Route 2010

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Overview

The Ecotopia Biketour will move from Northern England, through France, Belgium, (maybe the Netherlands briefly) and Germany. See the rough route on googlemaps It will be about 1600km long, which is shorter than last year's and we'll take a little more time to do it (a bit over two months). (Hopefully it's an improvement...ah, don't you love learning from lessons!)

Places + events + dates we are planning for so far:

ENGLAND:

Pre-Biketour week a few events happening in London that you might want to come along to if you arrive in London before Friday:

General meeting place and 'home' for us in the week is the arts organisation that Mark works at: Artsadmin, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6AB

Sunday 20 June

  • Laura and Wouter arrive in London to stay with Mark and have a nice time in London, finish a million last things for organising BT 2010, do some t-shirt, flyer, sticker and patch printing and get our equipment together!

Monday 21 June

Tuesday 22 June

Wednesday 23 June

Thursday 24 June

  • Daytime - maybe a lot of people are arriving today - come to Artsadmin to meet up in the Brick Room and find out what jobs we need you to do!
  • 1900-2200 - free Interference activist artist film night in the Theatre at Artsadmin with food and drink.
  • Go to our sleeping place in Camberwell together - The Ratstar, 298-300 Camberwell Road, London SE5 0DL - 6km from Artsadmin

Friday 25 June - the day that Ecotopia Biketour 2010 really starts!

  • Daytime - taking part in the last day of Artsadmin's Interference project, building our own portable rocket stove, screenprinting t-shirts and flags, and fixing up our bikes with some visiting mechanics.
  • 1800 London Critical Mass! meet at the South Bank, under Waterloo Bridge southern end, 4km from Artsadmin and the Ratstar. Critical mass gathers from 1800 but usually doesn't leave until 1900 so don't worry if you're running late.
  • Go to the Ratstar

Saturday 26 June

  • Quick group meeting to organise food and travel, introductions, clarify what we're doing today and in the next few days.
  • 1000 first group leaves the Ratstar to go to Kings Cross station.
  • We are travelling on 3 different trains in groups of 5 from London Kings Cross to Darlington leaving at 1130, 1200 and 1600
  • We are arriving at Darlington station between 1400 and 1830, and will be met be people from the Darlington Cycle Campaign http://bikedarlington.blogspot.com/ and Darlington Friends of the Earth http://darlingtonfoe.blogspot.com/ who will cycle the 10km with us to our first sleeping place Clow Beck Eco Centre http://www.clervaux.org.uk/index.php?s=farm&a=68&p=main, where we will cook for ourselves and watch the film 'Beauty and the Bike'. http://www.bikebeauty.org/
  • If you can afford it, please pay the cost of 19GBP for your train ticket, we have some funding to pay for some of these tickets, but not all of them. (To be discussed on the tour)

Sunday 27 June - Darlington to Botton Village (near Danby) 55km

Monday 28 June - Botton to York - 65km - a big day of cycling with a big hill at the start

  • Sleeping place in York: St Barnabas Church Hall, details to follow
  • Monday night TCCC pub crawl

Tuesday 29 June - York

  • participate in the "Open day" at the Towards Carfree Cities Conference IX [1]
  • Carfree film night

Wednesday 30 June - York

  • Biketour Consensus Decision Making workshop led by Seeds for Change [2] 1000-1700
  • Possible TCCC boat trip in the evening

Thursday 1 - York-Pontefract - 50km

  • We will cycle through 'Megawatt Valley' where three of the biggest coal fired power stations in the UK sit near each other. The largest, Drax Power station provide 7% of the UK's electricity and is the UK's single largest emitter of carbon dioxide, and the highest estimated emitter of Nitrogen Oxide in the European Union.

Friday 2 July - Pontefract to Leeds - 40km

Saturday 3 July - Leeds

  • Workshop day, led by us: What on earth is this "climate justice"? ; Vegan cooking ; Bicycle maintenance & repair ; open to more (feel free to prepare something of 1 hour!)

