Coronavirus won’t stop us celebrating the joy of cycle touring. With the world in lockdown, over the weekend of 25-26 April 2020, we held a fantastic virtual festival, with a mixture of online talks, films and workshops.
You can view the pre-recorded content for as long as the owner of that content keeps it available online. Access all that content via our programme, using the link below.
All events were completely free of charge and open to everyone, although we asked those who were able to make a donation to the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal in return for our hard work (we organised the festival in our spare time as volunteers).
Profits from the sales of merchandise leading up to the festival were donated to the same cause. In total, we raised £4,526, which will be distributed via local charities to those most affected by coronavirus.
Although sales of merchandise have now closed, you can still make a donation to charity, using the link below.
Join the community
On Facebook: at the Cycle Touring Festival Facebook Page
On Slack: at cycletouringfestival.slack.com (free to join, details in the programme). This was created for the virtual festival and we currently have no plans to close the space down.
What took place during the virtual CTF?
The full programme contains details about everything that took place over the weekend. Here are just some of the sessions we hosted.
See our Speakers page for more details about many of the presenters.
Live webinars (recordings unavailable, sorry)
Andrew Sykes: Spain and Portugal on a Bike Called Wanda
A flight-free cycle across Spain & Portugal, via the Isle of Wight (& lots of ferries and trains).
Debs Butler: Flight-free Bicycle Adventures
Trip ideas and practical for adventures long and short with two wheels but no wings.
Duncan Dollimore & Sophie Gordon (Cycling UK): Adventure on your doorstep: Cycling the Great North Trail
In summer 2019 Cycling UK launched the Great North Trail, an 800-mile off-road route from the Peak District to the north coast of Scotland through some of the most stunning landscapes in Scotland and northern England. The route offers something for everyone, so whether it’s for an epic long-distance challenge, a weekend away, or a fantastic day out, find an adventure with us. You’ll also be the first to hear about Cycling UK’s newest long-distance trail launching this summer – King Alfred’s Way, a 220-mile loop around the heart of historic Wessex.
Eleanor Jaskowska: Plan Your Perfect Route With Komoot
Take the chance to get inspired and start dreaming about – and importantly, planning – future adventures. For millions of people, Komoot is the key to the great outdoors. UK Community Manager Eleanor will take you through the route planner, showing you how to find everything from finding campsites to local beauty spots.
Huw Oliver and Annie Le: Are You Lost: Bikerafting in Greenland
A slideshow presentation of a trip to western Greenland in 2018, using fatbikes and packrafts to piece together an adventurous, two-week route adventure along fjords, rolling across tundra and riding muskox trails. Not the average bike tour perhaps, with all the same things that make bicycle travel addictive and unforgettable!
Jenny Graham & Lee Craigie (The Adventure Syndicate): Resolution race
Hear the story of four female endurance cyclists, riding cargo bikes in two pairs for 1000 km. The purpose of the journey was to highlight the urgent need for people to work together to tackle climate change. They set off from Edinburgh on 26 December, arriving in Copenhagen six days later, just in time to celebrate New Years Eve. While one person rode, the other sat on the front of the bike as cargo, swapping every hour in order to manage the fatigue from the riding and the cold from the sitting. No electric assist. No vehicle support. Entirely self-supported.
Louise & Jem Clines: Trans Pennine Trail – a family version
We got a slow, close-up look at the TPT as 2 adults, a 7 year old and a 9 year old rumbling along for 10 days and nights. This was no lightweight trip, or race, but we found out plenty about how to keep such an age range occupied without too much exasperation—and how not to!
Mikel Bringas: Cycle Touring Islands
On our family cycle trips, we have visited some islands of five continents, and we want to share the beauty that they have offered us.
Rob Ainsley: Bizarre Britain
70 of Britain’s oddest cycle-touring sights: tunnels, bridges, towpaths, hills, ferries, roads, hostels, bike parking and signposts.
Wendy Badger: The Life Changing Magic of the Cycle Touring Festival
Panic, dread and jet lag pulsed through me as I dragged my pedals to Clitheroe for the 2018 Cycle Touring Festival. Terrified, I had just arrived solo from Australia to begin a 6 month cycle tour, little did I know that magical weekend would change my life…
Pre-recorded presentations and films
Anna Hughes: Les Cingles du Ventoux
In September I cycled across France from Dieppe to Nice, stopping at Mont Ventoux along the way to complete all three ascents in one day.
Caroline Burrows: A Literary Tour of the North of England
Our favourite cycling poet, Caroline Burrows will describe her literary cycling tour of the North of England, from Middle Earth to Wuthering Heights and Dracula.
John Devoy: ‘and the aftermath is troubling!’
After an extensive solo cycling journey, particularly if it turns out to be a seminal experience, returning ‘home’ can present unanticipated challenges.
