biker holding mountain bike on top of mountain with green grassAdventure

Cycle Touring Friends (Romans, Countrymen… [And Countrywomen…])

Lend me your spare room? (Keep reading…) As I was croaking my way through recording the links for the latest episode of The Cycling Europe Podcast that was published overnight, I mentioned that I would put all the relevant links to the accommodation providers on the website. We, here I am doing just that. The four people interviewed were Tahverlee Anglen from the accommodation sharing website WarmShowers, Simon Ainley from the Youth Hostel Association of England and Wales, Simon Kershaw from a new hotel – soon to be a chain of hotels – called Bike and Boot in Scarborough and the wild camper Tim Millikin. You can find more details about Tim’s travels and the book he has written by visiting his website.

So that’s what was in the podcast. But there’s more…

I had wanted to include an interview with a Dutch organisation called Vrienden op de Fiets which translates as ‘Friends of the Bicycle’. Unfortunately, when I contacted them, they said they were a bit busy doing something to their website (if you visit the site today it does say that the site will be up and running again on April 1st) and also that they were a little reluctant to speak before the COVID restrictions had been lifted, which is fair enough. Vrienden op de Fiets is, according to wikipedia, a group of 6,000 people or households who offer a room and breakfast in their house for €22.50 per night. So it’s a bit like WarmShowers but will a modest payment.

I think I had heard about Vrienden op de Fiets a few years ago but it was Laura Moss of the Cycle Touring Festival who reminded me about it recently in an email where she was talking about setting up something similar here in the UK. (More of that in a moment.) She also mentioned the following organisations that are worthy of noting if pondering accommodation options for a future cycle tour:

  • Cyclo-Camping International: this is a French organisation that supports touring cyclists with, amongst other things, a magazine, a festival and advice about routes. But it also maintains Cyclo-Acceuil-Cyclo (or CAC) which is a network of cyclists who are happy to offer accommodation. There are 500 people in France who are members with several hundred more outside of France.
  • Velodach: this is a Swiss site aimed at cyclists and walkers who are heading for the Alps and nearby although I assume it has members worldwide. As with WarmShowers, they emphasise the reciprocity of what they do. You pay €20 a year to be a member.
  • Dachgeber: this is a German site (that also has an Austrian sister site) that also offers lists of accommodation to cycle tourers.

I’m sure there other, similar, organisations out there doing similar things.

So what about the Cycle Touring Festival? Well, today, Laura Moss has launched what she has called ‘Cycle Touring Friends‘ which is a British version of the various outfits mentioned above. For £10 (for the remainder of 2021), you can:

  • Gain access to the reciprocal hosting network
  • Enjoy free access to the Cycle Touring Festival monthly talk series (which would otherwise cost £5 per talk)
  • Benefit from discounted and priority access to other events
  • Offer your expertise as a regional expert and learn from others and
  • Find people to tour with

What’s not to like? I’ve just paid my £10 and signed up! You can do likewise by visiting the ‘cycle touring friends’ page of the Cycle Touring Festival website.

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