After 3 weeks of pedalling we left Ecotopia Biketour in Torino. We’re not quite sure why – the tour goes on for a few more weeks so we must have got our dates wrong!
We arrived back to Manchester very cold and confused, but we were picked up straight away by the strength of our cycling community here. The Critical Mass the day after we got back was a good cure for any withdrawal symptoms from group cycling, with over 100 people on the road despite the rain (plus two soundsystems – one on a home made trailer and one on a rare 4 wheeled recumbent bike). Building up for the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass next month, we finished with a party in the park at Pedal MCR (a Manchester community bike project) and the launch of a new feminist bike zine by Bloomers MCR. Even the police came along for a bit, but they were not too popular with the recent arrest of 182 cyclists at a Critical Mass in London (basically everyone on two wheels within sight) to prevent ‘disruption’ to the Olympic games…
On our way home from Torino, the train journey gave us time to reflect on our biketour experience and what we can bring back to our lives and projects here in Manchester (including Abundance Manchester and OK Cafe). We found that for both of us one of the most important aspects of Ecotopia Biketour is the learning experience, both from within the group and from the projects we visited along the way. As discussed during a degrowth workshop on the biketour in Éourres, creating our own alternatives to mainstream education is an essential part of moving beyond capitalism. Ecotopia Biketour is a multi-month alternative education experience, with informal learning taking place all the time within the international group as well as during workshops and project visits!
So on our train journey we had plenty of time to reflect on our biketour experience and we found that we learned 97 things! Here are a few of them:
Compiled by Agnes using GIMPshop, a freeware alternative to Photoshop.
Click here to see a selection of our photos from the biketour without text.
Leonie and Agnes
p.s. It looks like biketour learning has now been double blogged, but great minds think alike! :)