England & Wales
Who has the notes from the evaluation meeting of UK that we had when we arrived in Le Havre? At worst we could remember what we said + type it in here.
One thing that was agreed all round was that the ENGLAND/WALES ROUTE was AMAZING.
Final Biketour evaluation meeting 2010 minutes follow..... very hard for me to write these up (not just because of people's handwriting!), there was a lot of conflicting suggestions so I have tried to collate them into something understandable...Not everyone agrees with everything below. (laura)
- 10 days in Le Havre: it was great to be able to help set up the camp, to not pack up our stuff everyday and, most particularly, to have time to prepare our own actions. BUT this was too long a stop in the middle of biketour for many people, especially those who only joined the tour there (the number of people went from 6 to 20, and the group split quite a bit as people went off cycling to join back with the group when it started to move daily again).
- In general, distances were good. 30km is too short for a day because we don't get far, and on every shorter day, people took their time in leaving & arriving because it was a "not far" & then weren't on time for meetings or workshops in the evening... to go further in a day is more satisfying & can bring the group together. (overall, we had many unforeseen 65km days)
- A lot of the countryside was industrialised, not wild enough. Cycling through these countries was often not so beautiful, but good for recruiting new faces - we met a lot of other cyclists :D
- highlighting the route on a map & putting it out for people to check it & copy it onto their own maps in advance is really great!! Having photocopied maps (double-sided) were great.
- Good that most days we had the option to go on velo routes / bicycle paths, or on a mainroad. The entry gates on bike paths in England were seriously bad, as were the cobblestones on bike paths in Belgium.
- Having a route working group is a good idea to avoid route discussions elongating circles (ie. to propose the way(s) and where to have lunch, etc.)
- The amount of food that was skipped/dumpster-dived/recycled/picked/foraged/blagged/donated was incredible. When people were active in collecting food in creative ways instead of buying, we spent VERY LITTLE ON FOOD. One of the best moments was when in small groups or individually, everyone, not just the dinner-/breakfast-/lunch-teams, had collected food instead of buying. The diversity of food that we got from bakeries, festivals, forests, farms & bins was incredible. Feeding the biketour is VERY FEASIBLE in expensive countries: there is a lot of excess there.
- Having people who know the route could set the pace to cycle to, for the group to cycle together. However, in practice, the people in front need to have a 'maximum' speed so that people don't get left behind if trying to ride together.
- Finding camping spots on-the-go worked Very Well - even though we were in France. The first ones to arrive around a designated village looked around or asked for a place to camp. People happily gave us access to water.
- Make realistic plans regarding where we plan to sleep: ie. Calais, the only place the previous point caused chaos.
- So much diversity with the sleeping spots was great - wild camping, housing projects, squats, social centres, festivals, farms and protest sites! Great how everyone came together to camp every night in one place. Only bad comment was camping next to all the cars at the Permaculture festival in Nethen - something to feedback into their own evaluation!)
- Nice to be flexible in changing the route. ie. going to the actions in Brussels!
- Planning the day more thoroughly might provide more opportunities to do things in a group: maybe this works in a bigger group? (20+ people)
- Have better "leaving times" to start cycling earlier - we managed this very well when we had an action to get to on time!
- Having a Belgian co-ordinator would have been nice, or at least having the maps/route we expected (clear communication needed, and for regional organisers to be willing at least willing to contact the organised sleeping places).
- Three cheers for our active regional co-ordinators!!! Mark, Guillaume & Marcha! Hip Hip Hooray!!!
- Three cheers for our hosts who were all so lovely and welcoming.
- Biketour signs are really really fantastic. In France we came across signs exactly the same as ours, already on the road: so our biketour sign changed to a backwards B with an arrow coming out of the top, often with an extra message.
- Great how everyone always helped clean up the sleeping places before leaving
- People had a warm welcome when they arrived
- In a group we all need to be much more flexible than normal, and to make common times to stick to.
- We never had a "vibes watcher" in meetings, often not a time-keeper, even though these are great tools for having effective circles. They're in the biketour booklet, we should use them. But, this is only really necessary in a larger group and to people need to learn the skill of self-facilitation, self-vibe-watching, etc, as groups can work effectively without roles.
- we were sloppy and never had action debiefs; they should be a mandatory part of each action!
- We were always on time for actions - YEAH!
- we need to respect other times we set as well (not just actions)
- Maybe building a group feeling is hard when you are moving place everyday... but small things help, little rituals like introducing the meals that have been cooked; having plenty of games and energisers. People bringing, organising and/or announcing spontaneously a workshop was great, because then we learn from each other, in a group!!
