My partner Bronwen and I are last gasp entries to the p2p ride, unable to resist the intoxicating combination of adventure, research and promotion of cycling. We have had insufficient time to buy suitable bikes, so I’m riding the same steed on which I completed LEJoG in 2010: a Marin city hybrid. This is by far the heaviest bike in the peloton, but hopefully the most comfortable, with its front and rear suspension. And as we’re travelling via San Francisco, our route passes through Marin County, where my bike will feel like a salmon returning to where it was spawned, even if it is still inside its bike bag in the back of our hire car.
As an energy consultant, I strive to improve the energy performance of buildings, especially those in the commercial and public sectors. But also at home: My world view on transport is that cycling is an answer to many elements of the looming perfect storm facing humanity: climate change, peak oil, financial meltdown, poor air quality in cities and not least obesity. The pact with the internal combustion engine has led to extraordinary collateral damage. Yet there are signs of hope. Car adverts now even feature bicycles (‘bicons’) in a subliminal battle for acceptance. A resurgence in cycling is long overdue. And if we can make every city ‘cyclable’, it will become irresistible.
The prospect of raising awareness and funds for three very worthwhile organisations by undertaking an epic adventure in good company is a real draw, especially if this can be done by combining my passions for travel and our environment and surroundings with any form of cycling.
As any cyclist (or bicyclist stateside) knows, the view from the road offers a very real sense of a place and having previously experienced a huge variety of sights, cities and people while travelling overland in the States, I’ve long harboured plans to return on two wheels and have spent a lot of time thinking about the scale of this challenge.
As an Associate and Head of Sustainability at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects, I work across all types and scales of projects, looking at very different types of buildings and am particularly interested in thinking about design and building smarter, better and more effectively so the prospect of experiencing and understanding very different landscapes and iconic and undiscovered buildings along the way really is the icing on the cake.
When I first heard about the P2P ride I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It combines my passion for sustainability with the thrill of experiencing the world by bike. I am riding on a classic steel frame road bike, the Genesis Equilibrium, which being a steel frame should cushion some of the bumps along the route, both potholes in cities and the 2500m high pass over the Rockies!
As Head of Sustainable Design at Pollard Thomas Edwards architects, I am acutely aware that urban design has the potential to encourage or discourage cycling. Cycling to work every day for me means happiness, health, and an efficient way of getting to the office. The problem is that the car still dominates London, so much so that the cycling on our roads can seem like an adrenalin sport! Part of this is inevitably down to individual road users - both cyclist and drivers – but my focus as a designer is how we can create safe, healthy, cycle-friendly environments. So as well as enjoying the epic ride, I hope to learn more about achieving this within our cities.
I am a born and bred Londoner and architecture has always been my focus. After graduating from the Bartlett, I put down my Rotring pen and via a Masters in graphic design, started in communications. I am now an account manager at Caro Communications, which is where I first learnt of the Portland to Portland ride in a meeting with the Architects' Benevolent Society. The challenge and its great causes have remained in my mind ever since, fuelled further by Le Tour, Olympic road-races and Velodrome antics.
Additionally, it's been a while since my bike has seen some serious mileage. I love my Peugeot Pyrenees, but I am writing this sat on the bus rather than commuting home in the saddle.
Why? The number 45 has narrowly missed a Boris biker, cyclists and motorists navigate uneasily around the Elephant and Castle roundabout, and taxis loiter in the advanced bicycle box.
It would be fantastic to learn how other cities have found that happy equilibrium between two and four wheels and bring it home to London.
A touch of the feminine wouldn't hurt the group either!
Each of my visits to the USA has been to the East or the West Coasts. The first time was Freddie Laker Airways to New York in 1980, touring with a punk band The Detonators, through South Carolina and Florida. I did my year out in Washington DC, drove an open-top Mustang from LA to San Fransico along the Pacific Coast Highway, worked in an Indian restaurant in Santa Monica, and over the years I have taken the kids on holiday to Disneyland, skiing in Squaw Valley, kayaking in Maine and recently visited Yale and Harvard as an External Critic. All of this time the middle of America has been a void, passed over at 35,000ft. So this ride is an opportunity to fill the gap!
