Zero-carbon budget for 1,000-mile ride

Having just spent the last three years at UEA in Norwich completing environmental science degrees, Tom Tapper, Ben Meaker, Will Ashley-Cantello and Pete Clutton-Brock decided to practise what they preach.

It was going to be a typical lads's holiday - a bit of sun and sand and perhaps the odd beer or two. But then conscience got the better of them.

Having just spent the last three years at UEA in Norwich completing environmental science degrees, Tom Tapper, Ben Meaker, Will Ashley-Cantello and Pete Clutton-Brock decided to practise what they preach.

And so the foursome will set off on August 15 on a 1,000 mile bike ride from Land's End to John O'Groats on a zero-carbon budget.

With the help of the Norfolk-born UEA-based CRed carbon reduction campaign, they will be closely monitoring the carbon emissions from every aspect of their daily routine.

This will include the food they eat, the electricity they use and even the water they wash with.

When they are unable to avoid emissions of carbon dioxide - the greenhouse gas widely thought to be the main cause of climate change - they will offset it by handing out low energy light bulbs to people they meet on the trip.

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Mr Tapper, 22, said: “We have all recently graduated from UEA and initially we were planning a lads' holiday but then we realised it would be completely hypocritical.

“I have ridden from Land's End to John O'Groats before for Cancer Research UK so we came up with the idea of doing it again but with zero carbon emissions.

“We are not eco-warriors, we are normal lads but we see this Carbon Cycle almost as a challenge to ourselves. We are going on to study masters in the subject and will be going out to preach the eco-message but can we actually live it?”

Mr Tapper and Mr Meaker will be studying an MSc in science communication at Imperial College while Mr Ashley-Cantello and Mr Clutton-Brock will study a masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development with Forum for the Future.

They will be camping along the route, using wind up torches and mobile phone chargers and trying to buy locally produced food to keep the carbon miles to a minimum.

“We are going to take every aspect into account; I imagine some of the food we eat will come from abroad. In which case CRed will help calculate the amount of emissions from this and we will offset it by handing out low energy lightbulbs which we will be towing behind in a trailer,” he said.

“We are also fitting a solar panel to the trailer to provide a source of electricity to give us low-carbon-light during the evenings.

“To minimise our emissions we will have no support team - we will carry all of our clothes, cooking, camping and filming equipment in panniers on our bikes: no cars involved.

“We have received generous financial support from the locally Norwich-based company Sekura-Byk to enable us to take on this challenge.”

If you would like to receive email updates from the trip contact thecarboncycle@gmail.com.

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