Friday, July 21, 2006

CROYDON GREEN RAISES RHINO AWARENESS



Croydon Green Party member Andrew Lindsay has put a lot of legwork into saving rhinos recently. He’s just finished a round England ‘Rhino-ride’ to publicise the dire situation of these endangered species.

Below is brief account of his efforts:
“We rescued four scrapped mountain bikes from the local tip and set about welding these together and creating the frame this impressive head.
It was incredible. The original frame was too narrow and she wallowed horribly on the road camber steering heavily for the kerb. The day before setting off we set about cutting and widening the whole frame by 20 inches to make it more stable and were finally finished late in the evening.”
We set off on June 1st to get to London Zoo for ‘Rhino Mayday’, that’s the annual meeting of all the heads of rhino conservation in the UK. Cycling along busy Oxford Street was fantastic, amazing reactions from Japanese tourists hanging out of bus windows trying to get a better picture. Capital Radio did a phone in; ‘Call us if you’ve seen the Rhinocycle and win £10’ all afternoon, although none of the money went to charity and they never interviewed us.”
Tragically, at the meeting we learned that the Western or Cameroon Black Rhino was declared extinct as of earlier THIS YEAR, Northern White Rhino (a sub species of the relatively healthy population of Southern White Rhinos) found only in Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) numbers are down to just FOUR and Javan and Sumatran Rhinos are in a similarly desperate situation.
When the meeting was over we looked for Cindy, our lady rider, only to find a text saying she’d gone home – for personal reasons. We soldiered on, myself, Adam Naiff and Sam Prior, both aged 18 from Brighton and the following day got ourselves escorted off the A10 by the police. It was a fair cop; when we weren’t causing a three mile tail back cars were whizzing past us at 80mph and if we’d been hit they’d never have found all the pieces.
Top wildlife conservationist, Ian Redmond OBE, joined us on the third day (see photo) as we hit some serious hills and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A wheel broke just outside Cambridge and at that very moment we were passed by a cycle repair expert called Robin. Robin, or Mad Dog as he’s known to his mates for his strong Green views, repaired the wheel at his workshop and then escorted us to his home for a BBQ that evening.
We were rejoined by Cindy and carried on until one of the crew had a mini break down after a particularly hard day. After some healthy encouragement he got back on and, brave man, gave 100% effort for the rest of the trip. I was so impressed by all the crew!
‘Bridget’ as we called her, was a lot heavier than I’d anticipated and we were a lot less fit then we thought! On the last day before the bridge – our hardest, covering almost 60 miles - we had 2 wheel collapses and the left hand trailer buggy wheel bearings broke up, all having to be repaired. We made up a 20 metre banner with ‘www.savetherhino.org’ plus their logo and on Friday, June 9th when we crossed the Humber Bridge, we strung it over the railings for an hour before being made to take it down by security. While that was going on we did a live radio interview with BBC radio Humberside.”
On the whole it was an extremely positive experience. We so determined to draw attention to the desperate plight of the rhino that we plan to take the Rhinocycle as far as Edinburgh next year.”



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1 comment:

Mike Armstrong said...

Will we get to see the rhino-cycle on the streets of Croydon?

Standing up for what matters