[MUSIC starts - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]
FRAN: Hello and welcome to episode five of On the Outside. The podcast that shares diverse views on outdoors news. Today we are talking about Patagonia's new climbing film, outdoor clothing and an ultra cycling scholarship.
FRAN: My name is Francesca Turauskis. I am the producer of On the Outside, and once again I am joined by three of our resident panellists; two familiar voices and one new one. So we will start with Frit.
FRIT: So hi, my name is Frit and I am an adventure film maker. And I run a film studio called Passionfruit Pictures, whose sole mission is to add colour and diversity to the outdoors and adventure industry through filmmaking. I am an adventurer myself also having recently completed a two month long rollerblading and cycling trip called Glide For Pride all across England, where I shared LGBTQIA+ stories across the country.
ANI: Hi, I'm Ani Patas. I am an outdoor enthusiast who is chronically ill and disabled, and I am also the founder of the new blog Outside Our Way, hosted by All the Elements.
VEDANGI: Hello, I'm Vedangi. I am an adventure traveller, endurance athlete, writer and expedition manager. I run a business called the Adventure Shared through which I helped plan and manage expeditions and adventures and thank you for having me today.
FRAN: Welcome all to the show today. So we have quite a lot of check-ins at the top of the show. Everyone's been very busy, and there's a couple from the podcast itself as well. So we were actually featured in The Guardian's weekly podcast newsletter. We were a talking point, which seems very apt because starting conversations is what this show is all about. We've also had a number of nice reviews on Apple since the last episode. One of them simply said ‘what a breath of fresh air, loved it’. Elsewhere Kirsty was on the Tough Girl podcast with Sarah Williams. So do go and listen to that if you haven't already checked it out. And Soraya was a panellist on the She Extreme Festival on the 23rd of October. Frit’s film, Brave Enough, was the headliner there, too, and I was also there because my inaugural podcast ‘Seize your Adventure’ was shortlisted in the podcast category. And our last check-in for today is actually a scoop. So you might have heard Ani's introduction has changed ever so slightly. Ani, would you like to introduce us to your new project?
ANI: So for a little while now, I've been working on a blog that is called Outside our Way. It will be featuring a number of disabled and chronically ill outdoor enthusiasts. The goal of it really is to sort of normalise the conversation of disabled people and chronically ill people; what they need and what they have without the sort of inspiring ending of them overcoming or being cured by that illness through the nature or something fun. I mean, I'm really looking forward to it, even if it's, you know, not really a hit. I am really excited just to hear some of the people's stories that I'm speaking to and listen to what they've got to say. Because one thing I found that since I've been taking part a bit more on the disabled and chronically ill community, they've just got so many good tips and, you know, it's nice to be around your own.
FRAN: Yeah. Thank you. I'm so excited to start reading some of the stories like you say. So we will put the link in the show notes and spread that around when it is available and do go and check it out. Our first story for today is about a new climbing film. Frit please do tell us about this new film. It sounds fascinating,
FRIT: So They/Them is Patagonia's latest film, all about a non binary climber. Now I have to admit, I don't fully know how to pronounce their surname, and I've tried my hardest. Falling short of just asking them myself how to pronounce their surname. So forgive me if I've mispronounced it. I'm going to pronounce it in several ways, just in case. Try and cover them all off. But their first name is Lor. Their second name is Sabourin? I really hate getting people's names wrong. We're just going to call them Lor from now on. But yeah, it's Patagonia's latest film about Lor and telling their story about how they identify as a non-binary transgender climber and their journey with their gender identity and what that has meant within their climbing abilities and within the climbing community and essentially just opening up the discussion about gender within a sport that is incredibly inclusive but has also been incredibly non inclusive. I'm actually really heartened to see that Patagonia have put so much behind this, particularly in terms of how they've marketed it, so that it's one thing to sponsor a film to be made. But then, to push as much as they have and promote the film as much as they have. I've really enjoyed seeing that, and unfortunate to sort of be linked to a few people at sort of different locations of Patagonia, and all of them have been pushing this film, and that's amazing. That's the kind of platforming and promotion that the LGBTQIA+ community really need, which sounds daft because it's 2021. So we should already be there by now. I shouldn't have to say that, but it's really heartening to see a really prominent brand sharing stories around gender.