Sunday 4 July - Leeds-Sheffield - 60km - a big day of cycling going from one big city to another through a fairly urban area

Monday 5 July - Sheffield-Wincle (near Buxton) - 55km

Tuesday 6 July - Wincle-Whitchurch - 65km

Wednesday 7 July - Whitchurch-Huntington Lane Camp (near Telford) - 40km

Thursday 8 & Friday 9 July - Huntington Lane Camp [3]

  • rest days, or optional visit by train to Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales [4], or action around the Huntington Lane camp

Saturday 10 July - Huntington Lane-Leintwardine, Craven Arms - 50km

Sunday 11 July - Leintwardine-Canon Frome Court (near Hereford) - 50km

WALES

Mon 12 July - Canon Frome-Abergavenny - 55km

  • staying at Abergavenny Gaia Coach Institute - [5], Llwyn Ffranc Farm, Llanfihangel Crucorney, NP7 8EN (4 miles north of Abergavenny) Directions here [6]

Tues 13 July - Abergavenny

  • rest day, including some helping on the organic farm

Weds 14 July - Abergavenny-Merthyr Tydfil - 35km

Thurs 15 July - Merthyr Tydfil-Usk - 50km

ENGLAND AGAIN

Fri 16 July - Usk-Bristol - 45km

Sat 17 July & Sun 18 July - Bristol In Bristol we are staying at a squat, you can find us here: The Factory, 2-8 Cave street, st pauls, Bristol Bs2 8ru

  • Day of visits to local projects/organisations in Bristol including Southmead Carnival

Mon 19 July - Bristol-Pewsey - 70km - a fairly big day - a long distance but completely flat with an easy route

Tues 20 July - Pewsey-Northdown Orchard - 55km

Weds 21 July - Northdown-Havant - 55km

Thurs 22 July - Havant-Portsmouth Harbour 15km & Portsmouth-Le Havre by ferry

  • Arrive at ferry port at 0700, ferry leaves Portsmouth 0830, arrives Le Have 1245. This is the only ferry that day, we cannot miss it!
  • We already have 20 cheap tickets at 16 GBP each for cyclists on this ferry - these will be taken by the first 20 people to register.After these might not be space for any more cyclists or you might have to pay more or take a different ferry, so register as soon as possible!
  • We will probably ask you to pay us back for your ticket if you can afford it, we have some funding to pay for some of these tickets, but not all of them. (To be discussed on the tour)

FRANCE

* 22nd July - 1st August Camp Action Climat (french climate camp [7] click link for directions on how to get there) Le Havre, France.
  • 2 August - near Yport
  • 3 August - Saint-Valery-en-Caux
  • 4 August - Penly
  • 5 August - Nolette, near Noyelles-sur-mer
  • 6-7 August - Ruisseauville "A petits pas" [8] Environmental education, eco-construction
  • 8 August - commune de Wierre Effroy
  • 9-11 August - Calais - Helping illegalised migrants and no borders activists
  • 12 August - Association Parle à ton Voisin, 522 rue de Cassel, Herzeele

BELGIUM

  • 13th August - Keiem, Belgium (camping on a field)
  • 14th August - camping on an organic farm: ' t Reigershof, Polderstraat 4, De Haan[www.reigershof.be]
  • 15th August - same sleeping on the organic farm in De Haan, but activities in Oostende. Paulusfeesten and events: we'll play "climate monopoly" on the beach, have a mass dance lesson, concert with Cold Cut as part of the "Energy Union Tour".
  • 16th August - De Haan to Gent 70km. Staying in a squatted street at Plataan 85, Merelbeke.
* 16th or 17th August - Gent. Banner making, Critical mass ??
  • 18th August - somewhere south-west of Brussels
  • 19th - 20th August - Nethen - Permaculture festival www.festivalpermaculture.be
  • 21st August - 35km - Linter - staying at Bredestraat 149, Neerlinter 3350

NETHERLANDS

  • Sunday 22nd of August: cycling from Linter (Belgium) to Maastricht,

camp spot: field at Oude Smeermaeserweg 12, Maastricht. House phone: +31 (0)433251522. If you follow the 'Bosscherweg'from the centre of Maastricht, after about 2 kms there is a junction with the 'Oude Smeermaeserweg'.

  • Monday 23rd of August: cycling through the hilly Southern Limburg upwards to Schinveld

camp spot: field at Boschstraat 17, Brunssum (Nico's place is at the village of Brunssum, close to the forrest of Schinveld)

 This day we will both have an action/demonstration together with other cyclists against a highway plan around the area of Parkstad Limburg, and a presentation in the evening concerning the resistance against the existence and plans of the NATO AWACS flight base of Geienkirchen (just on the other side of the border) - details follow

GERMANY

  • 24th August - 55km - We will arrive to the klima camp in Borschemich-Erkelenz, Germany!! [http:/www.klimacamp2010.de/ Klima Camp]
  • 25th August - 60km - Bike-action around the coal mine + party at the klimacamp
  • 26th + 27th August - workshop and action-preparation days
  • 28th August - mass action day for the Klimacamp
  • 29th August - Packing up the camp / A biketour evaluation on our successes, concrete suggestions on improvements and planning for next year's tour
  • 30th Erkelenz-Cologne - 50km
  • 31st Cologne - an ecotopia biketour 20th anniversary reunion party !