Jolan Berard: 42° Goings and comings: 1,657km through Spain on a cargo bike
Having spent one year in Paris as a bike messenger, Jolan discovered cargo bikes and how they can easily replace a car in the city. He wanted to test if it was really as good to travel for long journeys, so spent 20 days cycling the Saint James Way in Spain. This short film is the result.
Kate Rawles: Life Cycle biodiversity bike ride
Cycling the length of the Andes on a bamboo bike exploring biodiversity loss as a major environmental issue. Relive Kate’s monumental journey from the top to the foot of South America on a bicycle made of bamboo.
Lilith Cooper and Abi Melton: Zine Making 101
Led by Lilith and Abi of Gears for Queers, this zine workshop will take you through the basics of zines, and how to make a page for the collaborative digital Cycle Touring Festival zine!
Pete McNeil: Riding the Silk Road Mountain Race
Shortly after returning from Kyrgyzstan, having been one of the few riders to complete the 1,700km off-road self-supported bikepacking race, Pete McNeil of Adventure Pedlars unpicks his experience. Featuring exclusive race footage, Pete gets to the bottom of the big question: “Why on Earth take on something like this?”
Tim Boden: Forging the Oyster Wheel
The story of how the Oysterwheel was built together with recommendations for anyone trying to build there own multi day route.
Tim & Laura Moss: With the Sun on Our Right
Tim and Laura quit their jobs to cycle 13,000 miles around the world. But this is not a talk about cycling. It is a talk about the world and its people.
From Turkey to Thailand and Oman to Japan, complete strangers invited these two grubby cyclists into their homes at the drop of a hat, offering the pair a unique and privileged insight into the lives of people from all walks of life.
Rob Ainsley is a cycling writer, but does more cycling than writing. He’s collecting international End to Ends, has ridden all Britain’s rhyming coast to coasts, and once biked to all the places in the world called ‘Bath’. He lives in York but is usually somewhere else.
Caitlin really likes creating open spaces for people to learn and ask questions. She works as one of the coordinators, and as a cycle mechanic and teacher, at Broken Spoke Bike Co-op — a community cycling project based in Oxford.
Having spent 6 years working underwater with the world’s largest sharks, rays and turtles, Libby has witnessed the impact of humans on the marine environment. She mixes a love of marine conservation and education, accepting a pupil’s challenge to take action, on a homemade bamboo bike. Libby is back in the UK after cycling in Australia, New Zealand and southern Africa. She continues her mission with a rather unusual new sidekick.
Geoff is a filmmaker and photographer and looks after the film programme at the Cycle Touring Festival. He re-discovered the joys of cycle touring 8 years ago and now heads off each year to explore different parts of the UK and beyond by bike. His travels have included cycling across Spain, following the length of the Danube river and exploring the wilds of Romania.
Caroline Burrows of VerseCycle will be presenting her talk about ‘A Literary Cycling Tour of The North of England: from Jane Eyre to Dracula’ in which she cycled to locations and landscapes associated with authors, poets and their works, even though the Pennines got in the way. She writes and performs short stories and poetry, which are often about cycling, but sometimes about love and heartbreak, or depression and anxiety. Her work can be found on YouTube/Facebook/IG/Twitter: VerseCycle.
Sam likes helping people learn more about mechanics and cycling to improve their cycling journeys. He’s been in the industry for ten years, and has still found no better bike than a fixie (even if it sometimes makes him cry). He also works at Broken Spoke Bike Co-op in Oxford.
The Clines Family
We are Jeremy, Louise, Esther and Nathaniel. We’re a car-free family that loves to travel. Happiest taking off on our bicycles with our camping gear in tow, we also use trains and ferries to boost us along the way. Our lifestyle aims to be as eco-aware as possible yet there are compromises the whole time. In the last year we have enjoyed a five week trip overland through the Netherlands and Germany to Finland by bike, ferry and train as well as cycling from Liverpool to Sheffield on the Trans Pennine Trail during a chilly October half-term.
Lilith Cooper and Abi Melton
Lilith (they/them) and Abi (she/her) are a queer couple who, after wobbling off on their first cycle tour in 2016 clutching a Google Maps print out, have never looked back. Together they help run the Edinburgh Zine Library and when they aren’t riding bikes, or in Lilith’s case trying to convince Fife College students to ride theirs, they are making zines and running community art workshops. Their first book ‘Gears for Queers’ is published June 4th 2020. They live in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Barry started mountain biking, racing downhill and adventures such as the multi day Tour of Mont Blanc. A few years ago he moved over to the world of bikepacking, and after multiple adventures he definitely now has the bug. To share his experiences, he produces films of my adventures that hopefully inspire people to go out and explore the beautiful world we live in.
Peter is an English language teacher whose bicycle adventures have taken him through over 70 countries – including cycling from Japan-UK and UK-South Africa. Between 2015-2016 he rode from East Africa to the Arabian Peninsula – a journey he will be sharing at this year’s cycle festival.
