The 7th day on the road took us from the vivid and busy streets of Hamburg to the calm and friendly Hermanshof farm (‘hof’ meaning ‘farm’) in the village of Wümme. Our friends Christian and Achim helped us finding the way through the old Elbe tunnel, the harbour region and out of the big city. Leaving Hamburg we were in a group of 9 people. This was a good amount of people but it also meant that it was harder to stay together when traffic lights frequently split the group.
We had a lunch break in Buchholz where we met engaged people from the BUND (Friends of the Earth) and the Round Table on Environment and Animal Protection. They set up a most spectacular welcome lunch and greeted us with open arms and big smiles. We enjoyed the food together, we told them about the Cooperide, heard about local topics and shared our visions on a sustainable future. The arrival of wolfs is hot topic to the area. Some are happy about the indication of healthy ecosystem while others point out the threat to livestock. Also the construction of a new coal power plant nearby(Moorburg) raises worries amongst our hosts.
When demanding the end of coal power we are often asked: what comes after fossil fuels? That is a big question and we do not have a complete answer. However, we think that it is important to realise that a reduction of consumption and energy use may make the use of coal unnecessary. Much of the energy we produce is used to fulfil artificial needs. Additionally, a phasing out of fossil fuels would, as we see it, go hand in hand with a larger systemic change: A change to a system where people satisfy their fundamental needs in collaboration, to a system where people exchange the notion of growth and competition for connection and sharing. Focusing on common needs rather than individualism, products and commerce would drastically reduce our use of resources and allow for a healthier earth. The connection we made with people in Buchholz is in fact an example of such a connection and collaborative spirit which we think that we must grow and nurture locally and internationally.
Tonight we put up our tents at a friendly biodynamic farm where we tasted French fries made from home grown potatoes. Tomorrow we will follow the river Wümme all the way to Bremen. The journey continues! We bike for System Change not Climate Change!
We are a small group this time and we feel this when people are joining or leaving: it always makes a significant difference. Saturday morning, Christian and Stefan, both of them great bike enthusiasts, where joining us. They enriched our ride with their enthusiasm and made it easier by carrying parts of our luggage and helping us navigating into Hamburg. In the morning, we were riding along rather big streets and noticed the difference between bike lanes in Sweden and in Germany: in Sweden the quality of the paving was much better. However, in the afternoon we were riding along an old train track which has been transformed into a beautiful cycle lane. Trees on both sides where protecting us against the rain and we were riding steadily at quite a fast pace.
On the last kilometres, on our way through Hamburg, the rain became stronger. We first picked up a trailer from Christoph’s place. The whole group made that detour because we did not want to split up: our community was our motivation and keeping smiling at each other allowed us not to mind the rain nor the cold.
In Hamburg we stayed at the office of the ADFC, the local cycling association. We watched the movie “Beyond the red Lines”. It moved riders as well as visitors to see the pictures from the 2015 Climate Camp in the Rhineland, from Ende Gelände and the Paris Conference. We could especially identify ourselves with the people joining the Alternatiba Bike Tour which travelled 3600 km through France, connecting regions, people and ideas as we do it, too. After the movie we discussed about what we had seen and I think that even if we all were remembered of how big the stakes are, we still all felt empowered at the same time: we as ordinary people can make change happen if we organize and connect which each other.
After four days of biking we arrived to Malmö. We had expected the last day to be tough and long because we had to cover the 86 km to Malmö before 6pm . But with an early start, good flow and sufficient breaks we all got there in a good mood. We could feel how we had come to know each other well and built up a supportive biking group. Malmö was the first stop where some of us finished their tour and new people joined in. The flags are carried on connecting the Climate Camps and we are all part of the ride!
In Malmö we met engaged people from Fossil Free, Friends of the Earth, the Left Party (Vänster) and Transition Skåne. We presented ourselves, heard about the groups’ projects and exchanged ideas, perspectives and stories. Fossil Free is campaigning towards the divestment of the Swedish pension funds. There are 36 billion Swedish crowns invested in fossil fuel companies and divesting this money is be the biggest impact that Sweden has on climate change. The activists from the campaign told us about the complexity of pension funds and the difficulty of talking to politicians.
Transition Skåne is supporting local organisations as well as individuals to foster alternative practices. The transition movement tries to find solutions that do not reproduce problems by challenging the norms and values that are underlying the problem. Their approach is positive and the focus is on creativity and connection. Transition is not only about societal structures, but has also a personal component: we can become more aware of our needs, aims and ambitions and re-evaluate them.