Activist/Ecologist Events in north-western europe, summer 2010

How did we come to this proposal? We decided to evaluate all events, camps and gatherings together, instead of automatically going to an Ecotopia gathering now. After lots of broad brainstorming and discussion, and an amazing compilation of activist events near the general route proposals, we came up with what you can see above. See the larger list of possible events here: http://btwiki.ecobytes.net/Possible_Activist_Events_for_BT2010. Please add anything else that you hear about! The list can also be seen on an open edit google map at http://bit.ly/ceNwc6

How to get to BT 2010

If you register then we'll send you the details of where we are the night that you want to join us so you can find us :) and if you need further help on how to get to a certain place, or you didn't recieve details.... email info@ecotopiabiketour.net and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!

UK

BT will be taking place in the UK from the evening of Friday 25th June until the morning of Thursday 22nd July but if you come a bit earlier it should be okay, just let us know.

How to get to the UK (please add your own knowledge and advice here) and also see the information on the FAQ page:

By train:

  • Some advice on taking bikes on trains between the UK and other European countries here: http://www.seat61.com/bike-by-train.htm The information is mostly suitable to people coming from the UK, but just read it the other way round!
  • If you are coming via Germany you could use the very cheap tickets - Schönes-Wochenend-Ticket (with which groups of five person can travell everywhere within Germany only on Saturday or Sunday for 37 €, no fast trains: EC, ICE) and London-Spezial (from any town in Germany to London for 49 € with ICE and Eurostar, can be booked online here: http://www.bahn.de/p/view/angebot/international/london-spezial.shtml, if you need help with the translation, ask Moritz).
  • Some information about taking your bike on Eurostar: you can either carry it onto the train - but it needs to be inside a 'bike bag' (which you could make yourself) - or you can pay extra to have the bike transported separately (25 GBP, don't know Euros price), usually on the same train.
  • For advice on taking bikes on other trains in Europe it's worth sending an email to the Biketour list to ask the experts there. Contact
  • Taking bikes on trains in the UK is very complicated because we have a stupid system of around 25 different companies running different trains in different parts of the country, and each one has different rules about how you can take your bike on the train (sometimes it's free, sometimes you pay, sometimes you must make a reservation, etc.) This page http://www.atob.org.uk/Bike_Rail.html has the best explanation of each company's current rules.
  • Booking tickets on UK trains can be done on lots of websites. This is the main one but is limited and sometimes doesn't show you the cheapest tickets: http://www.thetrainline.com/ A better website for ticket buying is http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/ which has tickets from all over the UK (I think) but gives good prices for trains between London and Yorkshire.
  • On Saturday 26th June we have cheap tickets for 15 people and 15 bicycles to travel from London to Yorkshire by train leaving on 3 different trains between 1100 and 1600. If you aren't one of the first 15 people to register, or you are travelling on a different day you need to book another tickets. Contact us if you don't know what to do.
  • In Germany, International bike tickets cost 10 Euros and are valid for most trains in Europe. http://www.bahn.de/p/view/service/fahrrad/mitnahme/preise_fahrradmitnahme.shtml

By boat:

  • Mark has done some price research on all the possible route to France, Belgium & Netherlands http://bit.ly/dzeFXJ The cheapest ferries are the ones from Dover, and tickets get more expensive further away.
  • Sometimes it is possible to 'hitchhike' ferries by having your bike put onto a lorry and travelling on the ferry with that lorry but you need to have time for this.
  • There is the "rail and sail" offer from STena line that goes between amsterdam/ rotterdam/ any station in NL and London via Harwich. Trip including train and ferry costs from 39 Euros one way, if you book at least 14 days in advance. http://www.stenaline.nl/en/ferry/london/ Don't try to look at the dutch train companies' website, it's utter crap and doesn't even show this connection...
  • You can easily count on £25 - £30 from most ferry ports to london by train and a wee bit extra for your bike depending on which train company you travel with. So the Eurostar might be cheaper.

By bus/coach:

  • Bringing a bicycle by international coach is not easy, although Mark and Elissa managed to take their bikes in large cardboard boxes from London to Vienna by Eurolines coach to start the 2004 tour. This was a coach company from Slovakia, maybe that made it easier.
  • Taking bikes on buses and coaches in the UK is almost impossible, don't plan to do this.

