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Re: Paper maps!

24 April 2014 - 9:16pm
If you photocopy your OS maps it may be worth considering going digital - I've been using Anquet mapping for some time & the prices have tumbled over recent years. Central England (1 of 10 regional sets) at 1:50k, for example, is now £15 (£18 for High Definition) & covers 19 paper sheets (by my reckoning - "Equivalent coverage to Landranger® sheets 108-111, 117-120, 126-129, 138-140, 149-152. Includes the Peak District, the Midlands, the North Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills."). The whole GB 1:50k set is currently £100. If you get on their mailing list then there are often special offers, often half price.

The program lets you print sections to scale (not necessarily the native scale of the map - I will often print 1:50k route maps out at 1:25k for walks if I don't have the 1:25k mapping for that particular area). The other thing that may be useful for longer tours is that you get a copy of the 1:250k mapping for the whole OS GB area, which is probably good enough for many cycle trips (I've grabbed a section as an example). It seems to have virtually all the passable roads outside urban areas.

1-250k sample.JPG
You may even be able to get a copy by creating an account but not buying anything as the 1:250k mapping is now part of OS's free to use Opendata* - I don't know as I already have an account & have bought maps.

If you have an Android Smartphone or tablet or an iPhone/iPad you also have the option to use the mapping on them.

Other map suppliers will no doubt have similar, maybe better, offerings - I'm just giving info on the one I know.

(*If you have deep pockets, short arms & reasonable image computer skills you can get the 1:250k mapping free direct from OS - it will cost you nothing more than the price of an email address to give to them for them to send you a download link. For that you get a 153MB zip file which opens up to a set of files including 56 .TIF image files, one for each 2 letter grid area, plus other files to do other clever things with the maps if you have the skills.)


Re: Ah well! B&B it is then!

24 April 2014 - 8:07pm
Ha !!!

I generally cycle in a flat cap

Re: Trinity Portable Wind Turbine

24 April 2014 - 6:51pm
james01 wrote:Simple, you erect it on the handlebars and pedal like fury to achieve suitable windspeed (I'd guess 25 mph +).

Or you could hook it up to an electric hub and have it pedal itself to those speeds

Bank holiday weekend

24 April 2014 - 6:50pm

I'm planning on doing a short tour this coming BH weekend... 3 days, circular route, camping or B and B/hostel, approx 60 miles per day. Location flexible - I live in Liverpool but need to be in Devon Monday morning so somewhere in between would be good!

Anyone fancy joining me?


(I'm 32 if that matters!)

Re: Avenue Vert (sort of) - London to Paris

24 April 2014 - 5:17pm
Richard Fairhurst wrote:One useful tip for anyone getting lost on the French section of the Avenue Verte is that there are stickers as well as signs - well, there were last summer, at any rate.
Thanks Richard. Don't want it to come across that I'm moaning as this cycle route is a hugely ambitious undertaking that should be applauded.
For those that know it you pass through a village called Dampierre on past a cemetary you then get to a junction with Dieu De Pite. I spent a good while looking for signs (inc. my AV book) to say if I should turn left or right or go straight on but found nothing. I guessed (correctly) that it was left but that was the point for me where the AV lost its appeal.

Re: camping gas canisters Belgium and Holland

24 April 2014 - 4:44pm
andrew_s wrote:Even the screw-on canisters aren't completely idiot-proof.

There's also the classic camping accident where you put the pan on the stove without taking the lid off, to discover later that it was heavy not because it was full of water, but because you'd forgotten to take out the spare gas cartridge...

Re: The more the merrier

24 April 2014 - 4:42pm
A club? The CTC?

A few people in Paris recently organised an event for cycle tourists by contacting everyone on WarmShowers - we all met up in a bar for drinks one evening and about 40 people turned up. This could probably be done in any city in the UK fairly successfully.

Re: Avenue Vert (sort of) - London to Paris

24 April 2014 - 4:15pm
One useful tip for anyone getting lost on the French section of the Avenue Verte is that there are stickers as well as signs - well, there were last summer, at any rate. They're little round black stickers with an arrow made out of (usually) red dots. I suspect these were temporary route stickers dating from before the installation of permanent signs, but they're a useful fallback in any case.

Re: Shabby small town French hotels

24 April 2014 - 4:07pm
Lots of Chambre D'Hotes but the catch is finding them as there are a thousand 'label' each with their own website and tourist offices have no idea of what's in the next town so you can't plan ahead. Currently the best (and poor) bet is go to google maps - bring up the area you want and search 'Chambre D'Hotes' and they'll pop up - only about 10% of those availabe, and many brit owned but it's the best you can do. This may be of help - http://www.bretonbikes.com/generalartic ... rance.html

Edit - If you want to see the problem go to http://www.gites-de-france.com/ the biggest for all sites search for B&B - you'll get a listing for a department, but no map - so rather than looking at B&B on a map and linking them into a route (takes 5 minutes) you have to plan a route - search for B&B at each stop (by commune) then if you can't find one chnage the route and so-on - takes days.

Trying to educate the tourist industry over here that people need maps and actually move about - for the last 25 years - has turned my hair grey...

Re: The more the merrier

24 April 2014 - 3:57pm
He travels the fastest who travels alone.

Re: camping gas canisters Belgium and Holland

24 April 2014 - 3:56pm
He was at the Berger entrance and we were at road head we heard the 2nd (direct) bang as well as on the radio . This was before camping was banned on the plateau

The more the merrier

24 April 2014 - 3:47pm
I recently did a solo London Paris.

Nobody I know likes cycling more that maybe a few miles and even then only if its billiard table flat.

Have been looking at options for doing something similar with others. Only options appear to be

A) A cycle holiday

B) place a advert for somebody to join me.

C) Charity ride

Just been looking at the cost of cycle holidays and no offence to anyone that offers them but doing a London Paris via a holiday company comes it at around £800. Never sure who your going to get when you advertise. Charity rides requires you to bother people asking for money who ask things like "Why should I pay for your next holiday?" fair point really!

How do others do it?

Re: Paper maps!

24 April 2014 - 3:42pm
andrew_s wrote:describe them as "unforgivable noddy road-atlas cartography blown up to 1:100,000 in the colour photocopier, and a blemish on the reputation of the world's finest national mapping agency".
Yikes - let's forget that idea then!!

Avenue Vert (sort of) - London to Paris

24 April 2014 - 3:37pm
Right, finally I'm back some thoughts on the experience....

Was looking forward to this trip but have to say it didn't quite live up to expectations. The official London Eye route to Newhaven meanders into a large amount to extra miles and so decided to take a more direct route via East Grinstead and Lewes i.e. straight down. Although I knew about it the ferry schedule really is hugely inconvenient either getting you to Dieppe at 5:30am or 3pm. I chose the 11pm departure for arrival at 5:30am. The reclining seat was surprisingly comfortable coupled with a calm crossing I slept like a baby till a very loud announcement 45 minutes before arrival at Dieppe. Was still very dark and cold so locked bike up at the Dieppe ferry terminal and dozed in a chair till I got thrown out as it was closing. Still felt sleepy so found a chair outside and slept a bit there till on of the cleaners woke me up as she couldn't open the door with me in front. So at about 9am I rode into Dieppe had a couple of coffee's and baked goods for breakfast!

Avenue Vert proper.... the weather was fantastic, blue sky and so hot I only wore shorts and T-shirt. The sections past the lakes outside Dieppe were pure cycling heaven. I read in a review of the AV that this section was a bit monotonous which I can understand but still it was fantastic riding. Had lunch in Neufchatel (also found a McD's with free WiFi) then pushed on to Forges-les-Eaux for my first nights camp (only 38 odd miles but still feeling a bit tired. This is where things started to go pear shaped. Coming off the cycle track I was directed left then.... nothing no more AV signs that I could see. My AV book was a bit hard to decipher so I headed in to town and the Tourist Information (1 hours free WiFi plus you can charge all your electronics for free). Got directed to the municipal campsite Miniere. First class campsite I can definitely recommend it and all for £4/night!.