After the event to went to Saskia and Simon who invited to sleep at their place. We could easily connect to each other by sharing dreams and discussing plans for the camp and the action we are going to. We find our journey to be about getting inspired by people and about inspiring people.
Our friends at Fossilgasfällan, Fossil Free and Friends of the Earth are real change makers. Even though fossil gas is often seen as a climate friendly alternative to oil and coal, they understood that a new construction of a gas terminal in the harbor of Gothenburg would lock the infrastructure to fossil fuels for decades to come. They engage in this topic showing their commitment to a decarbonized society. Establishing a place where people can come together to connect and act really makes them being activists. Cycling along the coast line today, enjoying sunny weather and the beautiful scenery, we wondered: Are we activists now? Why is this trip more than just a holiday?
Maybe we have not become very visible until now, but we are activists already:
Starting off at the Climate Camp on Monday, we did not have a quiet moment to come together as a group while the GPS device did not work. This caused our first day to be quite chaotic. Today (day two) I felt we were functioning much more as a group, knowing where we were going and taking decisions collectively. It takes time to establish routines and principles for our ride. However, it is beautiful how we stand together and still taking care of each other, still wanting to do more than just reaching the next destination. We are doing this trip as a group and we are committed to making this group a place of freedom, understanding and acceptance. We are travelling on our own. We are travelling to get to a climate camp in an alternative manner.
Our message is becoming stronger with every kilometer we commit to cycle. We choose to connect two climate camps, knowing that they are located far away from each other which would require us to cycle long distances, especially in Sweden, where we didn’t schedule a lot of time. We are staying in Halmstad at the flat of a former cooperider, Isaac. He knows how one feels after a day of biking and awaited us with a vegan carrot cake! Thank you, Isaac!
Almost two years have passed since the first Cooperide departed from Copenhagen to Paris in November 2015. Back then, we were excited, curious, and a little concerned if a winterly 1400k tour would actually be doable. The ride would lead us along frozen dirt roads and through dozens of hours of rain. There were many hills to climb, and not all of them were physical. But eventually, we faced each and every of them – thanks to many local supporters that would cater us after a long and cold day of cycling. As a group of 24, we arrived in Paris to see the climate movement becoming stronger than ever.
See our 2015 Tour Diary
The second Cooperide led us from Malmö to the Lusatia lignite protests in May 2016. Again, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality and solidarity that local groups would show.
See our 2016 Tour Diary
Today, the third Cooperide is about to start. A team of seven will depart from Gothenburg towards the Rhineland coal protest today. On our way, the team will increase to more than 20 riders.
Once again, we stick to the Cooperide motto: Demonstrating change is possible. Demanding change happens. In the Rhineland area, a strong climate movement awaits us to resist against lignite mining.
We are keen on the upcoming 1000 km to the Rhineland area!
You too? Keep in touch with us here and on our facebook page.
Please oil your chains and prepare to get rolling again:
We are pedalling to the Ende Gelände anti-coal protest in Rhineland.
We’re Starting on August 07 in Gothenburg.
–> Join uns on the 2017 ride!
Bitte ölt eure Ketten und bereitet euch auf die Abfahrt vor: Wir rollen wieder!
Dieses Jahr geht es zu den Ende Gelände-Protesten gegen Braunkohle im Rheinland.
Am 7. August geht es in Göteborg los.
–> Sei dabei! Hier geht es zum Routenplan
Photo: 350.org / Paul Lovis Wagner / CC-License BY-NC 2.0
We’re pedalling towards Europe’s biggest carbon source
In August 2017 Cooperide will go on its next adventure, connecting the Swedish Climate Camp in Gothenburg with the Ende Gelände climate camp in the Rhineland – close to Germany’s biggest coal mining area. This ride will also be part of the international mobilization for the Ende Gelände action.
From the 3rd – 7th August Gothenburg will host the Swedish Climate Camp and we will use this inspiring event to launch the Cooperide, taking with us their enthusiasm, ideas and hopes and hopefully a few riders as well. We will then head south through Lund/Malmö before setting foot in the north of Germany. Continuing south into the Rhineland, we will arrive at the climate camp on the 21st August where this year’s Ende Gelände actions will take place.
Save the dates!
Join the ride!
Everyone is warmly welcome to join us – be it for the whole tour, somewhere along the route or for a couple of days. Check our route to get an overview!
You can also find practical information about joining the ride in our info for riders.
Other rides to Ende Gelände
There will be other bike trains pedalling to Ende Gelände departing from London (Time2Cycle) and Vienna (Cycle4Change). Joining forces anew we are mobilizing across Europe to continue to show that the climate movement is strong and committed!