Pedaling for a World Record - Earth Day 24 hour Cyclathon

18/04/2016 20:23

This weekend was a busy one! After the Parkrun on Saturday morning, son #1 went to his athletics club, I took son #2 to a birthday party, then son #1 went to watch the Rugby Sevens with Daddy and friends. After dinner and a bath, the boys went to bed and hubby and I headed out on bikes to contribute some pedal power at the Natgeo 24 hour cyclathon.

Some of my team mates had been there since midday, some cycling for 3 hours or so on the stationary trainers and Kath doing a 12 hour stint from midday to midnight. There were even a few crazies doing 24 hours! 

We got there and set up my bike on the trainer. A woman looked at me, looked at my bump, then my face, then my bump again and said, "Are you sure??" I just smiled. I started pedalling and hubby jumped on Kath's bike to give her a few minutes' break. A while later he came over to where I was cycling and announced that he was going to find food! I was hot already. The event was supposed to be low energy, so there were no fans and as darkness had just fallen there was very little wind. I took off my t-shirt. 

The bib shorts over my cropped top was far from glamourous, but I didn't care! It was the coolest and most comfortable way to be! It did mean that I got even more stares though...

A while later my husband came back. He sat on the floor, ate half the food he'd bought and re-filled our water bottles (I'd drank almost 2 litres already in 30 minutes!). Then we switched places and he pedalled my bike 

while I polished off what was left of the food and went to check on Kath.

The world record that we were trying to beat was 31,399 watt hours, set in Hong Kong in 2014 by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The only trouble was that they did it on 48 bike stations and we didn't have nearly so many as that - just 27. They produced 654 watts on average, per hour each on each station.for 24 hours.

Earlier in the day, as part of the same even, the Natgeo Earth Day Run was held. This run was Singapore’s first zero-waste, zero-carbon footprint mass public race event. It was more than a little bit different to the usual events, bloated with race packs and goodie bags that nearly always go straight into the bin and their thousands of single use plastic bottles...

No entrance fee: Steep fees restrict participation, and is exclusionary in spirit. (this is also one of the reasons that Parkrun is such an amazing event). To qualify for participation, all you have to do is complete a total of 4 Green Actions, and accumulate CO2 offset Points.

No pre-determined routes or distance: You race your own race. Choose your start point, chart your target distance and route, and arrive at our finishing point at 10am on Sunday, 17 April 2016. You also choose how you want to travel – whether it’s walking, running, cycling, rollerblading, kick-scootering, etc.

Fully-powered by renewable energy. With the support of a large pack of cyclists (from seasoned athletes to recreational cyclists and weekend warriors), a 24-hour cyclothon will start at 6pm on Saturday 16 April, to generate and store up pedal-powered kinetic electric energy for all the event needs.

NO race packs

No disposable plates, cups or cutlery will be used. Reusable plates, cutlery and cups – everything you need to consume food & beverage without creating waste - are provided. For the race, water will be served from dispensers at the finish point, to discourage the use of plastic bottles or paper cups.

No food waste. All uneaten food will be distributed to our race volunteers.

Meat-less! Beef, pork, chicken and mutton have a very high carbon footprint. We’re promoting a low-carbon lifestyle by offering vegetarian options – it’s healthy, and also one of the most efficient ways to reduce carbon emissions.

Raising funds to fight climate change. 

All funds raised will go to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), for reforestation efforts in Sumatra and other campaign efforts to combat climate change.

So, we kept pedalling, and drinking, and mopping up the sweat! Our two hours went past pretty fast and before we knew it, it was 10pm and there was another rider waiting to put his bike on the station that I was using. We hopped off, had some more to drink, went to chat to Kath to check she was OK and then jumped on our bikes and cycled home along the edge of the water, slowly and chatting all the way.

So did we break the world record?

We produced 736 watts per station, per hour, over 24 hours.

HK Polytechnic had 48 bike stations that produced 654 watts each.

We produced on average 82 watts more power, per station.

Our 300 riders generated a total of 19,872 watt hours.

We were 11,527 watt hours short of the record. 

If we had 48 bike stations we would have beaten the record... we had 27.

It was a great event. If there is another attempt next year, I should be able to pedal harder and for longer, so contributing significantly more watt hours. 
In the meantime, here are a few things we can all do to make the world a better, cleaner, healthier place:
- say no to plastic bags, single use cups, bottles and cutlery
- re-use and re-purpose whatever you can
- recycle whatever you can't re-use
- use public transport, or better still cycle or walk
- turn off lights, air conditioning and any other electrical appliance
- buy second hand. It's another way to re-use...
- waste less. Only cook what you need, only boil enough water for what you need
- shower instead of bath, with cooler water and for a shorter amount of time
- don't buy/ use things with palm oil in them
- eat proper, local food instead of processed and/ or imported food
... and much more here: