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I belong to couch surfers too and I often have younger guests in the 20 to early 30 range. They often are as you described only looking to see what they can take out of the situation and not looking to give a thing. I did not think of raising my age limit and that may be a good idea. Thanks
Reading all these comments, I hereby give a copy of a WSL-email. I removed names to protect their privacy.
"We are two crazy vegetarian riders of the .......... traffic and coming around
your location. My bf ........ has already done more than 5400 km from
..........., and I will be in belgium on 20th of june and meet him.
https://www.warmshowers......................  his profile
http://www............................................  his route
We plan to cycle together for 3 months to way back home.
Interesting thing about our trip is we just have very little money for this
trip and collected the equipment we need(bike, camping gear, clothes, all the
electronics) through freecycle and gift circle from strangers. (Yeah,
strangers gave us expensive electronics for our trip!)
If you like to support us, you can host us, give us some food and check the
list below. Maybe you have something we can borrow for 3 months. That's it.
We dont have shiny, fancy needs :)
Are you available for the 25th of June?
* 2 persons water-proof tent(ours is not waterproof :)
* sleeping mat
* anti-puncture tire belt
* some comfy handlebars and grips (.............. is having a bad wrist pain)
* music player (a walkman maybe :)
* a map of your area
* a waterproof rain jacket (............. doesnt have one )
I am convinced I am rather generous to WSL-bikers. They don't have to contribute anything for a dinner + night + breakfast besides their stories.
However, this recent email really struck me. Of course are bikers with few money, but this requestngoes beyond my imagination.
Of course I rejected their request to stay for a night. If you are so low on money that THIS is the way you have to beg for decent material, than you better don't travel.
For me these two persons are bums.
Peter de Visser
Oostvoorne, The Netherlands
With luck, folks like this are the exception. There will always be people on those outer edges. My greater concern is that what once was considered by many people to be that 'outer edge' too often has elements that move closer to common frequency. Since my original post some months ago, we've had cyclists come through with full restaurant sponsorships, full sag support, for-profit rides. One guy even rented a car because he didn't want to deal with West Texas. All 'outer edges' of cycle touring, but examples of too many data points from that region of the experience.
Randy Fay is on top of situations like you encountered. I don't know how he does it. But because he does, we have good reason to continue to have confidence in the great WS system.
How many requests do you get in a year, Peter? Just curious.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Year around I usually get some 10 requests (average).
I think I admit 1 out of 3 to stay over in my house.
Next to my availabillity I judge their account, experience and reviews. The rest is a 'gut - feeling".
A guest must be a pleasure for me. That's my "payment". I am NOT a social institute to pamper poor cyclists.
Good criteria. That is eventually where this threat ended up. The advice on how to deal with it has been very helpful. You just sort of wish it didn't have to be that way.
After WW 2 I was raised with the unwritten rules to comfort a guest and adapt to his/her wishes/lifstyle.
However, my 12 year old WSL-membership, age of 68 and life experience learned me that this oldfashioned attitude does not fit anymore in nowadays (general) mentality.
As shown in my profile, I changed my attitude from humble, modest and "guest-friendly", into "my terms..., my offers are..., take-it-or leave-it".
Fed up with people who show disappointed faces, when I serve my local, extended dinner and Dutch traditional snacks, potential guest are warned ahead by reading my profile that picky and/or spoiled persons are not welcome.
I try to give my guest the taste and experience what the Dutch ate and still eat/drink. If you don't appreciate this kind of practical, historical and cultural lesson while travelling in The Netherlands, you are at the wrong address and better find a McDonalds and/or a Best Western.
In short: I ever was the modest, humble person who adapted to the guest. Now I expect the guest to be modest, humble and adapted to my way of hosting.
No,...it took me some time to change this and feel happy with it. It's just a change in our western world mentality I have to follow.
Never too old to learn.
Peter de Visser
Peter, I understand. I think some numbers of others do, too. We too have had to learn to 'lock down' our profile, using recommendations of more experienced WS hosts. You hate to do it. But, for the fewer travelers that we have to serve, it has become a consistently delightful experience. I really hope that you have found the same thing. Because if I were on the road again it'd be a privilege to petition to spend Dutch time with you.
Keep smiling...there are many really terrific people on the road. They will energize you, as you do them. Its weeding out the rest that keeps energy from draining.
Would love to be back in the Netherlands again so maybe will get to meet you. Have warm feelings for the Dutch and Holland. Fortunately quite a few migrated to these parts.
Hope the hip goes well.
Thanks for the compliment, John.
Up to now you did not take part in this forum discussion. What was the trigger for you to react, besides the fact that "you have warm feelings for the Dutch"?
Sure. I have already another metal hip, so,... in two weeks I do my shopping again on the bike.
The best way to recover is: move, move, move....ride, ride, ride.
Due to our weather being so hot here in the high desert, the flow of cross country cyclists has dried up for the most part as we are experiencing over 100-degree temperatures for weeks on end now. Only the hard core and the purists are out on the road. We haven't seen anyone for a good two weeks now. But the ones we have hosted have been above board, paying for their meals out at the local buffet and having great manners in my home. The trend for the entitlement cyclists seems to be waning, at best. We can hope, can't we!!
Keep on moving.
Las Crcues, New Mexico
I'm thinking that the careful re-writes of our profiles along guidelines of the helpful suggestions of other WS hosts have helped a lot, too!
You make an interesting point about our furnace summer season. Since, generally, only the hearty and seasoned cyclists venture to this part of the country at this time of year, we may actually get a higher quality of guest than at other times of the year.
I have read this series of comments with interest. This is my 4th season of hosting warmshower guests. So far everyone who has pedaled up to my door would be welcome to pedal up again.
I have not been a guest myself of a warmshower host. But have read several profiles
while jumping around the site.
I think what is often missing is clear communication.
Run on paragraphs , minimal info, and missing info. Bikers are not mind readers
My profile is maybe a half page long, with several subjects covered in separate paragraphs
so that someone reading can easily read it. ( try reading a paragraph that does not end sometime)
I clearly state that I expect to prepare them a meal, and even add I want to fix something
they would enjoy. Makes me no difference what I fix, so might as well fix them something
they are craving rather than something they do not like. Even willing to cater to vegetarians ( have not had the vegan request yet will cross that bridge when it comes)
Folks have shared " no fish , allergic to eggs, a salad , protein, more often than not
" I will eat anything is the response" all of which are fine. Sometimes it takes
a 2nd prompting to get an honest answer, but that it what I am asking for.
I state that I do not drink, but if they bring some beer I will be glad to chill it for them
I even tell them in advance what to expect about the dress code around my home
so that they won't be surprised. And give them a chance to give feedback
I have yet to have anyone show anything less than a very thankful for what I offer.
Bottomline : clearly state in your profile, maybe ask for some key feedback somewhere
in your profile that if they do not give on first response, will give you some leverage
to ask if they read your profile and know what to expect.
Kevin, I agree with your "clear communication". Have a look at my WSL-account. The statements there prevent disappointments at both sides.
Besides that, the info works as a selection tool. Guests who have special wishes, don't come to me and the people who are curious and come with an open mind, will be surprised anyhow.
Being a WSL-member of over 12 years, I learned that guests from all different kind of countries have endless varieties of personal wishes.
My filosofy as traveller by bike is "If you are in Rome, do as the Romans do."
As a WSL-host I practice the same attitude. If you visit me, you will have the "Dutch lifestyle experience".
It's a personal choice as WSL-host. I have definitely chosen for "what the host offers" instead of "what are the wishes of the guests."
Come, see and enjoy. Up to now everybody survived my treatment and cooking.
Peter de Visser
I suppose I can say I am one of the lucky hosts. Over the almost seven years...I think... that I have been a host on this site I have had perhaps two not great guests.
I try my best to be very clear on what I have to offer and what they will get here. I find pasta, a salad, bread and a dessert are very good offerings at my home and no one has ever turned this down or said it was terrible. I do offer vegan, vegetarian and full on you eat what ever doesn't eat you first meals. I ask well ahead of time due to the time and effort it takes for me to make these meals.
I am on the Southern Tier and the Natchez Trace areas for bikers and I have enjoyed all but two sets through my years.
I have found this year I had zero bikers at my home for the spring ride. Jack Day has contacted me for a potential stay in the fall and I am delighted to have the heads up.
As for any other riders for the fall or rest of the hell fire of summer, then feel free to contact me.
While I don't ride....wheelchairs have more than two wheels...lol, I do enjoy the stories and lives of my guests.
Take care all bikers.
Norco, La. between New Orleans and Baton Rouge
I agree completely that an entitled guest's assumptions are kind of a strange and unpleasant thing. I'm out of the normal routes so I get few requests for stays ( and it does not fit my way of touring to be a guest) but though I've only had one bad experience hosting, I try to look at it that a few bad (entitled) apples should not ruin things for me, and those that are absolutely wonderful experiences when hosting. No setup is perfect ... but all in all, most host/guest experiences are so rewarding, that I refuse to let a few bad apples ruin my desire to host. :)
I hate it when a traveller gives my private data and telephone to his new friends on the road and then THEY call me and ask me arbitrarily for hosting them :/ I host in couchsurfing/ aibnb previously and only recently in ws, so im not referring to my excellent recent guest in WS. Im referring to many ppl from couchsurfing who get my info in order to stay here then i get phone calls by uknwon number who say they are ''friends'' of the person I hosted and for that reason they go ahead and ask ''can i stay at your place tomorrow night'. I am tired of this and it makes me think twice before hosting someone who seemingly appears ok and even has a lot of positive reviews. In the end, you cannot know what you get even if a person has many positive reviews. Maybe its good clue to see the profiles of all those who left the good reviews.... Maybe you are not the same with them, and so the guest only see you as a free bed for the nigh.
Hey John. I'm now planning my summer ride 6 months from now. What is wrong with asking a Warmshowers host if they are going to be available during that time period? Summers are when cyclists ride, but it's also when people go on vacation. I have tried contacting Warmshowers hosts 3 days in advance, only to get no response or not available - out of town. So, I think it's extremely polite and proper to provide as much notice as possible, don't you?
I will not make any commitment to host months in advance. Especially not in the summer. For me cycling is about freedom and flexibility.
This is written five years after John and Donetta's original post. John left WS not long ago. He and Donetta were the kindly workforses of Las Cruces, hosting dozens and dozens and dozens of people yearly. Unfortunately, the behavior of which he spoke never changed, except to worsen somewhat. John didn't ask much, but not much came back to him, either.
Today, the Las Cruces WS community is gone.. Where we once had a dozen active hosts at any given time, nearly all experienced hosts have left. Most could have written John's post. The frustrating part is that there really are many, many terrific cycle tourists out there. John had his share, and appreciated every one of them. In the end however, the larger and larger remainder overwhelmed him.
Thank you for what you gave, John.
Well i hope John can reconsider it, if you can contact him. And Donetta.
Maybe they take a break?
I know one single experience can be very affecting. I was airbnb manager renting out bedrooms in my own flat and I had mostly good experieces but the few bad made me even give up airbnb as hostess. At times like this, using the forum in airbnb to discuss my dissapointment with other hosts saved the day. Its important then when a host or guest has a bad experience, not to be politically correct, but without using much insulting language, to be active in this forum and share their concern. I think trying to be always nice and politicaly correct is what kills a community that should be based on trust and trust online is only built on references that are honest.
Trust me I am sometimes close to give up too. Half requests I get do not abide to my demands on my profile (days of notice ahead, I can only host 1 traveller but get reuqests rom couples or even groups of 3 ppl!). It makes me feel as if they see me as hotel.
I would like to also say that even if you dont host, especially in a city like mine where hostels go for 10 euro/night, its important to help a cyclist with info. I just helped someone decide how to do his trip in Greece before cycling off Greece. He just thanked me as I gave him some ideas about how to spend cycling time uaround the Saronic. I think without my advice he would be stuck doing the regular in Athens. I therefore urge members even if they canot host, to at least chat in email and give ideas to a cyclist or even meet up to chat face to face withoout the obligation of hosting. Some cyclists will appreciate that. In places where hotels/hostels are super cheap, theh cyclists mostly want to meet locals than to be hosted. But I do understand in cities that the hostels go for 40 euro/night maybe the whole thing changes:)) In my humble opinion tho it should never be used to save money. Most cyclists i met have a tent and do it even in countries that is forbidden and are cool about it. In warmshower they get a shower minimum or more depending on the host. Most cyclists i met arent ''poor'' and can afford the averae hotel if need be. What they want is company more than hosting as many travel solo So warmshowers can gear up to make it easy to meet travelelrs on bikes not host them. Just an idea.... And make it easier technologicaly to see the routes of travellers who are cycling towards your city this way you have access to them before they have to you, it make the whole online experience of warmshower more interactive and fun than just receiving requests from tired and sometimes out of internet travellers last minute. Or months ahead (personally I dont mind if someone asks months ahead but then I cannot ever give a definite answer until last 3 days).
Konta, you are clearly one of untold numbers of great WS hosts the world over. Thanks for all you do. People's lives change for the better for it.
Like hosts everywhere, our area has a distinct set of circumstances. A plurality of accounts are under a month old. No hosting experience, no use of feedback, not alot of reading profiles. About 85% of these profiles never log in again after their cross-country adventure. This is not the norm I think, but it does wear on hosts here eventually. John was the one with the patience of a saint, so his departure is somewhat of a canary in the coal mine, I fear. Anyway, he won't be back.
Thanks for your energy and experienced inflections, Konta. It energizes the rest of us.
My friend and I are in our early 30’s and just done with the first leg of the TransAmerica. We have been so grateful to have a roof over our heads that we haven’t expected anything. One host apologized for not being able to make a meal for us and we said don’t sweat it, were so happy for the beds! Then I fixed her toilet. I’m sorry that you have seen entitled people though!
It *seems* to have gotten a lot better. Part of the reason is I've changed my profile and it helps me screen my potential guests a bit better. Unless and until you read ALL of my profile and respond appropriately? You may not get the response you expected. I can usually tell when someone hasn't taken the time to read to the end.
I have had some wonderful guests over the years. I'm in the midst of my own Transam journey and I've been very plesently surprised by the hospitality I've been shown through WS.
And like you, I make every effort to be the best possible guest I can be and help out whereever I can.
Jason, yours is the attitude for which WS exists! We wish you a most memorable adventure ahead. The experience will change your life.
We still believe there are many, many cycle tourists like you. We have a bit of a unique situation in this geographic area that does not reflect the program membership as a whole. The example you set is more than common courtesy -- it reflects the fibre of a nation, and we are most happiest to see it in the younger generations. Have a great, great trip!
On behalf of the riding community I feel compelled to write and offer an appology for the unacceptale rude behavior of some riders. If it were not for folks like you stepping up our rides would be that much more difficult, if not impossible. Most of us consider our hosts a special part of our journey , sharing an experience with good memories. I hope future guests will appreciate your kindness. Len
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