FRAN: So I haven't watched the film yet, and V, Ani I don't think you've managed to either. But we have watched the trailer together and yeah, I just think that it looks like a really interesting film, even as a non-climber, which I think is a great start. I do have a couple of questions just in terms of questions that listeners might be thinking that I, myself would just like to talk about a little bit, the pronouns they/them and the being of non binary. I've never really seen it in the same umbrella as Trans before, so that's something that caught me out a little bit when I was watching the trailer. So can you just give us a little bit of an idea Frit? In terms of the umbrella of the word Trans and how non binary/Enby, it’s sometimes said, and you might see online. Can you just give us a little bit of an explanation about that for people that are coming into this completely fresh?
FRIT: So there's quite a few things here to tackle, so I'll start with non-binary for people who don't know what non binary is. So non-binary is a gender identity for an individual who who neither feels or identifies with being the binary of male or female, and a lot of the times they embody both masculine and feminine energy but they don't either identify or don't feel the need to identify as male or female or call themselves a man or woman. So that's where non-binary is often used for those individuals, and they will often use the pronouns they/them because he/him and she/her doesn't resonate or relate to their experiences. So often non-binary people will use they/them pronouns. And to be honest, I love it. I love they/them pronouns. I use they/them pronouns too, although I don't identify as non-binary, and I hope that doesn't step on non-binary people's toes. But what I have come to realise in the past couple of years is that oftentimes when we're telling a story about something, we will tell the gender of the person involved in that story when it doesn't really matter if someone, if someone helped to give you directions when you're out on a hike, or if someone picked up your climbing shoes. If you left them at the crag, it doesn't matter what their gender is, but often, we’ll gender people, anyway in our stories, so I really love using they/them when I'm recounting stories because I just feel as if one, people don't need to know gender half as much as we seem to relay other people's genders and two, sometimes even skews the story or skews the way that someone receives that story based on some kind of unconscious bias that they might have around gender. So I love using they/them all the time, as much as possible just to take gender out of most of my life where I can, anyway. And then in terms of the transgender label. So, typically transgender is used for someone who is transitioning from if we go back to the binary system. So from male to female or female to male. And what I have also found is that transgender is also becoming a bit of an umbrella term for just people who are in transition or who have transitioned with their gender. So that does then relate to non-binary people because they have transitioned from being assigned from their gender they were assigned at birth, which will often be male or female, and they will have transitioned to non-binary and so non-binary does fall under the trans umbrella.
FRAN: Yeah, lovely thank you very much for going through that. It is something which, certainly for myself, can be quite complicated. Looking from the outside and I'm assuming from the inside is just as complicated, if not more so. So it's really useful to have those conversations. I'm going to open this up to V and Ani and ask you just initially. How many climbing films are you aware of or have you seen in the past?
ANI: I saw one at the Women in Adventure Film Festival in Hathersage, which Frit was also at, and it was the one about the Women's Trad Festival, and it actually really got me convinced that I wanted to try climbing. So pretty, pretty good movie, if you ask me.
VEDANGI: I have watched quite a few climbing films, but if you asked me to name them, I wouldn't be able to, because I'm terrible at actually looking at the names of films. So that's yeah, that's bad on me. But yeah, the one that stands out was about, it was a film, it's like an old school film about how Yosemite used to be indigenous people's land and how climbers now kind of can relate to it and how the whole dirtbag climbing culture comes and play with it, and I have no idea what that film is called. But I remember watching it with the climbing club at university, and I remember thinking, wow I had no idea about that part of history or that climbing has this weird dirtbag culture thing or even the whole base jumping is banned thing. Sorry, I have no idea what film I'm talking about, but that was like, that was the one that I like, remember, obviously apart from Free Solo. But everyone knows that, and that's too mainstream to talk about it so it's fine.
FRAN: Well, I'm gonna drop a name here. Valley Uprising. Does that sound familiar? We will fact check this afterwards, but we believe Valley Uprising might be the one there. And you say that Free Solo is too mainstream to name drop. But that is literally the only climbing film I have ever seen
VEDANGI: Who hasn't seen it? Like a man climbing a 3000ft wall without ropes. Like there's a lot to watch in there, you know?