Luckily I quite like cycling. It offers sight seeing at a pace where it's possible to take things in. My preference is to find a form of exercise in the fresh air rather than in a sweaty basement watching Sky news or listening to someone shouting instructions at me.
My bike is a Serotta made in Saratoga Springs, NY, so cycling from Portland Oregon to New York will be a nostalgic return home for my trusty steed!
I like to cycle, its ethical, economic, efficient and healthy. For many years I possessed only a mountain bike, then five years ago we moved out of London and with that I got a Brompton. Now I go everywhere on a bike. I am addicted. Walking is by comparison painfully slow. This year I cycled to Cannes and so for the first time for two decades I am a proud owner of a road bike. In my teens and early twenties I cycled around much of the UK and latterly from Lyon to London. Crossing the USA on a bike does seem mad.
In the US I studied for a year in Eugene, Oregon. There I discovered the great architect Louis Kahn. That summer I drove in 5 weeks 13,500 miles around the US searching out buildings by Wright, Mies and Kahn. I “discovered” the southwest with its Anasazi ruined settlements of Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon and Betatakin, and the great natural landscapes of Monument Valley and the Painted Desert. I have returned to the US again and again and have taken students on field trips to Chicago, Boston, New York & Philadelphia. I am fond of this continent.
I got wind of this trip in the spring. It is fair to say negotiations with my family are ongoing but I am confident that I will be joining our reverse Oregon Trail. I am taken by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise awareness, raise money and endure.
I am a director of Henley Halebrown Rorrison, previously Buschow Henley. When I’m not practicing as an architect or cycling around the streets of London and lanes of Hampshire I teach at the University of Southampton School of Engineering and write about things…. like multistorey car parks. This might just prompt a theme.
Many years ago I was told 1000 miles travelled is as good as 1000 books read and since then I've been lucky enough to live, work and ride in many cities and countries around the world. When I first heard of P2P it immediately appealed. The combination of physical challenge, adventure and (hopefully) camaraderie are too good to pass up. What excites me most though is the opportunity to contribute to the ever growing research into how cycling can be effectively incorporated into the existing urban structure.
The trip offers the opportunity to evaluate first-hand the impact that different initiatives are having along the route and find out how these are succeeding or failing and why. By being able to bring together the accumulated knowledge of all involved and create practical recommendations to help push cycling further up the agenda in the UK, building upon the developments of the last year or so is a very motivating aspect of this adventure.
I fell for cycling when I lived in Chamonix in the summer of 2009; it was impossible not to become hooked with the back drop of Mont Blanc as I flew down the winding descents after a rewarding long climb. Back in London with a busy schedule, cycling seems to be the quickest way to get around the city, and certainly the best way to break free of the frustrations of rush hour traffic and public transport delays.
Working in architecture and urban design at Levitt Bernstein I've always been fascinated by the bigger picture; what makes our cities work and how the standard of the built environment is so directly linked to economic, environmental and, most importantly, social consequences. Cities dominated by the car are a mistake of our previous generations so now it's time for people and pedestrians to take back control. We need to find ways for city dwellers to get from A to B without the dependence of vehicles, but instead the independence of two wheels.
I'm excited to be on the P2P team and am fascinated to see what we can learn from the US. The cycling revolution has only just begun in London; there is much change to come and I can't wait to be a part of it...
As an architect I have always worked in London. Within these confines I have been more of an adventurer than a steady careerist and have had the privilege of working with a number of great architects as well as achieving the odd triumph myself. With a passion for architecture, both historic and modern, I have practiced at mostly the concept end of a wide range of building types but increasingly I have specialised in urban design and have led projects for London and Prague. As a change and for a short period in the last decade, in what I call my gardening leave, I collaborated with a top garden designer to achieve two successive gold medal winning show gardens at Chelsea. I have a number of interests apart from architecture and cycling but have particular passions for Italian Opera and classic Minis.
My motivation for the trip comes from my childhood fascination with both cycling and America. The former has developed very slowly and intermittently into more of an obsession in recent years and I now look for any opportunity for adventure. As a student I spent three months in eastern USA but have always dreamed of a slower and wider exploration.
