Global coup lands Kate a double first

Associate lecturer Dr Kate Rawles on her  bike Woody, made from bamboo grown in the UK
Associate lecturer Dr Kate Rawles on her bike Woody, made from bamboo grown in the UK

A university academic has received a double first – after pulling off a global coup.

University of Cumbria associate lecturer Dr Kate Rawles has cycled to “the end of the world” on the UKs first home-grown bike.

She built the two-wheeled vehicle at the Bamboo Bicycle Club in London from bamboo grown at Cornwall’s world-renowned Eden Project.

She then successfully crossed a continent, reaching Ushuaia, Patagonia at the tip of South America; a town known as ‘the end of the world.’

Kate and her bike, Woody, left Northern Colombia at the beginning of February 2017 and over a year travelled 8,288 miles, following the spine of the Andes mountains across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

She said: “Woody has proved to be an extremely tough and reliable bike, coping with extremes of heat and cold, rain, dryness and altitude”

Kate is an associate of the Lancaster-based university’s Institute of Leadership and Sustainability.

The aim of The Life Cycle journey is to use the story to raise awareness and inspire action on biodiversity loss.

Kate said: “Biodiversity loss is an issue every bit as important and challenging as climate change but much less well publicised and 
understood.”

Kate, an associate of the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Leadership and Sustainability, said. “This adventure aims to help change that.”

She added: “ Biodiversity loss has enormously negative implications for people via its impact on ‘ecosystem services’ that we cannot live without.”

A film of the bike being built was made by U0C student Lizzi Gilson.

It was awarded Best Student Film by the British Mountaineering Council’s Women in Adventure film competition in 2017.