ride for their lives

29th October 2021

The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast

EPISODE 285: Ride For Their Lives


HOST: Carlton Reid

GUESTS: Childrens’ health professionals on the Ride for Their Lives ride.

TOPICS: 30 or so childrens’ health professionals are riding from London to Glasgow to deliver a letter to world leaders at COP26. I joined them on day six between Newcastle and Carlisle.


Carlton Reid 0:14
Welcome to Episode 285 of the spokesmen cycling podcast. This show was recorded on Friday 29th of October 2021.

David Bernstein 0:25
The spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast is brought to you by JensonUSA, Jenson USA where you will find a great selection of products at unbeatable prices with unparalleled customer service. Check them out at Jensonusa.com/thespokesmen. Hey everybody. It’s David from the Fredcast. And of course, I’m one of the hosts and producers of The spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast since 2006. For shownotes links and other information, check out our website www.the-spokesmen.com. And now, here’s my fellow host and producer Carlton Reid and the spokesmen.

Carlton Reid 1:10
Hi there I’m Carlton Reid and today I had the honour to meet with a bunch of health professionals on day six of their ride from London to Glasgow. This is the Ride for their Lives rolling demo and they left on Sunday 24th October from the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. There are a core bunch of 30 or so riders with additional day riders joining from different cities en route. Most are children’s healthcare providers and they’re riding to Glasgow to deliver an open letter to political leaders gathering at the COP26 climate conference. Polluted air causes an estimated 7 million deaths annually, and of course, shares the same root causes as the climate crisis. We discuss this and much more on this episode of the Spokesmen cycling podcast. The riders were heading to Carlisle and I jumped between the groups to record audio with as many folks as I could grab as we were riding along or stopping for breathers. We left from Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary in pouring rain and first off I interviewed the CEO of Great Ormond Street hospital Matt Shaw. Well, I thought I did. Well, I did, but the radio mics clearly didn’t like the rain and they turned themselves off without me knowing it. Very gamely, Matt agreed to be interviewed again later in the ride but first here I catch up with Dr Mark Hayden, one of the co-organisers of the ride. Mark was recently awarded as Active Travel Campaigner of the year by London Cycling Campaign, as you soon hear.

Mark, caught you up. Yeah, just through this friends.

Dr Mark Hayden 3:09
Is it? I don’t know. I’m following my little way up. And I’m just looking looking at that. And

Carlton Reid 3:15
it’s a beautiful route now me it wasn’t it Harry coming out of Newcastle was Yeah. But now the rain stopped and you’re now in you know, the, the tires to the side. It’s lovely. It’s beautiful route. Yeah. So, Mark, tell me who you are.

Dr Mark Hayden 3:29

Carlton Reid 3:30

Dr Mark Hayden 3:31
Well, I’m a paediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Consultant in London, which is a bit of a mouthful and largely irrelevant. That major mainly pays my pays my salary and like allows me actually more time than you’d expect to concentrate on what I think for me is the most important thing I can do at the moment, which is dressed addressing the climate health emergency and like, we all know it cop 26 coming up the situation that we’re in, but not everybody is actually doing anything about it. And you know, you do

Carlton Reid 4:05
lots of stuff because you were active travel campaigner of the year. Yeah, absolutely. With the London cycling campaign.

Dr Mark Hayden 4:12
I was surprised I didn’t apply.

Carlton Reid 4:15
Do you do? Yeah. How did you get that award? What are you in London to make people sign up notice?

Dr Mark Hayden 4:23
Well, I think they mentioned this the right for their lives, which we’ll talk about in a bit, I’m sure. As part of that, because it does fit as you know, there is a strong association between cycling, cycling, infrastructure and riding. But the main thing I was really doing in London was initially focusing on our staff at Great Ormond Street at the time of the pandemic, mainly, and getting cycle infrastructure sorted within gosh, so we actually used a mob called cycling UK he probably heard Yep, and they have something called a cycle friendly employer scheme. Have a think I wrote some one of my usual angry letters to an MP or something. I think there’s a MP cycling group. And they wrote back and said, Why don’t you talk to this guy called James pallisa. So wait, I got together with him. And we, we got Gosh, to be the first NHS Trusts to be a cycle friendly employer. And of course, because I always have to overdo things, we made sure that gosh, was a gold cycle friendly employer. So that gave a lot of opportunity for you know, changing structural things like parking is the main thing. You really need showers, stuff like that. But also information sharing and encouraging people and groups that help. There’s riding along all of that sort

Carlton Reid 5:45
of stuff. Your electric bike there, which might be the sound that people hear it is yeah. Is that what you normally like? Or is that your everyday bike apart from

Dr Mark Hayden 5:54
when it gets stolen, which is either if I ever leave it on the street, which I never do anymore, or AFI was on I think Sakura one or something one of the SAS trends rates going north, up the Lee Valley when I got pulled over by a couple of guys threatened to be shanked, and they relieved me of my previous bike, which was a much more expensive one. But it is a better bike. So I’m not sad about that. So is that one

Carlton Reid 6:19
of the things that you do? Gosh, then you make sure that number one? Well, number one, that’s certainly one of the major things is the people who are coming to work on their bikes are going to have somewhere secure really secure. Yeah, especially in London. Yeah, it’s

Dr Mark Hayden 6:32
got to be behind swipe carded stuff system, if their stuff.

