For three months I was working and collaborating with Adventure Cycling Association – America’s leading Bicycle Travel Experts on my master thesis about: ‚Co-Designing a human-centered cycling tourism experience‘. One day Saara Snow – Travel Initiatives Coordinator – asked me if I would like to go on a photoshoot with them. My answer: ‚Yes. For sure!‘ and I thought: What a nice relief from sitting in front of the computer all day writing my thesis. From Missoula, Montana where Adventure Cycling’s headquarter is based we drove out a couple of miles into the Bitteroot Valley to get some nice photographs. After living in Montana there is one thing I can say for sure: No matter where you go you’ll always find the most amazing and stunning scenery!
Thanks Adventure Cycling & Saara Snow for these beautiful pictures, memories, and my first photoshoot on a bicycle.
photo credit @ Saara Snow, Adventure Cycling.
>>>> To all touring cyclists – I need your help – Please participate in my research study & let’s push bicycle travel forward. Thanks, Franziska <<<<
For my last semester of the European Master in Tourism Management, I was invited as a research scholar to the U.S. to conduct my research on Bicycle Travel. The focus of the research is on: Designing a human-centered bicycle tourism experience. It’s about understanding people’s past / present experiences on bicycle travel in order to inform how these experiences can be enhanced in the future and make bicycle travel more meaningful and memorable to touring cyclists.
The Research Target: All touring cyclists who have been / or currently are on a self-supported long-distance bike tour – at least a week or longer.
I need a total of 100 to 200 participants – so please, help to spread the word. The survey will be open until May, 15th.
>>>> You can fill in the survey directly beneath – just scroll down – or click on the following link: Online Survey on Bicycle Travel <<<<
Lots of thanks & happy cycling, Franziska.
This is an amazing story and I need to share it with all of you. Read it! ALL! 🙂
— part 1: France —
Last year, when I was cycling from Germany to France, I met many amazing people on the way. One of them, a couple from Canada – Jacky & Ralf Winter – who had sold everything to head out with their bikes on a two year adventure. The first time our journeys crossed was in a hostel in Nantes; a few days after we stayed coincidently at the same campground in La Tranche-sur-Mer, where we went out together for dinner and ice cream sharing interesting bike stories and experiences; before we met again the next day just before arriving in La Rochelle.
Since I’m here in the US, I kept on thinking about the two, their great adventure & wondered where they would be at the moment. Their ideas on how to make Bicycle Travel better & more meaningful had inspired me and so I already had included a quote from them in the Prologue of my thesis.
— part 2: Phoenix, Arizona —
Last week I got the chance to meet with Christine, a member of the Warmshowers Community in Phoenix, who is planning her first long tour this summer, going all way from Seattle to San Diego. She’s been dreaming about this tour for years and we met in the Public Market Café to talk about bicycle travel as a solo woman. I tried to encourage her to do this amazing tour and turn her dreams into reality. After a night full of good talking we agreed to go on a short overnight bike tour together.
— part 3: A Bicycle Miracle —
Just two days after we have met, I got a message from Christine saying: „This is a bicycle miracle – I am hosting two warm shower cyclists who you met in France – Ralf & Jacky Winter“. This message was mind-blowing. The same Ralf & Jacky I met in August 2014 at the Atlantic Coast in France were here in Phoenix, Arizona staying with Christine, a girl I just met two days ago. Yesterday, I had the pleasure to spend the whole day with Ralf & Jack – going for lunch, showing them where I currently live and sharing many new inspiring cycling stories. Can I just quote everything you said? 😉
Safe & happy bike travels to both of you!
Thanks for this BICYCLE MIRACLE – I’m still overwhelmed with joy for this once in a life-time coincidence.
1st Friday! Every first Friday in a month, the Art District of Phoenix Downtown – Roosevelt Row is turning into a lively, vibrant and creative art space full of people doing and watching art. Graffiti is pretty big, and many former houses were turned into art galleries and workshops. Artists are spraying new graffitis, good sound is coming out of the speakers and people enjoy their time while being part of this artistic project. Pop-up art exhibitions and parties on dirt lots, with guitar players, barbecue and skatebord & BMX ramps, surrounded by graffiti art and people from all over who stop to have a beer together.
