Brake the Cycle

Inspiration and Empowerment through Adventure...


End to End 2015 - SIGN UP NOW

The tours

Where we've been

Our Adventures

The best of the blog

Lessons from Dartmoor to make cycling easier

Lessons from Dartmoor to make cycling easier

One of our tour leaders for the End to End 2015 Phil with some musings and reflections from our training weekend down in Dartmoor.  Enter Phil: It’s not so much about size, but style. Vast distances can be covered by bike. Our ride isn’t a race. However there’s something to be said for pace and strategy when it comes to approaching each day. An incredibly efficient vehicle, you feel that speed when you whoosh downhill or race along the flat. It’s also easy to keep going the distance before you know you’ve possibly overdone it. We had a great training weekend in Dartmoor National Park. Up and down, and up and down again. If it was flat it would have been boring. Elevation and depth evoke the contours of our soul. The highs and lows of life. The marriage between man and machine is a beautiful symphony of movement and senses.  Seeing, smelling, hearing, sweating, cursing, and delighting as you pass through the landscape. The streams and open moorland....

More Information
A Journey with Tea

A Journey with Tea

Tea time is often regarded as quintessentially British, yet hold on to your hobnobs, we could be doing it all wrong!? Danieka has been exploring more wholesome ways of experiencing this ancient ritual… “The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.” – Thich Nhat Hanh “How about a nice cup of tea?” Ah, that oh-so familiar question that makes our heart smile. Though us Brits are known for our strange obsession with a proper brew and reputation for having tea with the Queen, the real art of tea making is ancient and has magical healing properties. As legends go, the origin of tea making dates back to China thousands of years ago, when a king was boiling water and the wind blew a few leaves from a nearby tea plant into his pot. For nearly four thousand years, China kept tea to herself. During the latter part of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), some Buddhist monks from Japan visited their...

More Information
How to cycle a thousand miles and create a winning mindset…

How to cycle a thousand miles and create a winning mindset…

So 6 weeks to go until we embark on our Lands End to John O’Groats End to End cycle – time to get a training plan in place if you haven’t already got one. In this blog we’ll go through how to create a bespoke training plan and counter limiting beliefs to create a mindset conducive to cycling and cycling and cycling some more. 6 weeks to go…creating the plan. In building a training plan it is important that you cater it to your own specific lifestyle and scenario. The first stage we’ll be looking at in design is our Survey Stage. A useful tool used in permaculture design is the ‘client interview’ – gleaning as much information as possible that may affect the design. In this situation the client is you. The main things you want to ascertain are what are your limiting factors and the resources. These could be things like; time, money, knowledge, limiting beliefs, positive peer pressure, old injuries, low base fitness levels etc. This...

More Information
3 week cycle adventure of permaculture projects

3 week cycle adventure of permaculture projects

Brake the Cycle are looking for adventurers! We’re saddling up for our 3rd End to End challenge this April 2015 cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats whilst visiting some of the UK’s most inspiring permaculture projects, transition initiatives, and eco communities. Excited!? We’re looking for challengers! What you get: – Lands End to John O’Groats cycle adventure through the best of the British countryside. – Stay with inspirational permaculture projects, housing co-ops and alternative communities. – 3 weeks of organic nutritious food. – Camping and accommodation. – A big red London bus carrying all our camping gear, cooking equipment and food. Comes complete with awning for field kitchen and dinning area. – 4 tour leaders, experienced cyclists with mechanical know-how and map reading skills.  – Learn about permaculture and sustainable living. – A brilliant opportunity to meet like-minded folk and be inspired by your body. If this speaks to you, we’d love you to speak to us! APPLY RIGHT NOW! Tour price £700 – crowdfunding optional. Applications close...

More Information
Tour leaders wanted for free cycle adventure!

Tour leaders wanted for free cycle adventure!

We’re looking for tour leaders for our next adventure! Brake the Cycle is setting off on it’s 3rd End to End challenge in April 2015 cycling Land’s End to John O’Groats staying with some of the UK’s most inspiring permaculture projects, transition initiatives, and eco communities. There are 16 challengers, 4 team leaders and a big red bus. We’re looking for people who are: – Calm and confident with leadership experience within group scenarios (required) – Cycle tour veteran (required) – Dr Bike or equivalent bike maintenance qualification (desired) – First aid certified (desired) – Confident map reader (required) Is this you? We can offer: – Free position on the tour valuing £700 which includes nutritious organic food, camping and accommodation, train transfers from end to end. – A brilliant opportunity to meet like minded folk and be inspired by your body. – Stay at some of the UK’s most inspirational landbased projects on a journey into alternative ways of living. – A big red London bus, carrying all...

