Warm Showers

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Warm Showers
Type of business501(c)(3) organization non-profit organization
Area servedGlobal
OwnerWarmshowers.org Foundation (as on the website); WARMSHOWERS ORG (as filed in the IRS form)
Founder(s)Terry Zmrhal
Geoff Cashmen
ServicesSocial networking service, Communication
Users161,000 members; including 104,000 hosts in 161 countries[1]
Launched1993; 31 years ago (1993)

Warm Showers (WS) is a non-profit hospitality exchange service for people engaging in bicycle touring. The platform is a gift economy — hosts are not supposed to charge for lodging and are not bound.[2][3][4][5][6][7] The legal form is a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, US.[8]

The platform has been described as a "cyclists’ support network whose members may offer free amenities and services such as meals and lodging".[9] Rough Guides recommends Warm Showers as means to improve security of solo female cyclists.[10] Warm Showers helps bicycle travelers to balance the self-reliance of camping and hotels with opportunities for social encounters.[11] Warm Showers has a positive effect on rural communities, both socially and economically.[12] Many users of the platform cycle for health reasons or to reduce their carbon footprint and to be environmentally friendly.[13][2] Cultural exchange and social connection do also play a role.[14][3][15]

The organization received donations of $100,641 in 2015, $84,009 in 2016, $115,324 in 2017, $128,626 in 2018 and $111,089 in 2019.[8][16][17][18]


The concept was inspired by cyclist John Mosley in 1976 by placing an ad in the U.S. magazine Bike World, which requested to sign up for a hospitality list.[14] A list of 800 names and contact infos was put into a rolodex for almost 30 years. The name of the organization was Touring Cyclist Hospitality Directory back then. Mosley provided touring cyclists with copies of pages from the rolodex.

A Canadian couple, Terry Zmrhal and Geoff Cashmen, founded Warm Showers in 1993 as a continuation of Touring Cyclist Hospitality Directory.[14][19][20] They created a database from the existing members of biking-hospitality organizations. In 1996, Roger Gravel became responsible for the platform.[21] In 2005, Randy Fay created the website based on the existing database.[19]

As of 2018, Seth Portner was the executive director of Warm Showers.[18][8][17] In 2019, Tahverlee Anglen provided management services.[16]

Membership statistics[edit]

Cycle touring over the Eriskay - South Uist causeway

In 2018, 53% of members were based in Europe and 30% in North America.[22]

Date Members
August 2014 50,000 members[21]
April 2017 89,000; including 39,000 hosts[4]
April 2018 85,000 members[3]
August 2018 112,570[22]
October 2019 144,000 members in 161 countries[23]
April 2021 161,000 members; including 104,000 hosts in 161 countries[1]

Homestay requests[edit]

Warm Showers grants trustworthy teams of scientists access to its anonymized data for publication of insights to the benefit of humanity. In 2015, an analysis of 97,915 homestay requests from BeWelcome and 285,444 homestay requests from Warm Showers showed general regularity — the less time is spent on writing a homestay request, the lower is the probability of success. Since both networks are shaped by altruism, low-effort communication, aka 'copy and paste requests', evidently sends the wrong signal.[24]


  1. ^ a b Germany, reisereporter, Hannover, Niedersachsen. "Legale Alternativen zum Wildcamping in Deutschland". reisereporter (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Kopnina, Helen (September 20, 2014). "Sustainability in environmental education: new strategic thinking". Environment, Development and Sustainability. 17 (5): 987–1002. doi:10.1007/s10668-014-9584-z. S2CID 154969254.
  3. ^ a b c Cunningham, Joshua (April 24, 2018). "Warmshowers: why free hospitality for bike tourists is a priceless experience". The Guardian.
  4. ^ a b "For Road-Weary Cyclists, a Room, a Couch, Maybe Even a Meal". The New York Times. April 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Milyko, Jennifer (August 29, 2013). "Bicycle Travel Etiquette: Warmshowers or Couchsurfing?". Adventure Cycling Association.
  6. ^ Scotsman, The (December 1, 2019). "Edinburgh cyclists who up and left jobs to travel on their bikes reach half way point around the world in just six months". The Scotsman.
  7. ^ "Bike Touring 101: The Simple, Achievable Joys of Touring America on Two Wheels". insidehook.com. 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "WARMSHOWERS ORG" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 2017.
  9. ^ Pendak, Jared (June 28, 2018). "Tunbridge's Edwards Lives to Cycle". Valley News.
  10. ^ Reader, Lesley; Ridout, Lucy (February 2010). The Rough Guide to First-Time Asia. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781848368675.
  11. ^ Ferreira, Pedro; Helms, Karey; Brown, Barry; Lampinen, Airi (2019). "From Nomadic Work to Nomadic Leisure Practice: A Study of Long-term Bike Touring". ACM on Human-Computer Interaction. 3. doi:10.1145/3359213.
  12. ^ Beierle, Heidi (May 12, 2011). "Bicycle Tourism as a Rural Economic Development Vehicle" (PDF). University of Oregon.
  13. ^ Higgins, Brian (October 3, 2018). "Why this man is letting cycling tourists stay at his house for free". CBC News.
  14. ^ a b c "Bicycle touring fans reach out and connect through WarmShowers.org". thestar.com. 13 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  15. ^ "Viajante que percorre o mundo de bike faz parada em Joinville | ND Mais". ndmais.com.br (in Brazilian Portuguese). 10 September 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  16. ^ a b "WARMSHOWERS ORG" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 2020. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  17. ^ a b "WARMSHOWERS ORG" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  18. ^ a b "WARMSHOWERS ORG" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  19. ^ a b Tilton, Benjamin (May 2, 2019). "Before You Hit the Open Road: Warmshowers Has an Overnight Solution for Touring Cyclists and Story-making". SLUG Magazine.
  20. ^ D'Ambrosio, Dan (March 1, 2018). "HEY buddy, CAN YOU SPARE A WARM SHOWER?" (PDF). Adventure Cycling Association.
  21. ^ a b Meyers, Drew (August 21, 2014). "A Little History of Modern Hospitality Networks". horizonapp.co.
  22. ^ a b "Le réseau warmshowers. Quésaco ?". Le Telegramme (in French). 29 August 2018. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  23. ^ "Warmshowers : j'irai me doucher chez vous". Le Monde.fr (in French). 11 October 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  24. ^ Tagiew, Rustam; Ignatov, Dmitry I.; Delhibabu, Radhakrishnan (2015). Economics of Internet-Based Hospitality Exchange. (IEEE/WIC/ACM) International Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology (WI-IAT). Singapore. pp. 493–498. arXiv:1501.06941. doi:10.1109/WI-IAT.2015.89.

External links[edit]