The decision was made: I’m gonna spend my last semester of the European Master in Tourism Management in Phoenix, Arizona studying at Arizona State University (ASU). The pending question: Where to stay? Checking AirBnB, the first thing that caught my attention was the offer from Cindi and Derrick, who are the owners of the local bike shop -HoodRide- and offer shipping containers for stay. Bicycles, Community Vibes & a totally different sleeping experience sounded perfect to me. And here I am: in the middle of the Artistic District in Phoenix Downtown, surrounded by a community of creative & amazing people, enjoying my experience to live in a shipping container with an outdoor bathroom, where you can watch the stars while taking a shower in the middle of the US’s 6th largest city. A happy day and come by to visit!
Everyday here is a new source of inspiration.
Time to say goodbye! 1.5 years of staying together in our EMTM family came to an end. Thanks for all the laughter, great memories, each one’s uniqueness and for being my friends. It was an honour to get to know you and you will always stay in my heart.
The last semester of our Masters Program, is individual for all of us. There are mainly two options during this time: either we could stay with a partner university inside (Denmark, Slovenia, Spain) and outside Europe (USA, India, China, Brazil), or to look for an internship / job opportunity worldwide. In September 2015, we hopefully all meet again, for our graduation ceremony in Girona, Spain. Can’t wait to hear everyone’s story.
Personally, I am invited as a research scholar, to work on my thesis at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, in Phoenix. From March on I will stay in the US for around six months to work on my thesis: ‚Designing a human-centered bicycle tourism experience.‘, asking the question: ‚How can one design human-centered cycling tourism experiences for touring cyclists?‘. My aim is to understand how people experience their cycling trips in order to inform how these experiences can be enhanced.
Bicycle tourism is making a comeback and is a proven catalyzer for economic and sustainable development for rural communities and small towns. To attract touring cyclists one needs to design cycling experiences that costumers want and are meaningful to them. The goal of my research is to uncover user needs and desires and articulate them. It is anticipated that a co-design approach seems well suited to this need, wherein relevant solutions emerge from a social, or participatory, process that brings user perspectives to bear, leading to a deeper insight and a series of conclusions as how to best support human-centered cycling tourism experiences.
Keep on cycling everybody!
The Costa Brava, where I’m currently living, is mainly known for its beautiful coastline and of course for Barcelona. Since arriving in Girona by early September, I had the chance to discover the beauty of this region without the mass tourism during the summer months. And what I can definitely say: Visit the Costa Brava and discover the beautiful tastes of autumn! This region has a lot more to offer than for what it is famous: Cultural festivals like the St. Narcis Festival in Girona, Hikes around lakes and forests dyed in shiny autumn colors, Small cozy towns like Besalu, Begur and Cadaqués. It’s the diversity which surprises me everyday: From wild coastlines, to historical towns with stunning architecture to high mountain ranges – Catalonia has it all!
When talking to people, I realized that barely anyone has heard of Girona before or only because it is the Ryanair airport for Barcelona. For all of you flying to Girona to visit Barcelona, from now on take your time and come to Girona – this town is just very special! It’s markets, cathedral, cozy squares, beautiful walks along the city wall, small boutique shops and its relaxed atmosphere. Without the rush of larger cities you will enjoy yourself by strolling around and inhale its unique atmosphere.
Mercy Girona for this warm-hearted welcome.
In 2010 EMTM became an Erasmus Mundus master course making it to the list of European master and doctoral programs of excellence. Since September 2014, we are enrolled at the University of Girona – Faculty of Tourism in Spain, Catalonia. After having gathered an advanced knowledge on sustainable tourism concepts and policy strategies, the third semester is devoted to fully analyze the actual and effective implementation by private businesses, public administrations and public-private partnerships.
From September 2014 to January 2015 the EMTM master students attend the following courses: Local tourism destination development, Cultural tourism in urban destination, Customer management in tourism, Partnership and network management in tourism, Innovation and new product development, Contractual arrangements in the management of tourism and Introduction to master thesis. The third semester challenges students in practical implementation of previously learned theoretical knowledge with a main focus on innovation, product and destination development strengthening the strategic importance of partnerships, collaboration and networks for long-term success in tourism.
