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Updated: 1 hour 46 min ago

Re: Need advice on a bike tour of Scotland

26 November 2014 - 9:56pm
Radomir wrote:"So unless you do get hit by a SW gale and/or do want to go over Bealach na Ba then that may be a better option". Sorry for my English but could you please explain the above more clear (more easy)?
The route from Stornoway to Lochmaddy heads SW across wide open ground with no shelter from the wind at all, and the Western Isles are notorious for being windy. Therefore if there is a gale from the southwest, it will be hard work and you will be better off taking a mainland route, as you will be if the Bealach na Ba is somewhere you want to go.

On the whole I'd rather take the mainland route anyway, though which is best will depend on the weather (it's fairly common for the Isles to have good weather when the mainland is poor, and the other way round).
Between Kylesku and Ullapool, the coast road through Lochinver/Inverpolly/Loch Lurgainn is a lot more scenic than the fairly uninteresting inland main road, though it will add 36 km & 700m climbing.

If you look at routes on http://cycle.travel/map, as well as click for start, click for end, an look at the route, you can also click and drag the route to go somewhere else, and click on the route and "Find photos". This is very useful if the route goes along a track, and you want to know if it is rideable or not. There's a map further down the photo page to show exactly where the photo is taken.

Re: Eurovelo 7 South to North?

26 November 2014 - 8:00pm
Thanks again, Rob.

Whew! We were imagining something like the cycling conditions in Serbia (cycling into Belgrade along EV6 was the worst cycling experience e we've had by some little way).

Yes, we'd definitely leave ourselves time for sight-seeing and soaking up the atmosphere. As far as the cycling is concerned, we'd want to cycle from the southernmost point to the north and then get a bike carrying ferry to Sicily.

Re: UK to Prague via northern Germany

26 November 2014 - 6:35pm
I cycled a similar route - to Amsterdam, straight across to Berlin, through Dresden to Prague. Definitely don't miss Berlin. For me it's one of the best capitals in Europe. The ride from Amsterdam to Hannover was particularly dull. After that it got a little more interesting but didn't really get going until nearer Berlin. After Berlin, the scenery got much better. Either choose a more southern route to Berlin or get the train for that bit.

Re: UK - Greece (Athens)

26 November 2014 - 6:26pm
I cycled through Greece towards the end of June. It was very hot but doable. Also, don't underestimate the wind.

Albania is good fun. The road surfaces, on the main roads at least, are not as bad as they used to be. Some of the country's main roads are not very main at all but with lots of traffic. And it's nice 'n' cheap.

Have a good trip!

Re: French End to End

26 November 2014 - 5:54pm
I've been doing some preliminary planning for a trip from Barcelona to |Paisley next March/April and came across this dutch site which has a route form Amsterdam to Barcelona. I would use part of this in reverse from Barca to Beziers then take the Canal du Midi north. You might be able to pick it up in Belgium and use it for most of your trip. here's the link: http://www.cyclingeurope.nl/cycling/rou ... /index.php
Good luck with the trip.

Re: UK - Greece (Athens)

26 November 2014 - 5:39pm
thanks for the reply. i agree Italian maps are hopeless!

I want to do this ride next year, and I think now having read up a bit more the Autumn looks like the time to go.

I think 4 weeks would be ideal time. I might have to squeeze it into 3. hmmm

Re: UK - Greece (Athens)

26 November 2014 - 5:32pm
wheelbarrowman wrote:Mountains in Greece - I've google-streetviewed some roads - it looks very promising! - any pointers?

It's true, mountainous Greece is excellent cycling. But get the better quality maps. The cheaper maps have too much fiction in their depiction of the road system. There's quite a few unpaved roads in the mountains that extend the adventure if you like that kind of thing. But if you get the decent maps, they are actually better than Italian or Portuguese maps.

Re: My worst tour, and why..

26 November 2014 - 4:30pm
I did a tour of NE Scotland in continuous heavy rain and headwinds. I found out when I got back that all the time I was doing it I had a UTI. (At the time I thought it was just a joy of aging.) So every 5 minutes or so it seemed I was stopping to take a leak which, when your wearing overtrousers, tights and Lycra shorts gets to be tedious pretty quick. I thought about packing it in but I'd traveled from the US to do this with a bunch of my old potholing mates and couldn't bring myself to wimp out. After all we were lads who did wet caves before wet suits were thought of. Funny what a difference 40 years makes.

One B & B we stayed at the landlady told us we were insane for setting off in such a downpour. She was right. Couldn't see a bit of the scenery thanks to low clouds. The last day on the ride from Tongue to Inverness was exquisite, sunshine, scenery even a tailwind to remind us what we'd missed.

Single Speed Freewheel Day Trips

26 November 2014 - 4:29pm
Although I have titled it day trips, multi day rides also accepted.

I'm thinking of returning to S/Spd cycling again.
I used to ride around Kent, Surrey, & Sussex, with occassional trips to Essex & Herts, (about 20 years ago now).
Just wondering how many others ride single speed freewheel bikes, & what you get up to, areas you ride, mileages you cover, that sort of thing.
Also, it would be nice to see pictures of your bikes.

Re: Eurovelo 7 South to North?

26 November 2014 - 2:50pm
Hi Ignoramus, OK maybe I over did the bad news, we were looking at a nice holiday tooteling around, it's not Mallorca if you keep your wits about you should be ok, yes the back roads are awful, worse than those here in Devon Their driving leaves a bit to be desired, but once they are out of their cars they are really friendly people, they like the British, and most speak English. We stayed in Birzebbuga the container port, which does some tourism as well, it suited us fine, especially the two little bakeries we found I guess you are just passing through, we had a car for a few days, and used the excellent bus service to do more exploring. There are some bike shops there if you need one. If you tell me where you enter and leave Mata I could aske my friend for some more suggestions. If you have the time there is loads to see from ancient to modern history etc.
Cheers, Rob

Re: Need advice on a bike tour of Scotland

26 November 2014 - 2:27pm
To: Tigerbiten
If we will finish a riding on Outer Hebrides in Tairbeart? Or the way from Tairbeart to Lochmaddy is interesting too?
Unfortunately I did not understand your phrase "So unless you do get hit by a SW gale and/or do want to go over Bealach na Ba then that may be a better option". Sorry for my English but could you please explain the above more clear (more easy)?

To: horizon

Re: UK - Greece (Athens)

26 November 2014 - 1:44pm
I'd think the ideal timing would be to set off in late summer so it was autumnal as you did the Med bit. Though if you don't mind being a bit chilly from time to time at the N end, do it in the Spring. Though one issue to bear in mind is that Med weather is only reliably dry in the summer, the rest of the year heavy rain tends to occur from time to time, albeit with lots of sunshine in between.

It's really up to you whether you can cope with riding in the summer heat in the Med. All I know is that I had a meeting in Athens one August, and being outside was significantly worse than being in Kuala Lumpur. It doesn't surprise me that Paula Radcliffe collapsed trying to run the marathon there.

Re: My worst tour, and why..

26 November 2014 - 1:08pm
al_yrpal wrote:...and ditch the Brooks.

On our grim ride, Mme did just this, although it was not a Brooks she was swapping out (did that already). Got a far nicer (Terry) saddle, and a far happier bum. Too bad so much else was not to our preference... I still love my Brooks', but know how much she's suffered with them. My equivalent was using flat bars on that ride, which promptly got swapped out for drops once home, after having changed out the stem in an effort to improve things. Both bikes were relative new builds (finished mine the day before!), which was of course one mistake amongst others.

Mistik-ka wrote:whoof wrote:I've been thinking about this for a day or so and I can't think of a 'bad' tour.
I think you've got it right, whoof. The miserable weather, impassible barricades, wretched meals, and sagging mattresses over the pub are all horrible at the time … but they make the best stories when it's all over, and often it is the moments just before and just after the worst weather that results in the best photographs.


I understand your sentiments, Misti-ka, but prefer we enjoy our holidays at the time. Nice photos and anecdotes are a bonus, but not the reason for the trip. And much of our time in NOLA involving a tearful wife throwing up in a darkened hotel room don't make for nice memories...

Having a bike stolen in Amsterdam, another broken in China, and needing to sell one in Thailand to scrape enough to keep travelling however did not make for bad trips!

Re: My worst tour, and why..

26 November 2014 - 12:13pm
My worst was a 9 day tour in Brittany in June. Hosing down heavy rain most of the time. 50 to 70 kph headwinds, a sore bum due to an attrocious Brooks Saddle riding over stony canal banks and being with a couple of fitness freaks whose hobbies included swimming marathons, ice climbing and posing. These guys insisted on riding on main roads where we were frequently showered from large puddles. After 3 days I rebelled and took over navigation guiding us on back roads and slowing the pace. After that we stopped at village cafes, met the locals and saw some sights at a sensible pace without being continuously drowned in cold muddy water.
The lessons I learned were: Don't let people who have never toured before hassle you into a stupid race on main roads for the sake of their inflated egos, stand your ground. If the forecast is for continuous rain for days, pack it in, and ditch the Brooks.

Al

Re: My worst tour, and why..

26 November 2014 - 11:25am
Don't think I've ever had a real bad tour, but I clearly remember my worst day on tour and it was in the UK. Crossing the fens, into a headwind, drizzling all day. For the most part the satnav showed a dead straight featureless line. I can remember feeling glad when I saw a leylandii hedge because a) shelter and b)it was something to look at that wasn't cabbage shaped.

Re: My worst tour, and why..

26 November 2014 - 8:45am
foxyrider wrote:Never had anything quite so disasterous as those examples!

My worst was a Tirol tour in 2011 with lots of wet days.

Day 1 torrential rain to St Gallen, day 2 woke floating after more overnight rain, day3 damp start then more distance than i expected, day 5 damp turning to torrential, day 6 foggy and damp before later light rain, repeat for day 8 with overnight torrential rain at Berchtesgaden, day 9 damp with low cloud ending with a puncture caused by a sharp stone on the road. Phew, day 10 light rain on and off all day, day 11 low cloud and rain until mid afternoon so cancelled assault on the Gross Gloeckner road, day 13 (shoulda known better!) abortive high pass crossing resulting in three day diversion from planned route, more damp in afternoon. Day 14 wet afternoon and into evening at Solden, river close to overflow, day 15 rain and low cloud over Silvretta ending with a 2km 20% climb to campsite, day 16 ended with 5km climb to campsite before more rain, day 17 wet most of the day over three passes to Zurich then the final morning it chucked it down getting back to the airport. Not only that but my cash card wouldnt work so for the middle week i was severely at a financial disadvantage! This was in August!

Despite all of the damp i had a great trip, the dry days were brilliant, the tent kept me dry even when it was floating! I did complete 15 pass crossings and clocked up @ 1200km.

As I read this, I was certain you were going to be kidnapped by bandidos!

Re: Amsterdam to the Battlefields of France/Belgium

26 November 2014 - 7:19am
Thanks for your reply and the link to your tour..I'm enjoying the read..We have now booked the ferry

Re: My worst tour, and why..

25 November 2014 - 11:43pm
Tigerbiten wrote:Dropping of the top of Beachy Head:

Must have been a bad tour

Re: Eurovelo 7 South to North?

25 November 2014 - 11:22pm
Many thanks for the replies. We'll certainly follow up all the links and it's good to know that the "Ciclopista Del Sole" does cover part of the route south of Rome - we'd thought it started in Rome.

Malta sounds as bad as we feared but we'd want to do it for the sake of completeness. I wonder if Rob or anyone else could tell us whether it would be feasible to cycle from south to north super early in the morning before the traffic gets going and stand a reasonable chance of surviving unscathed?

Re: My worst tour, and why..

25 November 2014 - 11:18pm
whoof wrote:I've been thinking about this for a day or so and I can't think of a 'bad' tour.
I think you've got it right, whoof. The miserable weather, impassible barricades, wretched meals, and sagging mattresses over the pub are all horrible at the time … but they make the best stories when it's all over, and often it is the moments just before and just after the worst weather that results in the best photographs.

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