CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 29 min 25 sec ago

Re: Rhine route?

8 hours 49 min ago
Not sure which bit of the Rhein rises in Italy, all the maps i've ever seen the source is firmly in Switzerland with input from Austria being the first non Swiss addition to the flow!

But back to the real question. The Neckar wobbles about quite a bit, once upstream of Heidelberg places of interest are not abundant and it of course passes through an extensive industrial area from Heilbronn to south of Stuttgart. From there to the source there are quite a few nice towns however in common with the whole length campsites are thin on the ground and i'd advise booking in high season - i've seen people on bikes turned away on occasion! Here is a link to the official website http://www.neckarradweg.de/neckarindex.html - i used the Bikeline guide when i've ridden it (most of the length over two different trips.)

The upper Danube (Donau in German) is fairly bland but with some nice castles and interesting geology. I rode upstream from Ulm to Donaueschingen over 2 days but 3 would have been more comfortable! Again, there isn't a lot of camping available and being quite popular other accomodation can be a bit pricey. Ulm is a typical German city, shops, Dom and railway station but nothing particularly exciting! It is however quite a lot north east of Bodensee (Lake Constance) - far enough for its own Esterbauer guide!

I actually found the Rhein better in terms of stuff to see and accomodation than Neckar or upper Donau - from Basel to Konstanz is for the most part very pleasant, nicely spaced and good supply of camping. I'd consider a bit of a hybrid of your idea taking out the 300km or so Ulm diversion instead taking the Donau to Tuttlingen or Sigmaringen then going south via Stockach to Bodensee. Or follow the Rhein to Karlsruhe before leaving to cross over to Stuttgart via Pforzheim to pick up the Neckar after the industrial stuff. TBH i caught a train for a few miles to avoid riding through Heilbronn last month 7 euros well spent!

if you want sightseeing or accomodation tips just ask

Re: Good footwear?

8 hours 56 min ago
You mention that you don't like cleats and use toe clips. If you want something for all round use, I'd suggest having a look at some walking shoes. Cotswold Outdoor have a good range (breathable and waterproof) starting at £40 and if you're a CTC member you get 15% discount. I have a fairly elderly pair of cross trainers that I've used for some time and they work very well on flat pedals so should suit clips. In bad weather I use a pair of lightweight walking boots.

I'd also recommend a pair of flip flops for use in a hostel or shower block. The other thing you might consider is a pair of camp slippers. They're light and cosy.

Re: Good footwear?

9 hours 30 min ago

Also laces and ONE ONLY velcro strap work best with clips.

Interested as to why you say just the one?

Re: Good footwear?

11 hours 4 min ago
Approx 8 months of wear. much of those months as general foot wear. I also weigh just under 17 stone.

exustar stelvio sp705 new & old 8 months wear.JPG

Re: Cycling the Portuguese coastline

11 hours 30 min ago
I've not actually cycled it but have driven it a few times. I live in central Portugal - originally from Brighton. I guess that you're going to Lisbon or beyond? South of Porto it is fairly built up and relatively flat and uninspiring. There are a few small resorts like Espinho and further south is Aveiro which is quite a nice town but a bit touristy. Around Aveiro is a large flat basin and further south lots of pine forests that go right down to the coast. Its not unlike south of Bordeaux. Figueira do Foz is an OK resort used mainly by Portuguese with nice sandy beaches and further south again is Nazare which has massive surf. The roads are fairly busy. South of Lisbon down the Alentejo coast is more interesting and remote and very beautiful. Can't comment on camp sites. If it were me, I'd duck off the camino route at somewhere south of Ponte de Lima, say Guimaraes, and keep well inland, that's the real Portugal. Most people tend to live in a rough corridor about 30 miles inland from the coast going north from Lisbon. The driving can be a bit erratic in busy areas but if you head inland you'll find very peaceful roads with hardly a car, friendly people and cheap but it is very mountainous. Just be aware it has been very wet this year.

Utrecht 2015

11 hours 44 min ago
Don’t know whether this should be posted here or on the TdF board but here goes. Tentative plans to cycle to Utrecht next July for days 1 and 2 of the tour. Living in Cornwall I thought I would take the train to London then cycle to Harwich for the ferry. Probably visit Amsterdam before dropping down to Utrecht. Return would be cycle back to Dover for channel crossing then South coast home. 60-70 miles a day max with mix of hostel/B&B and camping. I expect that accommodation in Utrecht will become tight so need to start planning soon. Anyone have similar plans?

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

11 hours 55 min ago
Thanks for replies.
I am flying Emirates which has max of 300 cm (no problem) / 30 kg limit.
Have yet to purchase partners ticket. Looking at Luftansa+AirNZ. Seems to be 158 cm (big problem) / 23 kg (could be a problem). So, you then add a bicycle box at EUR100. Not sure if this is one-way or round trip and if the weight is included in 23 kg limit? If its not and its round trip, then EUR100 for bike is a comparative bargain because you are effectively getting 23 kg + c. 15 kg for the bike box.

