Minutes from the winter meeting 2012

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This was a lovely sunny weekend in Cerbère featuring: Joao, Yolanda, Francois, Filka, Camille and Alice :-) We also had Larisa and Milan contributing on skype at some points.


For what do we need money?

  • daily costs during tour: food, accommodation (payed by participant fee)
  • action material, visas, publicity costs, org. costs. support for organizations and projects that we visit, * cooking equipment, first aid (via other ways funding)

How much would we need in average?

We would like to keep at least 500 euros for next years tour. Fund raising aim 1500.

How can we get money?

Benefit parties (preference of coordinators), for example a lunch in Can Masdeu, a benefit concert in casa Viva- Porto, ….

funding organizations (if there is anyone that want to put energy in this that is welcome, but for now there is no one)

Online tools

website is changed into wordpress and more structured.

The “internal” wiki is a good tool to share information within the organizers group, anyone (that made an account) can add info there.

Still looking for the best media/tool for sharing route information on a map. We are looking for a easy way to do routeplanning. Openstreetmap is technically the same as google maps, ethically more just, but has almost same features.

Facebook and twitter is updated automatically with the BT email list and the website.

Let's make a ecotopia biketour event in Facebook, when registration opens.

Deadline to have a definite routeplan, after which registration can open: March

Deadline for booklet (people should print themselves and bring on the tour): …

Basic agreements

The text for participant guidelines was read in this meeting. We have proposals to change/add the next points:


proposal to change the part about food into:” we have vegan meals with a vegetarian option (vegan as most as possible, vegetarian in exception)”. This is the most inclusive diet for all participants and it is a way to connect our environmental aims with how we eat. The biketour should be an example and a bit of a challenge. For all of us it is important to learn about vegan cooking when our aim is to life more sustainable. If we have not enough knowledge we need to do vegan cooking courses. It is really important is to think about protein rich food!!! Meet eaters are welcome, but there is no meat option during common meals.

Length of participation:

Proposal to have a recommended minimum of length of participation of 1 week, to keep a good group dynamics and really have time to include people, make them feel that they now what they are part of. This text would fit good in the section where is written about non-hierarchical community, where we add a part on group dynamics.


There is always different expectations among participants and a tension between people that want to have a holiday and people that want hardcore actions. It might already have been mentioned enough. Maybe it is good to add something about group cohesion in BT and mention that we will have workshops to improve communication and group processes during the tour. It is important to attract people interested in being part of a community and that are open for diverse opinions and interests.


Before tour

basic flyer is made, Italian translation is done, need for catalan and french translations.

Good to meet people face to face, plans:

This week go to Torino reclaim the fields

Small propaganda publicity tour lisbon and porto (organise benefit/information party),

Contact Campada people,

Can Masdeu (information/benefitdiner/party, contact Guilhem and Can Masdeu to propose the plan and schedule it. Degrowth benfitdiner (?) 19 of april

João will make a video/presentation/trailer to show during propaganda tour and to send to people that want to help publicize.

During the tour

flyers to give to people that we meet, to explain who we are, about route, dates and actions.

Specific actions can have their own flyers

leaflet/booklet for participants

visual attraction: tall-bike (DIY), banners on the trailers

check possibilities for screen-printing, make t shirts/patches

local press contacts: get media attention for start of biketour and to get attention for specific actions.

After the tour

event to report BT2012 – we got a budget via Youth in Action for dissemination of results. It could be in Barcelona. It could also already be connected to next years tour and take place in the city where that will take place, and for example connected to an early wintermeeting. This event has to take place before a deadline of 1 nov..(right?, need to check this date).

Further questions

  • how can we get people involved in organising? We need translations of info about Biketour and in particular contact with local contacts, especially in France.
  • Plans for workshops BT2012: rocketstove, consensus decision making, screenprinting, bike repair, bike safety, construct monster/tall bike (donate a welding machine to a local DIY bikeworkshop and learn to weld!!!)

Lessons learned and future

What were the mayor problems of BT2011 and proposals to improve BT project?


There is no clear organisational support group, it is all based on voluntary action based on will of people to help and who feel responsible. We need some people committed to form a group of (mental & practical) support for the coordinators of BT, make sure biketour is happening.

Problems that need attention, more support from BT-org, (tasks):

support for volunteers mentally (mentor?) and practically in organisation

writing EVS applications (it is too hard to just leave this to the volunteers themselves)

finding host-send organisations

finding local organisers

help with translations

Proposal 1:

Maybe this support group can be based in an existing organisation that we know (for example EYFA or Friends of the earth – that can write multilateral EVS applications). Advantage: we might have more professional support with writing EVS applications. Disadvantage: It can be difficult, take a lot of time to find the right contacts, that have time to help us and understand the project. This is a mayor change in organisational structure of BT, might have an effect on autonomy of the project.


Proposal 2:

Make clear who is on the org-list and in what way these people can give support (Alice already started to do this). The org-list could function more as a support team and could take more responsibilities. This could be stimulated by a yearly skype conference or physical meeting and clear task division in which all bt-org people take part.


Proposal 3:

Would we solve the problem if we would not have to write EVS applications? Do we need EVS at all? Is it possible to find full-time volunteers if there would not be money for there live expenses?

Another support structure to cover life expenses could be creating a network of squats/social centers that could host volunteers and in which it is easier to live low budget. These should be of course social centers that we already have contacts with and that want to support BT.


Organising Biketour is really difficult if a person doesn't yet understand the project and it's organisational (non-)structure. We learned that it is important if coordinators experienced biketour before they start organising one.


Instead of sending a wide spread call out, search more within our own network and contacts and for coordinators. We can also add for example a phrase in the application form that if people are interested in becoming a coordinator for next BT hey should a.s.ap. get in contact with info@ecotopiabiketour...


This could be based on different expectations of people and on not getting a well introduction about what is the BT project.


Make sure to introduce BT and share the history of BT and the connection to Ecotopia gathering with new participant, for example have one person with this task (could be rotation task).

Send the booklet about Biketour to participants that registered, so they can already print and read it before joining the tour.

Have a recommended amount of days to participate in the tour.


This year's tour is a good example of starting in time with EVS application, thanks Alice! But mainly we start too late, which puts more pressure on our coordinators and can lead to major problems. Like last year when the EVS got canceled and we lost one of our main coordinators, due to fast communication that resulted in different expectations among coordinators the host organisation and the mentor.

Proposal 1:

From now on we should already start looking for coordinators for next year. We should invite them to participate in the biketour this year and get to know the project. It would be good if all applicants could participate in the evaluation of BT 2012. And after the evaluation plan a discussion with applicants and other people interested in organising next BT. This is a good moment to start pinpointing where to go the next year; what local contacts we have in these countries; what possible action camps are being prepared in this area, etc. During this meeting we can evaluate the applications done for EVS positions and make a proposal for a wise choice, based on the volunteers experience with biketour, their enthusiasm, their skills and experience with action planning and horizontal decision making.

In this meeting we can form a proposal to be send on the org-list with: proposed coordinators for the tour, proposed countries and form a specific task list in which bt-org people can support. Within a week after this meeting bt-org members could reply and decisions can be taken. Than the host/send orgs can be found/contacted and EVS application can be written and send for 1 september. Or:

Proposal 2:

In terms of deadline dates it would be better to start as early as possible writing for applications for next year. In that sense we could say in the call out that first good applicants will be the chosen once. So as soon as we have fitted candidates we make a decision, and we do not wait until the end of biketour. This leaves more time to find send/host organisations and apply for EVS.