What bt is
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What Biketour is
The biketour is an eco-mobile action community.
Some 10 to 50 bikers from different backgrounds - nationality, age, language, experience - cycle together, doing actions on their way and meet up with environmentally minded people and groups. They carry all equipment for camping on their bikes and trailers. It is a totally chaotic tour, with constantly changing sleeping places, group composition and food quality, but with some common things like:
The basic BT sleeping place includes some space for tents.
As nothing more is really needed, we made the experience that we can organize our sleeping places during the tour, during the day. This is nice sometimes - it strengthens the group feeling when people work together to find the place and to make up for its downsides.
Basic features which should not miss with any organized sleeping place are drinking water supply, a fire place to cook and wood in reach.
also appreciated by participants are hot showers/sauna, a lake/ place to swim, toilets, a roof, a breakfast room, a kitchen equipped for big groups, some contact and exchange with locals, an action, internet facilities, information about the surroundings - bike shops, (eco)markets, where to get products from local farmers, tourist traps ...
Another type of sleeping place is schools and sport halls, which have quite some facilities.
The participants rotate the task of preparing a vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner. In our attempt to buy as local and organic food as possible we avoid big supermarkets with its highly packed and far travelled products but buy our food on local markets, small shops or from farmers we pass by. Usually we cook on wood fire, if we do not have access to a big kitchen.
We do prefer quiet asphalt roads in a beautiful scenery, slightly downhill. ~50 km per day. We do our best find them! A day with 30 km is very nice to fluff around and enjoy the not cycling sides of life. Do less on action days and none on resting days, where we should have 2 per week. A slow pace gives more time for the other nice things of biketour: to enjoy the surroundings, contact with local people, events and workshops. But still you might have to expect harder days - busy roads, 80 km, 100 maybe with the shortcuts, some haste because some hosts are waiting...
We work with consensus based decision making - not the majority decides, but everyone is included in the decision We do that since years, and we think that all decisions should be based on consensus. But we do also know, that none of us learned this in school and that there are certain human qualities which take care, that we will always have decision makers and people sitting quiet in the circle. Cultural and language barriers, human group behaviour, gender specific behaviour, highly motivated or very lazy people and the constantly changing group structure are standing against our try, but we think, it is important to train our communication and decision making skills and be patient during long morning circles, try new structures and experiment with the whole thing to live an alternative to what governments present as democracy.
With this tour we do set an example how to travel in an ecological sound way. We do not use any motorized vehicles, transport all our stuff on our bike or with our trailers. We will reduce our garbage as much as possible, reuse most of it and try to recycle the rest. We shop locally and organically produced stuff, cook with wook and eat vegetarian meals. Every participant comes with a different background to the tour, different ideas how to behave ecological. During the tour we will learn from each other, how to do that, and find out the do's and dont's. We consider it everyone's personal decision to follow them, but we expect you to be open to listen to the reasons behind them and to strictly follow them, if you do something for the whole group.
Biketour connects with local groups and projects, by whom we are being hosted. They show us their project, their campaigns or their nightlife. and we might find a way to help them with our massive workforce, our positive motivated radiation, our ability to raise attention for a certain topic as an international biketour doing an action. On the one hand we see biketourists experiencing the host project, collecting ideas and get impressions of political realities, on the other hand the local group is visited by a cheerful crowd of open-minded foreign people, who bring some fresh wind and new ideas and tell of similar things happening at home.
The tour is organised by an open network of old and new participants, there is no NGO or party behind us. We do have a strong connection to EYFA and WCN though. This is also a call to you to join organising efforts and to prepare stuff for the tour at home. There are people putting a shitload of work into this project, doing the international and national coordination, caring for hosts, sleepingplaces, actions, participants, infrastructure, info-material and funding. Visit help out to see how to support them. Find out about the next meeting, on-line or in real, where decisions are being taken and work distributed. And although it is not easy to get rid of them we try to reduce hierarchies by abolishing the difference between organisers and participants during the tour : everyone is an organiser !!
Biketour is a cheap way to travel. Right now we propose a daily fee of 8 eco per day. The Eco is EYFA's alternative currency, calculated every year for every participating country. 8 eco are roughly 8 euros for someone from the rich west and around 3-4 ecos people from poorer countries. But this money is collected anonymously by Sigmund, the magic hat. So if you are rich enough to support some less wealthy person, you have the chance to give more, or less if you happen not to own much money.
Sometimes we are very lucky with funding, but generally we are the poor type. Asking for free entry or reduction everywhere as we are a big international group with poor eastern Europeans and should get everything for free. We can also ask farmers and shop owners for (food) donations, so that in general the costs stay low. On the other hand there are really nice project on our way and we want them to profit from our stay. Not only through the higher media interest, but if possible by leaving some money. But even more valuable are friendship and inspiration exchanged between participants and locals.
There is quite some magic happening around biketour, chaos everywhere, things not working out, being different than expected and a lot of improvisation. But in these rooms, this not organized part, which people have to cope with together, will be filled with the nicest minutes and be the time, when friendships grow. Leave place for creativity, BT itself cost a lot of time and energy per day, trust in the biketour ability to work things out herself :]