Carlton Reid 6:37
So it was a one already have you put that in? Well,

Dr Mark Hayden 6:40
funnily enough, the guy who actually thought of this ride, Vince, is just ahead of us in a group called silky Oh, he’s been sort of working on that for years. You know, he’s sort of been running that for years. And actually, when I sort of got involved with him, there was a lot of secure cycle parking at Gosh, which is an unusual situation. But nobody used to, you know, there was one section that people could easily get into. And that was always full, and all the rest you couldn’t get into, because you have to ask the security guards for the right door to let you in. So there’s all of these barriers, which were the easiest barriers in the world to kick over once you got organised and did something about it. And you organised an active travel group, which we did rather than a bicycle Users Group, which I think are an impediment to everything. I don’t like bicycle Users group, they just focused on cyclists. And I’m interested in active travel. And Cycling is a great part of active travel. But yeah, so it’s for that bit for the cycle friendly employer. A lot of it was stuff I just did by talking to people, and I didn’t need money and I didn’t need changes. So that was fine. But the junction at Holborn where the paediatrician who works at the Evelina, there’s a bunch of Evelina riders riding with us was killed that the beginning of August Yeah, I can’t do anything about that. The you know, that needs to be changed by,

Carlton Reid 8:15
okay. You got this on your your gang right here.

Dr Mark Hayden 8:19
And we’re on Komoot. And, you know, the only people that can actually change that are Camden, and the mayor, and some clever people who understand how to design a junction, which isn’t me. So that was really the next step. And it wasn’t a conscious step. You know, he was just, I’ve roughly got my stuff cycling, I’ve roughly got them safe. And now someone’s been killed. And that could have been one of my stuff. And several Gosh, stuff are being killed near Gosh, and one’s being killed on that junction before. And everybody knows about it. The mayor, Camden, they all know about it. They all know it’s wrong, and they’re not acting. So people are only going to act if they’ve got the money to act, or they’ve got the inclination. So really, that’s when I sort of moved further into the advocacy quite air. And I think that’s really why the LCC gave me this award, which they probably just made up this year. As far as I know, I don’t know. But so the I think it was around the advocacy. That was the main thing,

Carlton Reid 9:26
advocacy in London. Yeah, let’s segue to what you’re saying about Vince. And coming up with the idea for this ride. Yeah. So when did you start planning this? Why did you start planning this? How did you start planning this?

Dr Mark Hayden 9:39
Yeah. Well, I did talk to Vince about we have lost your group. By the way. Let’s just drop the pace then. Because it’s hard for me to ride lead and

Carlton Reid 9:49
no, I’m taking you away from your role there.

Dr Mark Hayden 9:52
So yeah. Should we just talk?

Carlton Reid 9:55
Yeah, shouldn’t we maybe have

Dr Mark Hayden 9:57
a chance? Sara Do you actually you don’t work in the Bristol Children’s Hospital? Do you? Your mum’s cutting in your hair to support your mama? How old are you 79. Your youngest thing is Toby’s 18. And one of our other writers who left us in Sheffield was 18, too. So you might you make our youngest rider, we were just talking about how the ride came about.

Carlton Reid 10:22
It’s the electric bike, you say?

Dr Mark Hayden 10:24
Well, it is to turn it off.

Carlton Reid 10:28
No, no, no, we’re back together. I think almost

Dr Mark Hayden 10:32
no, it’s off now. And you’re right now, nowadays, now I can use my legs to tell me the pace to go rather than my than my mind. I don’t need electricity on the flat. Should we go back to

Carlton Reid 10:45
when So Vince is up ahead? And yeah, so maybe when maybe when did this all come together?

Dr Mark Hayden 10:49
As I said, I just saying what I was talking about is just on the ride the other day, and we were going, when did we think this happened? He goes, I’ll go and look for the email. And he hasn’t done that yet, because we’ve been a bit busy. But I would say it’s about a year ago now nearly a year ago. And the way it came about was the fertile ground of the safe, effective and sustainable travel group, which I was talking about, which is better than a bug because it focuses on how people get to work in any method other than the car, basically, including hybrids, hybrid methods, not hybrid cars. And we were just in that group, and we declared the emergency or we’re about to declare the emergency, which we all know is a bit of, you know, what does it mean when someone does that? So we were sitting in the group going, what can we actually do? What actions can we take that are real? So that’s when Vince said it. We all said, Well, that’s a stupid idea. Because pliers goes a long way away. But about a week or so later, it’s thinking in and people thinking about it. The next time we had the meeting, we said that’s a great idea. And we’ve been planning it ever since. So that’s how it came about.

Carlton Reid 12:05
So it’s always gonna be the cop 26 was the goal. Yep. To tell world leaders that things are going to change. And then there’s a letter from 45 million. So tell me about the letter from 45 million health professionals. Right, which is what you’re carrying

Dr Mark Hayden 12:21
is that, well, we’re carrying a series of messages, really, I mean, obviously, just what we’re doing is a message. And perhaps the most powerful one, because we’re doing it with our bodies. Lots of letters and things like that have happened in the past, I guess the main thing we’re trying to do differently is to get people to read them, and then get people that act on them. Like Greta says, we know what the problems are. We know what the solutions are. None of it is difficult. None of is tricky. We can fix this completely easily. And we could have done 20 years ago. What’s missing is the will. So that letter that you’re talking about is the healthy prescription. And it’s been signed by I don’t know how many people but the the number you’re quoting is the organization’s that have signed up to it and how many people they represent. And that’s basically a very simple letter. And I couldn’t tell you, at this point, the exact wording, but very simply it talks about adjust and rapid transition away from fossil fuels. It doesn’t mention cycling at all, and nor should it because that’s just a method to do that. But in addition to that, the Royal College of Paediatrics of Child Health and we’re cycling with the college president president today Camilla Kingdon, she’s, which group she’s in. She’s in Sequoia group.

Carlton Reid 13:42
Are they ahead of us all behind us?

Dr Mark Hayden 13:43
Good question. I think they I think they’re behind us.

