Sunday, 24 February 2008

International day of disability – Puerto Madryn - Argentina. Introduction by Magdalena

The following short Film shows my aunt, Cristina Camarasa speaking about an exhibition set for the International Day of Disability in Puerto Madryn. The exhibition was set up to show a group of young disabled adults and the work they do, outside the institutions set up to help disabled people. For example there is artwork produced by disabled people as well as a photography exhibition showing pictures of others playing sports. The intention of the exhibition is to inform society that young disabled people are also capable of doing everyday things and that friends, family and society need to support, encourage and give them the freedom they need to achieve their goals.
Hace click en el siguiente enlace para ver a mi tía hablar sobre una exposición de fotografía en Puerto Madryn para el día internacional de la discapacidad, mostrando las cosas que hace la gente con discapacidad como ser deportes y arte.


Magdalena - Historia

My story/ Mi Historia

Me entere del viaje de Simon mientras visitaba a mis primos en Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Yo vivo y trabajo en Londres hace 17 años y visito Argentina cuando es posible a visitar a mi familia. Mi tía me contó que un chico ingles planeaba un viaje por América para recaudar fondos para la sociedad X frágil de Inglaterra y buscaba contactos en América Latina. Inmediatamente me intereso el proyecto porque yo tengo dos primos que son X frágil y conozco como afecta este síndrome a la familia y la poca ayuda y conocimiento que hay sobre esta discapacidad. Así fue como me decidí a encontrarme con Simon en mi regreso a Londres para ofrecerle mi ayuda en lo que fuera necesario.
Como tengo un poco de conocimiento sobre los medios de publicidad le sugerí a Simon que esto debería ser su prioridad para que el viaje sea un éxito. Simon esta recaudando fondos para la sociedad X frágil de Inglaterra pero hemos decidido que durante su viaje lo más importante es concientisar a la mayor cantidad de gente posible sobre lo que es el síndrome X. El Síndrome X Frágil es la causa genética más común de deterioro mental, pero a pesar que ha sido identificado en todo el mundo, se estima que el 90% de los individuos que lo padece aun no ha sido diagnosticado. Por esta razón Simon se concentrara en difundir información sobre el síndrome y las sociedades y organizaciones donde personas afectadas pueden buscar apoyo. No existen organizaciones o sociedades en todos los países de América pero esperamos poder poner personas en contacto con si mismas para apoyarse y en los casos que se pueda, crear organizaciones de apoyo e información. Por esta razón si usted conoce de personas u organizaciones que quisieran cooperar con el proyecto, de difundir información y crear publicidad durante el viaje de Simon por favor contáctese con nosotros. Todavía estamos buscando contactos en México, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, Ecuador y Bolivia. Realmente deseo que todos podamos hacer nuestro pedacito para poder apoyar, ayudar, informar y concienciar a la mayor cantidad de personas posibles y crear un movimiento positivo global.

Magdalena Mayo

I found out about Simon’s xpedition while I was visiting my cousins in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. I have lived and worked in London for the last 17 years but I try to go back to Argentina as much as possible to visit my family. I was immediately drawn to Simon’s project because both my cousins suffer from Fragile X and I know first hand how this disability affect my family as well as the lack of support groups and information there is about this disability. This is how on my return to London I got in touch with Simon and offered him my help. We got together and I shared our experiences of the disability and talked about how best to take his idea forward. We agreed that publicity is the most important thing to achieve, not just for the xpedition but also to spread as much information as possible about the fragile X syndrome. Few people know that Fragile X Syndrome is the most common inherited cause of mental disability and it is often wrongly diagnosed as autism. Despite this there are very few organisations or societies offering support to families affected by fragile X, particularly in Latin America. We hope that Simon’s xpedition brings people affected by fragile X together and that it creates enough publicity to spread the word about what this disability is about and how it affects people. We are still looking for contacts in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia who Simon is able to visit. If you are interested in this project or know someone affected by Fragile X, please send us an email or donate using the link on the right.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Intermidiate ramblings

Most people have in their memories, images of Shackleton`s ship The Endurance, wedged in the jaws of Antarctic ice or Hilary and Tensin`s grinning, burnt complexions descending in triumph, but what about names like Carl Stevens Clancy, stanley Glanfield, Avis & Effie Hotchkiss, or Ted Simon, Dan Walsh. These names, with images of bent handlebars buried in deserts, rusty paint cracked panniers smothering machines and ancient brown bomber jackets are only wedged in the memories and research of motorcycle obsessed minorities. They deserve their names & stories stuck in the vaults of hero`s. Forerunners in the world of " Adventure Motorcycling" without whom i doubt i personally would`ve had the belly to do this FXPedition. It looks like the first round the world by motorcycle was in 1913. Carl Stevens Clancy, an American, rode his Henderson motorcycle 19,000 miles though Europe, North Africa, Asia, Japan, west coast States onto East coast States. (a similar henderson in the photo)

