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Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

Re: coming back from germany by train

3 hours 56 min ago
yes, it was De Bahn who said it couldnt be done. Maybe I got someone new on the phone, or someone who was leaving their job, as they didn't offer any alternative options. Hopefully soon booking bikes will be easy on the web, or De Bahn will enable raileurope to make bike bookings. Luckily Im sorted now and by going via rotterdam I'll have a chance to cycle in Holland for a day so alls well etc.
thanks for the goeuro link, it looks like it will prove useful in the future.

Re: Hello & Help!

3 hours 56 min ago
Audax67 wrote: Supermarkets too, but then there's the bike-theft problem.



I see your'e in France . Whats the bike theft problem ? In my experience fully laden tourers arent exactly an attractive proposition to thieves in the bike theft capital of the world ( UK) . Ive always done supermarkets in France and have never even seen anyone look at my bike. Obviously I always lock it but it would take some balls to even approach, let alone attempt to nick something laden down with crap in front of a supermarket.

Re: coming back from germany by train

5 hours 4 min ago
are you using the DB site? If not try that for connections. Here is what DB say:

Dear customer,

Unfortunately, it is not possible to book a bicycle ticket for this trip on the Internet

Please visit a Deutsche Bahn ticket counter or call our service number
Tel.: +49 (0) 1806 99 66 33 (20 ct/call from a German landline, max. 60 ct/call for German mobile phones).
You can request information on bicycle transport, purchase bicycle tickets and make reservations on this number every day from 8 am to 8 pm.

You can book bicycle tickets on the Internet under the following conditions:

Your selected trip:

- only includes trains that allow bicycles,
- doesn't include any night trains,
- only includes domestic routes,
- begins at least one day after the day of the booking.

Go to http://www.bahn.de/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml for more details.

You can certainly book a route to the coast that will take a bike. You might find ringing will get you further than using the web - people do manage to get bikes on DB Ice, Thalys and Eurostar services! Koblenz to Koln is easy - I wouldn't try booking as part of the rest as you can probably get a regional ticket price (remember to book your bike!) Currently everything changes at Brussels so you could get either Thalys or the slower stopping service from Koln for that leg and then use Eurostar from there.

You could potentially use the new intercity bus services for part of your journey ADAC Postbus and MeinFernbus both take bikes and the fares are low! Checkout here for details http://www.goeuro.co.uk/search/NTNkOTIw ... kxNTU0OA==

Hope this helps

Re: Hello & Help!

5 hours 7 min ago
JonFountain wrote:However with a new bike about to be delivered and the tickets booked it's certainly possible. What I need to consider is alternatives in this country.


Get on your bike and pedal. You'll be grand and the adventure will have twice the value. You'll meet people if you want to and sure you can learn a few words in french before you go. 'No time like the present,' my mum always says.

Re: coming back from germany by train

5 hours 29 min ago
after a bit of head scratching I realised it might be possible to get the ferry from Hook of Holland rather than eurostar. And I've now booked it. Wish the bloke on the phone had told me that was an option when I asked for a ticket to london rather than just saying it can't be done with a bike.
And while Im ranting is there really a reason why a bike can't be booked on a train online instead of having to sit on hold on a very expensive phone line!!

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

6 hours 54 min ago
shane wrote:up to 3 weeks challenging/singletrack though not too technical...

For challenging a route could be put together in the highlands. But it's always going to involved a mix of landrover/forestry tracks, some singletrack, a bit of pushing, linked by short road sections.

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

8 hours 12 min ago
I've done a few of the Southern ones (South Downs, Ridgeway, Peddlars). They make an enjoyable weekend, but don't quite sound what you're looking for in terms of wilderness (although there's the odd section of the SDW that if you squint you could be in the Highlands). And to drag them out into something longer - +1 to what Simonhill says - you'll have to get the OS maps out and be creative. Canals are okay for a while, but can old pretty quick.

