UPDATE. The Green Riders European Tour was a success. Read the final blog here.
The Green Riders are back at it again. This time, cycling across Europe!
I am so elated to see the good deeds continuing on. I won’t personally be on this tour, but I will be there in spirit and supporting from home. The following is an announcement of the 2019 tour and all the details one would need to get involved, written by the Green Riders team.
We have exciting news! The Green Riders are Doing Good Deeds on Bikes in Europe and YOU are invited! Join us June 1st to July 31st, 2019 to cycle across ten countries while spreading Goodness, Greenness, and Kindness. For those unfamiliar with the first Green Riders Tour, this is more than just a cross-country bike ride. This is “adventure-activism” at its finest. The purpose of this ride is to promote a more conscious way of living, and to leave every place better than we found it. We will accomplish these goals in a multitude of ways. The most obvious way we are promoting this lifestyle is by proving it is possible to travel long distances by the sheer power of our bodies. An equally important part of this trip, we will be volunteering in places like community gardens, permaculture operations, organic farms, homesteads, and other places that align with this mission. By doing this we will help people and organizations that are already doing the work of promoting sustainable lifestyle choices (i.e. growing their own food), and also have a chance to promote their beneficial and impactful work. All along the route we will be picking up trash (everywhere, everyday), helping others grow food by donating vegetable seeds, attracting pollinators and providing food for them by planting regionally appropriate wildflower seeds in parks and roadsides, donating fruit trees to hosts, wild foraging, and dumpster diving for food to bring awareness to the issue of food waste. We will keep track of all of the positive actions we employ to understand just how much of a positive impact we will be providing for the communities we travel through and ultimately the earth.
This ride is fundamentally about making the world a better place, and giving ourselves freely in order to aid in that goal, however every rider will have undergone measurable growth by the end of the trip. All riders are expected to be self-sufficient and fully contained to their bicycles. Living in this way provides a learning experience in living minimally and being highly environmentally friendly. Riders are encouraged to produce as little waste as possible (buying in bulk and avoiding packaged goods) and to camp or use WarmShowers hosts every night (rather than use energy exhaustive accommodations like hotels). To have this first-hand experience of living simply, sustainably, and with little common luxuries or money, everyone will end this ride as a true ambassador of positive living, and as a steward of the land.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “I really love this mission, but I am not so confident I can bike that far or for that long,” think again!! On the first Green Riders Tour, we had a range of ages from 18 to 62 years old, as well as a vast range of biking experience from essentially just the basic mechanisms of riding and unconditioned to the sometimes-strenuous task, to well-cycled, well-conditioned, and mechanically savvy around the bike. We found that the unending communal support that comes with joining a powerful group such as this helped push along those who were faced with days of struggle (and we ALL had rough days). As with many activities, biking long distances while fully loaded is almost entirely a mental game rather than a physical one. So, take a risk, and do some growing! We’ll support you the whole way.
We really wish you will join us for this ride! Whether you plan to join for the entire length of the trip, for one country only, or for one day, please email [email protected] to express your interest in joining. Also, feel free to join the Green Riders Europe Facebook group so that we can start creating some community and prepare for the ride collectively.
We could also really use your help! We need help finding places that we can volunteer that are near our route, as well as possible group accommodations. For volunteering, we are looking for places like community gardens, organic and/or permaculture farms, regenerative, permaculture, and/or off-grid homesteads and operations, and we would really love to help with some natural building if any leads are out there! Other places such as bicycle co-ops, community parks, and the like are welcomed suggestions as well. Please consider the route as outlined below and only recommend places within a reasonable distance from the route. Please email [email protected] with any suggestions and contact information. Thank you!
Below is a compiled list of possible questions you might have. If you have further questions, please email [email protected] or post in the official Green Riders Europe Facebook group.
Start Date: June 1st, 2019 in Saint Nazaire, France
End Date: July 31st, 2019 in Constanta, Romania
Route: We will be on the EuroVelo 6 route. This is considered the “Rivers Route” because it follows 6 rivers throughout Europe including the Danube. This also means it will be relatively flat for the whole ride. The total length of this route and the Green Riders trip is 4,400 km (2,734 miles).
Please see the map below and read more on their website.
Countries and approximate dates*:
France: June 1-12
Switzerland: June 12-14
Germany: June 14-22
Austria: June 22-27
Slovakia: June 27-29
Hungary: June 29-July 3
Croatia: July 3-6
Serbia: July 6-15
Bulgaria: July 15-24
Romania: July 24-31
*Dates and route subject to change
Pace: 75 km/day (47 miles/day). We plan to take a rest/volunteer day once a week if possible.
Accommodation: We will be “wild-” and “stealth-camping” most or every night. Please prepare yourself with the proper sleeping gear to do so (which can mean whatever you want it to mean). We may be accommodated on a select few nights with spaces large enough to host our group indoors, but it will be rare. We are hoping to secure as many group camping spots as possible at places like farms, backyards, churches, etc., but we will not have a group spot every night. As such, prepare to wild/stealth camp on your own or in a small group. (Read: How and Where to Sleep for Free)
Support: This ride will have no vehicle support. Riders must carry all of their gear on their bicycle. Every rider is responsible for themselves and no support will be provided including but not limited to medical assistance, gear, or vehicle support. Each cyclist must prepare to take care of themselves.
Cost: This is a FREE ride. There is no cost to join, and no overarching organization that is putting this on. You will be responsible for buying/bringing all of your own gear, but that can cost as little or as much you want. Read Rob’s list on his cross-country cycling gear. If you need a bike, you can buy new, build one, earn one through volunteering at a local bike co-op, find one, or buy used from sites like Craigslist. Concerns and brainstorming can also be discussed through email or on the Facebook group, linked above.
