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Updated: 24 min 8 sec ago

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

37 min 34 sec ago
slogfester wrote:Meet Peru (Van Nicholas Pioneer)

Hasn't been to Peru... yet, but did 4000 km round Europe last year and will soon be off to New Zealand

That is a very smart bike indeed!

Enjoy New Zealand - and come back safe to enjoy Peru!

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

44 min 36 sec ago
This is Dora. My faithful RTW companion.


Can anyone name the location? Clue: GoT

Re: First EVER Tour! (and I'm going RTW)

47 min 26 sec ago
Jamesjohnson wrote:I'm sad to lose the full RTW achievement, but hey, things could be worse.
I don't know "how it works" with cycling RTW, but e.g. in the US for the long distance "thru hikes" (e.g. PTC, etc.) you complete a "thru' hike" once you have walked the entire trail. It is quite acceptable to walk part one year, skip forward and do a different section another year, maybe skip back and fill-in the missing bit a couple of years later, etc. You complete the "thru' hike" when you have walked the entire trail in whatever order, whatever direction over any number of years.

So you could always go back and do the missing section later.


Re: First EVER Tour! (and I'm going RTW)

55 min 31 sec ago
Well, things don't always go to plan when you cycle around the world.

I've now been in Tbilisi, Georgia for a whole month. I had planned to stay four days.

When I arrived in Tbilisi I found that I had lost my bank card. I called the bank to cancel it and they were great, offering to send me a new one by private courier. I was told it would be with me in a week. One week later, nothing, two weeks, nothing, three weeks... you see where I'm going with this. I called the bank (Natwest) every day after the first week and they told me they couldn't get through to my branch. After 3 weeks I finally got a reply;

"Mr Johnson, Sorry for the delay in sending your new card. I will send it today"

To say I was annoyed and angry is an understatement but I kept my cool and waited. Then I get a message saying it's been delivered after just one day, to my house, 500m from the bank.

So I've been here for a lot longer than I planned. I've opened a Georgian Bank account and the bank is sending some funds across so I can get out of Tbilisi. This has meant my plans to cycle all the way around the world have had to be changed. The weather window of opportunity in Central Asia is pretty much closed and I don't fancy crossing 500+km of barren desert and mountainous rock roads solo in winter. So I've decided to fly to Nepal and begin the Indian and South East Asia Legs of my journey. I think it's a good choice in the circumstances and hopefully I'll be able to complete Central Asia, as well as Iran, in the not too distant future.

I'm sad to lose the full RTW achievement, but hey, things could be worse.

Re: tablet for touring

2 hours 25 min ago
al_yrpal wrote:Got the new Which mag today. The Hudl is recommended as the best cheap tablet. At only £99 its a bargain.


You can get a refurbished one off eBay for £59. At 350g though it's quite hefty.

Re: tablet for touring

2 hours 48 min ago
Got the new Which mag today. The Hudl is recommended as the best cheap tablet. At only £99 its a bargain.


Re: tablet for touring

3 hours 53 min ago
I got an Asus Fonepad (which is similar to the Nexus) so I didn't need to carry a separate phone. There is a newer model but I've not really investigated it. It does look a bit odd if you use it as a phone up against your ear but you can always use a handsfree to avoid that.


Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

3 hours 59 min ago
slogfester wrote:Meet Peru (Van Nicholas Pioneer) .... Hasn't been to Peru... yet, but did 4000 km round Europe last year and will soon be off to New Zealand

Nice bike. Where in the Long White Cloud are you planning to ride?


Re: tablet for touring

4 hours 58 min ago
al_yrpal wrote:I quite like using the Kindle on my phone. Its quite useable, but, I don't suppose its available on an iphone?
Yes, I have it on both my iPhone and iPad Mini.

Even better than Kindle is Audible.

Re: tablet for touring

5 hours 22 min ago
I have used either the Ipad or the IPad Mini for touring.

I use it for a series of tasks:

Photos - direct transfer via Wifi
Notes and Emails
Navigation and route planning

Re: tablet for touring

5 hours 25 min ago
al_yrpal wrote:I quite like using the Kindle on my phone. Its quite useable, but, I don't suppose its available on an iphone?