Carlton Reid 13:47

Dr Mark Hayden 13:48
So Camilla Kingdon. She’s a neonatologist at the Everlina, a colleague of the lady who died and she’s the she’s the president, and that college on Monday this week, put out their statement. So we’re carrying that we’re carrying the letter. And we’re also carrying a letter that came from Geneva, from the World Health Organisation. A letter and a report, which came out very closely together, which Dermott who’s the head of head of health, climate change and health at the World Health Organisation cycled from Geneva to London, to give us and then I was lucky enough to cycle with him, from Geneva to from London to almost Oxford where his mom lives. And he turned off left. And so all of those documents represent what we want people to hear. So we’re not trying to say what we want them to hear all the time. We’re trying to direct them to the experts to the adults in the room, and to tell them to listen to them. We’re healthcare professionals. We’re not for Climate scientists, but we know that this is the greatest threat to our patients. And that if we’re not protecting the planet, we’re not protecting our patients. So that’s the simplicity. That’s the synthesis, I suppose of our message. And

Carlton Reid 15:18
if you clean up the air for people to breathe that exactly the same time mitigates against climate crisis anyway?

Dr Mark Hayden 15:27
Well, I can’t. I mean, humankind is very inventive. But I can’t honestly think of a way that you could reduce pollution and make air quality better, but make the climate crisis worse, because they’re both the same thing. They’re both caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and fossil fuels of coal, oil, and its derivatives and gas. So you need to stop doing both of those things. And both of them work together. But the problem in the UK? Well, it’s not a problem. But one of the issues in the UK is making it relevant to people. And, you know, floods and typhoons, and all of these terrible things that are affecting billions and billions of children across the world aren’t necessarily directed, directly affecting people in the UK. But air quality is, but they don’t know about it, they should know about it. It’s again, like the climate crisis has been known about for years. But the truth has not been told. And the focus has not been on the right place. So that’s why we were using air quality because it’s a direct impact on children all over the world. And particularly in the UK, where cops taking part. And our initial target is UK health workers. And then health workers more broadly. We’re not aiming to speak directly to the public, we want to speak to healthcare workers. We want us to all realise it’s our jobs as our colleges say. And then it’d be nice if politicians listened. And even better if the general public felt that we were trustworthy people who were speaking the truth. So I guess that’s the bottom line. So glad I had a battery there otherwise, I wouldn’t have been speaking at the top of this hill.

Carlton Reid 17:21
So trust medics, well,

Dr Mark Hayden 17:24
they trust nurses and pharmacists, I think at the top. medics are sort of not at the top quite appropriately, I think. And that’s why we’re not medics. You know, there’s a few doctors but we’ve got doctors and nurses, OTs and speech therapy, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, pharmacists. We’ve got electricians that work in the States, we got sustainability professionals, we’ve got young people who either used to be or even still our patients of Gosh, we’ve got, we’re not a bunch of doctors cycling to Glasgow, we could have been, that would have been way easier to organise. There are millions of doctors with lycra and carbon fibre bikes that I could have brought along. But I didn’t want to not because I don’t like them. Some of them are my friends. But because we’re not gonna, we’re not going to get people cycling. By sticking to the same old stereotypes. We’re going to get people cycling, by making everybody feel welcome. So that’s really the message and we’re not going to fix old white men like me, I’m going to fix climate change. You know, we’ve tried that look at all of the sort of conservation efforts and stuff that’s failed in the past. The only solution is diversity. So if we weren’t following that, as a principle on the ride, I think it would have been pointless doing the ride.

Carlton Reid 18:59
Well, Mark, I’m gonna I’m going to turn round in a minute, and I’m going to try and get some other people find Camilla. Yeah. We’ll try and get some other groups back there. Brilliant.

Camilla, first of all, we are well, we’re just coming off Route 72. You’re now going into into Corbridge. Is this your first day with the ride? How many days?

Dr Camilla Kingdon 19:18
My only day with the ride. So I’ve come up from London to do Newcastle to Carlisle.

Carlton Reid 19:23
Nice. rainiest day.

Dr Camilla Kingdon 19:26
I know. But you know

what? It’s like, late October. I was actually fully expecting it to be cold and wet. Yeah, it’s not particularly cold. So no, all good.

Carlton Reid 19:34
That’s good. Yeah. Right. Tell us on tape who you are. And you’re the president of an august organisation. So tell us that.

Dr Camilla Kingdon 19:43
So I’m Camilla Kingdom. And I’m a consultant paediatrician, and I’m the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Carlton Reid 19:50
And where do you normally do your doctoring?

Dr Camilla Kingdon 19:51
So I, I work at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital which is in central London.

Carlton Reid 19:56
Sadly, a colleague of yours was killed.

Dr Camilla Kingdon 19:59
She was.

Carlton Reid 19:59
On a road in

Dr Camilla Kingdon 20:01
very near the college. Yes, yes, yes.

Carlton Reid 20:04
Yes. So is that I know this has been planned along before. But are there colleagues who would have known that person?

Dr Camilla Kingdon 20:13
I knew her. So she worked in my hospital. She said her name was Marta Krawiec, yes. She was a consultant, paediatric allergist. And in fact, she and I went, went to Cairo together to run. I was running a conference with paediatricians in Egypt. And they were desperate to hear learn more about allergy. And she volunteered to come. And so we spent, in fact, I saw the pyramids with her. So it’s absolutely heartbreaking. She was cycling through central London. It’s a route that I do very, very frequently. Everybody in London knows that interchange. And I think she was the seventh or eighth person to diet. So it’s absolutely heartbreaking.

Carlton Reid 20:59
Let’s look to the future. The Royal College has got a new policy on climate change. When was that announced? And what is it?