This must have been pure endurance and a great advertisment for the Henderson company, proving the machines ruggedness and reliability. Imagine it though, feeling every internal organ shaking pot hole, on terribly maintained roads (if there was any maintenance), no machanics in every town, hardly any fuel stops and basic clothing unsuited for the ever changing climate. These Bikes were not fast either, you couldn`t just blast out parts of the route at an average 80mph. There is some history of a mother and daughter team, Avis and Effie Hotchkiss riding their sidecar outfit the whole length of the States, undirectly covering 5000miles, in 1915, how they must have been looked at with judgmental eyes. We jump to 1928 now. Stanley Glanfield devoured 18,000 miles and 4 continents in just 8 months. He was riding a Rudge Whitworth combination, with a "wapping great" 3.5 horse powered single cylinder motor. How did the locals in the far Mesopotamian mountains see and behold a grumbling, rumbling sidecar outfit with a wide eyed lonely Englishman, "what - oh"-ing it up & grinning at them ??. Not long after this Mad Dogman, along rode Another Young North American. Robert Edison Fulton Jr. 1932 to be exact. He rode a huge 40,000 miles in 18 months on a Douglas T6 twin, which going by a rare photograph ( i can`t show) started to actually take the appearance of a modern bike and not look like a victorian Hobby horse. By this time it looks like they had started to get to grips with the bike travel stuff, because the bike was modified with a larger fuel tank, room for his luggage, including a movie camera and 14,000 feet of film, also enough space for clothing and a sneaky place for his gun (wonder if he used it ?). In later years the bike travel bug spread, bikes became more accesible to the average person, like everything else and the stories were spreading, which inspired people to bite the bullet and get out there. Elspeth Beard, a fearless young English woman of 24 years went out to eat up 48,000 miles on a BMW. Then of course you have Ted Simon, who in the early seventies took his triumph out there for 4 years, subsequently writing the book Jupiters Travels, an honest, exciting, insighful coverage of his adventures. A book loved by all , including anti- motorcycling, couch lords. Then theres Dan Walsh. A riding writer, lost in the wilds, that appears in the UK`s BIKE magazine, from time to time. A definate inspiration, finding comical, sometimes dark and insightful situations. I think most of us search Bike mag every month hoping that Dan has managed to fill some pages with that colourful, rich & dangerous prose of his. Unlike a lot of adventurers these handful of characters went in search of stuff other than glory, that i am sure of, which makes my hat go out further to them. My hat comes off again to go out to all the invisble ones who over the years and now, also ride across, war torn lands, beauracratic walls, dangerous jungles, over populated unknown cities and general life threaten situations everyday in search of something other than the usual mundane nothingness. What is it about motorcycling that gets in the blood forever ?

There is definatly a strong bond amongst motorcyclist, no matter what kind of riding they are involved in, whether its blasting around as fast as possible, lording it up outside the local cafe or riding as far as possible chasing something inside, we all make time for each other and instantly become more than aquaintances, listening easily to each of our stories. I learnt of this bond when i was 16, bone shaking around on a Yamaha FSIE 50cc rascal, which had a habit of falling apart each time i parked up somewhere. On a winters night my little FSIE decided to fall apart once more, which left me with my head in my hands screaming obsenities at a broken gear lever, when a loud bass rumbling machine came up the street (a washed out kawasaki Z1000, carrying two oil faced, older than me urchins, with tattoed cobwebs on their necks. I thought this was my time to die, until these gentlemen spent half an hour out of their precious terrorising to help me out & fix the bike until i could ride off once more. Some say its the freedom a bike brings, some say it clears a cluttered mind, some say its as close to being part of the earth around them, feeling the temperature drop in the woods, then feeling the sunshine the other side. A famous quote : "Driving a car is like watching a film, but riding a bike is like being in a film". I do know that during a long ride the mind goes to other places, sometimes shockingly profound places that gets forgotten that night around the dinner table. The risks are massive, and we all know this. Maybe thats where the bond is. Knowing the risks brings an acute sense and vision of things. Reading the road and expecting the worse. Knowing what that nut case in the rickerty truck, with the family of pigs on the roof is going to head straight for you expecting you to ride off the road out of HIS way. Everything and all of it is Fun, even when your buttocks are killing you and the Darker than usual storm is following you everywhere until you are soaked beyond the bone. On top of this i think that riding into everywhere on my trip will get me noticed more so than any other means of transport, which will get the message of Fragile X out there on a wider scope. Down sides to Motorcycle travel ? There isn`t any !

A date is settled. I leave the fluffy safety of England on 3rd August. (Lee, you know it makes sense !)