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Updated: 2 hours 12 min ago

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.

Re: Need advice on a bike tour of Scotland

25 November 2014 - 9:57pm
radomir: I read your post at the same time as I was looking at car insurance. That was a mistake and I apologise for having read your post not in the way that it was intended to be.

I hope you have a great trip.

Re: Need advice on a bike tour of Scotland

25 November 2014 - 8:31pm
One way to save a lot of distance cycling and hills is to get an evening ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway, cycle down the Heb's to Lochmaddy and get the ferry back to Skye.
Stornoway to Lochmaddy is roughly two 50km days and around 1,000 meters climbing in total.
You still have a big pull up just before Tarbet, just not as big as Bealach na Ba.
Ullapool to Uig on staying the road via Bealach na Ba is 330 km and 5,000 meters climbing ........

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.

Re: Need advice on a bike tour of Scotland

25 November 2014 - 6:59pm
Radomir, the route looks good. I sympathise with your dilemma. The problem that all cycle tourists face; what to leave out. The answer of course is to come back in 2016.

Cape Wrath is one of those Iconic headlands that people feel the need to visit. It's one of the last few areas of wilderness left in the UK. You should try to fit it in if you can, especially if the weather is good. One possibility is to leave the bikes at Durness or on the far side of the ferry crossing and use the Minibus service that runs between the ferry and the lighthouse. That would probably save you half a day. Unfortunately I don't know of any hostel accommodation within half a days ride going south. The hostel at Inchnadamp (approx 70 miles) is about the closest that I know of. Another Idea, as I mentioned previously, is to use the bus between Durness and Ullapool.

In addition to Cape Wrath, if you have time, go the few extra miles from Kilchoan to visit the Lighthouse on Ardnamurchan, before getting the ferry to Tobermory

I will send you some links for accommodation etc.

Re: My worst tour, and why..

25 November 2014 - 5:18pm
We've had the odd bad weather day on most tours, but the worst was a a week in the Scottish Borders a few years ago. It rained every single day, and as it was a moving on tour we had to set out in it every day for a week. It was July, I know that because the TdF was taking place. On the plus side the scenery was very good, when you could see it through the mist

Re: Need advice on a bike tour of Scotland

25 November 2014 - 4:15pm
There is no snow in Moscow now but a little bit cold (till -5). Off-roads are very well. That's why we try to go out of the city as often as possible.

Sorry for my a little delay...
I have changed the project of out track and you can find it here.
http://www.gpsies.com/mapOnly.do?fileId ... Leave=true
Direct lines are trains with 1 change in Glasgow.
I've made the above using all advices but... it is impossible to go everywhere. So, I prefer the most important and famous areas (as seems to me). I understand that we can find more quiter and friendly roads on the islands.
Total length of our way is ~ 1300 km now (without train and ferry-boats). But 1000 km is the best for us (with minimal height ).
The mileage will down till 1100 km If we exclude Cape Wrath and take a train from Edinburgh to Dalwhinnie at the beginning of our way.
What can we do else? Is it necessarily to visit Cape Wrath or we can find there approximately the same views as Skye, for example. Of course, we will go to the Cape in case of good weather but we have one day more if we exclude Cape Wrath....
We will have total ~ 20 days of run and would like to visit the most interesting places of Scotland and don't lose a time "between cars".

Re: Cycle Touring in Japan

25 November 2014 - 4:10pm
simonhill wrote:I am normally paranoid about leaving my bike outside overnight, but in Japan there were bikes everywhere. Only once did I leave it right out front, but most of the time I left it in the open parking area or round the side of the hotel, etc. I always kept it under some sort of cover, even if only a fire escape and always locked it to something. After a few days I stopped worrying. To sum up how safe it was, there was a roadside stall selling oranges. Not only was there a cash box, but there was a row of ¥100 coins, enough to change a ¥1000 note (£6).

Japan is very safe and your bike will be totally safe even if not locked up. The Japanese would suffer a loss of honour if it did get stolen so people lock things to avoid the remotest chance of a loss of honour. I have seen workers passed out drunk on the train late at night with their jackets hanging open and their weeks/months wages sticking out their inside pocket and nobody touches it. Also no worries about being a woman travelling alone or out late at night on your own.

