uses more fossil fuels than you save overall. A nonsense!"
Next stop was hyde park and speaker corner where my brother for waiting along with a mob of peaceful activists. Both Simon Hughes and Caroline Lucas gave excellent speeches on the need for action, as well as stirring words from Ellie Hopkins of the UK Youth Climate Coalition. Caroline Lucas was kind enough to give us a ringing endorsement of our mission, as well as providing a nice bit of footage for The Stupid Show (www.ageofstupid.net/stupid-show).
We nearly managed to track down Peter Mandelson and Ed Miliband as well, although they had left by the time we found the Labour Party group. All in all though, the march was amazing; The Independent reckoned there were 40,000 people there! Ben says "It seems like way more than the previous two years that I have come to this march."
After the march we headed back to soho to meet up with Lorraine who had been playing samba at a world record attempt of tree planting. After some yummy vegan nosh from Vita organic we set off. After literally 30 seconds we encountered our first mishap. The complete collapse of Dougal's panniers.
We left for Colchester once we had repaired the panniers, and stayed in a lovely Bed and Breakfast in the Dutch quarter of the city. Lucy had twisted her knee earlier, in an accident which nearly caused a human dominoes catastrophe. Cue an evening of hot bath and frozen pea compresses.
Over and out. xxx