FRAN: Yeah. It is one that went mainstream, it won an Oscar. So it is something which, again from outside the climbing community, that's what you tend to think of when you think of climbing films. Ani, I'm going to come back to you because you mentioned something there, which was really interesting in terms of you watched the Women's Trad climb film and that being the first one that you ever saw, do you think that you would have been as interested in going off and climbing had you seen something like Free Solo where you didn't recognise yourself as much?
ANI: I think what I enjoyed about the movie was how maybe I might hope in the fact that it was women in the movie, which I am imagining I would not have seen in Free Solo. I think the other thing about the movie was it was sort of encouraging beginners that was part of sort of the festival. It wasn't all about the most experienced and most challenging things. It was like just about climbing for the sake of climbing and that kind of appealed to me because the whole thing about climbing that didn't appeal to me was this idea that you have to do big grand things or constantly improve because I haven’t got the time to put that kind of dedication in.
FRAN: I'm just going to throw it back to you Vedangi in terms of, you watched Valley Uprising, we believe, which looks into the quite traditional side of things with climbing, but it does have that narrative of looking at the indigenous people and things are a bit more overlooked. In terms of this film They/Them would you want to watch it? And what is it about that film that would be appealing if you did want to watch it?
VEDANGI: To be completely honest, one of the main reasons I would want to watch it is for educational purposes. I did not grow up in a culture which accepted non-binary people or there wasn't a like there wasn't a name for that, you know? And it was really a taboo thing, so I would watch it so that I can explain my grandma about it.
FRAN: I love that last bit that you would watch it to help explain it to other people. Frit you obviously started Passionfruit pictures because you didn't see films out there that you enjoyed, well, not that you enjoyed being made. That's not a word, Fran. Can you just give us a little bit of an idea in terms of what you hope, viewers would get out of watching this kind of film.
FRIT: I hope that people get several things out of watching the film. I hope that they get stoked about climbing. I hope that they can see some of the incredible places that climbers go. And not only do they go to these landscapes into these beautiful places, but they also get to interact with them, which is amazing. I think rock climbing is one of the coolest and one of the weirdest sports. And if I ever think back to the people who first started doing it, I mean, like, how and why? It's a ridiculous sport, but it's incredible, and so I hope that it inspires people to either continue or start climbing because it's an incredible sport to be part of. I hope that people see a real sense of community and what the climbing community is really like. The climbing community is probably the number one reason why I started and continued to climb. And so I hope that people will see that in the film too. And finally, I hope that it will either educate people on topics to do with gender and how ultimately someone's gender is a hugely fundamental part of themselves and how they identify. But it also is a tiny facet of what makes a person. And so whilst it's really important to recognise and to acknowledge the way that someone identifies, it's also not something to make a big deal about in a negative sense. So I hope that people can see that whilst gender at the moment is a huge topic and is at the centre of a lot of rows in sports at the moment, it really kind of has nothing to do with the sport. And I really hope that people can make that distinction and see that, particularly in this film Lor is an incredible beacon of inspiration. But Lor is also just an incredible climber, and we don't need to; I would like to hope that at some point soon we can take gender out of things and we can just talk about an individual's accomplishments and just leave it at that
ANI: On the terms of the idea of taking gender out of things. One of the things that a friend asked me was, did seeing people that look like me make a difference into me being interested? In a sense, I feel like some element of gender is valuable at the moment in the sense that having safe spaces, whether it be LGBTQ+ or trans or non-binary or female groups, sometimes I think that's quite nice, but not all the time.
FRIT: I do get what you're saying, and I have this discussion with loads of people about safe spaces, and what I'm saying is that in an ideal world, we wouldn't have discrimination against any genders if we're just speaking about gender here. But at the moment safe spaces are really important because discrimination does exist and it's really, really prevalent at the moment and I really value safe spaces at the moment. But I really wish that we didn't need them
FRAN: So following on from that, that does leave quite nicely into something that I was thinking about when watching the trailer, which is what Patagonia has done with the management of comments in the video. So if you look at the description in the trailer and in the actual film you've got, that Patagonia says we welcome positive and constructive discussion. Hate speech, bullying and other behaviours are not in the spirit of a diverse and inclusive community and will be deleted.
