A TRASH FREE TRAILS OREGON & TIBET CHARITY ADVENTURE
One man's bid for trash free trails and freedom from the impending doom of turning 40 in the mountains of Oregon and Tibet.
AN ADVENTUROUS INTRODUCTION
My name is Dom Ferris. I am a non-descript, mildly depressed, 39 year old Englishman with a dodgy sinus and a love for our wild and beautiful places and I’m in desperate need on an adventure!
This August I will be taking a 6 month unpaid sabbatical from my role as Head of Community & Engagement at Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) after almost 9 years and leaving behind a blessed life in beautiful Cornwall to ride the incredible 670 mile ‘Oregon Timber Trail’ before joining a 10 day mountain bike expedition in Kham Tibet that will see us ride up and over remote mountain passes at altitudes in excess of 14,500 ft.
ADVENTURE BACKGROUND & AIMS
This trip has come about due to a combination of a desire for adventure and the need to take time away to recover from physical and mental health problems. However I believe that my time away can serve a purpose and as such I will be using my adventure (and preparation for) to raise funds for the mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and raise awareness and grass roots action for the environmental action group Trash Free Trails (TFT) by creating and delivering a series of talks, community events, litter studies, stories, imagery and more and I’m here to ask for your support.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
I do have to lay my cards on the table and say that it trip will be a dream come true, however I also believe strongly in the values, aims and depth of my adventure and I would be incredibly grateful if you were to consider supporting me by donating some of your hard earned money to CALM!
*I'm also Crowdfunding for my environmental action group Trash Free Trails, so please do check us out HERE.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU (other than a warm fuzzy glow)?
If you have got this far I’m guessing that you have read something that resonates with you. This means that, regardless of whether you feel able to donate some of your hard earned money or not, I know feel a responsibility towards you and whilst I appreciate that you don’t know me from Adam I promise to do everything I can to repay your faith in me by making this trip count in every way!
Please read on to learn more about the connection between my ‘awareness through adventure’ ethos, the awesome mental health charity CALM and TFT!
RAISING AWARENESS THROUGH ADVENTURE
The connection between mountain bike adventures, mental health and littered trails may not be immediately clear. However my personal and professional experiences over the last decade have left me in no doubt of both its existence and the opportunities that this connection presents to drive positive environmental and societal change.
CAMPAIGNING AGAINST LIVING MISERABLY (on my bike!)
In January of this year, after the needless death of my father to diabetes and 2 years struggling with a severe sinus and jaw infection, I was forced to admit that I was/am suffering with depression and anxiety and that I had no choice but to take immediate action. It was amidst this time of emotional and physical chaos that I also realised just how much I owed to our wild places and that through taking action to protect them I could also protect myself, and others.
It had become clear that the mountains, rivers, forests, beaches and oceans that I have been my home and playground have also been my therapy and that, as a result of this illness, I have been unable to spend the time immersed in them that my body and mind need and it had changed my life.
I did also have a wonderful revelation during this time that immediately felt vital to my recovery. That being that the less I was able to ride, run, surf or swim the more my natural inclination to protect these precious wild places grew. Not only was I immensely proud of this, I also became deeply aware that this inclination could exist and be nurtured in others.
TRASH FREE TRAILS – ENHANCE WHAT YOU LOVE
The potential for the symbiosis between mental health and our beautiful wild places to enhance and protect each other is huge and broad reaching; however the elephant in the room is where to start!?
I believe strongly in the maxim that simple steps lead to great journeys, especially when they are taken together. At SAS we have demonstrated this wonderfully in recent times with 100,000s of thousands of community volunteers coming together to achieve great things in the battle against ocean plastic pollution from grassroots to Government, whilst also taking great pride and esteem and forming lifelong bonds.
Trash Free Trails was formed with this ethos at its core and my aim is to use this 670 mile, 58,000 ft, mosquito riddled trip of a lifetime to demonstrate the power of taking simple, everyday actions to protect what you love and I would be extraordinarily grateful for your support.
"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race” - H.G.Wells
WHAT I’LL BE DOING AND WHEN I’LL DO IT?
These are just a handful of my plans and of course the beauty of solo adventure is that you never know what’s around the corner. However I hope you’d like to follow my activities and get involved when you can.
