For its sixth year, the Cycle Touring Festival is focussing on the near abroad: bicycle adventures that don’t involve flying.
The festival is organised by my wife, Laura. It is the only festival in the UK aimed specifically at cycle touring (which is basically any bike trip that lasts more than a day). Every year it brings together some 300 like-minded cyclists for a weekend of talks and tea, workshops and beer.
This year, however, the event has a theme – celebrating cycle touring closer to home – as Laura explains below:
For the next festival, we are focussing particularly on adventures close to home.
The climate emergency we are facing in the world means it is becoming increasingly hard to justify frequent flying. The bicycle offers a perfect low-carbon means of travel, but only if we don’t use carbon-intensive ways of reaching our starting point.
Our rapidly heating planet can easily lead to despondency and despair about the future we are facing, with climate guilt deterring us from exploring the world as we might like to. Fear not. We are instead going to take a positive, proactive approach and celebrate all the adventures we can have, without needing to travel too far.
After all, most of us can’t afford the time or money required by far flung destinations, and realistically most of the cycle touring we do will be within the UK and Europe. Next May, we will celebrate the diversity and potential which these beautiful islands we call home have to offer, with a range of speakers and workshops offering advice and inspiration for bicycle journeys closer to home
We’ll still have some speakers who have completed big, inspirational journeys, especially where these have involved a cycling start from home. However, there will be less focus on flying with bikes, or short holidays in exotic destinations. We owe it to the world to treat it responsibly, and want to do our bit.
The 2020 Cycle Touring Festival takes place in Clitheroe, Lancashire, on 22-25 May.
Tickets are sold through the website, but there are only 42 left.
(Thanks to Nigel Andrews for the photo)