What is the Cycle Touring Festival?

The Cycle Touring Festival is usually 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 are talks, workshops, drop-in sessions, practical advice and story telling.  However, in 2020 and 2021, the festival has been a virtual event, held mainly over Zoom.

Throughout 2021, there is also a talk and social on the last Thursday of the month.

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.


Virtual Festival FAQs

What’s happening at the virtual festival this year?

There is a range of live events, pre-recorded content, and other activities to get involved with. For a full listing, please see the What’s On page.

When is the festival?

The dates for the next festival are 12 – 21 February 2021.  This year, we are holding a virtual festival and spreading it out over a few days, rather than cramming it into a single weekend.

How do I sign up for live sessions?

All sessions are listed on the What’s On page. To sign up for a live event, click the ‘Register now’ button in the calendar entry for that event.  That will take you to a link to register for each Zoom event.

What does it cost?

Everything is free at the virtual festival.  We don’t want cost to be a barrier to participation and just want to do something to make pandemic life a bit more interesting for everyone.

We will however be asking for donations from those who are able to give something, to help cover our overheads.  Our suggested donation is £10 per household, but it’s pay what you like. Click here to donate.

The festival is non-profit and organised by volunteers.  Any surplus we generate will go into a reserve fund for future years, or be donated to charity.

Will you be recording the live talks, so I can watch them later?

Recordings of many live talks from the 2021 Virtual Cycle Touring Festival are now available on our Facebook group (under Media – Videos). 

We are also uploading most talks to our CTF YouTube channel. It will take some time to get them all up online so do subscribe for updates

We’re afraid that not all talks will be available to watch on Facebook and/or YouTube.  If you don’t see one, then I’m afraid you  missed out – sorry!

We know it was frustrating for those in different time zones or with diary clashes, and we appreciate that not everyone uses Facebook, so we are doing our best to make the videos as widely available as possible.

Please don’t email us about this though! We get so many emails about it and are doing our best to help, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything.

If you want to be the first to hear then sign up for our newsletter (see sign-up form on the homepage).


Normal Festival FAQs

The FAQs below all relate to the normal festival (i.e. where we all meet up in person), but we’re leaving them up in the hope that one day we’ll be able to see each other without a screen, again.

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?

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.

At the normal festival, Saturday and Sunday 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.

The festival officially ends at 5pm on Sunday, but many people choose to stay for an extra night and get out for a ride on the Monday.

There are no talks or workshops organised on Monday.

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 – 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, you can book separate B&B accommodation on-site.

Where is the B&B?

The Waddow Hall B&B is on-site.  You need to book this separately, via this link.

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.  You’ll be asked what dietary requirements you have when booking your tickets.

How did you arrive at the ticket prices?

The festival is 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 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, 2016 and 2017) 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 can’t usually 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 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 as possible which means the budget is very tight and 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.

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