What is the Cycle Touring Festival?

The Cycle Touring Festival is a weekend of talks, camping, planning and all things bicycle touring. It’s the place to come for anyone planning, thinking about or dreaming of a bike trip. There will be talks, workshops, drop-in sessions, practical advice and story telling.

It’s a chance to meet like-minded people and dream big over a cup of tea or a pint. You don’t need a bike or any experience. Just buy a ticket and turn up.

When is the festival?

The provisional dates for the next festival are 26 – 29 May 2017.

The festival runs from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Many people choose to stay on Sunday night and go for a bike ride on Bank Holiday Monday, but there are no talks or workshops organised for the Monday.

What is cycle touring?

We define cycle touring as bike journeys of one night or more: cycle, sleep, repeat.

Who is the festival aimed at?

The festival is aimed at people who are interested in or have been on cycle tours. That might be someone just back from cycling Lands End to John O’Groats or somebody planning a big around-the-world trip.

You do not need any touring experience to attend. This is the place to get all of your questions answered.

Do I need to bring a bike?

No. They’re welcome, of course, but you certainly do not need to come on one.

What’s happening at the festival?

Both days are filled with a variety of workshops, like a conference. There are practical sessions on topics such as choosing the right bike and camping equipment, cycling in different regions of the world and extreme environments, and how to film and communicate your trip.

There are also evening talks, films, competitions and an open-mic session.

Will there be day rides?

The festival is more about planning cycle trips than going on day rides. If you want to go for ride then we’d recommend staying on Sunday night and going out on Monday so you don’t miss any of the sessions during the festival.

What time should I arrive on Friday?

There are no talks or workshops on Friday night this year – it’s just a chance to socialise – so don’t worry if you can’t get there until late. Registration won’t open until at least 4pm. Please don’t arrive any earlier than this because we won’t be there.

What are the camping facilities?

It’s basic field camping with communal toilets and showers.

Can I bring a motor home?

We’re sorry but no motor homes are allowed at the venue. If tents aren’t your thing, there is an option to upgrade to B&B accommodation.

Can I bring my dog?

Sorry, the venue doesn’t allow dogs.

What kind of food are you serving?

Meals will be simple, hearty cycling food and tea/coffee/cake will be provided during breaks.

There will be food available to buy on Friday and Sunday evenings.

There is a reasonably priced bar onsite which will be open on Friday / Saturday / Sunday evenings.

I’ve got special dietary requirements. Can you cater for me?

You bet. Closer to the date we’ll email all ticket holders to ascertain what dietary requirements you might have and do our best to cater for you.

How did you arrive at the ticket prices?

The festival is organised entirely by unpaid volunteers and run on a non-profit basis. Speakers get paid expenses only.

The costs include hiring Waddow Hall with space for everyone to sit during talks and break out to various rooms for smaller workshops. We’re also paying for insurance, speakers’ travel costs from all around the UK, printing and catering, amongst other things.

It is a very small event so we don’t have the economies of scale that larger festivals benefit from.

The upfront costs of the festival, like venue hire, are borne by Laura, the organiser, so we need to make sure we set the ticket prices at the right level to recoup our costs.

Any surplus profits are ploughed back into the festival.

Can I volunteer/speak/perform at the festival in exchange for a free ticket?

If you want to speak at the festival, please email us with your talk suggestion, but first please note:

  • We can’t give free tickets to speakers for just talking about their own cycling trip (many people at the festival have their own stories to tell and this would be unfair).  People who do the story-telling sessions also run other talks/workshops, or buy their ticket.
  • We prefer talks  with an interesting angle, or ideas for useful, practical workshops.  When you send us your idea, please make it as focussed as possible, so we know exactly what you are proposing to talk about.  Have a look at the details of previous years (2015 and 2016) to get a flavour of the kind of sessions we have.
  • Speakers receive a free ticket and travel expenses, but are not paid.  Our budget is tight and I’m afraid we can’t usually give extra free tickets for friends / partners to come along.

We are not currently looking for volunteers for the weekend itself and unfortunately, we’re not in a position to offer many free tickets. We’ve tried to keep the cost as low a possible which means the budget is very tight and, as volunteers ourselves, it’s our money on the line if we don’t cover costs.

I’ve bought my ticket… now what?

You should get two emails: one from PayPal and one from us (cycletouringfestival@gmail.com). The emails will go to the address you used during checkout. If you don’t get these emails then please check your spam folder and get in touch.

This is all you will need to attend the festival: you won’t receive a ticket in the post, nor will you need to bring anything with you on the weekend. We have your details and that’s enough.