FRIT: Something that Eden, a fellow panellist has spoken about in the past is that brands need to be very careful and very vigilant in monitoring their comments sections. And that's across all forms of social media and all forms of promotional and advertising material in which the public can supply their comments. And the reason for it is that, for example, if someone was to go to the They/Them trailer and then they went to the comments and they saw a whole heap of homophobic/transphobic comments. That for them is trauma, so they've gone to something that seems like it's something for them and then instead, what they've taken away from it is an experience of trauma. It's really important for brands whilst they're pushing out material about underrepresented communities that they produce a strategy before hand in which they can moderate and look after their comments section for the entire time that they are pushing that material out because it says to the community that they are producing this material for that. They really do care about the community, and they're not tokenising the community. And they're not just using their stories to seem as if they are supporting the community when really they've done the very minimum and the hard work is not being done afterwards.
FRAN: Our next story comes from Ani and it is about outdoor clothing.
ANI: So there's been a few articles come out recently, especially with the uprise in bad weather that people are going out with not necessarily the best gear and as a result are getting injured, getting hurt or stuck and ending up calling Mountain Rescue. I think the headline was people climbing Snowdon or climbing mountains looking like they're going to the supermarket, and I have some issue when articles come out like this. It's not so much that, you know it isn't a hard period of time for mountain rescue or that we shouldn't be talking about the fact that people are going out in dangerous conditions without the experience or equipment that they should have to make sure they are safe and to make sure that they don't necessarily need mountain rescues help in the most ways possible. It feels like it's kind of shaming the person that's gone up on the hill or the mountain, who clearly is unaware that they couldn't do it in that scenario, because I feel like nobody really wants to get stuck up a mountain and end up calling Mountain Rescue. It's not the goal for anybody and so many times from even newspapers I've seen before you know, we've seen these articles come out every year. Even the guardian has put them out. And I've been like, well, in the summer, I saw you list 10 or 15 mountains that I could climb in a day with no mention of the fact that I might need, you know, waterproof coats, things that like layers to keep me warm. I think at most, one said, and I quote, ‘you may need sturdy shoes’ and that is it. But what that means to people who aren't necessarily aware of walking boots or, you know, gear could be, you know, their best pair of Wellington boots, you know? I mean it's subjective. A bit more information needs to be shared. And I guess I just kind of wondered what other people's thoughts were on this. If it was just sort of my opinion. It's not so much that I'm saying, oh, you know, leave these people alone, they can do whatever the hell they want. It's just, you know, maybe we need to look at more of the education and the information that’s being put out there rather than just complain that people are doing it.
FRAN: V you are very known on Instagram for being someone that just kind of like goes off out on adventures very last minute and that kind of thing, and you seem like you are always prepared for it. But I know that you also are quite low key in terms of what you actually take out with you. So what are your thoughts on this in terms of the right clothing to go out and do something
VEDANGI: Because I started off with everything that wasn't right, and I kind of because I was always doing all these solo things and, you know, one of my first adventures was riding my bike across the UK when I hadn't planned for it. I was planning a 400 kilometre ride in late winter, early spring. I barely had anything that I actually should have taken with me, and it turned out 1000 miles, 1600 kilometre ride. I had to ask people along the way to give me anything they had to keep me warm. So that's how I learned that I needed the stuff that would keep me warm and safe. And that was also the ride when I didn't have a sleeping bag or anything like that. I didn't have a sleeping mat or anything that would basically keep me warm and safe as I said. So I think, yeah, absolutely, it is important to go into detail with those things and not just expect that it's an obvious thing. Yeah, as an 18 year old, I was cocky AF and thought I could keep myself safe all the time, regardless of where I was, But as it turned out, I had only just come to the UK. I hadn't even acclimatised to the cold weather going in from, like, 30 degrees throughout the year, over 30 degrees throughout the year to coming to a place with, like, I don't know, 10 degrees from when I got here. And then that maintained until I had actually gone for this, right? I just thought I could deal with it, but that's not how it works, you know? And not everyone knows that. Especially people who are going out for the first time and they will read stuff like that and again, as Ani said, like, yeah, the sturdiest boots would be the sturdiest that you have. One of the first dates I went with my partner on, we were in Dartmoor. It was properly raining, and he was wearing tight denim stuff and some really cheap, horrible boots that were actually not meant for outdoor walking. Now, at the time, I should have considered actually saying to him that ‘Oh, yes, our walk is going to be a bit wet, so we're going to have to make sure we have the waterproof stuff and we have boots that are suitable for this’ and then gone into a little bit more detail about what I mean by suitable rather than the best and the sturdiest you have. So, yeah, I think if you want more people to enjoy the outdoors and go out again rather than that just one time, then, yeah, I think it's mega important.