More Information
End to End Launch Party

End to End Launch Party

Roll up roll up Brake the Cycle proudly presents The End to End 2015 Launch Party We’re saddling up once again for a free wheeling adventure into new ways of being. The Launch Party 3pm Hackney Treasure Hunt: Instill a sense of adventure into your everyday experience and make the mundane magical. Explore the hidden gems of Hackney, its secret spaces and places in our cycle tour treasure hunt. It’s free to enter here: https://thehackneyhunt.eventbrite.co.uk First clue at The Russet Cafe 6pm-onwards at The Russet: Cycle powered cinema: Premiering of The End to End documentary by Sound Advice Live music from Bradley Burns The End to End 2015 – presented by Joe Reid Sunday 14th September The Russet, Hackney Downs, E8 2BT https://www.facebook.com/events/1529152503981850/ #hackneyhunt #getonyourborris  ...

More Information
Josef’s Journey to John O’Groats

Josef’s Journey to John O’Groats

(note: click on images to enlarge) Last month I cycled about 1200 miles, from the south-easternmost tip of mainland England (Land’s End) up to the north-westernmost tip of mainland Scotland (John O’Groats).  I thus completed one half of the Brake the Cycle End to End challenge! It was the UK’s coldest spring on record. And I was on my Brompton (one of those folding bikes with tiny wheels). Yes, more than 1000 miles. In the cold. On my Brompton. Please help me to complete the other half of the challenge (raising £500+ in sponsorship before Friday May 31st!) by contributing to our shared crowdfunding page here: http://www.sponsume.com/project/end-end-building-man-fundraiser Why did I end up going on this crazy adventure?  How did I survive the cold?  What were the best and worst bits? All will be revealed…. For me, it all started when Joe Reid and Marcus Letts met.  They were working together as ‘charity muggers’ or ‘chuggers’, those street fundraisers who ask you to sign up to a direct debit on...

More Information
Landmatters to Embercombe

Landmatters to Embercombe

Day 4 I didn’t have a very good night. Temperatures had been dropping below freezing most nights anyway, but I was really wishing that the Thermarest I’d ordered had arrived on time. Jules, my partner, was going to meet me at Embercombe and bring this and various other extras, but in the meantime I was having to make do with a patchwork of mat pieces. It had originally been one mat, but mice in our loft had started making a nest of it and I’d cut it into ‘sit mats’ for use on my permaculture courses. I hadn’t expected to need to sleep on it again, but here I was trying to do just that. It was far from ideal and I awoke a few times in the night shivering. Today though we were under less pressure, the proposed distance being 25 miles, so the group was treated to a tour of Landmatters by Charlotte. Normally I would have tagged along, but wasn’t feeling so good and was moving...

More Information
Sunshine and crowds…

Sunshine and crowds…

Day 3 I was awakened by the sun shining on my tent and the sound of activity. Emerging, I was given my first sight of Trevalon, sited amongst the rounded hills of East Cornwall.  The grass was remarkably dry, something I had noticed the night before when pitching my tent. Perhaps the still-present wind was responsible for that? Tents were already being taken down in readiness for the day. A walk back up the hill took me past garden beds where vegetables were being grown for the Community Supported Agriculture scheme here, a system whereby customers pay in advance for their veg boxes and take some of the risk in exchange for cheaper food and a connection with the place it is grown. These schemes have been popping up around the country and provide a great model for local food systems that support producers. I reached the awning attached to the bus, which provided the hub for the morning’s activities; breakfast was being eaten, kit prepared for the day,...

More Information
Hills, spills and chill winds…

Hills, spills and chill winds…

Day 2 We woke early to the sound of strong winds. The forecast had been correct, we were indeed about to cycle into a strong easterly that laughed in the face of all those heavily flagged trees pointing our way. We had 65 miles ahead of us, but first we needed breakfast and it was being made elsewhere. That meant a short cycle ride as Plan-it Earth was one of those venues without anywhere big enough for the bus to overnight. Joe & Thea had parked up at the Drift reservoir nearby, so the first up and out saddled up and went to help. The cooking was going to happen in teams, but to begin with at least was happening organically. Thankfully the weather was at least dry, though cold enough for me to don the heavy coat I’d brought just for the evenings. Today at least I’d be starting wearing it on the bike! Breakfast at Drift reservoir was great, but there was plenty for us to remember...