Then the problems.... Left the site and followed the AV signs in conjunction with my AV book right till the outskirts of Forges and either there was a missing AV sign or I missed it but ended up at the roundabout with the D915. Consulted my book backtracked a bit spent some time scratching my head and thought sod it and charged up the D915 to Gournay. Picked up the AV there and cycled 10ish miles back toward Forges as I had plenty of time. To be honest I just didn't like it. Cycling on tiny country lanes which were like a roller coaster up and down with loads of gravel/muck/mud etc on them and blind corners with tractors and cars coming the other way. Found navigating a pain. Got back to Gournay and decided to take the main road (E46) to Beauvais. AV book said there was a municipal campsite but turned out it was closed to campers (no toilets/showers). Owner very annoyed as people kept turning up "bloody book". Pleaded with him and he let me stay if I left early and promised to never come back and tell everyone the campsite was PERMANENTLY closed. He was a nice bloke as he could have kicked me off... didn't even charge me! Checked out the route of the AV on Google maps (McD's Beauvais) and just simply didn't fancy it so took the D1001 towards Paris. Got to Gare du Nord at around 5pm having not had any issues.

Yes, I know people would be horrified at cycling on a fast main road BUT the tiny country lanes didn't seem that safe either. Will be doing a London Paris again but would go via Dover.

Re: camping gas canisters Belgium and Holland

24 April 2014 - 2:49pm
Even the screw-on canisters aren't completely idiot-proof.
I had a clubmate try to swap canisters without moving away from other running stoves, and get a flash across when the new canister was partly screwed on. The result was big flames firing out of the side. I applied a boot and kicked it halfway across the field, and the shock was enough to put it out.
That was on a caving jaunt too (Matienzo).

Re: camping gas canisters Belgium and Holland

24 April 2014 - 2:37pm
Puncture canisters have fallen foul of European health and safety regs. The stoves stopped getting sold several years ago (10 ?), and the canisters to use with old stoves have been getting slowly less common ever since.[/quote]

Whilst I'm not all that keen on 'elf 'n' safety (gorn maad) a mate of mine was unfamiliar with that type and when looking closely saw that the spike on the stove had to puncture the can - so he just jammed the spike in, rather than screwing up the base as your are supposed to. Would have got away with it too had he not been using his (naked flame) carbide caving light. Blew the stove 50 yards into bushes, blew out the base of the gas can, though he got away with a singed jacket and sans eyebrows ! We were a couple of miles away talking on the radio, heard much swearing, then a bang, silence, the the bang again carried at the speed of sound direct.

Re: Paper maps!

24 April 2014 - 2:33pm
Yes it's a shame nobody makes a decent 1:100k map these days. It's the ideal scale for extended touring. AA do a road atlas at that scale but it's really no more than a blown up version of earlier offerings. Having said that OS 1:50k maps are hard to beat.

OS Landranger maps are currently £6.99 each and £12.99 for the waterproof versions. A far better option, in my view, is one of the digital versions of the same maps. They are available to purchase outright from a variety of sources or on annual subscription as “OS getmap” from Ordnance Survey.

To buy outright from the likes of Anquet, Memory Map or Mapyx Quo, costs around £100 for UK wide coverage and an annual subscription from OS is around £20. It's often cheaper to buy them bundled with a gps, although I reckon they're not Ideal cartography when used on such devices
The software that comes with the maps allows you to view and plan your routes on your computer. You can share routes with others and import routes from on line route planning sites. If you use gps you can export routes and waypoints to your gps. You can compare elevation profiles and you can customise your maps. Most importantly you are licensed to print as many copies as you wish for personal use. A4 copies of the map covering the area of your route are a lot more convenient than carrying a pannier full of OS Landranger maps. You can even print on waterproof paper.

Re: camping gas canisters Belgium and Holland

24 April 2014 - 2:25pm
I'm led to believe that the Camping Gas clip-on canisters are a lot commoner than the screw-on type, the screw-on type being limited to outdoor/camping shops.
I'd recommend getting an adapter to use clip-on canisters with a screw-on stove.

Puncture canisters have fallen foul of European health and safety regs. The stoves stopped getting sold several years ago (10 ?), and the canisters to use with old stoves have been getting slowly less common ever since.

Re: Route Kidderminster or Droitwich to Meriden

24 April 2014 - 1:54pm
Wow! Thanks so much for your responses. I also had a useful reply from the Meriden Rally organiser, so between all these we should be able to find the right route. I'm away for a few days, but as soon as I get a chance I'll check out your suggestions in detail & get back to you if I need any further info. This forum is so good!

Re: Paper maps!

24 April 2014 - 1:52pm
Haha, the blog I linked to did describe them as "unforgivable noddy road-atlas cartography blown up to 1:100,000 in the colour photocopier, and a blemish on the reputation of the world's finest national mapping agency". I did smile.

Thanks for the heads up on those landrangers


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