Warmshowers BIke House

A Warm shower and a bed

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Martin Zlámal from the Czech Republic
Martin Zlámal from the Czech Republic

I think I can safely say that, if you are here, reading this post, you are a cyclist or at least enjoy the sport. If I am wrong, however, don’t go away… 🙂
I value your time and attention. But have you ever done a long touring trip on a bike? One that lasted several  days and hundreds or perhaps even thousands of miles / kilometres?

That is exactly what Martin Zlámal from the Czech Republic is doing now. He is riding his bike from the village he was living near Manchester in the UK to his family home in the Czech Republic, a trip of over 1,000 miles / 1,600 Km.

Martin at the Frimley4 Business Park on his way to Guildford
Martin at the Frimley4 Business Park on his way to Guildford

I met Martin through Warmshowers.org, a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. I have been a member of Warmshowers.org for 3 years and 3 months and never had any touring cyclist requested to be hosted by me. I guess I am just not in any major touring route. As a guest I was only successful using it once, as well, in Pavia, Italy during my cycling pilgrimage on the Via Francigena to Rome. I sent dozens of requests over the years, but I guess, since the platform acts just as an interface between people, its practical success depends more of the willingness of their members to actually host and be hosted than the technology itself.

It is a great idea though and I wish we could learn to live and share our resources more often. Only those that have traveled long distances by bike fully understand the value of things we normally always take for granted. A nice warm shower to clean all the dirt and the sweat of a long day of cycling and a comfy bed. Of course, what each host can do for their guests vary with the resources they have available for themselves or are willing to share with them (a warm meal, laundry of the dirty clothes, etc).

This is where I said Good bye to Martin, half way between Bracknell and Guildford.
This is where I said Good bye to Martin, half way between Bracknell and Guildford.

The day we can make this idea work every single time, will be for me the day I will become completely certain that our civilization will not only survive, but strive, because that would be the day empathy will be common place and not fear, greed or selfishness.

Regardless of if you are a cyclist or not, I’d like to encourage you to become a member of Warmshowers.org and help those on the road, providing at least the basic comforts that every human being should have.

The link below opens the “Relive” video for the short ride I’ve done with Martin from Bracknell to Frimley Green which is 25 Km from Guildford, the first destination of his trip today. Martin plans to ride all the way down to the Ferry port of New Haven, take the ferry to Dieppe, in France, and then ride to Paris on the Avenue Verte, a disused railway line that was converted into a cycle way and leads right into Paris. The route he will then take to the Czech Republic is still open, so if you have suggestions or can help him further, please feel free to leave a comment, as I am sure he will be checking back on this.

Martin, be safe and enjoy your trip mate!

Relive ‘Short ride with Warmshowers guest’

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4 thoughts on “A Warm shower and a bed”

  1. Martin contacted me yesterday to say that he has arrived in the Czech Republic and was at about 200 Km from his home town. He should be there soon. At the point of this picture he had cycled 1,965 Km and although he said it wasn’t always smooth sail, he was very happy to have done it all on a bike. The place he liked most was by the River Rhein between Basel and Bodensee.. If you want to see the picture he sent me goto the EyeCycled Facebook page.

  2. Got an update from Martin last Friday. After a few issues with his knee, which made him feel like giving up the journey to the Czech Republic by bike, he arrived in Paris and is feeling much better. He will continue on his journey by bike until he arrives home or his knee forces him to give up the journey by bike and take the train. I hope he can make it on his bike, but there is no journey more important than being healthy and having fun.

  3. I am glad the post was useful and you enjoyed reading about my experience. I totally agree, the concept behind Warmshowers is brilliant. The flaws of the concept, if any, are of course on the human side. Too many people sign-up thinking they like the idea, but when it comes to actually put their actions where their mouth is they get cold feet. I guess it does required a certain degree of trust, or a leap of faith, to decide to host a stranger in the confines of one’s sacred castle… 🙂

  4. I am interested to read your Warm Showers post. I have had a similar experience in hosting. We are pretty off the beaten track, but did host our first cyclist last year. A great experience and a wonderful concept. We are planning to cycle in the US next year and hoping to use Warm Showers for a few nights here and there. Thanks for sharing, Mel

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