Dr Camilla Kingdon 21:09
This week. So we’ve launched our climate change statement. And this is on the back of us declaring a climate change emergency back in 2020. And, in fact, a group of our members brought it as a motion to our annual general meeting. And of course, it was passed unanimously, it was cleaning out no argument to be had about that. But what was it’s one thing passing a motion, that we’ve declared a climate emergency, it’s another thing to do something about it. And so what we’ve got is, we’d look, we put a call out for volunteers we had at paediatricians volunteer. And so we’ve divided them up into five work streams. And we’ve got a work stream doing, looking at the research in relation to impact of climate change on children, we’ve got another work stream, looking at how we advocate for children and young people in terms of so a bit like the cycle road, you know, this is about raising the awareness about the impact of pollution on children’s health. So that’s the advocacy group is a group looking at international children of the impact on global child health. So we’ve got this series of workstreams. And they’ve all got some targets to achieve. And this was sort of at the beginning of our journey, but we very much see this as a continuous effort in the college over the over the years, you know, until we’ve solved the problem, we’re not going to stop the

Carlton Reid 22:32
work and just cycling hook into that. Well,

Dr Camilla Kingdon 22:35
cycling, of course, cycling hooks into it, because you’re not burning fossil fuel in your engine. And so many of us cycle anyway, to work, I commute to work on my bicycle. And I think this particular cycle ride grabbed people’s imagination, because you know, it’s a good hard slog to Glasgow, you’re putting yourself out of your comfort zone. But you’re really kind of trying to get the message out that the children’s lives are impacted by poor air quality. And, you know, a nine year old died not far from where I live, in fact, in South London a few years ago. No, exactly. And, you know, it was a landmark case, because the coroner ruled that air pollution can be contributed to her death. But there’s a wider issue in as much as this is also about health inequalities because we know that children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are more impacted by poor air quality and other aspects of climate change than children from advantaged backgrounds. And actually, sadly, globally, children in the poorest countries where actually they’re probably causing the least impact on the on the planet are the most affected in terms of poor air quality, dirty drinking water, etc, etc. So, this is a real child health issue.

Carlton Reid 23:58
Earlier in the morning, and long before I circled back to talk to Dr. Camilla Kingdon. I had to become disconnected from the group’s after some of my recording equipment fell from the bike. A rider in fluoro, yellow kindly dropped back to be with me. I didn’t know it for about 15 minutes or so. But this was Dr. Mike McKean, a name I was actually familiar with because A, he treated one of our kids and, B, my wife knows him well. My wife is a hospital paediatrician, you see, she should have been on this ride really? Anyway, me and Mike rode in tempo to the town of Prudhoe, where we were expecting to meet with the fast roadies who had gone ahead to buy a replacement tyre following a blowout. Instead, we got to the bike shop first. And what we’re twiddling our thumbs waiting for the group. I use my dried out radio mic to talk first to Mike. And then when the roadie group finally arrived to Janet Poon who had ridden off earlier with my other radio mic. That’s a lot of mics. I know, let’s be professional. Here’s Dr. McKean. Okay, well let’s just walk across here are waiting for the rest of the fast road group to to arrive. We’ll use one microphone because the other microphones up the road there with Janet. No idea where they are. So Mike we have arrived outside. Well it used to be bike highwayman or bike repairman? Giant Newcastle giant Newcastle. No,

Dr Mike McKean 25:29
it’s the two companies. Yes.

Carlton Reid 25:31
So we’re kind of in the cycle area of Prudhoe.

Dr Mike McKean 25:34

Carlton Reid 25:34
And we are waiting for the crew because we’ve had a bit of a mechanical so I’ve had a bit of a tyre. That’s burst. So the crew, I guess, hopefully will arrive quite soon. But in the meantime, let’s let’s talk to you, Mike. So Mike, tell me first of all, who you are, even though I know who you are, because my wife knows you. Anyway, who are you, Mike?

Dr Mike McKean 25:50
So I’m going to Mike McKean. I’m a children’s respiratory consultant at the Great North Children’s Hospital. And I’m also clinical lead for the child health and wellbeing network in the North east North Cumbria.

Carlton Reid 26:01
So that’s basically children’s well being so not just their physical health, but also what they’re breathing, their mental health, their exercise, all of that kind of stuff is that yeah,

Dr Mike McKean 26:12
but also also a lot of is about education to an early intervention, I think. I’ve often thought you know, that, that we we’ve got some fantastic people working in children’s health, all over the country, really. But we shouldn’t forget that actually, the children’s workforce in the UK is massive if you include our social workers, our voluntary sector, but most importantly, our teachers. And I think we’ve all got a part to play in supporting our kids to become as healthy as possible that’s both physically mentally, but also in their learning their education so that they can reach their potential.

Carlton Reid 26:49
And now you’ve been on the ride since day one. So you joined in London, from a pair from your full timer. But you joined in London. So you’ve been riding now for five days.

Dr Mike McKean 27:01
Yeah, this is this is I forget which day it is now, stay six.

Carlton Reid 27:06
And this is the first time you’ve had relatively poor weather because you got a meal. It’s actually dried up now. But you’ve had some poor weather today. Yeah, we’ve

Dr Mike McKean 27:15
had a tailwind for yesterday, which was the long run from Harrogate was nearly 90 miles. So having a tailwind was fantastic. And it was overcast them. But other days we’ve had sunshine which has been been unseasonal, perhaps, but nice.

Carlton Reid 27:29
And how

many people are doing the ride, because obviously, people are joining in each city and riding a bit like me, of course, but how many are in the core group so that people like you when you’re doing it every day.

Dr Mike McKean 27:42
And I think there’s the tea, something 33 of us, I think during the call, and then there’s often another 10 or so riders joining us each day. And then of the 33, you know, they come from all sorts of backgrounds, really, I guess, all focused on children’s health. And so there’s therapists, there’s nurses and doctors, but there’s also charity workers for the children’s hospitals as managers, IT people and and very importantly, now a new a new breed we’re seeing in the professionals we’re seeing coming into the NHS, which is sustainability officers who really are educated and trained in trying to help us develop an NHS service, which is hopefully going to become carbon neutral, or even carbon negative. Now, wouldn’t that be a thing? The NHS is a huge part of the UK. And if that sector and that that working sector was actually carbon negative one day, that would be a great example, because we will know that that climate change is having such a big impact on everybody’s health, and that includes the NHS workers themselves.

