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Specialized Tricross Comp

1 August 2014 - 3:43pm
Hello
I have a Specialized Tricross Comp (2008 I think). I would like to do some light touring and could do with changing some of my gearing for lugging up hill.

Currently it has:-
Front - FSA Gossamer (175mm) 48/34T with 105 derailleur
Rear - 12-27 Ultegra 10 speed cassette and Ultegra derailleur

What is my best option?

I believe I can put a cassette on up to 30 - so was considering a Ultegra 12-30T but would I be better off trying to change my front small chain ring to a 32 or 30 - is this possible? What about a combination of 32 front and a 11-28T rear?

The 48 front and 12 rear is fine for down hill at the moment as I'm not really a speed merchant

Thanks for any advice
Richard

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

1 August 2014 - 2:58pm
We still have some good hostels and bunkhouses dotted around the country (though admittedly many of the more rural ones close during the winter).

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

1 August 2014 - 1:40pm
Bothy's good idea, hadn't thought of that, I'm more than happy to get a hotel from time to time when I hit town too

Thx

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

1 August 2014 - 1:34pm
Ned Ludd wrote:See your self as a cycling pioneer/activist making life easier for those who come after!

And see the journey as part of the travel experience/adventure. Personally I enjoy the train as a chance to get decompress.

Ned Ludd wrote:Maybe getting the ferry from Harwich, and then booking via DeBahn to Mosel? You will need to phone though as you can't do it online...

The best combination is the ferry plus sleeper train. But, unfortunately, the ferries either leave pretty early in the morning or in the evening, so unless you live locally to the port you're looking at either an overnight stay in Harwich, or an overnight ferry (and then you may still need to wait until the evening for the sleeper). If your destination is in the Netherlands/Benelux then it could be the most convenient option, but otherwise I'm not so sure.

Taking your bike on eurostar really is pretty straightforward (although train companies being train companies they don't make it as easy as it should be) - just one phone call and the job is done. Even if you take into account the mild inconvenience in having to pick up and drop-off your bike, the alternatives are a lot more hassle (for most people).

For a step-by-step guide to taking your bike on eurostar (complete with how to get to the pickup or drop-off points) see my article here:

http://italy-cycling-guide.info/travell ... -eurostar/

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

1 August 2014 - 12:50pm
shane wrote:irc wrote:And that by mid November in the northern highlands there will be only 8 hours daylight.

8 hours would be a luxury compared to my last 2 trips , long hours of dark also mean easy wild camping and 12 hours hibernation to restore my superpowers

Forgot your masochistic tendencies Shane. I'm too much of a softie to wild camp for 3 weeks in November. Though I guess you could use bothies for at least half the time, if not more which would make things easier.

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

1 August 2014 - 12:39pm
irc wrote:And that by mid November in the northern highlands there will be only 8 hours daylight.

8 hours would be a luxury compared to my last 2 trips , long hours of dark also mean easy wild camping and 12 hours hibernation to restore my superpowers

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

1 August 2014 - 12:06pm
shane wrote:Now just the small issue of accepting that cycling in the UK in November will be wet

Thanks all,

And that by mid November in the northern highlands there will be only 8 hours daylight.

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

1 August 2014 - 11:57am
liffy99 wrote:
I'm almost thinking of stashing the bikes in the car and driving over (and then having to park up for 10 days or so) but that's counter to our wish to cycle rather than drive.





Its a catch 22 but in order for it to become easy, people need to do it to show theres a demand. See your self as a cycling pioneer/activist making life easier for those who come after!

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

1 August 2014 - 11:50am
Maybe getting the ferry from Harwich, and then booking via DeBahn to Mosel? You will need to phone though as you can't do it online...

Re: Touring bike alternatives?

