Campaigner to cycle 160 miles to deliver ball for climate-focused football match

Campaigner to cycle 160 miles to deliver ball for climate-focused football match
Kate Strong is to take on a cycling challenge to raise awareness for climate change (CK Athlete Shots/PA)
PA Media - CK Athlete Shots

A climate campaigner is to cycle 160 miles (258km) from Gloucestershire to Essex on a bamboo bike to deliver a ball for a football match aimed at encouraging people to be greener.

Kate Strong, who is also an executive coaching consultant and three-time world record-breaking cyclist, is taking on the ride on her bike – which has a bamboo frame – as part of Green Football Weekend, a campaign which mobilises fans, clubs, leagues and partners to take action on climate.

The match between Forest Green Rovers FC and Colchester United FC takes place on Saturday, with Ms Strong having the “privilege” of delivering the ball for the game.

Woman with arm outstretchedKate Strong will be taking on the ride using her bamboo bike (Kate Strong/PA)

“It’s a huge privilege because I’ve never been to a football match before and I would not say I’m a typical football fan,” the 44-year-old, who is currently based in London, told the PA news agency.

“For Green Football Weekend to see the importance of engaging different communities and different people just to get as many people talking (about climate change) as possible shows lateral thinking because cyclists need to care as much as footballers and as much as tennis players – we all need to work together.

“It’s a really beautiful metaphor.”

Climate activists have made headlines regularly through their acts to get officials and the general public to take climate change seriously, with the most recent stunt seeing soup thrown at the Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre Museum in Paris on January 28.

Kate Strong UK cycle rideKate Strong at the finishing line of a previous cycling challenge (Stefan Rousseau/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Stefan Rousseau

Ms Strong said: “I think we need any level of activism and advocacy.

“The activism does grab the headlines, but if all of us are activists it would be anarchy.

“I’m definitely not an activist, I am very much into collaboration and connection, and I think we just need as much activity as possible, where people feel that they’re moving the dial in the right direction.”

Ms Strong will start her ride at 9am on Thursday, and will cycle 100 miles (161km) before staying at a football fan’s house in Barnet, north London, overnight and then continuing to Colchester on Friday.

She will present the ball to the players at roughly 9.30am on Saturday.

She will be joined along the route by various people, including a group of schoolchildren from Nailsea, North Somerset.

“It’s always amazing to have people join me,” she said.

Kate Strong cycle challengeKate Strong said she hopes the cycle ride will encourage others to actively think of ways they can tackle climate change (CK Athlete Shots/PA)PA Media - CK Athlete Shots

“This isn’t a solo journey and it’s great to share this experience with others to show that a problem shared is a problem halved, and the cycle does feel a lot shorter when there are others on it with me.”

She added that training has been “non-existent” because her bike was being fixed over winter and she is nomadic, often caring for people’s pets while they are on holiday.

“I gave up where I was renting to do a climate cycle for three months, which ended in September, came back to London to find rent had gone up so much,” she said.

“I could not justify the cost of what people were charging, plus the extra cost of the bills when there are actually empty homes around.”

She hopes the cycle ride will get people “to do something” to tackle climate change.

Referring to a statistic on the Green Football Weekend website, she said: “If the UK’s football fans had one veggie meal a day, we could save the equivalent to removing 5.5 million cars from the road, each year.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about other ways to get involved in Green Football Weekend, which takes place from February 2-5, can visit

The campaign has a focus on the power of vegetables to help protect the world and people can play an active role in this mission by carrying out eco-friendly actions – including downloading the Green Football Weekend free veggie cookbook or making the switch to a vegetarian meal – amd help their club win the Green Football Weekend Cup.

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