Here at Cycle Cities, Steve and I often get asked what our favourite part of the job is. While managing a worldwide, international network of bike tour operators from completely different backgrounds, languages and cultures can be stressful, there’s so many perks of doing it. Getting to travel and write and make videos about cycling in different countries around the world is one, as is getting to know the owners of the different bicycle companies in the network. It’s also a pleasure having been able to see the network grow and develop over the year I’ve been working with Steve, and help get more companies from exciting new cities involved with Cycle Cities.
But the best thing about being with Cycle Cities is a simple one, and something that every one of our partners and their staff can enjoy – the Symposium.
In Ancient Greece, the word ‘symposium’ denoted a drinking party or ‘“convivial discussion” and was commonly held after a banquet. A more contemporary definition defines it as “a conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject”
Our symposium lies somewhere between the two!
Every year in February Steve and I organise the Cycle Cities Symposium (or ‘powwow’ as it used to be called), which is an annual conference for all those involved with Cycle Cities. Between one and four representatives from each company constituting the network gather in a European city and are hosted by the operator based there. After meeting up and enjoying informal dinner and drinks on the first night, the following day is comprised of a series of presentations made by Steve, myself, and several of the operators gathered.
The topics discussed address every aspect of running a bike tour business, and are delivered by those who have been doing just that successfully for years! In the most recent Symposium – held in Nice, France in February 2017 – presentations dealt with guide recruitment, the future of Cycle Cities, and stylistic techniques for social media in business. A large lunch is eaten (think of the aforementioned Ancient Greek style banquet), heads are put together, and then the evening is spent socialising over a few drinks.
It wouldn’t be a Cycle Cities show without some bicycle-related action, so following the day of the conference, everyone goes on a bike tour together for more socialising, networking, and a spot of fresh air and exercise too!
We’ve also had Symposiums in Berlin and London, and are headed to the majestic central European gem of Budapest in February 2018 to do it all again. The Symposiums are really important for us here at Cycle Cities, and have become increasingly integral to what we’re all about and why over fifty bike tour businesses big and small have chosen to stick with us – and keep coming back every year! It sets us apart from other companies and helps us to define who we are and what our goals are. We’re not resellers looking for a buck – we bring people together for the best quality bike tours in the world, and we bring those who run them together to help us all improve the quality of our services to you guys. That’s why it’s my favourite part of the job.