I started organizing hikes in February 2017 when I arrived in Düsseldorf. My original idea was quite simple: I would anyway go hiking, so why not go there with other people who might be interested as well? So, I am actually not “organizing” hikes – I’m just going my way. In this sense, there’s no reason for anyone to be thankful for what I do.
But I guess this is the reason why there are quite some people coming with me. In particular, it’s been successful, because we don’t know what we are actually expecting on the way, since I am the one who has no idea where we are going.
After the heatwaves of the summer of 2018, I decided to organize cycling sessions from 2019 as well, if the weather is particularly good. We are still in a trial period for now though.
And from here a couple of things that might be important to know:
- Whether it rains or not, I do NOT cancel the event. So whenever you want to participate, please check the weather beforehand yourselves to decide whether to come or not. If cycling is proposed, it might be replaced by hiking though.
- I usually organise the events on
CouchsurfingFacebook (and other platforms), but you don’t have to sign up for the event. Still it might be important to let me know in advance if you want to participate, because I send my phone number to all the participants and I create a WhatsApp group on the previous day. I usually do it around noon so it’s better to write me personally if you sign up shortly before the event. Whenever you have questions, feel free to use the WhatsApp group. Otherwise it’s likely that you don’t get a reply from me, because often I am overwhelmed with all the messages that I get on the day of the event. If it’s a cycling event, I’ll be sharing my location all the time in the WhatsApp group.
- Whether you sign up or not, you can decide not to come in the end and you don’t need to apologise for that (it’s actually better that people don’t write an extra message because anyway I get so many messages shortly before the event).
- Usually I don’t know where to have a break, but often in the middle of nowhere. So it would be helpful if you could bring your own picnic blanket etc.
- If you are not familiar with the railway system in Germany: it is EXTREMELY unreliable. Better check it out several times before you take the train. If you can have some buffer space, it will certainly be helpful.
- If the event takes place inside the VRR region, most probably you can travel for free, because students and those who have a Ticket2000 or YoungTicketPlus (which is a monthly ticket) can take another person for free on weekends, regardless of what kind of Ticket2000/YoungTicketPlus or semester ticket they have. If not, we can buy an NRW ticket which is 31 € for one person or 46 € for 5 people for the entire day. And actually I’m the one who doesn’t have a ticket. You are very welcome to join us if you are a student or have a Ticket2000/YoungTicketPlus.
- I usually also send the trail in Google-maps format and in kml/gpx format. I highly recommend the kml/gpx format, which is essentially what is used on OpenStreetMap, because it’s for free and off-line. I personally use maps.me. Since everyone has a different tempo, feel free to go in your pace.
- Every now and then people get lost on the way. You might think it’s their own responsibility, but I might not think so and personally try to make sure that they can come back to the group. Feel free to go ahead without me in this case.
- I’m trying to organize an event every week (usually on Sunday). It’s going well so far, but I would love to see people who want to co-organize the event, just to make sure that it takes place even if I cannot come in the end (because I might be ill or so). There’s really nothing to do so feel free to contact me!
- If you are participating for the first time, you might get the impression that everyone knows each other. That’s not really true, as every time there is quite a large number of new people joining and there aren’t many who participate every time, i.e. even those who have been there often don’t know each other.
- (Cycling) German railway allows you to transport bikes on their trains, but subject to availability. There is no possibility to make a reservation, so you might want to arrive earlier with a different train if you want to make sure you can join us. By the way, on their website they say we should get registered if we are a group of cyclists beforehand, but I was told that this reservation makes literally no difference, so I don’t really do it.
- (Cycling) Ticket2000, YoungTicketPlus and semester tickets issued inside VRR allow you to take one bicycle. If you don’t possess any of them, then you can buy a day ticket for the bike for 5€. It is important to know that semester tickets issued outside VRR do not allow you to take a bike.