1 August 2014 - 11:36am
I've had my current tourer for 12 years and have used it every year for a two week European camping tour plus various others without any hitches. Based on a 1990's Claude Butler MTB bought from e-bay for £45. Some of the stuff that I've added to it (bars, stem and racks) I had in my spares box others wheels, bar end shifters, rear mech I bought. But most of this was second hand and bargin bucket (i.e DX hubs unused and boxed off e-bay). Probably spent a total of £250, a large proportion of this is saddlle and pedals which I would have had to buy even if getting a new bike.
However I am tempted by a new bike with mechanical disc brakes as I find the cantis slow me down but they are poor compared with the DP calipers on my road bikes.
I was looking at the new Genesis touring bike, I can probably get it for about £25 per month over two years on the ride to work schme.

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

1 August 2014 - 11:36am
shane wrote:Now just the small issue of accepting that cycling in the UK in November will be wet
With British weather being what it is, you can't rely even on that. But it is clearly sensible to expect it to be wet.

But I was surprised to discover during a dry and warm autumn recently that it doesn't take much moisture to make paths and tracks in clay areas sticky, and you can rely on the fact that evaporation will be fairly low by late autumn, so once they get sticky after about mid-October, they tend to remain sticky thereafter. So in November I probably wouldn't be doing the extended Ridgeway or Cotswolds or anything to the SE of that region, because there is a lot of clay in SE and central southern and eastern England. Less sticky trails tend to lie to the W and NW of that line.

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

1 August 2014 - 11:35am
A quick afterthought. A very scehmatic summary of the rules for bikes on trains in Europe:

- in general local and regional trains are bike-friendly but there are exceptions;
- for high-speed trains (and some other long-distance trains) you normally have to put your bike in a bag. The main exceptions are the UK and some French TGV services (those to Eastern and Western France as well as the TGV Lyria)
- most sleeper trains are bike-friendly (again there are some exceptions).

Re: Italy cycle resources?

1 August 2014 - 11:27am
Italian mapping is dreadful. It's one of those Italian dysfunctionalities which indicates it hasn't quite made it into the club of properly run countries yet, even though its GDP did briefly overtake Britain's about 20 years back. And they don't spend much money on social infrastructure like children's playgrounds either, so expecting to find much in the way of cycle routes is wishful thinking, though there are probably a few model projects here and there. In a few popular tourist/mountain areas you can find a German/Austrian produced map which will probably be a bit better than the local one, though even those aren't perfect. The other option is to use GPS, because those have to have the actual roads on them.

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

1 August 2014 - 10:48am
The European Bike Express (bus and bike trailer service) goes to Thionville. PDF brochure here. It may take a little longer than the train but a lot less hassle. I haven't used the EBE yet but it gets very good reports.

Edit: just seen there are very limited dates for that route - but might work for you?

Re: Italy cycle resources?

1 August 2014 - 10:12am
I could hardly find any information on cycle routes in Italy last year, I just ended up following minor-looking roads on the map. Generally it worked well although there were a few less enjoyable moments on busy roads with Italian drivers. I found this website but couldn't really work it out: http://www.piste-ciclabili.com/ I did actually find one good cycling route completely by accident, between Lake Garda and Brescia. Luckily the signs were good, as the minor roads it followed didn't exist on my map.

I used the green and yellow "Touring Editore" maps, 1:200 000 scale. They aren't amazing but I only got lost a few times...

From Milan there is a string of incredible cities across the north of Italy: Bergamo, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Padua, leading to Venice. And they all happen to be about a day's cycling apart! Good luck with Venice, possibly the least cycle friendly city in Europe!

Italy cycle resources?

1 August 2014 - 9:41am
Hi all!

Two thirds of the way through my tour and about to enter Italy so am trying to make a bit more of a plan than "cycling around a bit"! I've had a look online for maps/routes/any info at all and found almost nothing! There is one website which seems to be independently run rather than done by Italy's tourism board... Ever biroto and opencyclemaps have pretty limited info for the parts of Italy I'm looking at!

Am I just looking in the wrong places or are there just no online resources for cycling in Italy? Or are there actually so few cycle routes that what I have found is it??

Any help/advice greatly appreciated!

