The Cycle Touring Festival is something of a homecoming. In 2015 I set off on my most recent journey. My first big solo trip: UK – Vietnam – UK. There’s a beautiful symmetry to this year’s event since I’ll be there to give a talk about my experiences from the last two years on the road. In fact I’ll be giving two talks; one about cycle touring in Burma, India and Nepal and the second talk titled The Consciousness Cycle, is about the life affirming effect of long distance bike travel.
The Cycle Touring Festival is held at Waddow Hall in Clitheroe, Lancashire. It is a beautiful old building on the banks of the River Ribble, mainly used for Girl Guiding Groups. Camping on-site is included in your ticket. If you would prefer not to rough it, you have the option to upgrade your ticket to comfortable B&B accommodation. There is a reasonably-priced bar onsite and we are a short walk or cycle into Clitheroe, where there are plenty of cafes, pubs and supermarkets if you forget anything.
There are just a handful of tickets remaining, so, if you’re interested in cycle touring or bike travel of any description, this is the weekend for you. You can buy tickets here.
If you’re on the fence and wondering what it’s all about, read my thoughts on the weekend as a newbie at the event in 2015 below. For further reading for those that have a trip in mind, there’s a bunch of useful links to speakers specialising in various regions of the world.
I would love to see you there!
The Cycle Touring Festival 2015.
The first ever Cycle Touring Festival took place at Waddow Hall in Clitheroe, Lancashire on May 1 – 3.
Organised by Laura Moss, with a bit of help from husband Tim, the event was designed to celebrate all things cycle touring. During the weekend there were talks by recently returned cyclists such as the lovely Pikes on Bikes who specialise in Peru and the Puna in South America. There were various workshops with Q&A sessions including my particular fave Yoga for Cyclists. All this was interspersed with plenty of tea and cake, set in a beautiful part of Lancashire.
Tickets sold out which meant that there were just over 200 cycle tourists in attendance – a lot of lovely people come together to share their stories, offer advice and even go out for a ride…
Since I would be leaving from the event for my first solo tour it was a hugely helpful to be able to ask questions about the places I intend to visit and soak up all the latest information from the road from those with fresh perspective.
Tom Allen hosted a useful talk about the Middle East. Neil and Harriet Pike co-hosted a panel on South America with William Fulford-Jones and Ruth Jarvis which was a very interesting and detailed summary of the possibilities for that continent. The extreme conditions session was valuable insofar as I can now confirm that I’ll be avoiding places of extreme cold. Props to Helen Lloyd for her amazing expeditions.
I was fortunate enough to meet Stephen Lord over lunch. Stephen wrote the original Adventure Cycle Touring Handbook and has a wealth of experience. A great guy and I feel like we’re on a similar wave length. We spent most of that conversation helping to shape the ideas of a young guy called Tim to decide when / how / what his first tour should be. The lad was positively bursting with energy and enthusiasm for the road. I understood his urgency. I look forward to hearing what he decides to do.
Of the evening talks I particularly enjoyed that Emily Chappell and her wonderful selection of photographs featuring her vast array of bikes in exotic locations. Then came the open mike section, a chance for guests to tell a story in a 3 minute timed slot. I jumped at the chance and chose a condensed version of this glorious anecdote.
Finally on Sunday after a thoroughly enjoyable weekend it was time to leave. Laura thanked everyone, her parents, the speakers and of course Tim for being awesome. Cake was given to those leaving the festival for a trip. I was laoded up with the best muffins in Lancashire as a gift for the road. Thank you Laura – they got me all the way to Hull!
A few stranglers ventured into the town for a few beers and a curry. It was a marvellous way to end a super weekend. Thanks Ben, Barry, Lucy, Catherine and Kyle for sharing that final meal, it was a joy. To find out more about the Cycle Touring Festival, click here or visit this page to join the group.