After a 2-months cycling break, in which I moved to Spain, settled down in my new flat in the historic center of Girona and started with my EMTM classmates our 3rd semester at the UdG (Universitat de Girona), I decided that it was time to discover my new home on the back of my bicycle. My search for „cycling routes“ around Girona, brought me to the website of „ViesVerdes“ Girona (Greenways), where I found out about 2 ways which directly go from Girona to the north (Olot) and to the south (Sant Feliu de Guíxols). A short visit in the tourism office of Girona around noon, equipped me with necessary maps & route descriptions. As my desire for a good swim in the ocean was already growing, I decided to cycle the Ruta del Carrilet II, with Sant Feliu de Guíxols (oceanfront) as my final destination. From Girona the entrance of the path was easy to find and continued to be well-marked throughout the whole track. While following the old narrow-gauge railway line, I got the chance to cycle through two counties of Girona – Girones and Baix Emporda – from the Ter River bassin, crossing La Selva depression and ending in the Ridaura valley. After leaving the suburbs from Girona behind, I entered after Cassa de la Selva a beautiful rural & forestry area until I reached the Beach (Catalan: Platja) in Sant Feliu. The city beach did not look very promising, so I decided to take advantage of my bicycle and cycled a few curves further, where I found a lovely bay with crystal-clear water. The ideal place to jump into the water! As I headed out quite late from Girona, I decided that 45km were enough for this day and I planned to return to Girona by bus. The lady in the Tourism Office told me that from Sant Feliu the company Teisa Bus would take bicycles. They did and for 6,10€ I returned happy, after a beautiful day of cycling & swimming to Girona, my new home town. Compared to France, the cycling route is partly very poorly maintained with sandy areas, holes & various bumps. However, I would consider the trail as an easy ride with no serious difficulties for those who are regularly doing sports and feeling comfortable with cycling on unpaved roads. For those who don’t, there might be some parts where it would be better to wheel the bicycle. The whole route is car-free, which makes it even more enjoyable & relaxing! I definitely would recommend this tour as a nice & pleasant day tour with beautiful views and a refreshing jump into the ocean as a great reward!
Before I started my bicycle trip, many people asked me: “How many kilometers are you planning to cycle per day? What is your route itinerary? When are you going to be where?” To all of those questions I always replied: “I don’t know yet. I will see”. This didn’t sound very promising to many and I could see in their eyes little doubts, whether I can make this ambitious tour or not. The fact that I was not pre-experienced and alone on my way did not calm their fears. Still, I decided to try it my way and to not let me paralyze by the fears of others. Courageous, full of joy, spirit and energy I started this tour and the moment I was sitting on my bike it just felt right! In retrospective, I would never do it another way. Keeping things unplanned gave me every day the freedom to enjoy moments with people I met along the way, to experience new things and to travel in harmony with myself. I listened to my heart and deeply enjoyed all the gifts that were presented to me during this trip. If someone would ask me, what was the best about this trip, I would say: “It’s not about how many kilometers you make or if you reach your final destination or not, it is about giving yourself a chance to be surprised everyday by how magnificent this world can be! It’s about sitting on your bicycle and feeling complete happiness & satisfaction and finally it’s the people you meet, the beauty you see and all the little things that ‘make your heart jump with joy’.” Even though, considering myself a well-experienced traveler, it was the first time with my bicycle that I reached this very unique feeling & state of mind. My wish for now is that due to my experience I can inspire others to overcome their fears, jump into the unknown and discover the beauty of traveling around the world by bicycle! I am deeply thankful that during my whole trip I felt protected, guided and supported by the thoughts of my loved ones. Thank you for all! After almost 2,000 cycled kilometers and three weeks of continuous cycling with only one day of rest I decided to take a longer cycling break and enjoy the rest of my 1,5 weeks of holiday in France & Spain. The first, but for sure not my last cycling adventure!
“Courage is the most important gift for those who seek the language of the world.”
“Life is an act of courage. And an act of courage is also always an act of love.”