ACTION, DATE & LOCATION
- ADVENTURE ANNOUNCED
- Trash Free Trails Website Launch (trashfreetrails.org.uk) and OTT Charity Adventure story announcement story - Father’s Day – June 17th – Online
- ADVENTURE PREPARATION
- Training #MicroAdventure 1 – North Wales Wild Camp and Trash Free Trail Clean - May 6th & 7th – COMPLETED
- Training #MicroAdventure 2 – Exmoor Solstice Ride June 21st & 22nd – Exmoor & North Devon
- Trash Free Trails Visit…. Picking up my bike from Cotic and riding the Yorkshire Moors June 29th
- Trash Free Trail Ride + Fundraising Film Festival & Power Ballad Karaoke Night +Rider Raffle – ALL WELCOME!!!! Friday July 6th - 5 – 11pm – Wheal Kitty Workshops, TR5 0RD
- Training #MicroAdventure 3 - Welsh Homeland Pilgrimage July 19th & 20th
- Press Release 1 - July 30th
- THE ADVENTURE BEGINS – THE OREGON TIMBER TRAIL
- FLYING – Cornwall to Oregon (via Montreal and Seattle) - August 2nd
- PORTLAND – Making friends, learning how to Bikepack from the best and scaring myself! August 12th – 17th - Portland
- Final Preparations & The 100 Mile shuttle of nerves! August 18th – 20th – Klamath Falls
- Setting off! Riding the Oregon Timber Trail August 20th – October 1st
- Portland & Bend – OTT & Me Story and Trash Talks (TBC) Early Autumn 2018
- Attendance and possible talk at The Oregon Trails Summit (TBC)
October 4th – 5th – Bend Oregon
- THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES
- Backcountry Tibet Expedition with Marin Rider Marky Matthews
10th – 21st October 2018 - Tibet
- TELLING THE TALE
- Press Release 2 - Late Autumn 2018
- OTT & Tibet Short-Film - Winter 2018/19
ADDITIONAL NOTES, BIOS & LINKS
TRASH FREE TRAILS SUPPORTING PARTNERS
Trash Free Trails would like to thank lead partners Cotic Bikes and the following fellow partners for their support and friendship in making this trip happen;
- SNOW ZONE LEVEL PARTNERS
- ALPINE LEVEL PARTNERS
- Ellie Ewart Design
- Ian Lean Photohgraphy
- SUB-ALPINE LEVEL PARTNERS
- Shed Bicycles
- Taunton Leisure
- Plastic Freedom
- Leisure Lakes Bikes
- MONTANE LEVEL PARTNERS
- TentMeals Expedition Food
- Sideways Films
- Open Surf
TRASH FREE TRAILS - trashfreetrails.com
Formed in response to the ever growing amounts of ‘throwaway’ plastic litter on our trails and the lack of action to prevent it, Trash Free Trails is an environmental action group, created to promote clean trails, advocate responsible rider behaviour and encourage sustainable practices within the cycling industry through positive awareness raising initiatives and community trail clean-ups.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST LIVING MISERABLY (CALM) - https://www.thecalmzone.net/about-calm/what-is-calm/
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male.
OREGON TIMBER TRAIL - http://oregontimbertrail.org/
The Oregon Timber Trail is an iconic 670-mile backcountry mountain bike route spanning Oregon’s diverse landscapes from California to the Columbia River Gorge. Divided into four unique tiers that can be through or section ridden, it travels through a variety of landscapes, communities, ecosystems, terrain and, most importantly, mountain bike trails, with over 50 per cent singletrack to its name.
TIBET TRIP – I am currently in discussions with Extravagant Yak and Pro-Mountain Biker Mark Matthews to join this trip this October 11th – 21st and would use it to continue the momentum generated by the OTT trip - https://extravagantyak.com/collections/get-active/products/mountain-biking-backcountry-tibet
WHO IS DOM FERRIS?
MTB - From Pro-Flex 550 to Jeffsy CF Pro 29, I am a mountain biker! I raced XC in the early 1990s and even came an accidental 3rd in the 1993 National Dual Slalom finals. Sadly I lost myself to surfing and partying during the 2000s before re-discovering this incredible sport in 2010. I’m now racing again and am fully hooked on MTB travel ticking off trips to California, Madeira and Portugal in recent years.
PROFESSIONAL - As the Head of Community and Engagement and member of SAS’s Senior Management Team I am responsible for leading SAS's Regional Reps, Beach Cleans, Community Events and Education programmes. Each year these programmes engage, inform and empower over 75,000 volunteers across the UK to embrace their role and responsibility as stewards of their environments.
I am also the Founder of Trash Free Trails, Awareness Through Adventure and was runner-up in the Environmental Justice category of the Sheila McKecknie Foundation’s 2017 Campaigners Award.
CONTACT AND SOCIAL MEDIA DETAILS
- Website – www.trashfreetrails.org.uk
- Email – email@example.com
- Social media - @TrashFreeTrails