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Kate Rawles – Adventure in the Andes: The Life Cycle Biodiversity Bike Ride

Sun 18 Jun 2023


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All ages


£12* | £10* Concession/RGS



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Kate Rawles – Adventure in the Andes: The Life Cycle Biodiversity Bike Ride

Kate Rawles cycled the length of South America following the spine of the Andes – the longest mountain chain in the world – on Woody, a bamboo bike she built herself with bamboo from the Eden Project in Cornwall. The aim of her largely solo ‘adventure plus’ ride was to explore and champion biodiversity – what it is, why it matters, what’s happening to it and above all, what can be done to protect it.

Her route took her through an astonishing range of landscapes and ecosystems, from the Caribbean coast to the classic high, spikey white mountains of the Peruvian Andes; from rain and cloud forests to the Atacama desert and the Bolivian salt flats. Throughout the journey she met with those at the frontlines of nature conservation, including a school whose entire curriculum was based on turtles; a project to save the smallest monkeys in the world; local forest champions; anti-gold, copper and lead-mining activists; an ancient, sustainable fishing fleet and a member of the Peruvian senate. Kate returned inspired, shaken and hopeful, convinced that biodiversity loss is as important as climate change and that deep systemic change is needed to tackle these interconnected challenges to people and planet.

Dr Kate Rawles

Kate is passionate about using adventurous journeys to raise awareness and inspire action on our most urgent environmental challenges. A former university lecturer in environmental philosophy, then outdoor studies, she now works freelance as an author/activist. Her most recent ‘Adventure Plus’ travels involved building a bamboo bike and cycling it, largely solo, the length of South America. En route she followed the spine of the Andes – the longest mountain chain in the world – and explored biodiversity: what it is, what’s happening to it, why it matters and what can be done to protect it. Her book about The Life Cycle journey will be published by Icon Books in May ’23. Previous Adventure Plus escapades have included Gyre to Gaia with Pangaea Exploration, a sailing voyage into the North Atlantic gyre studying ocean plastic pollution; and The Carbon Cycle, a bike ride from Texas to Alaska that focussed on climate change. The Carbon Cycle book was shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Festival Adventure Travel book award, 2012. Kate is a popular public speaker, and runs occasional Outdoor Philosophy courses, using the power of wild places to explore our relationship with nature and inspire more sustainable ways of living and working. Kate is a fellow of the RGS-IBG and a member of the Adventure Syndicate. She grew up mainly in Scotland; currently lives in Cumbria with her partner, Chris, and rescue dog, Carter; and is a keen sea kayaker, hill-walker and book-worm as well as a cyclist. 


An event presented by the Royal Geographical Society – we are the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography, supporting geography and geographers across the world.


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