More Information
Lands End here we come!

Lands End here we come!

My first update has taken a while to write, but there’s a very good reason for that, which I’ll get to in good time. Anyway… Day 1 The Thursday before Easter finally arrived and the team converged upon Exeter to meet up for the trip together down to Lands End. Inevitably perhaps, the all-important support bus got held up in traffic, arriving around two hours behind schedule; while this gave us all more time to get to know each other (we hadn’t all met up to this point) it did put us under some pressure to get to the start before darkness fell. The first challenge was to be loading up the bus, a lovely old Routemaster, with all our kit, our bikes, and of course ourselves! Thankfully Joe and Thea have done this before and had also brought an old Land Rover, which was being towed by the bus and which was to act for this part of the trip as the bike trailer. First though, wheels had...

More Information
Just over a week before we go…

Just over a week before we go…

  The excitement is building as the date for our departure eases ever closer. Are we ready? …Or bringing it back home, am I ready? I’m Aranya, a permaculture teacher and author who’s on the team doing this year’s End to End ride. I’ve not had that long to prepare, just three months, and cycling 1,000 miles after all is no mean feat, even at the relatively leisurely pace of 50 miles a day on average. If I hadn’t met Joe though I wouldn’t be doing this at all. He gently goaded me into signing up, mainly by calling me ‘Grandad’ on a regular basis during the permaculture course he supported last November. At first I appreciated that I could if I wanted to, take three weeks out of my life to do such a ride. This soon evolved into ‘if I could, then I’d be silly not to take advantage of that opportunity’ and before I knew it I was signed up. This year I’ll reach my half...

More Information
Moving on up

Moving on up

To whet your appetites

More Information
The Spring Swing

The Spring Swing

Come to the Spring Swing...

More Information
The Monsters Banquet

The Monsters Banquet

The Beggar’s Banquet presents.…. The Monsters Banquet A Halloween Special! From plough to plate over 40 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK each year. Be part of the solution, join us for our gruesome food waste feast of 5 terrifyingly tantalising course! Enjoy live music and entertainment including: Texas Radio The Haunted Circus The Extreme Photo Booth of Death So dust on your cobwebs, pull those skeletons out of the closet, grab the nearest black cat, and come on down! Friday 2nd November at The Luna Studios, Hackney Wick 7-11pm Tickets £30 Tickets only available online: http://themonsters.eventbrite.co.uk This event is a community fundraiser for The Peoples Kitchen, Rejuice, The Luna Collective, and The Koyaanisqatsi...

More Information
The Return of the (Poet, Prophet) King

The Return of the (Poet, Prophet) King

So…. we’re back in the UK after our 6 month circumnavigation of Europe. Did we find Cape Town? Alas no. Does it matter? Absolutely not. For a pair of long limbed budding eco tramps on a bicycle adventure, we haven’t done the most amount of cycling in the last few months. Primarily because we’ve been preoccupied escaping the harsh European winter, taking refugee, living Free and Real at Greece’s first eco community and school of sustainability. What to say about Free and Real. It’s difficult to put into words. We’ve had an absolutely unbelievable time staying there, we’ve both learnt so much practically and personally, a love and friendship has been formed that time and distance cannot erode. In a time of turmoil for the Greek people, where all the dreams they’ve had instilled are corroded and crumbing, there is a lot of anger, igniting to flame Athens. Away from the tear gas and the truncheons, on a mountainside in Evia, Free and Real are inspiring a constant flow...

More Information
Free and Real: Creating A New (Yurt Shaped) Economic Model For Greece

Free and Real: Creating A New (Yurt Shaped) Economic Model For Greece

Yo cyclists. So remember all that money that our festival friends in the Clouds raised in 2011? Well, ever the willing collaborators, Brake the Cycle have found somewhere rather special to start creating some positive change with those hard earned pennies. Via the brand spanking new Koyaanisqatsi Trust, we’re delighted to announce the funding of a 24ft yurt (on stilts!), which will become a fulcrum of Free and Real’s community building as they pioneer the creation of a new economic model for Greece. Anoraks among you will know that ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land,’ is inspired by an Ancient Greek playwright, Aristophanes. Here’s how we’re repaying the favour…. And even bigger news, Brake the Cycle will selflessly forgo the 2000+ cycle home through what we thought was Europe but looks suspiciously like Antarctica, in order to help build the new yurt! The following is reposted from Mark Boyle’s Freeconomy blog, which has a ton of readers and helped connect our continent-straddling projects in the first place. Penned by the fair hand of...