Carlton Reid 28:49
So not just NHS workers arriving at work and tootling around electric cars, but you’d hope the sustainability officers are also saying walk more cycle more. It’s not just the the pollution you’ve got to worry about. It’s people’s health.

Dr Mike McKean 29:04
It’s people’s health as a whole and so within an environment in the in the UK, you know, thinking about our ability to cycle and walk to work is quite important and we’ve learnt lessons as we’ve gone along of the country. And you know, cycling from London you know, through London, Oxford, Sheffield, Leeds now into Newcastle, it’s quite apparent that psychopaths are not maintained, they’re not joined up. There’s the so many obstacles in crossing main roads, motorways dual carriageways, and they’re simply kind of cyclists if you like a second class citizens, and therefore that puts people off and involves a little bit of risk and danger too. So you’re going to cycle through a city at the moment you know, it’s initially no way you go in there’s a little bit hazards in the way. But I think sustainability in the NHS is not just about cycling and getting to work. It’s actually in the work environment. So that’s the electricity we use. It’s how we conserve energy, but also how we Bring greenness into our environment. So there’s a big movement about city farms now, and a lot of hospitals looking at kind of green areas within or within them or next to them to help, you know, grow fruit vegetables have pleasant places to come off the know, that’s really good for people’s well being as a whole, not to be confined into brick walls all the time. And there’s lots of evidence to show that actually, for patients, whether it’s kids or adults, actually being in an environment where there are flowers or trees is actually kind of quite important for them. Of course, you can then see green corridors coming through cities, which is interesting. I would say the other thing that that I’d like to raise who’s just been thinking a bit about it with some colleagues on this, right, which one of the best thing about is right, you speak to people who’ve got different ideas and thoughts. And one of the best things that are one of the most important things I’ve heard, there’s really educated me is about education, really. And of course, getting bringing education into our, our children’s lives about sustainability. They get it, in fact, they’re probably teaching us, I must say a thing or two. But across the world, there’s still large amounts of children who are disenfranchised who do not that good education. Sadly, in large areas of the world, it’s often the girls who struggle more than the boys to get a good education. We know that if kids get good education’s that actually systems they can engage with systems and make them work. And particularly, we have to shout out for the girls, we need more girls across the world to be getting involved in education to being educated. And that I think, is where the power of change can come from.

Carlton Reid 31:39
Power of change COP 26 How hopeful are you?

Dr Mike McKean 31:43
I think we now know we got the knowledge. There’s a lot of people who now have a belief. I don’t think it’s wide enough in the in the UK, let alone across the world and people really understanding the problems you’ve got, but also that there’s very positive solutions ahead of us. Am I optimistic? I’ll be very honest and say no, because I don’t think we’ve got that groundswell yet that we need. But, you know, turning a big tanker around takes time, they said, Isn’t it so I firmly believe if we can create the nudges, that will move in a direction that will be better, and hopefully, we can keep doing that each year.

Carlton Reid 32:19
Now, my wife is a cycling paediatrician. So that’s how I already knew your name. So as soon as we were on the road there, because you very kindly dropped back when all my electronics fell off, and it was raining, it was horrible. And the riders went off, and my bike was one of the bits you currently dropped back there. And then we’re riding for a bit and then you said to us, okay, yeah, I know Mike McKee. So I know Mike McKean is a keen cyclist, and my wife told me that so tell me a bit about how keen Mike McKean?

Dr Mike McKean 32:51
not particularly. I’m a runner, now.

Carlton Reid 32:53
Come on.

Dr Mike McKean 32:54
I’m a runner. And, and of course, as you get older, you get bad knees. And my knee surgeon said, you know, you’ve got to be careful now. So mixing it up, has been my what I’ve been doing for the last few years personally. So I’ve been doing some triathlon, swimming and cycling. I cycled to and from work when I can, and probably should do it more and I intend to do more.

Carlton Reid 33:15
But that’s from Tynemouth all the way into Newcastle. So that’s, that’s a canny ride, and you do it on the main road. It’s not a very nice ride, not

Dr Mike McKean 33:23
not always very pleasant. But if I’ve got the right gear, I know where I’m going. Now I know the routes actually does feel very safe now. So it’s just me deciding to do it and making a change and making a mental shift. Actually, I can do it. By the time I’ve actually if you’re driving and queuing and parking, it’s actually probably just as quick and you get a bit of fitness in and do I enjoy I mean, cycling and commuting don’t always particularly enjoy it, I enjoy a run. But cycling out in the countryside is got to be one of the most pleasurable things I’ve learned over the last two, three years. And having you know, and coming to a place like this cycle art and, and giant in Provo, where they’ve got some serious bike specialists who can get you kitted up, but also measured so you can get on a comfortable bike, you know, so people were shouting at bikes with discomfort and I used to I had an old bike that was a row, a bone shaker, I would describe it as. So it was never really a pleasure. You get a good bike that’s well set up. It feels safer, more comfortable and actually more enjoyable. So the last few five days, although been hard work, I would say it’s been a privilege and a pleasure, actually.

Carlton Reid 34:31
And did you know anybody on the ride before you started?

Dr Mike McKean 34:35
Well, I there’s three, three colleagues, two colleagues of mine and myself from Newcastle doing it and but there’s a load of other people who are just cycling in now.

Carlton Reid 34:46
Yes, we have people arriving just

Group 34:48
We missed you.

Carlton Reid 34:50
We’re fast. We’re very fast.

Group 34:53
I assumed you were cycling ahead. So I just went oh It was a little bit. It was hairy, hairy, so I think it was.

Carlton Reid 35:07
Yeah. So Janet, you’ve only just arrived here after you left us a wee while ago and you had the microphone on and off you went and microphone separate fine. So I think we might have started talking. But anyway, tell us who you are. Janet, what’s your name? I’m Janet. And what’s your second Janet?