FRAN: One thing that Ani said in her introduction was the idea of judging people that are wearing things that might not be seen as suitable. The article about people climbing up Snowdon dressed for the supermarket and t's a really valid point. It's coming from mountain rescue teams who are going on call outs, where if people aren't wearing waterproof clothes and it's raining, it is going to be dangerous in places like Snowdon. But it's not just hills. I mean, I went for a walk just around the corner from my house. I was less than three miles away and got caught out in a thunderstorm in my raincoat, and I was absolutely frozen by the time I got home, like it probably wasn't far off hypothermia in the mild form. You know, the mistakes do happen even if you're wearing stuff which is fairly adequate.
VEDANGI: Lucy Walker made it up a mountain in a frock and heels. So yeah, like the correct clothing and equipment is important. But you also need to actually have it.
FRAN: Yeah, it's a fantastic point that the right thing changes as well as things get better. I mean, they went to the Arctic and the Antarctic, just wrapped up in wool, and now that would be laughed at. Fritthis is one of the articles that Ani sent over to us from Countryfile magazine, and it's the UK's best easy mountains and peaks for beginners. Can you just describe to us what the picture looks like that they've used, in particular what they're wearing as well.
FRIT: It is supposedly depicting a family of four. And if we were to assume gender, the mother is wearing a denim shirt, which is open and what looks like a white dress of sorts and then some black or brown trainers. The father is wearing a grey T-shirt, a black backpack, some black shorts and again white trainers. The son is wearing a long sleeve top with a white front panel and green sleeves, navy blue shorts and white trainers. And the daughter is wearing a chequered long top and what looks like sort of blue or denim shorts. And they look like Ugg boots. And they're currently walking up a grassy verge with trees and a view in the background on a golden, sunny day. And they all look very happy. Oh, you've just scrolled up a bit, and there is a huge expanse of water and hazy hills or mountains in the background. It looks very idyllic. Oh, the alt text is family in Lake District.
FRAN: Would you say that they are dressed for mountain hiking or for going to the supermarket?
FRIT: Sometimes some people argue that what I wear to the supermarket looks like mountain wear, and maybe I'm a bit inappropriately dressed for the supermarket. But judging by typical standards, I would probably put them more towards the supermarket end than the mountain end.
FRAN: So this is something which we really need to think about when we're talking about encouraging people to go outside and having the articles written. As Ani said, there seems to be a little bit of a contradiction in the way that media is portraying people going outside. Frit do you have anything else to add on that in terms of like your experience of kind of like wearing stuff outdoors? What's your go to now compared to when you started going outside?
FRIT: Actually, the stuff I wear now is quite similar to the stuff that I used to wear when I first started, but that's because I was the very typical all the gear and no idea kind of person. And so I was in a position where I could invest in some kit because I was working at a Cotswold Outdoor Shop at the time so I could invest a bit into it with my staff discount. So I ended up with quite good gear. A lot of it that I still use now so my hiking boots are still from when I first started getting into the outdoors around 2015 time. I am all for just wearing what's comfortable, but that also suits the terrain. I don't necessarily always feel like I need to wear a tech T-shirt or hiking trousers to go out. I do want my hiking boots because they are important to me and my levels of comfort and ability. But I don't mind going out in a pair of jeans and a cotton T-shirt if I know that that's suitable for the activity that I'm going to be doing that day, and I'm not going to be out for very long. But hiking trousers are more comfortable over a long, longer distance and a longer time. The issue that I think I've just sort of relayed there is that there's a lot to consider and that information can be considered quite dense.
FRAN: So my question then opened up to all of you would be, we can assume, to a certain extent people listening to this podcast will already be fairly outdoorsy and might have the kit that they prefer. So how can we then make sure that we are encouraging other people to come outside safely? Or how should people that are writing articles think about writing their articles?