There's an off-road transpennie coast to coast that's supposed to be damn tough, I forget what it's called now. ofc you could probably work something out in the Highlands.

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

8 hours 24 min ago
in south england U have the Downslink path from Guildford to the south coast and also a canal path that goes from Weybridge to Guildford ( Wey navigation ). There is of course the South Downs ( path )

Re: Anyone use a trailer ?

8 hours 38 min ago
theDaveB wrote:Yes that is exactly what I mean, thanks will order some locktite.

Can't believe my ukfixing 5M bar arrived this morning. Ordered late yesterday, £1.80 no charge for p&p and it arrived about a hour ago, overnight delivery and was packaged brilliantly.

Waiting for my skewer now but did order the one from Germany so might take a bit longer.

Dave

You may notice the long bolt nearby. Originaly I changed the bolt as the original was too short, didnt lock into the nut well. Since I was going to replace that bolt I went for a longer one I thought might protect the sprung release bolt a bit as not the kind of thing that can be easily replaced. I have been thinking of tieing a short piece of wire or something over the sprung bolt and secure to the trailer body in case it gets lose and falls off.

By the way the standard skewers u get with these cheapo trailers are a death trap I think - read the whole thread. A few solns have been suggested in this thread.

Re: Hello & Help!

9 hours 44 min ago
+ one for launching into your very best French, even if, like mine, its rubbish! Works for me.
Once, in a cafe in Brittany somewhere, I asked for coffee in the usual way and the barmaid glared at me and flounced off to get the boss - I thought, 'Oh Dear, what have I done?!', but when I nervously repeated the request to the owner, he just smiled and got my coffee - never found out what it was she thought I said!! Tried to figure it out with French friends since, but nada...
Michel Thomas is good if you need a crash course.
http://www.michelthomas.com/learn-french.php

coming back from germany by train

9 hours 47 min ago
I've just tried to book a ticket back from Koblenz on the train...and the computer says no. Apparently it can't be done because eurostar and the german connections don't take bikes. Unless I can find a way round this Im gonna have to replan the whole trip...Grrrrr

Re: Hello & Help!

9 hours 55 min ago
^^^Good advice re the language. In general, if a word ends in T do not pronounce it. Safest that way.

Re: Hello & Help!

10 hours 36 min ago
I cannot comment on cycle touring solo but in general travel solo is far more rewarding.

Loire valley is a fantastic area.

Re language: Take a phrase book/dictionary (or loads of apps that do same) and always try in French first. It does not matter if you slaughter their language ... it is the fact that you tried French first that will generally ensure they will try their best to help. So never ever start with "Do you speak English?" but launch into what you think might sound like French (or prefix "Excuse/Pardonnez mon français"). (When I lived there and was looking to get my 2nd dog, my dictionary gave me the word for "puppy" but not the pronunciation and when not pronounced correctly the word was rather rude; yet everybody kept a straight face, provided loads of help and at one point somebody tactfully corrected my pronunciation. It was that I had tried that was important).

Ian

Re: Anyone use a trailer ?

10 hours 52 min ago
Yes that is exactly what I mean, thanks will order some locktite.

Can't believe my ukfixing 5M bar arrived this morning. Ordered late yesterday, £1.80 no charge for p&p and it arrived about a hour ago, overnight delivery and was packaged brilliantly.

Waiting for my skewer now but did order the one from Germany so might take a bit longer.

Dave

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

10 hours 57 min ago
Peddlars Way!! Truly a Freudian slip. Its the Peddars Way. A nice 2 day ride across Norfolk.

Back in the '80s when I got a mountain bike, I looked for decent off road touring routes. At that time there were very few published ones and so I often cobbled together what routes I could find.

Canal towpaths were good and could often be linked to make a route, eg Oxford, Grand Union and Aylesbury circuit. The Kennet and Avon is a good one, but linear. Some towpaths are easy, but some can be tough, rough and muddy if you want a bit more of a challenge.

