By SADIE PRICE-ELLIOTT, age 12
Cyclists from across the world are building peace with help from a growing community called Warm Showers. While many people decide to travel by plane or car, some choose to see the world by bicycle. Often people who are touring the world by bike need places to stay overnight because campsites and hotels aren’t always close by. Warm Showers is a “free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists.” People sign up to host cyclists for the night, and cyclists can sign up to find hosting members along their trip.
Through these exchanges, cultural barriers are broken. In an interview with IndyKids, host Donna Price said she’s had guests from Belgium, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and the United States.
“People come from different backgrounds, different places, and are hugely different people, but one common thing is that they have all been kind,” cyclist Tim Ledlie said.
Some people question how Warm Showers is bridging new relationships and building peace. When a cyclist arrives at a house, they only know of one shared interest with the host: the love of bicycling. As conversation develops over shared meals, hosts and guests begin to realize how much everyone has in common. Price noted that this experience has helped her see other cultures in a more positive light.
Warm Showers isn’t the only traveling community of its kind. Other organizations like Couchsurfing and Be Welcome make hospitality exchanges similar to Warm Showers easier to organize. They are open to all types of travelers, not just cyclists. Although different, these communities have one thing in common: they connect people from all over the world.