Cycles in London:

  • It might be possible to get hold of a bicycle in London or somewhere else in the UK - contact us if you are planning to do this. You should allow yourself time to organise this, and be aware that the organisers already have a lot of responsibilities before the tour starts.

General notes

  • Any more ideas how to come to the tour? mitfahrzentralen/ ride sharing, night train offers, the Czech bus student agency (do they take bikes?) Who wants to expand the list and fill it with details ?


THE NETHERLANDS

BT 2010 will only cross the most southern little stretch of the Netherlands of Southern Limburg between Sunday 22nd of August and in the morning of Tuesday 24th we will already be off to the climate camp across the border in Germany. Here are some tips for you to get with your bike to the Netherlands. If you come earlier and wish to see around a bit more, or you have questions, you can contact for possible help: mpeelen@hotmail.com or +31 6 270 28235 (mobile).

How to get to the Netherlands (please add your own knowledge and advice here) and also see the information on the FAQ page:


By train:

international

  • From Germany/Switzerland/Austria can easily be done by train.Check for time schedules and prices the site of the German Railway: http://www.db.de/ Don't forget to activate the option 'with bike'/'mit fahrrad'. If you don't want to pay too much, also deactivate the train options for the quick line ICE ('Ohne ICE'). From Germany it's often possible to buy the whole way ticket, without having to get out after the border to buy the part in the Netherlands.
  • The dutch booking site for international trains is: http://www.nshispeed.nl/, only possible for fast trains connections with Belgium, Denmark, Germany, England, France, Italy, Luxemburg, Poland, Czech, Swiss, and Austria. When booked in advance, prices can be quite cheap. Be aware that the different international train companies have different rules on if/how to transport bikes (check their websites).For example: Thalys only excepts bikes unmounted in a bike sack, max. measurements 120-90cm. Eurostar London/Brussels doesn't charge for bikes if you take the wheels, stirring wheel and seat out, but if you don't do this and pay you even have to register your bike if you want immediate access to it after arrival.
  • You can also travel by train to/from other countries, but have to check this in either your country, or at the train station in the Netherlands. Unfortunately most options will be booked or rather expensive during summer.
  • An international train ticket for the bike bought in the Netherlands costs €12,- single and €24,- return.

national

  • To check train times and prices: http://www.ns.nl/
  • Train tickets in the Netherlands are rather expensive. Return tickets (only valid for 1 day, or if chosen 'weekend retour' throughout a weekend) are a bit cheaper then 2 single ones. The only discount one can get is when you are the holder of a discount card ('ov studentenkaart'or 'ov kortingskaart' - €50,- for a year discount). The holder of the card gets 40% discount on tickets, and is also allowed to bring up to 4 ppl with the same discount with him/her. What ppl sometimes do is that they buy a 40% discount ('korting') ticket, then before entering the train or just when entered ask around to see if someone has a discount card and goes untill the same ending destination and if they mind that you join their discount? Quite a lot ppl travel with a discount card, so especially between cities you can always find someone. Important is the ending destination: if theirs differ from yours the conductor might make a trouble. Students often don't need a ticket (just the card), if that is the case then the destination doesn't matter (conductor can't know).
  • In the Netherlands you can take your bike in every national train (take the entrance with a bike symbol). A dayticket for the bike costs €6,-, regardless the times you change train or where you go. You can by the ticket in a machine or at the ticket desk of a train station.


By bus:

  • Unfortunately Eurolines here doesn't except bikes as cargo. You might try by totally dismantling and packing your bike corresponding to the max. size and measurements of normal luggage. Eurolines stops at all big cities, depending the route/country of departure, also at Maastricht. More info: http://www.eurolines.nl/
  • There are a few East European companies (mainly Polish, perhaps also Czech) to travel with from at least Amsterdam, but I don't have the info about them. If you are stranded here and need to go that direction, we can ask around.
  • CYCLETOURS is a tourist agency that offers holidays by bike, and (although not many) also direct bus lines with bike cargo to/from the Netherlands to/from different places in France, Italy and northern Spain. A return ticket is about €200,- and a single one half price plus €40,-.