The long distance trails are good and well described nowadays. Many are bridalways so can be cycled although they sometimes have annoying footpath sections. The Ridgeway, South Downs Way, etc can be connected with a bit of on road cycling to make a decent route.

I heard a radio programme a few years ago about someone taking a horse on the Offa's Dyke Trail. That would make a good ride.

The bottom line is that there are plenty of off road routes, but you need to be a bit creative to join them into a longer tour.

Re: Hello & Help!

11 hours 13 min ago
Good advice above, although not sure immodium should be top of your packing list!

I am sure you will enjoy the trip on your own, possibly more so, dare I say it. I tour a lot on my own and realise that I see and appreciate so much more.

As a test, go for a short walk with a friend (urban or country). You will find that you miss much due to chatting. Also if you want to stop to look at something, your friend probably won't so you don't spend as much time as you would like. Then when your friend wants to stop, you probably won't be so interested. Then do the walk on your own and see how much more you appreciate it.

If nothing else, think of the kudos of venturing to a faraway foreign field on your own.

Re: Hello & Help!

11 hours 47 min ago
Welcome, Jon, and commiserations to your brother - daft thing to do before a cycling hol.

I've done a wee bit of Loire Valley cycling: if you like flat it's great. You can get the odd dose of Atlantic weather but that's part of the fun and not insuperable. I wouldn't worry too much about the language: even if your interlocutor has no English there'll often be someone nearby who can interpret.

I'd keep the distances down at first, obviously, and make the most of your surroundings. There's no great merit in pounding on for its own sake.

Couple of tips:

Take Imodium with you. It's available here but best be certain.
You can always get drinking water in cemeteries, they have water-taps linked to the ordinary mains.
Most small shops will close on Mondays. Exceptions will be some bakeries and service station shops. Supermarkets too, but then there's the bike-theft problem.
The "plat du jour" (set meal) in most restaurants is good value.

Any questions before Friday, fire away. After that I'm off myself.

John

Re: Bridge out on Lon Las Cmyru at Portmadog - options?

12 hours 15 min ago
Yes the bridge is still out. It is a fiasco of incompetence and intolerance. But it has all been covered at length elsewhere.

There is a convoy system in place at the most dangerous section which is a great safety benefit to cyclists on account of the narrowness of the road.
The detour still involves cycling on 7 or 8 miles of busy fast main roads though.
However, there is not really any other way to avoid some of these sections whichever way you choose.
Personally I would still use the coastal route as it is stunningly lovely, has more ice cream shops, pubs etc and has less ascent and descent (unless you really follow the Sustrans route into the steep coastal hills behind Harlech, which is a route unsuitable for heavily loaded cycling, IMHO).

The section from Barmouth to Dolgellau on dedicated cycle tack is simply fantastic. If you go inland you will miss it.

Re: Hello & Help!

12 hours 17 min ago
ANTONISH wrote:I would stick to your original plan.
I started doing long touring rides in France in my fifties after hardly cycling for many years.
I'm still doing them at 73 (I'm sure there are others older than me doing the same).
The Loire valley is very nice for cycling.
Setting off can be daunting but I'm sure you will find that your fears are unfounded.
Edward Enfield (the comedian Harry Enfield's father) took a couple of similar trips to that you had planned. He wrote a book about his experiences (Downhill all the way) which is amusing and informative. It's a worthwhile read for someone planning a first tour.

I had never heard of this, but I just went over to Amazon to check it out, and for info it's 99p at the moment for Kindle.

Re: Hello & Help!

13 hours 4 min ago
I would stick to your original plan.
I started doing long touring rides in France in my fifties after hardly cycling for many years.
I'm still doing them at 73 (I'm sure there are others older than me doing the same).
The Loire valley is very nice for cycling.
Setting off can be daunting but I'm sure you will find that your fears are unfounded.
Edward Enfield (the comedian Harry Enfield's father) took a couple of similar trips to that you had planned. He wrote a book about his experiences (Downhill all the way) which is amusing and informative. It's a worthwhile read for someone planning a first tour.

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