In January a student friend of mine, thinking I would be interested, emailed me after he heard Peter talk about the trip at the end of a presentation at University. By chance, I saw Peter a few days later and having consumed far too many glasses of red wine I volunteered an interest, finding myself perhaps unwittingly committed to the whole trip.
In the sobriety of morning I had no doubts about this being a fantastic and exciting opportunity.
Why would I want to ride 4000 miles across the US on my beautiful racing bike? I am riding for charity, but to be brutally honest, it is the challenge that excites me. I still need to prove to myself that I am young enough to do it!
I have a son at Rugby School, who has been gently teased by his mates about his “72 year old dad”. However, they have all admitted to him that I am probably much fitter than most of their much younger fathers. When I complete the journey, my son’s status at school will definitely be up. That will make me happy for him.
I grew up in Zimbabwe and had a great outdoor life, playing lots of sport, camping and climbing Kilimanjaro as a boy scout. I qualified as an architect at the University of Cape Town and continued my academic career in urban design at Washington University in St Louis, USA. After spending ten years running my own architectural practice in Cape Town, I decided to leave as I never thought that Nelson Mandela would be released from prison. How wrong I was. However, I don’t regret my decision. I joined Arup in 1978 and retired 32 years later, after an exciting and challenging career working on many great projects in the UK and Europe.
I was introduced to serious cycling by James Burland, my close architectural colleague at Arup. We joined Peter Murray on the inaugural Cycle to Cannes charity ride in 2006. It was something special! Seventeen riders with hand held maps, camping gear, riding from 6am to 10pm in foul, freezing weather until we reached sunshine in Provence. I have to say that it was one of the great adventures of my life! Meeting the challenge, making great friends and finishing feeling fit enough to go straight over the Alpes. I will remember it forever!
I am convinced that P2P ride will be even more exciting and memorable. I can’t wait.
My first memories of cycling are of one of my brothers lifting me up onto his bike, pushing me, and letting go – I was so far off the ground that I had no choice but to keep peddling in order to stay upright until he agreed to catch me. Eventually I learnt how to jump off. An effective method, though perhaps not very health and safety compliant.
From 11 years old, I’ve been riding a bike as my main form of transport, and nowadays I’m a daily London commuter, with a keen interest in how the city can improve its infrastructure. I lived in New York City for four years in the early 1990s, and it’s amazing how things have changed in cycling provision since then, starting to transform the city for cyclists. On a previous trip to the USA, Rob (Cohen) and I managed to rent or borrow bikes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York; this ride will seriously join up the dots!
Rob and I regularly bike together around Britain and in Europe, and a couple of years ago did Land’s End to John O’Groats. I’m taking the same bike on this ride – my trusty Sunn frame that I bought in 1998 -- not really a match for the carbon fibre competition among the other riders… but it has been many miles with me.
I work for the Open Society Foundations on a range of themes in Africa, and am pleased to be raising money for Article 25.
Ten years ago on a ride from London to Paris organised for the British Legion I sat down at supper with three very fit experienced riders, well into their 70s, who were discussing a ride they had just undertaken across the States. They were convinced it was the best cycling experience of their lives. As they thrilled over sunsets in the Rockies, the wide open spaces of Montana and the beauty of places they’d never heard of before they made the trip, I decided to emulate their stand out journey.
I am passionate about cycling and I am passionate cities, I believe our obeisance to the motor car has all but destroyed the quality of life in our city centres and the encouraging resurgence in walking and cycling will help to restore streets to places of social interaction rather than the utilitarian corridors they have become. Cycling helps me feel I am doing something on a daily basis to contribute to a more sustainable environmernt and I take heart from H G Wells’ comments that “when I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”
I have ridden tens of thousands of miles over the past decade or so raising money for charities; I started the Cycle to Cannes ride which annually delivers a quarter of a million pounds for good causes. But this is the big one, and the last. After this I shall ride purely for the pleasure of it - so I hope my friends will make one big contribution, and in future do not have to avoid me at parties in case I try to tap them for yet another contribution.
As Chairman of NLA: London’s Centre for the Built Environment I am keen to promote cycling in the UK capital, to press for greater investment in the safety of riders and to assist the modal shift from four wheels to two.
I am a Director of Jestico + Whiles and have particular expertise in sustainable design education and housing. I believe passionately in the considered use of the earth’s natural resources to create architecture which is enduring, delightful and socially responsible.