The current rough plan is enter from Switzerland north of Milan and then to Venice, possibly via Milan and/or Verona. Then south to San Marino, train to Rome or Florence depending on how much time I have left and then roughly along the coast to the French border. If anyone has experience on these areas I'd love to hear how you found the different routes and what you thought of the various cities!

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

1 August 2014 - 6:52am
liffy99 wrote:After a great 2 week cycle tour of Brittany we want to do another and, being well into our 50s, thought an east tour along the Mosel sounds good.

We live in Glastonbury, Somerset and after spending what seemed like hours trying to figure a reasonable way to get us and our bikes to Germany (or Luxembourg) in the vicinity of the Mosel my head exploded.
How complicated can it be ? I've just given up trying to knit together where to cross the channel, find out which trains in France / Germany will take bikes without having to dismantle them (one Audax tourer and one hybrid) and get us where we want to go. There are just so many variations, cycle bans or permitted routes etc.

Have you managed to get to the Mosel with your bike ? If so, how did you do it ?
I'm almost thinking of stashing the bikes in the car and driving over (and then having to park up for 10 days or so) but that's counter to our wish to cycle rather than drive.

Thanks

I have been cycling in Germany the last 2 summers and will do the same again this year. I live in Bath. My route out this year (and 2 years ago when I did the Danube route) is:

Train Bath-Paddington, arrive about midday.
Cycle 3 miles across London to St Pancras International, check the bike in at Eurostar Despatch at least an hour before departure.
Eurostar to Paris arriving about 6:00 pm (local)
Cycle 1 km across Paris from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de L'Est
City Night Line sleeper, Paris-Stuttgart arriving 0417 hrs.
I then get Regional Express and Regional trains to my start point (Bayreuth this year)

I have booked all the outbound trains but nothing on the return leg yet. I am going to cycle west along the Mainradweg to Mainz, down the Rhine to Koblenz, then up the Moselle to Metz. To get home I will have to get the TGV or some other French train to Paris, then Eurostar back to London. If I am feeling really energetic I'll cycle Metz-Paris but that will add 3 days to the trip. If I have trouble getting on the Eurostar with the bike I'll get a train to Caen (from the Gare St Lazare) then the ferry to Portsmouth.

Good luck!

Re: SNCF RER trains, has anyone ever been kicked off?

31 July 2014 - 9:47pm
ANTONISH wrote:It occurs to me that you could train your children to burst into tears as appropriate

Just retread and saw this, chuckling. Well, exactly, the sprogs do have their uses and I'm guessing if anyone gets kicked off the TER from a Roscoff it wouldn't be us! Having said that I will have the taxi number with me. I'm going to pass on the voie verte unless we are really stuck. Cycling the corniche into Morlaix is of course also a lovely ride so bagsy me be the one to be evicted from the train if it will take some but not all of us!!

I'm pretty chilled about the journey now that we have the TGV leg booked. En avant.

Re: France: Cycling on Coast Paths and Wild Camping

31 July 2014 - 9:46pm
I can't speak for the specific paths you mention but my experience of coastal footpath in Brittany is some have signs banning cycling, some are just too narrow and some are on soft sand. Not ideal cycling and at this time of year you are likely to find lots of walkers on them.

I've seen quite a few people wild camping in small tents in France so it is not unknown. But for me the thought of stopping to camp all hot and sweaty after a day's ride without a shower is not attractive. I would be aiming for a campsite, but then perhaps I'm an old softie! Wild campers also tend to stop and camp late. I prefer stopping around 5 o'clock.

Re: Touring bike alternatives?

31 July 2014 - 9:35pm
AaronR wrote:Am I just being tight? For £150-200 I can probably find a well specced, clean Raleigh/Specialized/Peugot, service it, new tyres, tubes, racks etc and until you got close it would look like a new Thorn/Kona Sutra/Surly Long Haul/etc etc....



I did exactly this with a 90's Raleigh mtb (cromo 4130 frame). I had the initial bike but have only spent £200 on it, including new wheels from Rose, BB, chain / crank set /cassette/ seat post / front mech and shifters / cables etc.

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