More Information
Re-inventing the Wheel

Re-inventing the Wheel

Welcome to 2012 folks. I hope it’s been as magical for you as it has for Brake the Cycle thus far. Our apologies for the barren spell with the blogging. We’ve been busy making friends, planting trees, ‘seed bombing’ and generally enjoying the time of our lives. Right now, we’re halfway up a Greek mountain in a blizzard, surrounded by ocean on three sides. It’s not quite the Nile, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Way better. Somehow this feels just right. By sheer fluke we’ve stumbled upon the incredible folk of Free and Real, a project committed to becoming Greece’s first ever eco community. This is the sharp end of all those yarns we spin about new ways of living, about positive thinking AND doing. They’re lovely people as well as visionaries, and have welcomed us into their collective bosom with open arms. Stay tuned for news of an extremely exciting project likely to keep us in our Greek paradise till...

More Information
Merry Christmas Folks.

Merry Christmas Folks.

From a cold and windy Athens, Brake the Cycle wishes you a very Merry Christmas. Sock it to ’em, Santa. We’re off to see the another ancient monument, the Acropolis. Glad tidings, one and...

More Information
Living the Dream, Or My New Life As An Eco Tramp

Living the Dream, Or My New Life As An Eco Tramp

So here goes nothing. Pretty much literally. I’m typing on a pannier sized netbook in a hostel in rainy Kos, just three days before my first Christmas away from home, with cheese sandwiches for dinner and four euros in my tetra pak wallet. This is my new life as an eco tramp. What a way to begin. Camden to Cape Town seems like another lifetime, despite still cycling south until two days ago. It’s been an evolving adventure since the beginning, but our super howler has marked something of a coming of age. Enough rhetoric, a little more pedalling. Let’s face it, we’re committed. Even more galling, I’m on the wrong side of Europe and the wrong side of Earth’s annual tilt into winter. Maybe I’ll jump on a train and interrail back to Blighty. I’m not sure what that would achieve. The grass is not always greener, particularly when you’re pitching a tent and squatting over it. So what’s the plan? What’s an eco tramp when he’s at...

More Information

Previous challengers

What the people say

“It is with great gratitude to all who played a part in the bike ride, that I am where I am today in my life. The inspiration I have in the gift that was the ride, a gift that still gives to this day and beyond to all who were touched by Brake the Cycle and Building Man. It is greatly humbling to learn of, see, and hear how a number of great individuals where brave enough to break the cycle, saying no to their negative cycles and yes to what inspires them and follow through with great conviction and strength for what they know to be true. I am left moved, changed and inspired”

– Michael Jones Building Man 2013

“The end to end was the most mind, heart, and soul expanding experience I have ever had. I would never take the experience away from myself and it just keeps giving!”

– Julia Bedford, End to End 2013

“Brake the cycle introduced me to the different ways in which people can confront their environmental and social responsibilities. Hills will never look so big again or distances so long!”

– Chrissie Bartkowiak End to End 2011

“The End to End was one of those blooming brilliant, life affirming, transformative experiences.I am not saying it was easy. Life isn’t. But the company of 20 cycling strangers (soon to be friends) and the permaculture design of the tour (with its emphasis on people care, earth care, fair share), gets you up those hills and thrilled with the view from the top. It left me with a real feel for the British landscape and revived to get going with life!”

– Kathleen Cassidy End to End 2013

 

“Doing the End to End with Brake the Cycle is one of the best things I’ve ever done.  Over the course of the tour a real community formed and I made many good enduring friendships.  When I think back to those wonderful free-wheeling times it is never of the cold weather I remember (the tour I went on was one of the coldest springs in 50 years), but all the good times I had, the sense of adventure kindled and the amazing places visited.  I’d highly recommend it to anyone and would love to do it again!”

– Josef, End to End challenger 2013

  • Michael Jones
  • Julia Bedford
  • Chrissie Bartkowiak
  • Kathleen Cassidy
  • Josef Davis Coats

Who is Brake the Cycle

Check out the team, they're dreamy

Harri Symes

Harri Symes

Chris Hardy

Chris Hardy

Georgie Burr

Georgie Burr

Marcus Letts

Marcus Letts

Joe Reid

Joe Reid