What is the Cycle Touring Festival?

The Cycle Touring Festival is the place to come for anyone dreaming of an adventure by bike. Whether you’re planning a single night away, or want to head off for several months (or years), you’ll find a warm welcome in our community.

There are two aims of our events: inspiration and education. Talks, workshops, drop-in sessions, practical advice and story telling are all intended to equip you to get on the road.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never changed a tyre before, or if you’re a professional frame builder – you’ll find a home in our tribe.

We started in 2015 and for our first five years, we held an in-person event at Waddow Hall in Clitheroe, Lancashire. In 2020 and 2021, we moved online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022 and 2023, we held both an online event and an in-person gathering. In 2024, we are back with an in-person event, although we may do another virtual event later in the year.

The festival is run by Laura Moss, with help from her husband Tim and a fantastic team of volunteers. It is run as a not-for-profit event and apart from a small amount of paid admin support, it is organised and staffed by volunteers. Virtual events are generally free to attend (we ask for donations to cover our overheads) and in-person events are priced to break even. We want to make the event as accessible and inclusive as possible.

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.

You’ll never find a friendlier bunch of people, so please don’t worry if you’re nervous about attending on your own.

Do you record the live talks, so I can watch them later?

Recordings of many talks from previous Virtual Cycle Touring Festivals are now available on our CTF YouTube channel.

We’re afraid that not all talks are available. We don’t record talks at our in-person events and not all speakers at our virtual events are comfortable with their recording being made available after the event. If you don’t see one on our You Tube channel, then I’m afraid it’s unavailable, sorry!

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

FAQ about in-person events

Do I need to bring a bike to in-person events?

No. They’re welcome, of course, but you certainly do not need to come on one. The focus is on talks and workshops, rather than rides.

What happens at the in-person festival?

The event usually runs from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Saturday and Sunday are filled with a variety of workshops, like a conference.

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 locally 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 5pm. 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 toilets/portaloos and basic communal (gender-segregated) showers.

Can I bring a motorhome?

Self-contained motorhomes are fine. Please park on the hard-standing area.  No electric hook-ups are available.

If tents aren’t your thing, there is plenty of B&B and hostel accommodation available locally.

Can I bring my dog?

Sorry, no dogs please.

What kind of food are you serving?

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

There is a reasonably priced bar onsite which will be open on Friday and Saturday 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 not-for-profit basis.  Speakers get paid expenses only.

Our costs include venue hire, catering, insurance, speakers’ travel costs, printing and a small amount of admin support.

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

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 (here) to get a flavour of the kind of sessions we have.
  • Speakers receive a free ticket and travel expenses, but are not paid.  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 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?

As long as you have received a confirmation email from PayPal, you will be on our list. 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.