Re: Front lights with a bar bag

25 November 2014 - 4:04pm
Here's one I made earlier: an example of how neat and compact and no less effective your lighting can be when you become your own power station!

Eyc-on-bracket.jpg
This tiny lamp nevertheless projects a full 50 lux, yet weighs just 70 grams and stands only 45mm above the guard when you make your own bracket. Mounted this low, it's true the front tyre casts a shadow some 2 or 3m ahead, but I don't have any problem with that. If I haven't seen a pothole until it's that close: I reckon it's safer anyway than swerving to hang loose for a bumpy ride!

The bracket is made from two pieces of extruded alloy angle, cut to match when nested thus and bolted through the guard, which is reinforced by the tail of the longer alloy section running back and carefully bent upwards (around a curved former) to be secured via the usual fork-crown mudguard bolt. All the nuts and bolts in this setup are also alloy.

Ready-made brackets are fine for tall folk with high handlebars. My arrangement works for short to middling people. To keep things lower (but still high enough to illuminate the road effectively) I used to make neat little stainless steel angle brackets to fit V-brake braze-ons and the featherweight Hella FF-Micro halogen headlamp. The B&M Eyc is the first LED lamp I've seen that's light enough for such simple mounting solutions.

Re: Cycle Touring in Japan

25 November 2014 - 3:10pm
In reply:

I don't speak Japanese and got by OK. I was surprised to find how little English there was. I think this is a result of poor (spoken) English teaching and a reluctance to try - the Japanese are a very reserved people.

Annoyingly, there is lots of written English, but it is just for show, eg shop names, the name of a cake on a packet although the rest of the writing is in Japanese and my favourite, a folder in the hotel labelled "Information" in English, but all the stuff insde was in Japanese!

I don't think travelling is rocket science and I find it easy to get by in most places. When I walk into a hotel, they don't think I have come to pick up the laundry or fix the lift, but realise I want a room. In the cv's all items are priced and you just hand them over and they ring them up on the till using the same numbers we use. The restaurants either had a menu showing the food or plastic models outside. All very easy.

I should have said before, but almost every road direction sign was also in English.

The main thing I miss by not having the language is conversations, but you need a pretty good level to make it more than a collection of inane questions and answers.

My advice is if you want to go, go. Don't worry about the language.

I kmow the weather at that time of year is good as it is when I usually travel in the region. Nonetheless it wasn't luck, I do a lot of research on the weather before I go anywhere. Sites like accuweather and wunderground both have excellent historical climate info.

I am normally paranoid about leaving my bike outside overnight, but in Japan there were bikes everywhere. Only once did I leave it right out front, but most of the time I left it in the open parking area or round the side of the hotel, etc. I always kept it under some sort of cover, even if only a fire escape and always locked it to something. After a few days I stopped worrying. To sum up how safe it was, there was a roadside stall selling oranges. Not only was there a cash box, but there was a row of ¥100 coins, enough to change a ¥1000 note (£6).

UK - Greece (Athens)

25 November 2014 - 2:55pm
I'm thinking of riding to Greece, ending up probably in Athens.
I'd want to travel light and fast, probably on my road bike.


My ideal route is my:

my house - portsmouth - le havre - the alps - dalmation coast - albania + mix of big greek mountains and coastline.

Mid summer its probably going to be red hot, so spring or summer?

What is Albania like for riding?

Mountains in Greece - I've google-streetviewed some roads - it looks very promising! - any pointers?

Any tips for routes, places to avoid along the dalmation coast?

I've heard that sometimes there is a strong seasonal wind that would be blowing the wrong way up the dalmation coast in spring time?

Re: UK to Prague via northern Germany

25 November 2014 - 1:22pm
Ron wrote:foxyrider wrote: Bikeline guides, although only in German are very good
The Elbe guide is available in English, also some others.

http://www.esterbauer.co.uk/db_rtb_allg ... eihe_id=RB

must be a new one! you can get the Moselle and North Sea route in English too

Re: My worst tour, and why..

25 November 2014 - 1:21pm
I've been thinking about this for a day or so and I can't think of a 'bad' tour.
This year we rode Wales end to end into a headwind for the entire trip and up the gospel path was into the end of a hurricane. My partner had to get off and push as she was being stopped in her tracks and was in fear of being blown over. However such things made the cream tea in Hye on Wye taste even better and we really enjoyed the whole trip.

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