Janet Poon 35:28
I’m Janet Poon. I work with Gosh,

Carlton Reid 35:31
which is a Great Ormond Street Hospital

Janet Poon 35:34
in London, and I am an electronic paediatric pharmacist. I work for the EPIC system. So I configure the pharmacy side of the aqueous grading system that Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Carlton Reid 35:46
Okay. And the bike you’ve got here. Is that white one over there?

Janet Poon 35:51
Yes. With the pink handles,

Carlton Reid 35:54
yes. Now, how much of, cos you’ve? You always kept up with the group as you’re doing pretty well. But how much riding have you done before in this kind of, you know, fast roading?

Janet Poon 36:04
I pretty much to none to zero because I commute to work. That’s all. That’s all the cycling experience I have. In preparation for this. I did do one 100k light day ride to Westerville North London, like two weeks before this. And that’s really

Carlton Reid 36:20
it. And have you found it?

Janet Poon 36:23
It’s been really fun and challenging times. But I’m really glad I’m in this group, because I think everyone has grip. It’s so elite, and they’ve got so much experience and they just helped me through so much. They taught me how to go uphill, how to go downhill.

Carlton Reid 36:36
How to ride in the rain today.

Janet Poon 36:38
We’ve had pretty good weather. And so I think the fourth day was a hideous word yesterday. It was like the longest of distance of the four days. But all pretty good weather until today, because we’re getting close to Glasgow. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s been really fun.

Carlton Reid 36:56
And you didn’t know people before some people you didn’t know. You kind of you joined here as a big group. Some of you didn’t know. I didn’t

Janet Poon 37:04
know anyone beforehand. We all met briefly and assume corporate projects resume course before the actual day. Mark, the organiser actually had to speak to one of my colleagues to check that I was real busy. You know, I’ve never met anyone before. Yeah.

Carlton Reid 37:19
So why did you join? Why did you how did you for how did you find out about it? And why did you join?

Janet Poon 37:25
My colleague said said colleague and Carlos said our you know, Mark is going right into Glasgow, do you want to join them? Like, yeah, sounds like fun, why not? And then I found out the court that you know, what they’re doing, which is obviously political air pollution. I thought that’s such a great course. And I’ve learned a lot about not just cycling, but a lot about air pollution as well, during this ride,

Carlton Reid 37:47
is because you’ve got sustainability officers who are joining the ride. It’s not just doctors and nurses. And you also have

Janet Poon 37:55
Yeah, we have we have quite a few hedonistic sustainability from different NHS Trust joining us charity heads as well, but mostly because of the pollution pods. So we saw pollution pot yesterday at the Royal Victoria. And is demonstrated they have five in London and five in Glasgow and they all represent like air quality of different cities. But in between, I think Birmingham, Newcastle, correct me if I’m wrong, and one other cities also have a just one port and that port. That pot is like a future version of what our air would be like in 20 years time. We don’t do anything today. And it’s quite eye opening, like when you go into it, even before you go into a pod, you can see the pod is very, like polluted so and just even before getting to report you can smell it yeuck and really nasty. So it’s quite, it’s quite a wake up call.

Carlton Reid 38:46
So we’ve got to clean our air.

Janet Poon 38:47

Carlton Reid 38:49
Not just for the planet, but also kids lungs. In the future. Everyone’s lungs, not just kids’ lungs.

Janet Poon 38:56
Yeah, I mean, we’re all adults with children once and no children will become adults is for everyone.

Carlton Reid 39:02
Yeah. And is that what you’re hoping the politicians, the world leaders will will take away from cop 26 that look, there’s a groundswell of support for this. Come on, get your act together, do something real. And

Janet Poon 39:18
I’m just hoping they’re public. Everyone was status. It’s not just you know about the leaders everyone doing their part and it’s how healthcare professionals we have the closest contact with public and very often it is us who will kind of miss the kind of passing on the baton and letting the children and the patient and family know that how important air pollution is to their health. Even when Ella died, so they they’re the family didn’t realise how how severe how there’s a VA disability and the velocity of air pollution impacts their children and unfortunately, passed away.

Matt Shaw 39:57
So I’m Matthew Shaw I’m an orthopaedic surgeon by background and I’m the Chief Executive of Great Ormong Street Hospital.

Carlton Reid 40:04
So you’ve been with the ride from from London from London. You started at Gosh, Great Ormond Street. Yeah.

Matt Shaw 40:10
Yeah. Indeed, and then we went to Kings Cross to see the pollution pods altogether as riders and then went to Oxford on day one,

Carlton Reid 40:20
right. And how many people were was started off in London,

Matt Shaw 40:24
or I think there’s about 40 of us everyday, this around about 40. We have some cool riders from all the hospitals that ride the whole event. And then we have day riders that come join us just for a stage. So the Evalina hospital, they’ve decided to cycle their idea so that there’s a couple that are doing the whole thing, but a lot of them come for one or two days, which is great.

Carlton Reid 40:50
So this is basically the roadie group. So you’ve got a few different groups and you’re kind of like, named after trees. Which tree is this? Which group is this? Well,

Matt Shaw 41:00
I think it’s changed. I think it’s silky oak. It was originally silky. Oh, then it was Sequoia. Okay, that it was. I’m not sure what we are now a hybrid is what I would say.

Carlton Reid 41:11
The other fast roadies, I heard you got on your Did you know who you’re even riding with?

Matt Shaw 41:16
Yeah, so we’ve got a pharmacist from Great Ormond Street, some intensivist. from Glasgow from Newcastle. A couple of riders from Sheffield. Head of sustainability in Sheffield. Teri, who’s the head of the Newcastle charity? She’s a really keen cyclist. Yeah, so a really good spread of people.