Kindle is supported across the IOS spectrum

Re: tablet for touring

5 hours 38 min ago
On the tablet (not phone) front, the Hudl2 should be due soon.

(The first one was discussed as some length - and with a surprising grumpiness at times for a discussion about electronics - around about last Christmas).

The new one is rumoured to be be bigger more upmarket though.

I hope it isn't too much bigger - I rather liked its small tough-as-a-brick look for touring and was mainly looking forward to it sorting various glitches/the weak GPS etc.

Re: tablet for touring

5 hours 58 min ago
I thought you meant the Moto 4g:http://www.trustedreviews.com/motorola-moto-g_Mobile-Phone_review
I didn't know they'd brought out another new one. It does seem odd that they've dropped 4g on the new one.

The s5 mini is £350 - it's the s5 that is £580. The mini keeps a lot of the features of the s5 eg fingerprint recognition, nfc, heart monitor. And in one respect it's better than the s5. It is water and dust resistant ip67 rated without the need for covers for the usb port.

The new Motorola phones are extremely good value for money. I upgraded my contract for the s5 mini and am paying an extra 290 over 2 years with no up front cost. My only gripe at the moment is I don't actually seem to get 4g anywhere yet, though hopefully this situation will improve!

Re: tablet for touring

6 hours 4 sec ago
I quite like using the Kindle on my phone. Its quite useable, but, I don't suppose its available on an iphone?


Re: tablet for touring

6 hours 15 min ago
This year we took two iPhones, my iPad Air, a kindle fire and a power monkey to help charge stuff. For a lightish tablet the iPad Air and case took up a fair amount of space and wasn't light, particularly with the rest of the electronics out included. I would definitely do it differently next time, even with the kids.

If I was travelling without the kids I'd take an ordinary kindle ( less weight than books and long battery life) just for reading and the iPhone for internet access and get a hub charger.

Re: Inverness to Kilmarnock 5 day tour

19 September 2014 - 11:59pm
Job done, 350 miles in 5 days and no rain

Left home on Sunday evening for the 9pm sleeper to inverness which arrived in on time at 8-30 to a chilly but dry Inverness. Took the northerly route to Skye via dingwall and the Cullins(?). Very picturesque country and flat easy riding. Stopped in Strathcarron for a late lunch and. Kyle of. Lochalsh for coffee before arriving at broadfoot YHS after 90 miles. YHS was pretty basic but a good breakfast made up for it.

Second day was a loop to Portree over to the south and back to portree and the Craignure ferry. Quite a hard day and 80 miles chasing a ferry timetable. Scenery on Skye was impressive with big mountains and bleak moors, very beautiful. Over to Mallaig and a very nice B&B to end the day on.

Third day was going to be 80 miles to Oban via FortBill until (over breakfast) i realised i could go down via glenuig, hop on a ferry to Mull (lochaline to fishnish) and then hop back on another ferry from Mull to Oban, only problem was it was 9-30 and the ferry was at 3 and 67 miles away! I decided to go for it and pushed hard through fabulous scenery and two mega passes to climb, what a day! 72 miles. As luck would have it the Oban ferry on Mull was delayed but had a good chat with anither cyclist at the ferry terminal, made it to Oban and a so so B&b by 7pm - very tired

Fourth day was straightforward, oban to lochgilphead, tarbert and the lochranza ferry (60 miles and just one major climb). Lochranza hasnt changed much in 27 years, good b&b and a good meal at the hotel.

Up early today and over lochranza hill to brodick for the ferry to Ardrossan. Rather than head straight to my mums in Kilmarnock i decided to finish with the fairle dalry moor road, another challenging climb, arrived late after 50 miles!

Typing this on the glasgow sleeper back to london

Bike performed perfectly, triple and 30/29 was essential and saddlebag worked well with a couple of dry bags strapped to rack. Baggage weighed in at 6 kilos and i suspect i could pare this down further for next time. I was lucky it didn't rain and weather was very good. I would probably only take one pair of shoes and more cycling jerseys but all in all think i got it just about right.

And i should have brought a map, the garmin and iphone combo worked well but sometimes you cant beat a good old fashioned map!

Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

19 September 2014 - 11:17pm
I've corrected my post above - it was indeed to Lousa and not to Coimbra that we drove from Castanheira - don't know what I was thinking of, but I'll plead that after a week I was still working out the geography. I still do know the difference though...

It is indeed a great road. I've actually developed a certain vertigo when driving in mountains, which is embarrassing for a cyclist. Comes of living too long in the flat lands, I think. This was high enough to set me off, without being dangerous or challenging as a drive. I did try not to stare down into the valleys! There are barriers where there might be risks, but it's no Alpine pass. Fortunately it doesn't affect my driving, so much as give me cold sweats the night after - very odd. Still wouldn't have missed the route though. You'd see more as a cyclist since, driving, you really should have eyes only for the road, of course. It's quite forested, which limits views somewhat, but there are breaks at points near the top.

I was intrigued by the way that the road follows (while climbing/descending steadily of course) the contours around shoulders and valleys, winding its way up/down without really needing switchbacks.

Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

19 September 2014 - 10:26pm
Glad you had a good time. The A13 is a very new road - an extension towards Coimbra was only finished earlier this year and in any case no part of it seems to appear on any maps I've seen nor on my GPS maps.

The climb up from Castanheira over towards Lousa (and the descent) is particularly lovely and fairly gentle, if you're ever over again.

The roads are hilariously empty, so much so that it is quite usual to wave and be waved at by any vehicle you encounter. The only problem is that when I was last cycling in the UK I'd forgotten that we don't do that....

Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

19 September 2014 - 9:39pm
drossall wrote:We're staying for a week near Coimbra next month. I get a day's pass (and a hired MTB of unknown quality) to go off for a day's riding
Just to give my experiences for the record. From what I saw, there's some brilliant touring to be had on quiet roads.

It's pretty much a case of a flattish western coast, with mountains inland. Coimbra is on the edge of the mountains. We were actually a bit south, just off the N17-1 near Espinhal.

The roads in that area are very quiet. Driving, we met something coming the other way from time to time, and something going in our direction almost never. The cycling I did was really quiet too.

This is probably helped by the network of motorways/dual carriageways that have been built recently, and take all the long-distance traffic. Even the nearest of those (A13), however, was very quiet - in early September, we saw another car or two every minute. You need to go onto the A1 Porto-Lisbon road to get levels of traffic that we'd recognise (and of course cyclists wouldn't be on either of these roads). The A13 spends its entire distance in cuttings or on massive viaducts, which gives you some idea of the significant hills in the area.

Going back to cycling, my hired bike turned out to be a ladies' MTBSO. For all sorts of reasons, including the limitations of the bike, I kept my ride to a few miles. I rode first up into the real hills to the east. The N347 to Castanheira de Peira is a really good climb, with an incredibly steady gradient, that goes on for miles to rise to nearly 800m, before (obviously) descending similarly into Castanheira. I only rode part way, not getting above about 450m before turning round and heading for some of the lanes between Espinhal and Penela.

These were again good riding, although I did fail to find my way in one place. I had the Portuguese military maps, ordered from Stanfords. They are close to OS quality, but up to 20 years old, and so show none of the new motorways above. This wouldn't matter, but local lanes have been diverted where they crossed the paths of new roads. Also, what are marked as dry-weather roads can become forest tracks. Hence, I found myself heading off-road with an uncertain map, and turned back instead.

I also had a GPS with open-source mapping, but it wasn't detailed enough. Not sure whether that was my mistake, but it didn't show the dry-weather roads where I got disoriented. Other minor roads were fine (and very quiet again), and I completed my loop happily on an alternative route. Later, we drove the entire route over the mountains to Castanheira, and then turned north over another set of mountains, topped by a row of wind turbines, to Lousa.

This would be a fine area for touring, with little traffic. I can't speak for the rest of Portugal. Lisbon and Porto had parts well worth visiting, but are busy like cities everywhere. Except where recent roads have changed things, good maps for cycling are available. Road numbering is a bit confusing because there are several systems co-existing. Pedal Portugal was helpful on this.

Hope this helps.

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

19 September 2014 - 9:28pm
Meet Peru (Van Nicholas Pioneer)

Hasn't been to Peru... yet, but did 4000 km round Europe last year and will soon be off to New Zealand


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