One (ageing) man's bid for trash free trails and freedom from the impending doom of turning 40 in the mountains of Oregon and China
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 of 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, 68,000ft Oregon Timber Trail before joining a 10 day mountain bike expedition in 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 this 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 to raise funds for the mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and awareness and grass roots action for Trash Free Trails (TFT) by creating and delivering a series of talks, community events, litter studies, stories, imagery, film and more and I’m here to ask for your support.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Over the course of my adventures in Oregon and TibetI hope to raise;
At least £3000 for the Campaign Against Living Miserably
Up to £1500 to support myself as I deliver Trash Free Trails activities
The wonderful guys at CALM are a registered charity so I’ll be raising money for them through my Just Giving page HERE
However Trash Free Trails is a little different………
In 2017 I founded Trash Free Trails as an independent environmental action group and whilst I’m hopeful that we can become a registered charity soon I’m currently running TFT as a volunteer in my ‘spare’ time outside y job with Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and funding it through a ‘seat of the pants’ combination of my less than ample bank account and the incredible donation of time and talent of an awesome bunch of friends old and new from across the country (who we call the Trash Mob!).
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 and TFT!
HOW WILL YOUR DONATION HELP TRASH FREE TRAILS?
I have been lucky enough to secure support from some amazing companies such as; Cotic Bikes, Finisterre and Patagonia but other than this I’ll be self-funding my charity adventure, so your donation will help me immeasurably with the following items;
Trash Free Trails awareness raising materials
Technical clothing & footwear
Travel & accommodation
Tibet Expedition costs
Insurance & medical supplies
Communications & media
Please donate whatever you can through my Just Giving Crowdfunding page 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
Trash Free Trails Website Launch (trashfreetrails.org.uk) and OTT Charity Adventure story announcement story - Father’s Day – June 17th – Online
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
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 - Early Autumn 2018
Attendance and possible talk at The Oregon Trails Summit (TBC) October 4th – 5th – Bend Oregon
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES
TELLING THE TALE
Press Release 2 - Late Autumn 2018
OTT & China Short-Film - Winter 2018/19
ADDITIONAL NOTES, BIOS & LINKS
TRASH FREE TRAILS OREGON & CHINA CHARITY ADVENTURE – SUPPORTING PARTNERS
I made it a key guiding principle to only seek and accept support from companies and organisations who share my personal ethos and values and those of the charity adventure.
I’ve been blown away by the wonderful feedback and sheer level of support that I have received and as you can discover by checking the partners below out, that large or small, they all share a commitment to quality, community and circular economy solutions and I’m proud to be working with them all.
As we’re all mountain lovers, I’m sure you’ll agree that every level of mountain altitude is exceptional in its own right I have chosen to use the ‘phases’ of a mountain to represent the levels of support. I have taken two factors in to account to reach these decisions those being; financial value and depth/nature of relationship. Essentially I have added them together and divided them by two in my mind!
SNOW ZONE LEVEL - LEAD PARTNERS
ADDITIONAL BIOS, LINKS & CONTACTS
TRASH FREE TRAILS – www.trashfreetrails.org.uk
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.
CHINA 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Social media - @TrashFreeTrails