Carlton Reid 41:36
And then how long have you riding each day roughly? Because they’re obviously going to each groups can be a bit different. But there’s this group, the roadie group?

Matt Shaw 41:42
Yeah. It’s around about 100 and 107 to 140k’s a day. And it varies in height between kind of about 600 700 metres to about 1500 metres, which is the biggest.

Carlton Reid 42:01
And have you always been a roadie?

Matt Shaw 42:04
You know, I’ve never been into mountain biking that much. It’s I guess living in London. Regents Park’s relatively nearby. It’s just the natural thing to do, rather than, you know, there’s no easy to mountain bike. So yes, I’ve always been into road bikes, and then

Carlton Reid 42:22
riding into work also.

Matt Shaw 42:24
I’ve got a scooter. I pushed me to Okay, so I haven’t got a car. got into the car about three or four years ago. I’ve got three kids 15, 10 and eight. And it was just, I just wasn’t using the car. So decided that time to go. So yeah, so scooter. I use the electric scooters now that are in London where you can hire them. So which is great. It’s good.

Carlton Reid 42:54
And this ride you’re doing here now, It’s raising awareness of two things. But mainly it’s air pollution. Yeah. And getting to the job, paediatrics its kids lungs. But that also links into the wider picture, which is why you’re going to COP26 of all climate change.

Matt Shaw 43:11
Absolutely. And I think for most people, you know, if you talk to NHS staff, nine out of 10 staff will be really into this agenda, the whole climate change agenda. But I think the way into that, for many is around health. Because I think people always look at the green agenda in a bit of a weird and wacky thing. Rather than mainstream. I think it’s becoming mainstream. But from a health perspective, I think everyone gets it. Especially when you’re monitoring levels of pollution outside your hospital, which is way above what they should be.

Carlton Reid 43:45
So should the NHS be doing more on preventative medicine, you know, preventative stuff, rather than getting somebody into hospital and they’re already

Matt Shaw 43:53
Yeah, well, of course it Yeah. But of course, the long term plan suggests that prevention is gonna be a real key pillar for that. The question is, is how do you catch up, recover and deliver a Prevention Agenda at the same time? And that’s the real challenge that we’ve got. But absolutely, prevention is at the forefront of that plan. It’s just delivering it. And it can’t just be health alone. It’s got to be social care, got to be local government. And it’s multifaceted in terms of exercise.

Carlton Reid 44:23
Have you seen a difference how long you’ve been the NHS obviously came in as a surgeon, so it must be a good 20


Matt Shaw 44:28
Yes. Yeah. 98 turning unqualified.

Carlton Reid 44:31
So have you noticed much of a difference on the issues you’re talking about today? And they changed.

Matt Shaw 44:38
So I think for the last five years, I think things have been slowly changing. And this year, last year, I’ve seen a real shift. It’s cut driver. I think people are naturally attracted to this agenda. I think mud guys slow Sorry, I’ll just get down the mud first. And the bumps

Carlton Reid 45:05
the Northumbrian roads, unfortunately a quite a lot of potholes. Yeah.

Matt Shaw 45:12
Yeah. So I think in the last couple of years, I’ve seen quite a change steady. I’ve seen quite a change. But I think that’s driven by the people, the workforce society. And then I think the NHS has then started to legislate and regulate in relation to that. So we know that, you know, in time, our regulators gonna be looking at what our green plans are. And we’re going to be judged as symmetric. And that’s important, because that will drive change and change.

Carlton Reid 45:46
And when this is handed in, when the letters and and the, you know, the ride finishes, and you hand this in, yeah, what do you expect to actually happen? Well,

Matt Shaw 45:56
I think, you know, this, this action alone, this event can achieve anything in isolation. But I think that this combined with many other things that are going on, and really, I think the public driving change in this agenda. I think our politicians will need to be more ambitious, need to be more upfront about it and prioritise environment more. It’s not a choice anymore. Is it the economy or the environment? It’s, it’s both. And I hope that’s the message.

Carlton Reid 46:35
I left Matt and the roadies just before Corbridge and turned back for home hoping that I’d bump into the final group on the road. And dear listener, I did. They were stood laughing and joking on the corner of a quiet country lane and I could see why they were always the last ones to get in at night serenaded and cheered by the earlier groups

Nathan Elliott 46:59
I’m Nathan Elliott I am the actual cycle mechanic helping helping the teams get get through the day. I am the non medic spoke shed mechanic I’ve literally been helping helping everyone out with literally just the journey so we started off in London, obviously going to Glasgow. I’ve been the one like just helping out on the repairs on the way so I am the non medic

Group 47:28
Bicycle medic Okay,

Carlton Reid 47:33
yeah, sure the bicycle

Nathan Elliott 47:36
and resuscitation anyone so far?

We’ve been good though. We’ve kept all the bikes going everything and everyone’s got their hopes up in the best group. By far this has been the best morale, morale and banter so it’s been very, very good.

Carlton Reid 47:50
Okay, you can see why you got red wine here? Is that what it’s like? There’s no water in these water bottles it’s red win. Now, I don’t know how much to trust you because you said that rain is refreshing and you quite enjoyed it. So but anyway, who are you?

Alexandria 48:07
So I’m Alexandra. I’m a paediatric immunologist from Great Ormond Street Hospital. And it’s travelling on the heels. So rain was refreshing. Yeah, so I’ve also been cycling from London, hopefully to Glasgow.

Carlton Reid 48:23
Yes. And to Carlisle today. And so this is the last group this was at Sequoia Acacia sorry, Acacia. So Acacia is the last group almost having the most fun. But that also means that you’re getting in probably at eight o’clock at night compared to people getting out for

Alexandria 48:42
long long days, but also I think when we’ve made it the whole team, like it’s a bigger group of people every night. So where are you guys

Carlton Reid 49:05
okay, thank you and who have we got here drinking?

Dr Fin Craig 49:08
I’m Fin.

