In the News - Lisa Baum

25th March 2011 at 00:00

This summer, geography teacher Lisa Baum will cycle from her school, Ernest Bevin College in south London, to the Arctic Circle, with the aim of encouraging more pupils to ride to lessons. Students will follow Ms Baum's progress via her website,, and some will try to cycle the same distance using exercise bikes at school.

How do you get to the Arctic Circle by bike?

"We are following cycling superhighways and camping along the way. We leave on 15 July and pupils will follow us on the first part of the journey through London. We will head to Harwich and travel by ferry to the Netherlands, taking cycle routes up through Denmark and then Norway. My colleague Dale Dapaah and our equipment engineer Neil Shaw will accompany me. It's 1,500 miles over five weeks and we aim to cycle 50 miles a day."

What made you take on this challenge?

"Very few children cycle to school. We want to increase numbers by 10 per cent this year, and hopefully this will inspire children. We think pictures of Miss standing with her bike by a big glacier might do the trick - this is a challenge for us and them."

The Arctic Circle is a bit different to London ...

"I love exploring new places and taking on expeditions. I've kayaked down Lake Malawi, lived in Poland and Italy and managed an eco-lodge in Tanzania, so this is not the first time I've been in a new environment. I'm told there will be 18 hours of sunlight - wonderful during the day, but I might take an eye-mask for night."

What kind of bicycle will you use?

"Hopefully we will be using bikes made in Zambia from bamboo. We will build them up into high-specification training bikes by adding different wheels and brakes. It's important that this is a sustainable journey."

How do you prepare for a 1,500-mile bike ride?

"I've been training in the school gym and pool, and I've increased my commute to school to 10 miles a day. I've also been making long trips at the weekend."

Do you have any other aims for the trip?

"We hope to raise #163;10,000 for two charities. One is local, the south London branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, which was supported by a colleague at school who passed away from the illness. The other is a charity that provides bikes to key workers in southern Africa."

And how are you getting back? Not by bike?

"We can't cycle back - we will miss the start of term. I'm trying to travel back in the greenest way possible, hopefully by train."

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