For destinations and prices have a look on: http://www.cycletours.nl/data/assets/bussen.png To book BE QUICK (holiday season) and write them an email with all your personal data (see http://www.cycletours.com/page.php?id=&category=bookthistrip&lang=&color=tours what data is needed) so they can let you know if still something's possible


By bike:

  • The Netherlands is a bicycle friendly country: except for the hills in Southern Limburg (haha!) it's totally flat, their are bike lanes and clear bike routes pointed out everywhere. If you come from another place to meet the Biketour somewhere, you can figure out a bit rough route of places at forehand, after that you can just follow the different route signs during the trip. It's a small country and routes are usually well marked, so it's hard to get completely lost.
  • Their are about 3 systems of routes:
    • 1 - White route plates with a red or green line around it and city name in it (often with a symbol of a bike in it, not always): The RED ONES are the MOST DIRECT WAY to get to that city by bike, it will be often separate bike lanes, but it might be next to the main car way, or even highway. Still they often go through nice places.The GREEN ONES are a bit more re-creative and GREENER ROUTES (though often a few kilometers longer as well)
    • 2 - LF-routes and other ANWB routes: The wheeler association (ANWB, actually nowadays more focused on cars...) has set out a bunch or re-creative (nice scenery, mainly separate bike lanes) routes throughout the country. The LF are long distance routes through big parts of the Netherlands, for example the LF1 follows the entire coastline. Others usually make a circle and have some theme (like 'fortress' or 'farmland' route), perhaps less useful if you want to get from A to B.. haha. Anyway, the signs of those routes are white and 8-angle shaped, with the name of the route in the middle.
    • 3 - Knooppunten (connection knots) network: The junctions between different interesting bike lanes (often through nature, or passing old town centers, etc.) are numbered. Someone following the knots can decide the route by following the knots (s)he choses, not on every junction but quite often there is a map on the road for orientation. If you just want to reach some destination using this network might be too slow for your taste.. you can always switch your way of cycling by following again the bigger ways with the city-signs. Be aware that a connection knot network covers a small area (perhaps 400km2) after which a new network (with new numbers start), so if you travel a longer distance you might cross more then ones a junction with the same connection knot number.

links connection knots networks: - NLs: http://www.fietsersbond.net/fietsrouteplanner/fietsroutes-recreatieveplanner/ (you can chose here if you want to use the knot system, the most direct way or a combination) - Belgium: http://www.fietsnet.be/routeplanner/ - Germany, county of NordRhein Westfalen: http://www.radroutenplaner.nrw.de/


City transport by bus, tram, metro:

  • For bus, tram and metro and in all of the country you use the same ticket called strippenkaart. However, the Netherlands is in it's transition period to change the paper strippenkaart for a digital public transport card called o.v. chip kaart (incredible shit and expensive and big brother!), but so far only in Amsterdam and Rotterdam (I believe) you cannot avoid it as you cannot use the old paper strippenkaart system there anymore. But anywhere else you still can. A strippenkaart costs about €7,- and can be bought at each supermarket, cigarette shop, post office or kiosk at the train/bus station. It gives 15 strokes to travel, each ride costs you 2 or more strokes (depending the distance you want to travel), switching vehicles within a certain tima (like 1 hour) allowed. So, a 'strippenkaart' gives the possibility to travel within a city several times or with more ppl on one card and is much cheaper then each time getting a single ticket within the bus/tram. If you only need to take a bus once, then you can also buy a ticket at the driver.
  • Bicycles are not allowed inside those buses or trams, they are in the metro but most places don't have any. And besides: why would you like to take a bus if you can be somewhere within short time on your bike?


General notes:

  • At the train stations of quite some cities you can rent a 3 gear bike for €7,50 a day (plus €50 deposit). Especially in the weekend it's best to make a reservation.

Bike rental Maastricht train station: +31 (0)43 3211100 (they keep reservations in stock till 11.00 in the morning).

Route questions for the rest of Europe

Who would like to take on the over-view of Belgium ? Laura has it at the moment, but she's going to be on the whole tour, so it might not be so great for it to be just her, since she won't be particularly contactable.

For Belgium, google fietsroutenetwork or see http://www.fietsnet.be/routeplanner/ with 18000 km of bikeroutes in Belgium. And I'll ask around in my Maastricht web for Dutch contacts as it seems bt will go through south of limburg - Daniël.

Route Ideas 2011

Ideas for 2011 include baltic states, belarus, ukraine, switzerland, italy, greece...If you have ideas for 2011, however crazy, or if you are interested in being a regional or international co-ordinator, please do so on the bt-org or biketour lists, or write to info[at]ecotopiabiketour.net It's really helpful (for themselves) for people interested in being co-ordinators next year, to join the tour for at least a week this year! Also contact us if you're interested in doing an EVS (European Voluntary Service) project as the ecotopia biketour.