Carlton Reid 49:10
What’s your second name Fin?

Dr Fin Craig 49:11

Carlton Reid 49:12

Dr Fin Craig 49:13
And that’s Fin with one ‘N’.

Group 49:18

Carlton Reid 49:18
and where are you from? And

what do you do?

Dr Fin Craig 49:20
Great Ormond Street palliative care consultant.

Carlton Reid 49:22
Okay, and do you normally cycle the cycle to where cycles work?

Dr Fin Craig 49:25
I cycle everywhere but I don’t cycle for fun. I cycle for transport.

Carlton Reid 49:29
See everybody I’ve talked to so far all the doctors on the trip are saying roughly the same. So there must be an enormous amount of doctors at GOSH riding?

Dr Fin Craig 49:38
No, there’s not Well, there is a fair number of people I don’t think it’s doctors necessarily. It’s multi professionals and probably more than, a lot of doctors that drive.

Carlton Reid 49:49
Is that changing?

Dr Fin Craig 49:51
I don’t know. I think it needs to the hospital there’s a lot more cyclists I think since lockdown. But I wouldn’t say it’s predominantly talk to us. I would I would say it is amongst doctors, it’s probably the more middle grade junior staff. I was going

to send consulted doctors, even before the pandemic, junior doctors, and all

the allied professionals much more. So I’d say it’s probably more physios. You think likely? We’ve got a good yeah. Okay, there’s only two people in my team, that cycle

Carlton Reid 50:22
has been notice a change, though, in the last say, three, four years, if you’ve been riding in that long if you see more people coming into work now on bikes.

Dr Fin Craig 50:32
I don’t know because I, it’s that’s hard to tell because I lock my bike somewhere where most people don’t lock their bikes, that

Nick Martin 50:38
there are more people cycling into. In general, we know that. Racks are used a lot more, got more racks, we’re getting some data to show these few more people. So I’m not sure if they’re all.

Carlton Reid 50:52
Okay, in general. So right now, now I’ve come to you. I’m out of sync here in the in the group. But so who

Nick Martin 50:57
you are Nick Martin. Okay, what are you doing head of sustainability at? Gosh.

Carlton Reid 51:02
See, that’s one of the other things that people have been telling me. And they’ve been impressed with the saying there’s, there’s more and more sustainability officers in hospitals. And that can only be a good thing, because you’re basically telling people to get on their bikes. Is that one of the things you tell people to do, or advise them to do?

Nick Martin 51:17
Don’t tell anyone. Yeah, I mean, no people have made, made their own minds, especially the pandemic is very useful thing to avoid, you know, getting on trains and tubes, when people were a little bit worried about what the consequences might be.

And when to check, it was less than

Unknown Speaker 51:35
a good gateway opportunity for people. And then we’ve set up a group. In fact, this ride came out of a little group we set up to support people to get themselves actively into work during the pandemic. And this, this whole idea came out of that colleague, Vince, and then Mark Hayden, the intensivist. We took it from there. So that was all around helping people get into work. And then what should we do with cop? And then let’s write the essay.

Dr Fin Craig 52:01
And we have three we have this really good effort, gosh, called cheer app, which encourages sustainability dare points for riding and that sort of points, everything I’m Mager on it should load up.

Nick Martin 52:13
So the hospital recently declared a climate emergency. So we have a target to get to net zero by 2030’40 emissions, we can control 2040 for the broader emissions, things like that tie into the ability for staff take it into

Dr Fin Craig 52:27
pieces. A lot of us have got into this so like you report your actions every week, because today’s Friday it might be time so I’ve been reporting more than 12 weeks. So I have to say my exercise of exercise five days. I’m switched off my computer my monitor my charges my lights, heaters and fans. I don’t have a printer. Now active travel can I start commuted everyday this week. Okay, so I’ve muted tune from overdue I’ve done loads of points. I’ve done 10 Miles five times this week. Yeah. Plastic pledge I managed to stick to my plastic pledge. I haven’t gotten meat free this week. Sadly, because of eating I haven’t TerraCycle but I learned all about Terracycling from this app. I didn’t know you could TerraCycle blister packs for medications. So now you know when you you put your pills out one of these right it’s written been bring it best way bring it to Superdrug and they there was a way of tetracycline so they separate the foil from that. Yes. That is recyclable. And you know in a month at home we’ve got an absolutely not monster about three months massive bag to be recycled. I didn’t know about that. And people don’t know about this. Have I used three cups reusable cups and bottles. Yes, everyday this week. Have I had outside breaks? I think this counts as five days outside breaks. My I’ve done up to 70,000 steps, right for their lives. How many kilometres Have you cycled this week? I’m going to say 90 plus and then I submit it. And hopefully that will go in and then we have a leaderboard. I’m quite good at staying top of the leaderboard. And if you win if the top of the leaderboard month to get a 10 pound gift voucher or place of your choice, well no, there’s a choice of three or four. Not getting them in the garden centre with the moment wanted to garden centre. Nice, okay, we’ll look at

Nick Martin 54:15
that. But then this app shows how your personal well being and your, you know, opportunities to contribute to the environmental broader picture are integrally

Carlton Reid 54:24
linked. So that’s all nudge nudge technology, basically, people are then going oh, I don’t do that.

Dr Fin Craig 54:32
Yeah, totally. And it’s become the norm in our family now but but only since getting this app and as you can see, I’m at the top of the leaderboard at the moment. Vince is a real competitor of mine, I have to be quite careful in

Carlton Reid 54:46
any events because he’s been so far ahead. Thanks to all of the right for their lives riders and thanks also to Jo Rogers and climate acceptance studios for inviting me to join them the right way side is at the climate acceptance studios.com forward slash ride for their lives. You could donate your rating miles to them via Strava or an email as they aim to collect as many lives as possible before they reach Glasgow. But meanwhile, get out there and ride.

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