I participated in Ecotopia Biketour this year again. As always, I try to capture some nice moments with pen and paper. It is kind of difficult to find time and space for that within all the cycling, cooking, camping, projects, nice new people or group organising processes.
This is the first go of the rocketstove we built in the first days in Strasbourg. This year it is made entirely from trash: A oil-barrel that we received from a restaurant, a piece of an oven-pipe we got in mimir-squat and glaswool that our host had left over. After last year, I learned how to build a rocketstove, I showed to new participants how to make it. (for more details, how a rocketstove works and how we use it, check the link)
Then, the group grew bigger, our second pot arrived from sweden and we decided that it would make sense to have two stoves. So then, another group of people took the initiative and made one in Bure. I found some glass-wool for it on our next cycling-day in a scrapyard.
At some point we realised, that the glasswool was melting inside the stoves. Looking it up online, someone found out that we should either use rockwool or perlite, the only two insulators that resist temperatures up to 700 degrees. (yes only from a few sticks!) Someone found a bunch of rockwool next to the bins of a supermarket and we opened the stoves to replace the insulation. What we found was pretty bizarre: The glasswool had shrinked into the bottom of the barrel and parts of it were converted into little white/transparent stones – glass.
I really liked the cyclist-drawings-while-cycling that I made last year, so I kept on doing some of those. In this case it is also no problem to find the time to do it, because there are anyways not so many other things you can do. And the results are really funny because it’s not possible to make any precise lines.
When we were cycling into Barcelona, I was about to draw Spinne, a police car passed us. They shouted something in spanish at me that I didn’t understand and drove off. Here is the drawing:
We camped next to the Rhine in Germany. In the river next to the spot, there was a small boat floating which immediately became our living-room.
In Lausanne, we went to the bike-kitchen La Rustine. When a group of about 30 people are cycling together on often very randomly found and assembled bikes, there is always something to repair and work on. Biketour arrives in the workshop, drop by drop and everyone is searching in the boxes of spare parts for the exactly right part to solve their problem. The local bike-mechanics have to answer lots of questions about shifters, bumpy wheels and unstalble racks. Some will get a new bottle holder or a more comfortable handlebar. People work together on complicated issues. The ones with more knowledge show and teach the others. Probably lots of the bicycles are better after the tour than before. Or at least the cyclists know how to fix them…
Probably my favorite parts of Ecotopia Biketour are the wildcamping restdays. When we just stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere and recover from cycling. Having workshops and discussions, swimming or hiking, whatever comes up. In the upper drawing, well, it was not so wild this day. It turned out really difficult to find a good and calm place that is not privately owned in switzerland… So we ended up being invited in the nice garden of a family. There was an akroyoga workshop, one theatre-workshop, music-making and a meeting-facilitation-workshop.
The following drawing I made during a circle at a very beautiful wildcamping restday. We camped on a abandoned road in the mountains that had no use anymore because there was a tunnel-shortcut made. Right next to it was one of the rare spots where the river had enough water to swim. After having cycled a hot day through completely dry hills and river-valleys we were very happy to have this blue clear water floating through an impressive canyon. A circle was happening to decide about the schedule of the next days and some other things. I am sometimes a impatient person. A thing I found to make meetings more fun for me (and for others as well) is to make a drawing. It is quite a perfect situation, all the people hold more or less still naturally. In this particular case, it was so hot that most of us were naked. We also wrote a nice blogpost on the biketour website about these days: https://www.ecotopiabiketour.net/2017/from-rocalet-to-can-decreix
Some more of the cyclist-while-cycling drawings:
I am very happy that I found out about this group and that I am a part of it. It is great to be with this ever changing community. Somehow it feels like home to me. If you are interested in more stories from our journey or the Ecotopia Biketour in general, I can recommend to visit the website. Loads of things to find there!