National Coordinator (NC)
NC is a person who is responsible for the route in one country or at least a part of it (Germany had 3 NCs in Biketour 2004). You will coordinate
- the planning & testing of the route
- the search for sleeping-places, actions, events, fellow organisers, participants
- holding of meetings
- produce/translate bt-material like flyers or poster
- visa invitations
- guide the tour through your country
- what ever else you take on during meetings.
Obviously those tasks are a few to many for one person to take care about. You are the coordinator, the spider in the net that keeps an overview and coordinates all that needs to be done for biketour in one region or country, in a similar role as the [International Coordinator]] has for the whole biketour. but find people to get involved, and delegate tasks. In 2009 for example we have National Coordinators were actively involved in the coordination of regional events and actions, but who have Route Coordinator who take care of the logistics of the route itself. And they again get help from many others. The more you delegate the less the work load to expect in the month before the tour.
This information below will give you the broad picture. Besides there are checklists, which help you don't forget anything:
the route will evolve during winter, spring and early summer - from countries to regions to towns to sleeping places - from approximate weeks to actual days. we do want to visit the most interesting projects, see the most beautiful nature sites, most living cities and meet most nice local groups to do the best actions with them. you will get a day when the tour enters your country and another one when it leaves it and the in between is up to you. plan carefully from the beginning, since small changes in "your" schedule may result in big changes on an international level!
we try to do ~50km per cycling day. certainly biketour can do more, and you can certainly suggest extended routes for people who want to do more, but there is just more going on if not all energy is spent on cycling, when people have time for workshops and other group activities. on action or rest days, we do less. if u need bt to do more to reach a special sleeping place, that is ok, but try to keep it as an example and better plan a day more to cycle. bt is able to organise sleeping places on its own, somewhere in nature or in a village. cities are not that easy. do not make it a rule, but if u have difficulties to find a specific sleeping place, just leave it for the tour to solve. it brings in a nice sense of spontaneity and self empowerment.
do test the route ! you will find out a lot about the region, you are going to travel - road conditions, shops, potential host and action groups, parties, festivals. try early to find people to test the route - you could fund raise to pay them some travel-expenses
try to find local/regional groups, who help u with sleeping places. try to find nice spots, beautiful nature or interesting projects.
the basic bt sleeping place includes some space for tents. basic features which should not miss with any organised 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 are schools and sport halls or camping places, which have quite some facilities. make sure, there is place for a cooking fire !
we try not to pay for the sleeping places, or if get a big reduction, as we are an ecotour with poor people from eastern Europe joining. 2€/person/night seems an ok price. except we decide to support that project we are being hosted by.
actions & events
we do want to help local groups bringing attention to their campaigns by doing actions together. most of the time it will be traffic related, but it does not have to. find some local group and let them prepare some stuff. try to be informed, what they are planning and tell the participants - then bt can add its own bit. we can offer some people on bikes, some flyers, inspired people, who might have prepared something and the big attraction that bt as an international group has for the mass media and for the general public. bt can also do actions on its own, and often did. those are actions to show that bt is in town and what we stand for. other events might include conferences or talks, info evenings, film screenings, slide shows, meetings with officials, press conferences or the opening of cycle paths - but also parties, concerts or tourist stuff like a tour through the museum/town. but be aware of the chaotic nature of biketour. do not plan a too tight schedule. tell the hosts/action organisers/press/ that bt is rarely on time. things will change till the last moment.
