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... (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
- 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.
- Communication within our actions was bad: we need to respect group decisions made about the action, including times we set as well.
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, see here: