Participation guidelines

Because we all have different visions of life and diverse personalities, Ecotopia Biketour has developed a set of basic values, which helps all of us to create similar expectations from this project. Proposing different ideas and sharing diverse insights is always appreciated, but please keep in mind that these are the basic values of the Biketour.

Biketour is a project which promotes a sustainable way of life by cycling, helping out on projects we visit, doing media work and participating in and organising actions. We participate in actions organised by local groups and are always keen to plan and implement various actions ourselves.

Biketour is a non-hierarchical community, and there is a collective responsibility to realize this principle. Decisions are made and problems are resolved by practicing consensus. Many people who come on the Biketour are not experienced with working this way, so please bear in mind that it works best if people concentrate on the discussion and make constructive proposals for concrete problems. We try to keep a balance between working effectively as a group and respecting everyone’s personal preferences and freedom.

On the Biketour we aim to create a non-discriminatory environment, where sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia/cissexism, xenophobia, antisemitism, antiziganism and any other discriminatory practices are not tolerated. Biketour, like anywhere else, is not a place free of discrimination, but it should be a place where discrimination can be openly discussed and criticized.

The diversity of the Biketour is something which is celebrated, therefore we encourage participants to be considerate of different social norms and values both within the group and also within the context in which the Biketour finds itself. Individuals within the group will all have different experiences and backgrounds, and varying involvement in activism, which influence their values, so remember we are all working towards finding what values work best for the Biketour community and society at large. Try to be open and learn from everyone you meet.

The Biketour aims to provide opportunities for non-formal education. Here as well, everyone is encouraged to take an active role into making this aspect of the Biketour a success. If you think that you could give workshops on a specific topic or share a skill, you are more than welcome to do so.

We try to reduce, reuse and recycle. Please reduce your waste as much as possible – do not take many plastic bags while shopping, try to buy food without wrapping, try not to buy canned food. Keep in mind while shopping that we want to leave as little as possible for future archaeologists ;).

All common food on Biketour is vegan, which serves as a common denominator for all and also expresses our environmental consciousness in regard to food consumption. Meat eaters and other non-vegans are welcome to join the tour, but there will be no non-vegan (dairy or meat) option during any common Biketour meal.

We choose to support local farmers/small shops because industrial farming and supermarket chains produce many social and environmental problems. Please buy food in small shops or directly from local farmers! Small is beautiful.

Ecotopia Biketour is a not-for-profit, DIY activist community run by volunteers. All the money that we collect from our participants during the tour, is used to cover the costs during the tour, (such as: food; donations to project hosts; first aid equipment; bike tools; printing flyers / materials) but also some money is saved for the following year to cover some of the organisational costs (such as: office hire/donation; office equipment; phone / internet costs; trailer parts; cooking pots)

We want to make participation inclusive – also in regard to money. For this reason, our money is periodically collected (e.g. for one or two weeks) as an anonymous, suggested donation of 3 – 5 EUR per day (or equivalent in other currencies). The average amount of daily/weekly biketour costs are hard to estimate, because currencies fluctuate, economic circumstances change every year and we cross regions with very different cost and income levels. If the suggestion for the donation had to be corrected, this would happen through a consensus decision with participants during the tour.

In the past, Biketour has already used other methods from the wide field of solidarity economy in order to finance the basic needs; e.g. it used Ecorates, an alternative currency system designed by EYFA in 1989 for the first Ecotopia Gathering. It is important for the Biketour to directly try out and employ examples of alternatives to/within capitalism, by providing different kinds of social safety nets and by recognising economic inequality.

In bigger groups, people need time to get to know each other. And joining participants need time to adjust to the group and learn about the processes. It would therefore be preferable if you could stay with us for a minimum of 1-2 weeks, although shorter stays are also welcome.

The Ecotopia Biketour is multi-lingual. It is a collective responsibility to make sure everyone understands and can be understood and, if possible, alternating the language used in circles (assemblies). In the past, English has most of the time been the dominant language on the Biketour, but we encourage multilingual participation so as to include those who do not feel comfortable communicating in English.

Privacy must be respected: towards other participants and the projects and group that we visit. Photography and filming should be cleared with all participants before hand, and no photos or videos should be uploaded, sent or published on the internet without the explicit consent of all the people depicted.

These guidelines have evolved from 26 years of experience, and the thousands of participants that have taken part over those years … we are always open for new ideas and suggestions to improve this process – to make the bike tour experience an example of the social and political and well as social values we all share.

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