Educated at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, I have forged a career in architecture which places human values and design quality at the forefront of all that I do. I have been responsible for many award-winning urban regeneration schemes for both private and Housing Association clients in most London Boroughs.
I am the director responsible for the practice’s expanding portfolio of Housing and Education Sector projects and have completed a significant number of award winning schemes most notably leading the design of phases 3, 4 and 5 of Greenwich Millennium Village described in a CABE reviews as an exemplar scheme. Jestico + Whiles’ growing reputation for innovation combined with high quality is underpinned by my approach to design and leadership.
I am a former member of the RIBA Sustainable Futures Committee, which formulates RIBA policies on sustainability, have been a civic trust awards assessor and have spoken at many UK and European conferences. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Homes and Community Agency’s design and sustainability advisory panel.
I have a long held desire to travel across the USA from coast to coast (albeit on a motorbike) ever since the heady seventies and Easyrider. One evening at a reception in one of our completed buildings I engaged in idle conversation with Peter and he mentioned his plan to cycle from Portland Place to Portland Oregon. Fuelled by drink I rashly mentioned that I thought it would be an amazing thing to do – Peter suggested I did it ( in his very persuasive way ) and I couldn’t think of why not. In the cold light of day and following some serious re-consideration it seemed like a once in lifetime opportunity to rise to another challenge (a similar sequence of events occurred before I ran my first marathon ) and support a brilliant initiative. So the rest as they say is destined to become history !
Over 40 years ago I received my first bike, a bronze Malvern Star for Christmas. It gave me the means to earn pocket money as a paper boy on the early morning round. In June I took delivery of a Condor Acciaio cycle, giving me the means to cycle across the USA and half of Britain.
I’m still earning my living from the media, working as a freelance photographer in the corporate and editorial worlds. I’ve documented the construction of Rogers’ Millennium Dome, Terminal 5 and Foster’s Millennium Bridge and 30 St. Mary Axe. I have contributed to several books on the architecture of London, and I use my knowledge of London to deliver photographic tours of the City. As a part-time teacher at City Literary Institute I have been able to pass on my knowledge to other keen students of photography.
The journey across the USA started for me last year when Peter sent an email about a meeting to plan the route. I had made a passing enquiry when I saw Peter at a book launch in autumn last year. My involvement had become more than an interest and the reality of completing this venture is revealed at every subsequent meeting I have with other riders. I am excited, nervous, anxious and thrilled about the prospect of crossing the USA by bicycle. I want to make a photographic record of the journey, documenting our trials, the people we meet and the cities, towns and landscapes that will inform our journey.
I am a journalist and author who specialises in built environment matters. I edit the New London Quarterly and MIPIM Asia magazines, and write books, articles and exhibition copy on architecture, design, property and planning.
I began with a desire to write for a living, eventually melding that with my parents' thoughts that I would make a good architect, to complement the engineers in the family. Following a degree and masters in English and then journalism school I found myself on Planning magazine, then the Architects' Journal, rising to become acting editor before leaving to go freelance. Then came a period as editor of both the London Property Review and Retail Property Review, before relaunching and redesigning the former as the NLQ.
Why am I doing the ride? Because it’s there! I took part in the Cycle to Cannes trip a fair few years ago, and felt it was about time I did another similar physical challenge, enjoyed the cameraderie, raised some money for charity and generally had what feels like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure - even if having a young family means I'm not able to do the whole trip.
After a false start in social work I worked in planning and regeneration in London local authorities for over 30 years. I was Camden's corporate manager for High Speed One, the restoration of St Pancras and King's Cross stations, and masterplanning for the King's Cross development. I was head of Camden's Urban Design & Renewal and retain a keen interest in all things placeshaping. Now a freelance city design and development advisor, and volunteer planning support for the Woodland Trust.
Why this ride? Peter asked me and I always say yes to him ...
A semi-retired planner needs a challenge and this one has the main attraction of promoting good place-making and cycling here and in the US...a fund raiser and eye-opener in one. Such a journey is going to be a real test personally.
The rest of the group has a massive pedigree in architecture and design, so I'm privileged to represent the public sector.
Photography by Grant Smith