Eleanor is a Welsh lass living in Bristol. She’s always ridden a bike to get around but really discovered two weels as a way of exploring and discovering new places when she was procrastinating on her PhD thesis. She’s dabbled in everything from touring around Scotland to racing across Europe and last year rode Paris-Brest-Paris on a fixed gear so has developed an eagle eye for elevation profiles!
Dan Joyce is the editor of Cycle, the magazine of Cycling UK (formerly CTC). He’s been a cycling journalist since 1991 and has probably published – and rejected – more touring articles than any other editor. He’s also written touring articles for other cycling magazines and the national press.
Chris loves cycling for every day transport and leisure. He started cycle touring at University in 2003. In 2009 Chris and girlfriend, now wife, Liz spent 2.5 years on a cycling trip between NZ and UK, completing about 10,000 miles by bike.
Now with a family of two kids, 6 and 3 years old, Chris cycles most places in Manchester with his kids and has started a company called Bambino Biking that helps people get out cycling with their children. Offering trial and advice sessions in local parks, hire and sales of cycling equipment.
Stephen Lord wrote the first two editions of Adventure Cycle-touring Handbook. In 2016 he qualified as a CHEK Practitioner, teaching holistic health, lifestyle and exercise.
Ed & Charly March-Shawcross
Ed, Charly, Izzy and Will have been cycle touring together since Izzy was born and before Will had been thought of. They love spending time together outdoors, cycling, climbing, running and playing.
They have taken lots cycle touring holidays in Europe and then in 2018 Ed and Charly resigned from their jobs and took to the road on ‘The Big Trip’, through northern Europe and then Patagonia. They returned from their adventures at the start of May but ‘The Big Trip 2’ is already being planned.
Tim cycled 46,500km around the world between May 2015-2018. He says that simply riding his bike makes him happy whether this is short or long trips. On his around the world bike trip, he spent just £9,000 in three years, and travelling low budget by bike has enabled him to see the world in a unique perspective. He will be sharing his best money saving tips as this year’s festival.
Laura is the festival organiser. During 2013-4, she completed a 16 month, 13,000 mile cycle around the world through 27 different countries. Elsewhere she has crossed the Wahiba Sands desert on foot, walked across Patagonia and run the length of every London Underground Tube line.
Laura was previously a director of The Adventure Syndicate, a collective of female cyclists who aim inspire, encourage and enable more women and girls to get into cycling.
Tim has supported over 100 expeditions across all seven continents. He’s organised expeditions in the Arctic and Himalaya, climbed new mountains in Kyrgyzstan and crossed frozen Lake Baikal on foot. He’s also set a Guinness World Record for the longest distance cycled on a rickshaw and completed a 13,000 miles bike trip with his wife, Laura, who organises the festival.
The book about Tim and Laura’s round-the-world cycle – With The Sun On Our Right – was launched at the festival in 2018.
Suzie (she/her) cycled over 7,500 km’s across Canada in 2018. She is a bike mechanic, public speaker and founder of Suzie Cycles, a social enterprise dedicated to making biking better for womxn and nonbinary folx through accessible and inclusive bike education. Suzie is from Ireland and lives in Vancouver, Canada.
Fearghal is from Dublin. He teaches at a comprehensive in South London, travels adventurously and writes and speaks on Adventure, Education and Geography.
Kate is passionate about using adventurous journeys to raise awareness and inspire action on our major environmental challenges. She has recently returned from The Life Cycle: Colombia to Cape Horn by bamboo bike, exploring biodiversity loss.
A former lecturer in environmental philosophy, Kate set up Outdoor Philosophy to explore big questions about human/nature relations in nature rather than lecture theatres. In 2006, she cycled from Texas to Alaska along the spine of the Rockies exploring climate change. Her book about this journey, The Carbon Cycle; Crossing the Great Divide, was shortlisted for the Banff Mountain Festival Adventure Travel Award, 2012. Other ‘adventure plus’ journeys include the Gyre to Gaia ocean plastic pollution sailing voyage with Pangaea Exploration.
Andrew Sykes was a mild-mannered secondary school teacher of French when he decided one summer to get on his bike and cycle to visit a friend in southern Italy. He wrote the popular cycling travelogue ‘Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie‘ based upon his experiences as a naive touring cyclist and has published two more books since. He can be found blogging and podcasting at www.cyclingeurope.org
Jack began has been exploring the British countryside ever since he set up a school cycle touring club as a way to avoid having to kick a ball around a muddy playing field. He is the author of the bestselling Lost Lanes series of cycling guidebooks and has written about cycling for The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Rouleur and all the main cycling magazines. In 2004 he started presenting The Bike Show, a cycling radio show on London’s art-radio station Resonance FM. It’s now podcast and has had more than 5 million downloads. He lives in Abergavenny, on the edge of the Black Mountains in Wales and is gently introducing his two children (aged 6 and 4) to the pleasures of travelling by bike.