Food/Budget: Riders are responsible for procuring their own food each and every day. Again, this can cost and look vastly different from rider to rider. Riders are encouraged to produce as little waste as possible when buying food (i.e. buying in bulk), and to educate themselves on foragable edibles. We also encourage dumpster diving to bring awareness to food waste, and this will also alleviate food associated costs. Aside from any initial gear purchases and travel expenses, food will be the biggest cost for everyone on the trip as we will be camping for free most, if not all of the way.
France, Germany, Austria, and Slovakia are on the Euro (conversion*: 1 USD = .87 EUR)
Switzerland uses the Franc (1 USD = .99 Fr)
Hungary uses the Forint (1 USD = 275.95 Ft)
Croatia uses the Kuna (1 USD = 6.48 kn)
Serbia uses the Dinar (1 USD = 103.42 din)
Bulgaria uses the Lev (1 USD = 1.71 leva)
Romania uses the Leu (1 USD = 4.14 lei)
Budget accordingly with this in mind.
*all conversions up to date as of January 31, 2019; periodically do a web search to check conversions if you want to stay current.
Language: Educate yourself on greetings in each language (can be done during the trip), and plan to use Google Translate on your phone if possible. We hope to connect with cycling groups that would possibly have a native/English speaking person from each country join us for at least their country to make translations a bit easier for everyone. Please connect us with any cycling groups you know of that might be along or route or could be of assistance otherwise.
Visa Requirements: Of the ten countries through which we are cycling, six (France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary) are part of the Schengen Area, meaning if you hold a US passport you do not need a visa for tourism as long as you do not spend over 90 days in the country. There are no border controls in the Schengen Zone. Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria are in the process of joining the Schengen Area and are projected to be included in 2019. Romania and Bulgaria tourist visa are 30 days, as it stands now. This leaves Serbia as the only country that is not a part of the zone, however, no visa is required as long as your stay is under 90 days. Please follow the Schengen Area link above to determine visa requirements if you are joining the trip from a country outside of the U.S., or if you are U.S. citizen with a different nationality.
You are responsible for visa requirements. The best practice is to ensure you have a valid passport for at least 6 months after your planned return and have at least two blank pages, as well as proof of onward travel and proof of sufficient funds. Airport agents can deny you boarding on your flight if you don’t have proof of onward travel. Your proof doesn’t necessarily have to be a flight out of that country, but you will need documentation showing that your travel will be continuing outside the country at a later date. It is a good idea to carry a screenshot of sufficient funds for your length of stay. You are fully responsible for providing this information and deciding how you would like to provide the necessary documents (sufficient funds, onward travel, valid passport).
Phones/Internet: Please check with your current service provider about international plans if you so wish to do so. If you have an unlocked phone you can purchase a SIM card for service. Generally speaking, you can find free WiFi hotspots in cafes and restaurants. You can rent a pocket WiFi device if you are someone who needs to have internet access at all times throughout Europe. Apps like Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Viber can make FREE texts, calls, and video calls through WiFi or data.
Closest Airport(s): Nantes, France (arrival); Paris, France (arrival); Bucharest, Romania (departure); Constanta, Romania (departure); Istanbul, Turkey (departure); continue traveling and doing good deeds as long as you please!
Carbon Offsetting: While this is not a requirement of the trip, it is highly encouraged. We know that many riders will be flying or using significant amounts of fossil fuels and energy by other means to meet at the starting point and depart from the ending point. To make this a more sustainable/regenerative trip, it is in our best interest to pay to offset our carbon footprint we will be making during travel. A guide on what this means can be found here, as well on tips on how to do it.
Fundraising: We would like to raise funds to help with the cost of seeds and fruit trees, and possibly materials needed for volunteer work, as well as any possible group costs that may come up. This money will not be used to purchase food or other personal items. Please consider donating to our cause and sharing our GoFundMe page to anyone you know who would want to donate as well.
Who can join/partial length: Anybody can join, and anybody can stay for as long or as little on the ride as they please. This means the full length of the trip, right on down to a mile or two, and you can feel free to join at any time. However, if you are not at the starting destination in Saint Nazaire, France at our planned time of departure (TBD), you will have to catch up with us or meet us elsewhere along the route. You are not required to have any level of experience, but keep in mind we will be cycling on average 75.5km/47 miles a day.
Drugs and alcohol: We ask that you refrain from carrying illegal drugs on this trip or from drinking very much alcohol. We want this to be a freeing experience for everyone and to minimize possible problems. We believe a drug free summer can be of benefit to everyone that joins.
Mission: The Green Riders Tour is a grassroots volunteer-based ride. Our mission is to leave each town and place we visit better than we found it. We are committed individuals coming together with a mission to spread goodness, greenness and kindness through acts of good deeds for the health of both communities and the planet!
During the summer of 2017, and under the leadership of Rob Greenfield and Cheryl Davies, the Green Riders cycled from New York City to Seattle in service of the good people of the nation. We cleaned up community spaces collecting at least 20,000 pieces of trash, rescued 5,000 pounds of food from going to the landfill, planted 90 fruit trees, and spread thousands of wildflowers and vegetable seeds. In 2019, the Green Riders will be adventuring beyond the US, cycling across Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea for the same purpose!
Point of contact: [email protected]
UPDATE. The Green Riders European Tour was a success. Read the final blog here.