For those who haven’t been to the Cycle Touring Festival before, it’s worth setting out what kind of event it is.
We define cycle touring as a journey of one night of more by bike. Put simply: ‘Cycle, Sleep, Repeat’. With this in mind, there are two aims of the festival:
- to inspire people to undertake journeys by bicycle; and
- to equip them with the knowledge and skills to do so.
This means the weekend primarily revolves around talks and workshops, with a mixture of practical sessions (bike maintenance, frame building, camping equipment) and talks from people who have done interesting trips, as well as workshops on more off-beat topics such as foraging, travel writing and using a bicycle journey to convey a wider message. Although there is time for riding if you want to, this isn’t the main focus of the weekend: there are plenty of other events out there where you can take part in group rides.
Nor will you find endless stalls trying to sell you things. We have a couple of hand-picked companies which specialise in cycle touring who come along and display bikes and various bits of equipment, but that’s it. We are run on a non-profit basis, so we don’t need to take money from loads of commercial retailers to line our pockets. Again, there are plenty of commercial bike shows out there if you want that kind of thing.
The people who come along to the event range from those who have never undertaken an overnight journey by bicycle, to those who have spent several years pedalling across the world. Everyone attending the event is encouraged to share their knowledge with others, whatever level of knowledge they have. We all learn from each other, and everyone’s contribution is welcome.
Above all, the festival aims to help foster a sense of community among cycle tourists. For those who come along, we hope you feel, like us, that you have found your tribe.