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.
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).
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!
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