Janapar Grant News

Your Frequently-Asked Questions About The Janapar Grant, Answered

The response to the announcement of the Janapar Grant has been overwhelmingly positive – but then with £2,500 worth of bikes and equipment up for grabs, that’s no great surprise.

What’s been interesting is the questions I’ve been fielding about the specifics of the idea. Some have been obvious, some not so much. They’ve certainly got me thinking.

In response, I’ve put together a selection of the most frequently-asked, and done my best to answer them.

What are the dates for application submissions and winner announcements?

The 2016 Janapar Grant will open for applications on Monday the 29th of February, and will remain open until Friday the 15th of April. The successful applicant will be announced on Tuesday the 3rd of May.

How can I make sure I don’t miss any announcements?

The best way to stay informed is to subscribe to the mailing list. You’ll get an email every time an announcement is made.

Why is the grant only for 18–25 year olds?

In the years between 18–25, young people in British society generally remain free of such responsibilities as marriage and parenthood, as well as of pressing financial and professional commitments – conditions conducive to spending an extended period of time making such a journey.

However, a lack of first hand experience to plan such a journey, coupled with a diminished ability to fund the upfront costs of equipment, means that for many in this age group the barriers to entry seem high.

A more universal reason has to do with personal development. There is significant scientific evidence to suggest that 25 is (on average) the age at which our previously malleable beliefs and behaviours solidify, in the sense that neural pathways physically harden. Before this age, our views on the world are strongly defined by experience. We believe that exploring the world independently is one of the most valuable experiences a young person can have at this formative time.

As well as the large body of anecdotal evidence to support these views, there is a strong precedent set by existing institutions and organisations who encourage journeymaking and exploration in a similar age range. Examples include the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, Outward Bound, Raleigh International, and the Bonderman Travel Fellowship. Similar institutions involving cultural immersion include the Peace Corps and EVS, among others.

We’ve taken into consideration all of these factors while narrowing down the focus for the Janapar Grant, which is represented in the criteria for eligibility and the qualities we’ll be looking for in applicants.

In summary, the aim of the grant is to provide encouragement and support to those who’ll benefit most from it in the long-term, and we believe the 18–25 age group represents this.

Head on over to the Janapar Grant website to continue reading the F.A.Q.

Upcoming Events

The UK Cycle Touring Festival Returns For 2016! Get Your Early Bird Ticket Now

Quick version: Earlybird tickets for the 2nd UK Cycle Touring Festival are on sale! Click here to get yours.

Last year’s inaugural Cycle Touring Festival turned out to be a really powerful celebration of bicycle travel, and a massively enjoyable way to spend a weekend. If you came along last time, I hope you’ll be joining us again! And if you didn’t, will you consider coming along this year?

Set to return for late May bank holiday – that’s May 27th-30th – the aims of the festival are again twofold:

Firstly – as mentioned – it’s a celebration of this thing we love called cycle touring… or adventure cycling, or travelling by bicycle, or whatever other name you prefer. That means tons of like-minded people coming together (carefully) to share stories, make new friends, drink beer, and be merry, before collapsing into their tents. This spirit of camaraderie was, for me, the best thing about last year’s festival.

Secondly, it’s a been designed as a big hearty welcome for newcomers to cycle touring, with a programme of talks, workshops and panel sessions on the basics of planning and executing bicycle trips.

In other words, if you love the idea of cycle touring but don’t know where to start, start at the Cycle Touring Festival!

I’ll be popping back over from Armenia for the event, and if you check out the speakers lineup, you’ll see a list of familiar faces will be coming back for seconds as well. Laura and Tim will once again be running the show, and it’ll be in the same impressive rural venue as last time – Waddow Hall near Clitheroe in Lancashire.

As well as that, we’re hoping to invite the recipient of the newly-launched Janapar Grant come along for a crash-course in cycle touring – as well as bags of encouragement from the community – before they depart on their journey. (They’ll be getting a free ticket, naturally!)

Check out the UK Cycle Touring Festival website for more information. Earlybird tickets have been on sale for a few days already – the deadline for the discount is Friday 19th February, so take advantage now if you’re planning to come. (£10 is at least another three pints on the Saturday night!)

Not in the UK? Please don’t feel left out – if you’re based in Europe, you can probably fly to Manchester for less time and money than the train from London! From the airport, it’s a cheap and easy train ride to Clitheroe, then a 20-minute walk to the venue.

See you on May 27th-30th! Who’s coming?


Introducing The Janapar Grant, A Travel Grant For Adventurous Young British Cyclists

Today I’m excited to announce one of the big new projects I’m starting this year: the Janapar Grant.

This is a brand new venture aiming to help young people begin a rite-of-passage journey at a time in their lives when it will benefit them most, with the fewest possible strings attached.

Check it out here.

The structure of the grant is pretty simple, and has been informed by looking back on my own experience of preparing for a big ride, drawing on the experiences of others I know who’ve made similar journeys, and seeing what patterns emerge.

It seems that the single most helpful thing in terms of encouragement, motivation and practical advice is talking to people who’ve been there before.

And the single biggest obstacle (particularly for a young person) is covering the costs of getting all the equipment together. Once on the road, costs can be as low as nothing.

I’ve designed the Janapar Grant to hit both of these points dead-on.

The successful applicant will get unlimited on-demand mentorship from me and four other experienced bicycle-traveller-bloggers whose names you will no doubt know.

They’ll also receive every major piece of equipment for making such a journey. While the details of where the gear is coming from are still being confirmed, the single most expensive and important item – the bicycle – is already pledged. (It’s a really nice bike, too.)

There seems little doubt that making a long and personal journey as a young adult can be a hugely formative experience. That’s where the philosophy behind the grant is coming from. Cultures past and present have formalised the rite-of-passage journey in many ways – from the Aboriginal Australian ‘walkabout’ and the Native American ‘vision quest’, right up to the German ‘Walz’ – a ritual still alive today. Our modern equivalent seems to be the unstructured gap-year, and even that’s dying a death in the face of mounting student debt.

Fascinating traditions aside, it would be wonderful to see a small renaissance in British culture of a true rite-of-passage journey as an important part of a young person’s transition to adulthood – the missing piece in our educations that formal institutions will never provide.

And that, really, is what the Janapar Grant is all about.

Please take the time to visit the Janapar Grant website and share news of its launch. I’ll bet that each and every one of us knows someone who fits the criteria and would benefit from having their attention drawn to it.