zaterdag 31 december 2011

EUROLL. What kind of ride will it be?

 It seems there is enough enthusiasm to do a Tour like ROAM in Europe: a EUROLL. There is however great diversity about the way we should do it. The greatest controversy is about the daily distances. Some would like to make it more a sight-seeing tour and others think it should be more ambitious. Now we could of course simply say: the organiser decides and in the end, that is indeed the way it will have to go. The freedom we have as velomobile riders is than to either participate or not.

Another thing to consider is the number of riders. We will not be in practically velomobile void USA where this type of bicycle has yet to really take off, but in Europe. And Europe is the home of the velomobiles, the place where several small velomobile factories have produced quite a number and that has a well established culture. I'm pretty sure that the number of participants will be much higher than on ROAM, even with ambitious daily legs. We will need more room at campsites and restaurants on the route will be flooded with unexpected extra, very hungry guests. Some more room on campsites will not be such a problem, but the waiting time for riders to get a lunch should not be too long. I think that the 40 riders we had for ROAM was just about the limit to keep it fun.

How long a table do we need?

I have thought long and hard if there maybe is a better way to do this tour so that as many riders as possible can take part. At the same time I want to keep the organizational effort and the costs as low as possible. In fact, even though many showed interest in taking part in EUROLL, it took a long time before somebody volunteered to take the lead in the organization.
I also worry about the amount of support that is needed. SAG (Support And Gear) was indispensable for ROAM. The burden on these people was pretty high while the riders had all the fun. That burden could be greatly diminished when the riders would take their tents, sleeping bags and clothing with them in the velomobiles.
The ambition level is another thing to consider. When all the team mates have the same idea about how fast, how long and how scenic to ride, it will build a strong team. Sight-seeers and racers do not go together all that well.

A few days ago it hit me, we could make it a STAR route. Velomobile riders from all corners of Europe can make their own groups (by preference of route and/or by country) and converge at one place where we can spend a few days together and be on our merry way again. The organization will be split up over the groups and there is less discussion.

I suggested this to three forums and the responses are (as usual) variable. A concern is that the group experience would be lost.
Well, in my view a group of 20 riders is already plenty of group experience. On ROAM it was very evident that the riders mostly got together in "sub-groups by language" in the evening. That's not at all strange, because not everybody is equally good in a strange language.

Another suggestion that followed my proposal is to make EUROLL a round trip for everybody and to have sub-routes, meeting again at a hostel after, say, a week and then split up again. This would indeed give great freedom to the riders in respect to the harshness of the ride. On the other hand it might put off riders that need a sense of achievement. Like: it should not be too easy. All I can say about that is that the fitness level of riders varies greatly. A tour of this magnitude will be an achievement for all the participating riders.

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Great idea, if needed I can help. Generate idea's, organize wireless communications between teams during a trip and maybe, via my work get professional support for getting the Velomobile story out.


  2. Hallo Wil,
    ik hoop dat dit een goede manier is om contact met je op te nemen. Je aanbod voor hulp wordt zeer op prijs gesteld. Bedoel je met wireless connectivity walkie talkies of draadloos internet. Het is beide zeer nuttig in ieder geval. Een probleem is het kontakt houden. Verschillende talen, 3 verschillende forums. De website staat in ieder geval al, dus misschien daar even een kijkje nemen: Hoewel, de bulk van de discussie wordt op het BROL forum gevoerd: Ik zie dat je voor Greenpeace werkt. Wat mij betreft een prima organisatie om mee samen te werken.
    Je rijdt toch ook zelf mee?
    Groet, Harry (aka twilwel)