ANI: So my cousin sees my pictures of when I go out places, and she also sees other pictures on Instagram. She's like, ‘Oh Mam Tor, that's the really popular place, right now. Can you take me to Mam Tor?’ Yeah, sure fine. We'll go to Mam Tor. But she sees these outdoor pictures as well. It is becoming more popular. People are in the outdoors. So I think something that I'm going to try and make an effort to do is sometimes when I'm perhaps posting pictures of me in the outdoors, I might write a bit about maybe the train, some of the equipment I carried is just sort of a little underneath thing or just link in Adventure Smart because they do it for you in, like, a really good way. It's about basically introducing people to the outdoors with all of the conversations that you said about, you know, having the right kit, checking the weather. It offers weather forecast apps that you can check like a different variety, that you should probably check a few. And then it also has, like, specific sections like Ben Nevis, Snowdon, some areas in the Lake District, Yorkshire. I don't know. There was quite a few sections where it will give descriptions of what you'll probably need and when you probably shouldn't go if you're a beginner, what kind of level of experience is required to do the different paths. So Adventure Smart is like a really good way to educate and give advice and be smart while it's doing your adventures for beginners, I think.
FRAN: I’ll just quickly say as well, you said, obviously, that's a really nice thing for anyone who's creating content whether that’s social media content, podcasts, articles, whatever it is. Be aware of these places that you can sign post, too. I would like to just bring in one of the articles that you sent over Ani that we said was so close to doing a good job, which was The Go Outdoors one, and what did they end up doing?
ANI: They put all of the useful information at the bottom, and look, some people just aren't that dedicated to getting to the bottom of the article. I most certainly do not always get to the bottom of an article, so it's just like, you know, put it at the top. You know, for this height you'll need so and so and so and so you were nearly there, Go Outdoors. You were nearly there.
FRAN: So in our third item today, Vedangi is going to talk about an ultra cycling scholarship.
VEDANGI: So Stayer Cycles have put out this thing called ultra distant scholarship. And basically the idea is that those who come from the minority ethnic backgrounds or underrepresented groups, they will be supported through various kind of partners that Stayer Cycles have kind of partnered up with so, Wizard Works, there's this beer company called Pretty Decent beer company. There's a clothing brand called Albion Outdoor Provisions, the racing collective. So if you win that scholarship, you also automatically get entered in the actual race by the Racing Collective, which is called GBDURO. And I think that briefly spoken about GBDURO at some point. But it's a race from Land's End to John O'Groats. It’s 2000 kilometres, and basically you do it solo unsupported, and it is all off-road. It is pretty gnarly. Anyway, you get more support from Hope Tech and also you get coaching and basically you also get 1 to 1 mentorship. So in 2020 Anisa Aubin finished this race and it was insane. It was a self-sufficient race at the time, so you had to carry all the food that you're going to have in all of those days that it's going to take you to do 2000 kilometres. So the time that she did the race, she had, like, 40+ kilogrammes on her and she was riding across the country. It's insane. Anyway, so you can get mentorship from Anisa, Nat or Vera. Vera recently finished a Pan-Celtic race. I'm sorry once again, probably pronouncing it wrong.
FRAN: I mean, talking about bad pronunciations we were going to talk about this a little bit in the first episode that you featured before you dropped out because of the Internet. And I tried to pick up the conversation and called it the G-B-D-U-RO.
VEDANGI: I love that I absolutely love that Fran.
FRAN: You mentioned how the GBDURO, a little bit there about how the race is, super long, very intense. Needs a lot of either self-sustained support or support in general. So we're getting a bit of an idea, but why is a scholarship like this so necessary?