- Doing things in smaller groups is really great, to report back to the bigger group
- For conflicts: we could have a couple of mediators in the group as "go to" people for stressful situations - people who are calm and have experience with mediation; two people would be good, so that if you have a problem with one of them, the other is there to help.. (the role would probably change people a few times, as people came and went).
- If someone wants to block a decision they really need to remember to think about the group rather than just themselves.
- It's difficult when people don't know much about concensus
- Feelings circles are good - make time for them at least once a week. It's much more interesting than talking about how many hills we're going to go up the next day and who's going to do the dishes.
- Is it possible to stick to just one theme when organising the biketour? It's difficult: there will always be something else interesting/activisty/on the way that becomes part of the tour.
- There was the feeling that the theme got lost on biketour (again)
- Website could give more information abot content & our actions: we had a discussion on issues missing / theories
- Content itself good, but perhaps we need more outreach to others
- media tools weren't used enough. (mainstream, indymedia, blogs, twitter, wesbite, etc...) BUT a lot of media is embedded in the system that we work to change so it's not so important, we want to function without it. We should use more flyers and banners to let people know about the tour as we ride...
- Make finding internet facilities to send/upload this sort of stuff a working group or task.
- In Calais everything was spontaneous, so not super prepared but connected with local activists & really experienced something different. Working groups worked well. Activists may have been evicted once we left due to our joint action, there is no blame though yet it's good to keep in mind what the action's consequences might have on people who are stay.
- More workshops. (in all directions: between ourselves; giving them for other people like hosts & locals; having them from other people)
- Circles are really important, especially to discuss/talk enough about actions: probably the action in Gent was so disorganised - we didn't even talk about a common message. Meeting is also important to organise other activities & to get involved in what well-prepared actions are coming ahead (by the network and international or regional coordinators)
- Communication within our actions was bad: it's essential to respect group decisions made about an action
- Missing: focussed action. Proposal: an initiation phase in BT where skills & knowledge of people gets clear and exchanged, so that we can act as an affinity group (so no action during this training) BUT people come & go constantly, so skill-sharing should kind of be ongoing....
- Critical masses fit biketour well, especially when we make them with local activists so it's big!
- It's difficult for biketour to really participate / interact with camps or big gatherings if you don't have really active people. It would be good for biketour to have a 'role' pre-arranged for itself in such cirumstances.
- Some BTers creating/organising 'secret' direct actions was positive.
- During the preparation, working alone from 2 different places without face-to-face contact
was stressful for the international co-ordinators
- Flyers were too late for recruiting people pre-biketour --> we should prepare them months ahead + use our own network better
- During the biketour organisation worked fairly well, but there's always going to stay things to improve.
- Cooking extra at dinner to have lunch ready for the next day works well up until about 15 hungry people,
beyond that number cooking double generally becomes too much food to cook in a pot at once.
- Breakfast + extra lunch things can be found/bought at once together
- Working groups during the tour worked well to spread responsibility, like people going dumper-
diving (le recup), foraging in the forest, asking bakeries for donations...
- In general to become less heirachal: *self facilitation *sharing info *sharing roles in meetings *sharing work throughout smaller groups *concensus workshops CONSTANTLY
- Good to delegate smaller decisions to smaller groups (bigger topics/decisions --> group discussion/decision)
ie. pasta or rice --> dinner team decision ! ie. where to have lunch --> route team decision !
- Important to leave space in circles / have different circles for more topics ie. feelings; workshops; media; actions.
- We should adjust framework of biketour (the number of people, length of time, etc) to suit the number
of people organising. ie. shorter biketour would be easier to organise.
- During the biketour this year there weren't enough people to extra tasks or to have a day-off from tasks - we never had more than
about 20 people at any one time.
- Ideal number of participants: More than 20, less than 50 (??)
- We still need help with wrapped up BT2010!
- These evaluations are a good space for people to speak up & be heard
- Made good friendships + had nice experiences
- nice concept of a mobile community, nice to experience it & try to make it work
- quite some aspects that people don't always do or get involved in during their 'normal' lives
- people learned a lot about bikes, issues and more!
- good energy and wishes for another biketour next year!
There are a lot of suggestions for future biketours already above and a lot of wisdom in the evaluations that are on this wiki from previous years (09, 08) too.
We had separate discssions on specific route and theme for 2011, at Nethen in Belgium and at the Klimacamp in Borschemich. see here: