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WSL v "Couch Surfing" : Coke v Pepsi..?

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WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
WSL v "Couch Surfing" : Coke v Pepsi..?

I wonder, do WSL people think there is any significant difference between WSl and " Couch Surfing by bicycle"...?

I have had some recent guests who appear to think WSL offers no more than does CS.

To me, the WSL host offers an interest in specifically bicycle travel , as distinct to ordinary travel, which CS does not offer. As there are many aspects to bicycle travel, I am always very pleased to meet a WSL contact, thinking I will have a lot in common with them ( more than with "ordinary" people), and I am very grateful for that extra level of common interest.

I am NOT a CS host, or guest, as it means little to me; but I am very enthusiastic about WSL. When I have a guest, I try to help them find another WSL host for when they resume their journey ( some guests seem not to be very good communicators, so they don't do this themselves with any enthusiasm).

Anyway, some of my recent guests seem NOT to value WSL any more than they value CS, which I find disappointing. I am tempted to tell them : just stick to CS if there is no difference, it's probably easier for all.

Anyway, I ask if there is a difference ...? or am I wrong to be concerned about this ...?

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
WSL v "Couch Surfing" : Coke v Pepsi..?

I think the significant difference is that WS is focused on bicycle tourism. In some cases hosts are focused on bicycle tourism ONLY - no cars, no walkers, no motorcycles - and that's fine.

The thing I enjoy about WS is I always have at least one thing in common with my guests - bicycles and bicycling. We may have some other commonalities and we may not but we can always come back to the bikes. That's a strong connection for me and without it I wouldn't enjoy hosting as much.

Whether there is any substantive difference between WS and CS (beyond the bicycle focus of WS) I couldn't say. I don't have enough experience with CS guests to say if their approach to what they are doing makes a difference in the experience.

What I can say is that I perceive a difference between what the younger people are doing and what the older people are doing. Younger people seem to take a great deal for granted, American youth in particular, and have little in the way of manners. Not that they are purposefully rude but "sins of omission" can be just as annoying. ;-)

Older folk are more well behaved in general. I suppose that with age comes wisdom of a sort.

Unregistered imaginea utilizatorului anon_user
RE: Coke vs. Pepsi

I suppose we are some of those 'older folks' who, coincidentally have just signed up on WSL. We recently hosted a cross country biker (through CS) of our generation and had a wonderful time. He recommended we sign up at WSL and we anxiously are waiting to host.
However, we are not bikers. When I was five, I had polio. And subsequent to that I had a number of accidents that broke bones in my lower extremities, crushed my femur, and ripped my kneecap off. This over the course of my lifetime and thanks to drunk and drugged drivers.
I would like very much to bicycle cross country but it just is not going to happen. Consequently, I can use the next best thing to enjoy 'the experience' and that is a motorcycle.
WSLers are supposed to reciprocate with others and we are quite willing and able to host whenever we can. However, if the attitude is that motorcyclists are excluded (due to disability), then we clearly are not in the right place. I've never played the handicapped card and do just go about my business and adjust to my limitations. It's not a problem for me. Is it a problem for those in the WS community?
We would be most interested to hear from WSL members with their thoughts on the subject.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
RE: Coke vs. Pepsi

I wouldn't use WS in the manner you're proposing. I may never cycle tour again but I wouldn't think of using WS as a guest unless I was on a bicycle even though I've done plenty of hosting through this site. Of course you can always ask and you may find people are open to the idea but there are plenty of other hospitality sites that could cater to your situation and this isn't really what WS is about.

Unregistered imaginea utilizatorului anon_user
RE: Host vs. Guest

We do our best to be gracious hosts and try to take care of all of our guest's needs. I'm sure that our guests have been and will be quite pleased with their stays here. In addition, I would like to think that we would be welcome in their homes whether we walk, ride a bicycle, or ride a horse to their homes.
I really doubt if we will ever request a stay with a WS host. But should the need arise, the host always has the option of declining for ANY reason they choose.
I shudder to think that one might want to stay with us without being willing to reciprocate. I really don't like being used and would hope that our guests want something more than just a free meal and warm shower.
We have been blessed by those we have hosted, and will continue to host others in the spirit of hospitality and sharing.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
RE: Host vs. Guest

Well if you're talking specifically about people you've hosted hosting you at some later date I would consider that a connection that already transcends whatever hospitality site it was initiated on. I wouldn't necessarily expect an offer of a place to stay as everyone has different living circumstances but certainly there are many people all over the world we would go out of our way to meet up with again if we were in their neck of the woods with or without bikes.

I wouldn't want to discourage you, but to be blunt you may have some shuddering ahead of you. In all the hosting I've done over various hospitality networks the majority of my guests have not gone on to host themselves. It's rare to find more than a quarter of members genuinely offering hospitality and though I couldn't give you exact numbers I would estimate that on most sites 80-90% of hosting is done by a core group which would constitute 10% or less of all members. You could find similar patterns of participation in open source software, internet forums, wiki's etc... a small core of people putting in the vast majority of time and effort to benefit the majority. I don't see this as necessarily bad, you'll find that core of people donate all that time because they enjoy it or they're good at what they're doing or (usually) both.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului wsadmin
*Sometime in your life*

What we say to new members is they're expected to reciprocate *someday*. Not this year, not next year. *Someday*. And I would say it's fairly likely that all those young folks who have no reasonable capability to host now will do so someday in the future. But it could be 10 or 20 years out, and that's ok. But it doesn't help much to track them when it's that far out.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
CS vs WS

We used to be on CS. I got the impression it is more for in depth visiting than typically takes place on WS, though just overnighting is common I'm sure. Certainly CS is mostly used by folks NOT pedaling their way cross country, whereas WS is specifically for cyclists.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Couch Surf v WSL

WSL was created specifically for cyclists. We have lost count of the numbers of guests we have received, and all were very interesting and trustworthy cycling people. Lots of stories to exchange, and great people to meet. Let's keep it this way. Couch Surfing is simply a free way to get accommodation with no filter on the types of people availing themselves of this type of accommodation

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
WS and CS

We are members of both WS and CS and have hosted and been guests on both of them many times. As cycling guests we always search WS first, then if no hosts are available we turn to CS. Both have worked well, but we too like knowing that our host has a shared interest in cycling. Often it means bike tools or pump is available, and typically it means healthy quantities of food. The WS host also knows you need a safe place to store your bike overnight, and they can usually offer the best cycling route to their home and sometimes will ride out to meet you. This won't usually happen with CS hosts.

As a host we always make sure to feed our WS guests well and provide laundry facilities. We treat guests from both groups kindly, but we go a little further with those on 2 wheels, knowing the difficulties of being on the road.

I must say I take more precautions when searching for a CS host. I screen them more carefully than I do for WS, probably because the cycling community is much smaller and I assume anyone hosting on WS is more the type of person with whom we will get along.

Over our last two tours we used both and will continue to do so. Couchsurfers are rarely found outside of larger metro areas anyway, so I am thankful that WS hosts are everywhere!

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Is any significant difference between WS & C S?

Yes there is a difference. I only use WS, both as a guest & host, because of the commonality that I think I will have with the other person(s) Through the bike tourring, there is an instant bond or rappport which enables me to click straightaway with the other person. WS gives me a unique feeling inside, both as a guest & Host, which I value

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Maybe my title was too sarcastic...?

Thanks for the replies. I have to say , I think there is a BIG difference b/w WS and CS. However, my recent experiences of WS guests has made me question whether WS is still for me, when they tell me that WS is just the same as CS - the "bicycle connection" seems to be an old school idea, no longer valued.

I have learned NOT to assume ( even after 13 years membership) that all WS members really value the unique character of WS. However, it's still disappointing to have guests that don't really believe they have anything in common with you, and that they would be just as satisfbied at CS.

I have amended my profile to reflect my new criteria for Guests. I hope that works !

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului wsadmin
The site is for touring

The site is for touring cyclists, as it says very clearly in the FAQ (item #2, http://www.warmshowers.org/faq#t27n4029). My opinion is that those who might use it for general travel should get negative feedback.

However, we have always told those doing other self-powered travel (like walkers and hikers) that they're probably OK as long as they state that clearly when seeking hospitality.

As far as Couchsurfing, we have the highest regard for the organization. It's huge compared to us, and run much more professionally. It's also a for-profit endeavor. We learn from them repeatedly. I *think* that there's something to be said for guests who travel under their own power, but so many people have had so many great experiences on Couchsurfing and other networks that it's not clear that bicyclists are any better in any way.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului ceo
WS vs. CS

Randy helped me out 2 yrs ago when I dislocated my knee while walking/hiking. That being said; I enjoy meeting up w/ WS members on my last 2 cross country bike tours; as we can trade stories and lies about past (or future) tours. Thanks up to all who hosted me and others. Peace and tailwinds to all.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
CS vs. WS

Of course there is a difference. A huge one: CS turned into a corporation, meaning that all the data they had collected over the years were sold and used. And they still use every single data provided to them, be it infos about that person, or pictures!
WS ist still a non-profit organisation, and as long as they are, I will stick to them. I had been a member with CS (and Hospitalityclub and others) since their beginning, but have ceased to do so after CS had turned into a corporation, with privacy policies that are even worse than facebook!

Unregistered imaginea utilizatorului anon_user
Just out of idle curiosity

Just out of idle curiosity but whats wrong with black biking clothes, monsigneur le Fish du Bicyclette? Or is it just an euphemism for anarchists or existentialists? I have quite a bit of black biking kit like pants and a windblocker jacket, so I may appear all-black at times in cold weather cept for me' white noggin and yellow helmet. Also I saw a pic of a Polish pro-cycling team that illustrated quite well why black biking pants is a good idea. Lets just say that "Privates on Parade" would be a good caption for it. :o)

Actually, here it is... don't click if easily offended:
http://www.google.com/imgres?sa=X&biw=1446&bih=691&tbm=isch&tbnid=zvpqLSuBDk-AGM:&imgrefurl=http://...

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
(All) Black clothes

Mikael's comment above refers to my own WS Profile, where I am critical of [exclusively] black cycle outfits. Mikael says, he has some black clothes. Same as me. Black clothes are a good match for biking, they don't show grease ! My objection is to ALL black clothing ie WITHOUT any reflective or bright colours by day ...

Now FWIW , I have the intuition that " no bright colours, no reflectives" is the style of many cyclists who ALSO fit the "Couch Surfing" model, which is highly casual, as distinct to "safety-conscious". I have been like that myself in the past, but after thinking a little more, I prefer both to protect myself but also the poor motorist who might hit me because I am INVISIBLE in my all-black outfit.

If you don't care for your own safety that's fine. But you put other people at risk when you go on the road INVISIBLE - and that's why I'd rather not have you entering my life, even as my Guest.

Now many of my Guests have been "invisible" in this way. But I hope I have no more. Maybe my profile will help with that. Meanwhile, I recommend Couch Surfers to anyone who doesn't want to think too much.

Unregistered imaginea utilizatorului anon_user
So more of a prejudice based

So more of a prejudice based on bike clothes?

My bags are quite garish and reflective
and I _always_ ride with lights on even in the daytime. Motorists see me just fine.
Plus all my recumbents have mirrors so I can see whats sneaking up on me
without turning my head. You don't have mirrors, you say? Sheez... get thee to a nunnery! ;o)

Have a good day.

Cheers
Mikael

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului wsadmin
Just FYI, It's my experience

Just FYI, It's my experience and my understanding from many others that CouchSurfing is an excellent organization, and one not to be disparaged. WS is not somehow morally superior, and both the joy of sharing hospitality and the problems we have are common to both organizations.

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Bicycle Travel Etiquette: Warmshowers or Couchsurfing?

link to related article published on "Adventure Cycling Association" website:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/blog/bicycle-travel-etiquette-warmshowers-or-couchsurfing/

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
WS vs. CS

I have been a host to both for YEARS. I LOVE the WS folks. All are totally "self-sufficient", and HAPPY to have a comfortable place to camp, including an outdoor shower, camping kitchen or a dip in the creek. I actually encourage most WS to "take a breath", "stop and smell the roses". We have a lovely waterfall nearby and of course World Famous Manuel Antonio NP.
As a host, my one reminded to all guests: Please take the time to post a reply, say "thanks" and let the rest of your community know you had a good time. We have been hosting and are always looking for volunteers who would like to "co-create". This was the Burning Spirit Festival Aug. 2013.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqK6vng4P7Q

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
Hosting

I signed up to Warmshowers just prior to setting off on my world tour. I dutifully filled in my profile, knowing that it would be unlikely I would ever be able to host. My situation is however a little unique. I have terminal cancer, so my world tour is a one way trip.

So how do I reciprocate with the wonderful people who have been kind enough to host me? Well I usually ask if I can cook a meal and I'm pretty chatty too. I think I offer something back with my stories, least I'd like to think so.

I'm now signed up on CS and in the more remote parts of the world where there are no (or few) WS hosts, I will try and find CS hosts. I hope my inability to be a host myself is not something that will hinder me.

Derek
http://www.dereksbiketrip.com

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
such nice things to say about CS

Well, it's great that people have such nice things to say about CS, here at our WS page.

Reminds me a little of Garrison Keilor's caricature of a certain religious denomination that is, apparently, very "inclusive"....

Can someone point out any place where any of these alternative sites have anything good to say about our WS? or even mention us ...?

WS Member imaginea utilizatorului WS Member
why so grumpy?

Certainly, CS has its own Warmshowers group along with the 'Cyclists who host' group of which I am a moderator and we have mentioned (and praised) WS numerous times there. Warmshowers has also been discussed (and praised, and held up as a model...) a number of times on BeWelcome in the many discussions that take place there about the direction that site should take.