Lessons learned

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- Actions

Some of the actions we did in 2008 were very unsatisfying. Our local contacts did not take the time to explain the group in detail what he action was about. The actions were often not very well prepared and it was unclear what the role of Biketour was. Sometimes we were just hanging around (eating icecream…) while the local persons were having heated discussion with people on the street and we had no idea what it was all about.

How to improve: better a few good and well prepared actions than many ill-prepared actions. If not well prepared beforehand, maybe better no action at all. (although not everybody will agree on this I guess)

- Distances and planning

Niklas: One of the ideas from the evaluation was NOT to bike less kilometers as a cycling day is a cycling day, anyway. Instead, we should have three days of intense cycling in a row, without meetings that are not really urgently necessary - and than more than just one rest day, but a real rest day to relax, play volleyball, have time to talk to each other etc. PLUS a kind of workshop / learning day together with a local community or initiative to learn from each other and the communities we pass PLUS action days - but these together with local people that know the situation and from who we were able to learn about the local situation before. Combined action-workshop-rest days yield neither successful actions, nor nice workshop nor do they enable us to really relax.

How to improve: separate days for cycling, resting, actions and workshops. Also obviously: distances not too long (depending on climate, mountains etc.), and no longer than 3 days of cycling in a row.

- Consensus based decision making

One of the basic points of how Biketour is functioning, but also a major frustration. Halfway Biketour 2008 we had an evaluation meeting. One of the most important outcomes was the inefficiency and waste of time of the circles. So it is very important to try to make them better, because it is a frustration for many people during Biketour!

I think it is important to realise that consensus based decision making does take time. Think about it when making a planning, every few days has to have an extended circle. On Ecotopia we came to the conclusion that these extended circles, where there is more time to talk in depth about certain topics, are important. For example, the topic of sexual harassment only was discussed at Ecotopia, after Biketour was finished. Only then it became clear how many of us (that is, the female part) had negative experiences in Turkey. If we would have had opportunity to discuss this before, perhaps we could have taken better measures as a group. Concluding: time for communication during Biketour is important, but it should be concise and efficient.

How to improve:

The measures we came up with in the midterm evaluation:

- Have short circles every day only for route and tasks, and longer circles every few days

- Delegate tasks to groups! Not everybody has to discuss the planning of the day or the route, a small group can discuss it and propose something. The rest should trust that group and mostly agree.

- Have a training (best at the beginning of Biketour) on consensus based decision making, and what it means: more than just hand signs.

- Organisation

Yolanda: we need to find one NGO host organization in one of the countries of next biketour before nov and I reaaaaally think it is superimportant to apply for EVS before 1 nov. If you really care about the sanity of this EVS person.... If there would be any problem and it is not possible to do it in time we can still ask for EVS before 1 jan (start 1 may) but then it should be 2!!! persons taking this job.

How to improve: start organisation on time

- Women’s Biketour

This is a funny idea some girls had on the way. Because… why is it often/always the guys who cut the wood, make the fire, fix the bikes, lift a bike over a fence…? Are women comfortable to get help, or do they sometimes feel a bit pushed aside? Is it nice that somebody is helping you, or is it affecting your self-confidence to be able to solve your own problems? Why do some girls feel better when a girl is explaining them, than when a guy is just taking it over? An interesting idea was to organise a women’s Biketour. It could for example be the first week of Biketour: only for women. But actually I doubt if it’s really going to happen, if anyone really wants to organise this.