Baltic Bike Travel
How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
Benefiting the local community:
we employ local tour guides who live and know her/his own country and neighbouring countries;
on long distance trips we hiring local guides in big cities who support our tour leaders with their local knowledge,
on guided tours we always include visits to museums and galleries of local handicrafts with preference to small family owned places, for example, amber gallery in Nida, Lithuania, or bicycle museum in Saulkrasti, Latvia, or Angla windmill park in Saaremaa Island, Estonia;
we prefer accommodating our guests at local hotels rather than in international chain hotels,
we offer locally produced food, for example, where it is possible our staff or tour leaders organise picnic meals served by local people in their homesteads, and in general support the travellers’ interest in the local cultures,
we support local communities in our region by donating used bicycles to child care homes, St Franciscan Oncology Center, etc.
We aim to minimise water and atmospheric pollution from any specific tourism development we use.
Offsetting carbon emissions: most of our groups travel by bus or minibus, while rental bikes are transported in trailer (not by separated motorised vehicle). To decrease the air pollution, we choose to work with transport companies offering newer, energy-efficient vehicles.
Our staff members are encouraged to use public transport or bikes instead of private cars journeys for commuting and business travels. We even provide company bikes and e-bikes for this purpose, and promote this financially by supplying our employees with monthly public transport tickets or supplement to their salaries for commuting by bikes.
Reducing waste: We aim to achieve zero litter policies everywhere. Therefore we encourage travellers to avoid disposable plastic and to recycle. From 2018 on all guided cycle tours we provide our customers with reusable plastic bottles for drinking water which we supply free of charge from big bottles re-filled by a local company. We recommend going off the beaten track, getting extraordinary travel experiences in the pristine nature and leaving it untouched afterwards.
Recycling and energy saving in the office: We run our head office in a responsible manner by using fair-trade products, monitoring, and where possible reducing, our energy usage, as well as recycling. We are strict about recycling in our office and garages. We have installed special garbage bins to sort out plastic, paper, glass/plastic bottles (deposit), metal and rubber tires. We challenge our staff old habits and encourage them to recycle printer cartridges and reduce printing (and reusing one-side used paper) and minimize all forms of waste. For example, our staff members are encouraged to drink locally collected herb teas and coffee from reusable cups instead of using plastic cups, and use water from big bottles refilled by a local company instead of buying small plastic bottles.
We attempt to operate our holidays in a way that encourages positive cultural exchanges.
We encourage our clients, through our literature, staff and leaders, to act in a socially responsible way.
We promote environmental and social friendly bicycle culture in Lithuania and the Baltics by participating in cycle tourism development projects, for example, European Cycle Routes - EuroVelo No.10 (Baltic Sea Circuit), No.11 (Eastern European Route) and No.13 (Iron Curtain Trail); and by supporting financially cycle travels of local cyclists groups making expeditions to the third world countries and producing high quality films about their cultures, for example, www.spikis.lt
in our pre-departure information we provide a reading list that people could read about the Baltics, their history, especially the soviet occupation and terror period, and culture before they come… for example:
There are many good guide books for the Baltic States on sale at most good bookshops. We recommend taking with you a travel guide ESTONIA, LATVIA & LITHUANIA published by Lonely Planet, or travel guides for each country published by Bradt Travel Guides Ltd.
As an addition to the guidebooks, we recommend a new book (as paperback or kindle from www.amazon.com) written by American author Barry D.Wood, EXPLORING NEW EUROPE: A BICYCLE JOURNEY. Barry D. Wood is an economics journalist in Washington, DC. This is his story of cycle adventure, people, disparate cultures, challenging terrain and historical context.
we could say that the EuroVelo project is one of the most significant factors to push our politicians and bureaucrats to start development of cycle routes. This was the reason why the Seaside Cycle Route was developed in 2006. Until now it is the only one signposted cycle route in Lithuania, and is also EuroVelo Route No.10. As you probably know, development of cycle routes in countryside brings tourists there and helps local communities to survive economically…
for 2019 we’ll include a chapter in our pre-departure information about social and political situation
Travellers are provided with ways to minimise negative impacts on local cultures. This is mainly done by our tour leaders during guided tours by providing information about religions, cultural habits, etc, of each country tourists visit during the tour.
Our tour leaders during guided tours or our staff during information briefings inform tourists about local social projects, and we cooperate/coordinate with local people that our tourists could visit some social project sites which are often privately owned sites, for example, a traditional fisherman’s homestead in Rusne island, Lithuania, which can be visited only on agreed time and this site survives from donations…