VEDANGI: Let me kind of start with the fact that this year there was a race that I had planned and prepared for for a long, long, long time which I could not attend because I didn't have the money to do it. And like, I think that's just the money factor. But there's so much more that goes into going from, you know ‘Oh, that's interesting. I want to sign up for that’ to actually getting to the start line and one of the most important parts of the scholarship that I think, is the coaching that comes with it, because my beginnings into the long distance world were completely random. Just I thought I wanted to try something and I had no idea. And it took ages before I knew that when I'm unable to do stuff, that's because my body is tired and I need rest instead of just pushing harder. And that's where a coach comes in super handy and actually knowing that your body is going to be prepared to show up at the start line. And the reason the scholarship is so important is because in events like this you barely see any people from minority ethnic groups, you barely see any or from underrepresented communities. It's a shame, really, because yeah, riding bikes is for everyone. Everyone likes riding bikes. Everyone can ride bikes. Everyone can enjoy riding bikes, you know. So why aren't that many people actually taking part in this who are from underrepresented groups? And there's so many factors that act as barriers. And a scholarship like this just looks into the resources side of things and is just taking away that little barrier and encouraging more people to sign up for things like these. And also, you don't often see apart from when there’s like cases of tokenism. You don't often see brands having a real impact on getting more people from underrepresented groups on bikes and in events. Okay, you can see brands getting involved with getting more people on bikes, but not that many to get people involved in the long distance side of things. So this is like a super new concept. There's so many adventure scholarships, but this is like ultra distance specific and GBDURO specific. So this year there was like a 47% versus 51% kind of gender split in terms of participation. And it was interesting because the year before, there were like, four or five very, very less women who had participated in this like, yeah, this was such a massive step up. And a scholarship like this is going to be like, you know, take it, you know, further up the notch. And yeah, that's why I think it is so important. And it will genuinely elevate representation within ultra distance racing, especially because, yeah, there really aren't that many people. And again, I'll just give kind of my own example and actually someone else's as well. Silk Road Mountain Race 2021. There were only two people from my knowledge that needed a visa to go there. Someone called Usman and myself and that was it. And there were only kind of there were not many people of colour either. I think these races do attract a lot of machoness. I don't know that's not a word, but you get the point. And yeah, like this is a step in the right direction to change that you know.
FRAN: Frit, I would love to hear your opinion on this a little bit because you did an epic challenge earlier on this year. How many months did it take you? Was it 2,3?
FRIT: 2, 71 days,
FRAN: 71 days of cycling and skating down in a zigzag across the--not the UK
FRIT: just England, England
VEDANGI: and whilst interviewing rad people.
FRAN: And whilst interviewing rad people. You had a small grant to do this, which is one of the pushes to actually go ahead and do it. I think you've got about £500 from the Adventure Queens Fund was it? What did the grant help with and what aspects could you have done with more help in?
FRIT: The grant itself was a great propeller for me to get the trip underway. Had I not have won the grant, I actually don't know if I would have done the trip because the grant was a -- I say a gesture. £500 is still quite a substantial amount of money, but it was a move in the right direction to committing to do the trip. But if I'm being perfectly honest about finances, I ended up spending so much more on the life of pride because -- so their expenses that were coming out and I also couldn't take on any work in that time. And I also had to take a month off afterwards because my mental health was in such a bad place, so I couldn't take on any work during that period of time either. And there are many reasons why my mental health declined and I don't mind talking about money. I think we should talk about money much more openly. I reached a point where up until a few weeks ago, I got down to my last £70. I just got down to my last 70 quid and was like, oh, this is the situation we're in and I need to get some money fast so that I can pay rent next month. And I didn't anticipate for that to happen from the trip to be honest. I had a fair amount of savings before I started the trip, but because I didn't I didn't have any funding from the trip, other than that £500 sponsorship didn't happen. It's not all about money, but there is. there is a graph somewhere that shows that you know how your quality of life improves in proportion to your salary, if you're in a salaried job and it's a fairly even increase up until a certain point where you just earn enough, you just earn more money and it doesn't actually improve your life that much more. If we think about that in terms of adventure and the outdoors, if you don't have very much, then by receiving more money through grants through scholarships and opportunities, let's not forget about that. That will improve your quality of your adventure abilities and your outdoors abilities. For my Glide for Pride trip, I just pieced it all together based on what I thought made sense to me. And so while some people would argue that there's no one way to do a trip, there are certainly better ways to do a trip, and there are people out there with the knowledge, so coaches are incredibly important. So having access to finances and having access to experience, is hugely invaluable for someone to really propel them into a place that they can start to achieve their goals because some of these goals seem so lofty that you can get quite sort of downtrodden in the process of trying to achieve them. But if you have that system of support there, and that's both in finances and in people power and in knowledge, that's amazing. That can change people's lives. So from what I've heard from Vedangi about this scholarship, it sounds like something that can really alter the course of someone's life in terms of helping them to achieve a lifelong goal. And I think we just need so much more of that in sports and in the outdoors world.
