POLICY-CHANGE: €1; from now on I will charge everybody who comes along 50 cents once per year to cover the cost that Meetup charges me. Feel free to unsubscribe if you think I only do this to get rich quick ;-).
This is not a kindergarten/pre-school: for info about how Meetup works, please check out the site (on a proper computer screen and the website, not the app, a smart phone does not lend itself to this very well). Don't expect me to explain the basics to you, I don't have the time or the patience. I do this as a hobby, not to make money and stress out. If you find this is rude and -always funny- feel you need to communicate this to me I will simply, without starting a polemic about this, send your membership to the trashcan.
I am also not using the +1 option anymore; if you want friends to come along, they can become Meetup members (as you know this is free). I have had too many bad experiences with careless people and their friends.
No-shows: I expect everybody who RSVP's to come along to show a minimum of involvement and interest. I mean by this: CHECK the site regularly for updates to the activity, as an organiser I can see when this does not happen, and I reserve the right to remove you from the active list if I suspect you will not show up and you do not reply to messages I send you.
Language: The common tongue in communicating about the activities is ENGLISH. Do not post messages/ask questions in other languages to communicate with me or other members, I will only ask you to restate your question in English. I will not answer them. Of course you can speak in any language you want on the walk, but don't do it on the site so anyone can take advantage from any answers I might give.
If you do actually not show up and fail completely to explain yourself to me either through a phonecall or mail I will simply ban you from my section of the site and report you to Meetup.
On the day of the activity you cannot reach me anymore through the site (I do not own a smartphone), I always share my phone number so THIS is the way to contact me. The group cannot wait for people who are late in the morning when we are dependent on public transport. Sometimes people come by car instead of public transport. If you're in this case don't be late, if your GPS says it will take you 30 min to get somewhere you should do like me and calculate 45.
In this group I'm trying to get together likeminded people who want to enjoy the outdoors at a leisurely pace. Objective is to go walking or cycling, mainly half- (late fall/winter when it gets dark early) or one-day-events on weekends, but weekdays are possible too when they are on holidays.
Here and there I might smuggle in a little culture, like a museum or a local landmark.
For walking I'm thinking of keeping it at a distance of around 26 km, I don't believe in doing distances just for the sake of doing long distances and then in the end having to run for the last train, I go out of my front door to have fun, not to prove anything to myself or anyone else. If you want to do 40 km or more there are other groups (and treadmills) you can use.
I have a certain pace (3-4 km/h while walking) which I think is not exaggerated. If you want to walk faster than this, I suggest you find another group; I will NEVER speed up for you from my comfortable pace, you might end up waiting at every corner or taking a very late train back because you thought you could find the way all by yourself and we lost sight of each other. I do not go back and search for anyone, but I will slow down for people who have difficulties towards the end of the walk, I don't leave people behind who have misjudged themselves a little bit.
Cycling could be up to 100 km (mainly flat terrain like canals and old railway lines in Flanders and Wallonia). I do not own a racing bike nor do I drive at racing speeds...The objective is to have fun and meet friendly people from all walks of life. I am based in Mechelen but make use of the relatively good public transport system to go all over the place, I have access to a car as well so carsharing may be an option. Input of others is encouraged and appreciated!
When mapping out longer tracks I'll also TRY to include short-cuts (railway/bus stations along the way) for people who would like to have options, of course this is not always possible and I will not cut the walk short for myself and people who will do the full walk; a smartphone with GPS is a handy instrument if you are unsure you can finish the complete activity, as is a printed version (zoomed in enough) of the Routeyou-map I will always provide.
I'd also like to add that I don't mean to have this be a family-oriented thing, at least the trips I do myself. Couples and friends who already know one another are more than welcome to come along on activities but no kids please, anyone can use my account though to plan their own activities...
A few links to get people started on their own trips:
Cycling-network in Flanders,Holland and small part of Wallonia: http://fietsnet.be/routeplanner...
Cycling on the RAVEL (wallonia): http://ravel.wallonie.be/opencm... (I know I know it's only in French, blame them not me :-p)
Free BASECAMP map program from GARMIN
Free BENELUX topographic map to use in BASECAMP (this is a volunteers' project and sometimes automatic routing doesn't work properly)
Walking networks in Flanders (except Limburg, they would not co-operate...): http://www.wandelknooppunt.be/ROUTEYOU: also lets you build all kinds of routes on different map styles online for free