Last Thursday, after five weeks of cycling, I left the biketour on a high, knowing already that I’d be back. I left partly because I was a bit tired. Selforganization is very empowering but takes a lot of energy and effort, especially when you are on the road with 25 to 30 people on average. I felt I couldn’t fully participate anymore unless I had a substantial break. Another reason to leave was that the distance would allow me to reflect on the things I just learnt and experienced. Waiting for my train in Montpellier I wrote down these quick notes, strong first impressions.
The biketour community is an intense experience. Selforganization and consensus decisionmaking are at the heart of it. The consensus decisionmaking process can be challenging at times, but the willingness to make things work as a selforganized community and the genuine respect for other people’s opinions and feelings more than make up for this. It’s amazing how easily you bond with people while working on a common cause, however undefined that cause still is. It made me aware of an intuitive understanding between people of different backgrounds who are all looking for a change, not a hollow sloganesque change but change brought about by actively trying to do things differently.
I thought I knew about living a degrowth life when I joined this tour but I was challenged. Wild camping (always with respect for the environment), food skipping and making do with little water were pretty new to me. They made me further question the obviousness of daily practices and realize that you can live a good life with little money, or no money, especially if you organize as a community and share. The sharing is amazing in the biketour. Even when there is little people try to make sure it’s distributed in a way that includes everyone. Also the system of free contributions, though it somewhat clashes with my tendency of wanting everything to be clear and precise, I cannot but fully support. It’s a very good way to reconcile liberty and responsibility.
And so the biketour became to me sort of an ever evolving family where the members don’t stifle each other, but on the contrary leave each other free to go and come back, respecting personal space and needs. I’ll be gladly going back in a couple of weeks.
I enjoyed reading your thoughts….i also have been with the biketour, and now in switzerland, and returning to the biketour in italy….hopefully i get to meet you :D