28th March was my birthday
I may look like a weathered seaman, but this year (2021) I turned 31, 10 years working at Madison, 6 years of this website and 4 at Trash Free Trails. Milestones and numbers. My 31st was an oddity, watching myself on national television, representing Trash Free Trails. It was an interesting few weeks in the build up helping to get this over the line.
A year ago my mindset was on adventures, grander in scale, with minimal community impact. Though the impact on the earth may be greater with the associated travel, these acts had little benefit to others, scratching a personal itch, flipping the dopamine administrative switch for a brief moment
Within days I’d be fixating on the next escape
A year ago, that switch had its supply severed. Lock down & furlough, the 28th March was a strange day. I wanted to rep a pathetic little hill near me, but my heart was slowly draining. Uncertainty, lack of opportunity & the effective isolation of living on my own left me in my own world, without clear direction. All the time in the world to do what I wanted, yet I sat indoors despairing.
I’ve been involved with @trashfreetrails for a while, late 2017/early 2018 I believe. Ever present in my life & leading to some epic times, my litter picking contribution to my local trails had been minimal. I was often travelling, my time outside focused on building my engine, sport rather than recreation.
This shifted in 2020
With this shift, being part of the A-Team became a real focus of my life, as did building @woburn_bike_trails with @trailpixie1. Aided by new & increasing numbers of users in our trails and wild spaces, our often minimal trash problem rapidly accelerated. Every dig day had a litter picking component, forestry work meant clearing the areas the machines would operate it. A renewed sense of ownership, energy & purpose
But not for myself
For the community of riders, runners & roamers
When @domtrashfreetrails asked if I’d be up for being on Countryfile, I said yes without hesitation, given the opportunity this presented for our community, the #TRASHMOB, getting our message out to more than 7 million viewers (yes, that fact was left out of conversations till close to filming day – no pressure). For me, I hope what was said is reflective of our inclusive community, be it Dom, Rich, the A-Team, the TRASHMOB, anyone with an interest in protecting our wild spaces & reconnecting with them
If you want to see & the Trash Free Trails family on BBC Countryfile, the link to the episode is below and valid until March 2022