FRAN: Ani, we heard on the last episode your relationship with cycling, So I won't ask you if you'd be tempted to go and do the GBDURO. But I would be interested to know if you could have a scholarship for something. Is there something which you would really like to do? But you just don't know where to start with it?
ANI: Yeah, I think sort of any long distance, multi-day kind of hiking and stuff. You see, people do it all the time, but I just feel like every time I look at it, I'm like, I don't really know how to approach this. I don't even really know if I could do it. Like, do I need to train beforehand? Do I need to like, I don’t know, it's just it seems like something that could go wrong very easily, and I'm not fully confident to do it because I don't have that knowledge, experience or coaching.
FRAN: I mean, you know that I'm always there to go on a long distance hike. So give me a shout and we'll have to do one together.
ANI: Absolutely. I'm taking you up on that.
FRAN: Those are our main news stories for today. But in other news: Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has announced a deal with the Canal and River Trust for people to clear litter, tidy tow paths and maintain beauty spots along waterways in England and Wales as part of community service. It's part of a transformation of the justice system, and it has been referred to in the media as chain gangs. Pride Out are calling on cycling and sporting organisations to acknowledge the specific challenges that LGBTQIA+ people are facing in cycling. You can read the letter and sign your own commitment to implement the solutions, which give everyone an equitable chance to ride with pride. And Will Renwick has become the first person to run all of the mountains in Wales in one go. He did the challenge for Mind Over Mountains. If you'd like to hear more stories like that, please do sign up to our newsletter. It currently goes out twice a month and includes the news stories we could not fit into the show. We'd also like to hear your thoughts and views on the stories shared today, and you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, but also where you can send us stories you think we should talk about and your own news. We had an email after the last episode from Molly Thompson, who gave us some really good points regarding eco-consciousness outdoors. We've actually put that on our website, so we'll link to that in the show notes as well. As always we're going to send you away from today's episode with a call to action from each of us. That's one simple and tangible action those of you listening can do to help change the narratives we think need changing. Ani, what is your call to action?
ANI: My call to action is if you could check out my blog called Outside Our Way, we have a social media page on Instagram and you will find our blog on All the Elements website. Give it a read. Let me know what you think, share a few of our posts. Be great to hear from you.
FRIT: I have two call to actions, if I can sneak an extra one in? So the first is that I currently have a crowd funder running for my Glide for Pride film. And essentially, that crowdfunding is raising money to get this film made, which shares the 37 LGBQA+ stories that I heard across England, plus my own, as I traverse across the country in terms of my gender identity as a transgender man. So if you'd like to pledge to the crowd funder and make this film and dream a reality, then you can either click on the link in my bio on my Instagram account which is @frti_tam. And also the link will be in the podcast show notes. And my second call to action is to ask people to kindly but confidently ask people for their pronouns. As someone who has changed their pronouns in their life, from my perspective, I'm never offended if someone asked me what my pronouns are. But I do find it more hurtful and upsetting if they assume what my pronouns are and get them wrong. So I much prefer if people ask me what my pronouns are and then use my correct pronouns when we're talking together or when they're talking about me to other people.
FRAN: V. What is your call to action for this episode?
VEDANGI: My call to action for this episode will be to check out the video about how to wild camp responsibly in the UK, made by Cycling UK and Ordnance survey, and it just happens so that I feature in it. And, yeah, like, if you're interested in wild camping, I think you should watch that video and go out for it.
FRAN: We do like a bit of self promotion in this podcast, which is why my call to action for today is please, can you share us in your next social media post. As a fully independent and tiny podcast, personal recommendations are one of the best ways we can spread the word. So please do share us and tag us when you do so that we can thank you. It's On the Outside Pod on all platforms except TikTok, because I don't understand it. The full show notes for this episode, including links to the articles we spoke about, are all available on our website ontheoutsidepodcast.co.uk. On the outside artwork is by Sophie Nolan. Music is BaseBeats by Alex Norton. On The Outside is produced by myself. Editing and transcript was done by Jack O’Driscoll. Social Media is by Frankie Dewar and our patreon support crew are Wild For Scotland and Charlie's Supply Shop. And of course, thank you all for listening.