Re: Getting AROUND the Pyranees

13 hours 7 min ago
Do you have a low enough bottom gear to ride comfortably in the mountains?
You will have long climbs with occasionally steep sections. Provided you ride within yourself - always take it easy at the beginning of a climb and allow time to find a comfortable rhythm . One idea some people use is to take a short break - about a minute- every kilometre.
+1 for making an early start and allowing enough time for your planned objective. Darkness comes on quickly in the mountains. I've found myself making a long descent in the dark - not enjoyable without really good lights

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

13 hours 25 min ago
Contact them via email, so that you have a record.

I flew with a courier with max dimensions, on my final day of my tour I'd arranged to collect a cardboard bike box and then go direct to the nearby airport. It was gigantic! I had zero time and materials to reduce it's size, it was so big I had to go the airport basement and use an industrial scanner as it wouldn't fit through the standard baggage one, no extra charge was levied,

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

13 hours 50 min ago
elioelio wrote:Hey thanks for all the replies! Really useful. Bike lights seem to be a must. Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....? What do others do?

If I was doing this trip I would purchase a cheap (Poundland) Hi Vis vest.

If using drop bars, then I would drill a 5mm hole 10mm from the very end of the bars on both sides. I would then bolt a short length of old handle bars at right angles and under the handle bars. A light can be attached to this on either side of the bike (as the side of the road being ridden on changes).

If using straight bars I would drill the same hole but add the tube under and in line with the bars.

I would also try and use the same batteries for all lights. I do like the Head Torch as you are able to flash (not dazzle) other vehicles.

Re: Touring Map(s) Hebrides & West Coast

13 hours 53 min ago
OS 1:250,000 UK road maps are available free in digital form from a number of sources.

Check out Mapyx Quo.http://www.mapyx.com/index.asp

1:250K is more than adequate for Hebrides and West Coast of Scotland and you can purchase additional larger scale maps as and when you need them. The free software allows you to print A4 copies for your own use which are ideal in bar bag map cases.

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

13 hours 55 min ago
Parts of NZ are like parts of here: if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes for some other.... take waterproofs and sunblock.

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

14 hours 27 min ago
Don't worry mate, it'll be raining all the time in NZ, so its the colour of your rain top that is important. Cue another 5 pages!!

Good as gold.

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

14 hours 35 min ago
Who are Tranacontinel Airlines???

If you mean Delta Airways longhaul, then you may have a problem as US airlines tend to be very bike unfriendly.

If going to NZ, I would recommend Emirates, Air NZ or BA. I always fly Emirates as you get 30kgs and a bike in a box is no problem.

Hopefully you haven't bought your ticket purely on price, cos Delta may well sting you mega bucks for each leg.

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

15 hours 8 min ago
elioelio wrote:Hey thanks for all the replies! Really useful. Bike lights seem to be a must. Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....? What do others do?Remove the bar bag and sling it over your saddle bag by its shoulder strap and secure with a bungee or similar if need be. Your bars are then free for the light. I seldom need a light when on tour, if I do it is usually only for a few miles, so this works for me even if it is a little inconvenient.

Alternatively - mount your bar bag lower by putting it on something like this
http://www.freshtripe.co.uk/freshtripe/ ... Rack-1.jpg

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

15 hours 43 min ago
elioelio wrote: so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....?

As I attempted to explain in my post, this is what I do and it works perfectly well. And it means that I don't need to carry a front light that I would have used for a total of about 20 minutes on a 2 month tour of Europe last summer.

Re: Advice for tyre size for touring - 32c OK for off-road?

16 hours 38 min ago
On road speed depends more on tyre construction than tyre width so I wouldn't worry about the difference between 32mm and 37mm. For off road wider is better than narrower. I'd suggest starting a long tour with two new tyres. Yes you can buy them on the road but they are likely to be full retail. I'd suggest two of these plus a 3rd as a spare. You may wear out the rear on a 6 month tour depending on roads and overall weight carried.

http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/TYVIVOHY/v ... lding-tyre

Re: Good footwear?

16 hours 42 min ago
What size shoes do you need

Yes, I probably have left it too late for this trip but I might treat myself anyway.

I usually take a 9, but in some closer fitting shoes/trainers I take 9.5.

Re: Good footwear?

22 hours 28 min ago
What size shoes do you need

Re: Getting AROUND the Pyranees

22 hours 53 min ago
Yep, St Jean pied de port onto the Roncevalles pass is very doable. My now husband did this as his first mountain with camping kit etc, he was convinced he wouldn't make it and could turn round and pick up the train at St Jean pied de port but he was fine. It's also a very historic route as part of the camino which should give an illustration of gradient. The main trick with a big pass is to head up at a sensible time in the morning. This avoids either the heat of the day or running so slow that you are late and so have problems with accomodation on the other side. Take plenty of short breaks if you need them and don't forget plenty of water and snacks.


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