Every event is possible in Biketour, as long as it involves some of the following : education, activism, community, awareness, personal growth, networking, supporting local, national and international struggles, parties, massaging, workshops, film projections, discussion groups, Fun, Group Spirit Building, intercultural exchanges, etc.
but do not forget, how time-consuming biketour itself is. do not go for a tight schedule - cooking, shopping, circles and getting lost take its time. plan actions, workshops or tours a round the campsite as flexible as possible, make appointments to phone with the hosts a day before coming , the day of arrival - doing the actual phoning can be a task for a volunteer.
fellow organisers and participants
if you start from scratch, try to find fellow organisers first. ask your friends, in political groups, cycling groups, on the bt-mailing list, on eyfa-lists or -events like the winter-meeting, write articles in scene newspapers/ngo-magazines. send out a mail calling for volunteers and asking for ideas/cooperation about actions and sleeping places - circulate it in sympathetic mailing lists Calling is always better than emailing, although it takes more time. call important people like the senior bt-organiser or the woman, who knows everyone in the biking scene
think of how many people ignore mails, which do not really need their attention right now a call involves people more personally, you can answer their immediate questions and might persuade them to get involved. invite people to a meeting, maybe with a slide show, about last & next bt - you might find participants or organisers. talk about ideas - route, events, organising schedule, whom to ask for help - and follow them up till the next meeting
If you find groups interested in working together with us or potential hosts make sure to write down as much contact data as possible, you could send them a kind of registration form because we need a lot of detailed information like:
Name of the org and the town, the contacts from the contact person, address, , phone numbers, e-mail, websites, if they have accommodation place; in/outside & for how many people, if there is a toilet and shower, if there is drinking water, kitchen / fireplace, Internet possibility, electricity for laptops/telephones/cameras, what kind of event they can organize (workshop, presentation, demonstration, Critical Mass, discussion group, movie, party), cycle paths and streets, local bio shopping possibility, prize, places of interest, green groups around, reasons for actions , reasons for rest days, sleeping places near, bike shops around, nice places for breakfast
You should also do outreach for participants from your countries. not only that they might help with organising, they will also help you during the tour. you will not be the only one who speaks the language, so you will not be the only one to be asked stuff :)
meetings are most inspiring. hold meetings on national level to get people involved and go to the international meetings to get energy and inspiration. maybe you want to invite the next international meeting to your country?
most materials should be produced in an international effort. it is work that people can do, who are not situated in the countries we pass. u will have provide the info about your country and translate things into your language and the care for the printing.
outreach: bt needs a flyer to explain people on the street what it is all about. most of the time this flyer will be produces internationally and then translated. also nice is a poster, stickers and t-shirts. for flyer and poster for a design which is also nice in black and white photocopy style, just in case u have to produce some somewhere on the road. and on the poster leave some free space - for the local groups to add their info like when and where bt comes to town.
internal: there should be a biketour booklet, telling participants the bt-rules, the detailed route, specialities and events, the important phone numbers and interesting stuff. then it is good, if u have photocopied maps to hand out to the participants and also an sheet of paper with a description of the route, dates of appointments and special sites on the route to visit.
usually the press loves the biketour. have an international press release, translate it and spice it up for your country. best situation would be to have someone at home, who can take care about press inquiries. another useful thing is a part on the website dedicated to the press with photos, interviews and press releases. send the press release to all important national press and tell your regional/local people to do it as well, with the date of their special event added. make sure to add the bt mobile number, but be aware that mobiles on bt might refuse to work.
while the international coordinator will be occupied with fundraising, you might also have good chances to get money or stuff. ask the authorities on national, regional or local level if they want to support us, we are so international, environmentally aware, peaceful, integrating and sportive. the support must not be with money. mayors might be good to get us discounts in shops, at farmers or the camping. ask local groups to ask farmers for food, to go to the market and ask for the 'ugly' veggies, which can not be sold anymore.
you can also try sponsoring and ask companies for their support. but discuss it before - some people have quite some problems with quite a lot of companies.
if people need visa for your country, u will need to invite them. u might need an organisation for that and will officially take responsibility for them. in GB 2002 lots of people used bt to get a visa and then did not turn up.. do not know how we could prevent that.
guiding the tour
we do expect u to wait join bt, latest on the border. u know the route, the programme and the sleeping places, announce them in the morning circle. u will be bombarded with questions from participants during the day, will handle the sleeping place owners and the local groups and be just the central person. make sure, that u can have some relaxing times after your part is finished. maybe u can divide your country into parts and have several regional coordinators ?
and whatever u take on during on of the meetings
well, that is your responsibility ....