Biketour in Allaríz and Saumede

From Ourense we had to cycle a long uphill full of suicidal flies to Allaríz, a small but famous and touristic town south of Ourense. The original plan was to do a public workshop day and people’s kitchen in a social centre there. But there had been some miscommunication about the dates, and in the end the day that we were there, no one was there to do any activities with us.

But we had a sleeping place organised, a small garden on the edge of the town. The infrastructure was a bit difficult, as the only source for water and toilet was a bar close by that opened only in the late noon, but there was a beautiful park on a river island right next to us, so we hung out there all day and made workshops about fixing brakes and gears, truing wheels, making juggling balls and juggling with them, and an information talk about the struggle against the uranium mine in Retortillo close to Salamanca.

The distance to the next project was only 15 km, so we decided to do a group cycling day and leave the place all together at 12. It was a bit messy, because shortly after leaving there was a very tricky puncture that took more than an hour to fix, and everyone waited for it. But it was also a nice activity to make the group feel more united, now that we are only around 30 people.

The next project was Saumede, a small abandoned village of falling-apart stone houses that had been bought by the municipality and given to a small association of currently two people to create a cultural centre there. There is an ongoing process of renovating the houses with the help of volunteers, using natural materials, and the current main activity is yearly one-month festival, but there is the plan to create some artist residencies with the possibility to stay during the winter.

We stayed for two full days in Saumede, and the atmosphere and infrastructure of the space created a very communal mood in the group and enabled us to initiate a lot of group processes and do activities together. While some people were helping out in the place by plastering a cob wall, digging some holes and fixing the plumbing of the showers, the group had discussions about non-vegan food consumption on the tour and about how we imagine a community that we would like to live in, and workshops about different massage techniques and about laughter yoga.

There was also one Saltamontes (male-identifying people) and one Windbow (non-cis-men) circle, and in the end the first mixed circle where we wanted to talk about our feelings and our experience of gender in the group with everyone. While both circles had had long discussions beforehand and had come up with some topics to talk about, in the end the time was only enough to talk about one topic that the Saltamontes proposed: How to make it easier for people to have intimate relationships on the Biketour? By “intimate relationships” we meant anything that feels close, no matter if it’s emotional or physical or sexual. The way how we came to this topic was that we discovered that lots of people have close personal connections of some kind, but for some people it feels that there is this network of close relationships that they are excluded from and don’t know how to get in.

We chose as a method to first anonymously write down what we feel are the barriers to getting close to other people, reading out everything, and then discuss about possible solutions. The things shared were very personal and interesting to hear, and we noticed that these feelings are not specific to the Biketour, but it would be nice anyways if we could find a way to solve them. We came up with some ideas about activities to do, among them a workshop about social skills, about self-confidence, about body language in different countries, a staring-in-the-eyes session, and to have a more general awareness that not everyone has the same abilities to read others, so explicit communication can be important.

The final highlight of our amazing stay at Saumede was a private concert by MounQup, one of the people of the association, and a very chaotic jam session afterwards where she let us experiment with her loop station and other devices.

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