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Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

19 September 2014 - 9:39pm
drossall wrote:We're staying for a week near Coimbra next month. I get a day's pass (and a hired MTB of unknown quality) to go off for a day's riding
Just to give my experiences for the record. From what I saw, there's some brilliant touring to be had on quiet roads.

It's pretty much a case of a flattish western coast, with mountains inland. Coimbra is on the edge of the mountains. We were actually a bit south, just off the N17-1 near Espinhal.

The roads in that area are very quiet. Driving, we met something coming the other way from time to time, and something going in our direction almost never. The cycling I did was really quiet too.

This is probably helped by the network of motorways/dual carriageways that have been built recently, and take all the long-distance traffic. Even the nearest of those (A13), however, was very quiet - in early September, we saw another car or two every minute. You need to go onto the A1 Porto-Lisbon road to get levels of traffic that we'd recognise (and of course cyclists wouldn't be on either of these roads). The A13 spends its entire distance in cuttings or on massive viaducts, which gives you some idea of the significant hills in the area.

Going back to cycling, my hired bike turned out to be a ladies' MTBSO. For all sorts of reasons, including the limitations of the bike, I kept my ride to a few miles. I rode first up into the real hills to the east. The N347 to Castanheira de Peira is a really good climb, with an incredibly steady gradient, that goes on for miles to rise to nearly 800m, before (obviously) descending similarly into Castanheira. I only rode part way, not getting above about 450m before turning round and heading for some of the lanes between Espinhal and Penela.

These were again good riding, although I did fail to find my way in one place. I had the Portuguese military maps, ordered from Stanfords. They are close to OS quality, but up to 20 years old, and so show none of the new motorways above. This wouldn't matter, but local lanes have been diverted where they crossed the paths of new roads. Also, what are marked as dry-weather roads can become forest tracks. Hence, I found myself heading off-road with an uncertain map, and turned back instead.

I also had a GPS with open-source mapping, but it wasn't detailed enough. Not sure whether that was my mistake, but it didn't show the dry-weather roads where I got disoriented. Other minor roads were fine (and very quiet again), and I completed my loop happily on an alternative route. Later, we drove the entire route over the mountains to Castanheira, and then turned north over another set of mountains, topped by a row of wind turbines, to Lousa.

This would be a fine area for touring, with little traffic. I can't speak for the rest of Portugal. Lisbon and Porto had parts well worth visiting, but are busy like cities everywhere. Except where recent roads have changed things, good maps for cycling are available. Road numbering is a bit confusing because there are several systems co-existing. Pedal Portugal was helpful on this.

Hope this helps.

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

19 September 2014 - 9:28pm
Meet Peru (Van Nicholas Pioneer)



Hasn't been to Peru... yet, but did 4000 km round Europe last year and will soon be off to New Zealand

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 9:27pm
robing wrote:al_yrpal wrote:Buy a Moto G 2nd generation smartphone. Does everthing a tablet does on a 5 inch screen. Only £155. Who needs a tablet?

Al

I think it's actually 4.5". I've just got the S5 mini which is same size as Moto G, better spec.

The second generation Moto G was released this week. It has a 5 inch screen and will soon be upgraded to Android L Googles latest operating system because Google presently owns Motorola. It costs £155 whereas the Samsung S5 Mini costs £579 with a smaller screen. I run my smartphone on 3s 321 PAYG tarrif which is really cheap for European US and Oz touring calls with a £10 add on. Thus I am not paying out an excruciating £25 + for a phone contract that i wont use fully for two years. Here's a review with several mentions of the S5 mini http://www.trustedreviews.com/moto-g-2- ... nes_review

I have a Nexus 7 second generation too, its a great tablet. For touring I personally prefer my Android phone, its smaller and lighter and does everything the tablet does and I recharge it with a Teknet battery many times when I'm camping. It depends if you have good eyesight and can cope with the phones smaller screen.

Al

Re: knee pain and touring

19 September 2014 - 9:01pm
The consultant said it may be down to some trauma, but although we postmen walk into things, trip, miss our footing, go up and down steps/slopes I can't really identify a cause. Repetitive actions could be a cause. As someone has said here maybe we should warm up the joints before rushing out and getting stuck in. I have even fallen off my bike several times, but had no knee or leg injuries - just broken arms and wrists! He said there was a problem of blood supply renewing the damaged/crumbling bone area.

I see the consultant again early October and will get his report then.

Re: knee pain and touring

19 September 2014 - 8:27pm
megilleland wrote:I have had problems with my right knee which was causing pain at the end of January 2014. I put the problem down to being a postman, in and out of a van up to 150 times a day in a rural situation, six days a week - five straight weeks on and then one week off. I cycle a short distance to work and use my bike for leisure purposes very regularly. I have been cycling for 15 years and I am 64.

I thought the pain would wear off, but throughout the following three months it persisted and I had to cancel a cycle tour to northern Spain planned for May. My visit to the doctor resulted in pain killers and later an X-ray which on inspection, the doctor said revealed nothing abnormal. Physiotherapy was recommended and I undertook several sessions which helped slightly. The pain subsided, but came back with a vengence late June and a return to the doctor. It was decided to send me for an MRI scan and the result was sent to my doctor. While at work delivering the post in rural Herefordshire I had a call fom my doctor to say that I was to return to the surgery immediately to pick up a pair of crutches and told to keep weight off the leg for 12 weeks. From the consultant's report I had got a condition called spontaneous osteonecrosis (SPONK) together with a hairline fracture of the knee cap. The article mirrored my complaints exactly.

When I had real pain in my knee with severe swelling of the leg in May, I found using the bike helpful for moving around, the only problem being that when you stopped you didn't put want to put the affected leg down! However as cycling has now been banned by the doctor I have been at home sitting down too much whilst watching the Tour de France and La Vuelta.

I am having another MRI scan to see if the condition is healing or getting worse. I will know the outcome in October. There is little pain in the knee now, which could have been down to the fracture. The year has been a bummer - no cycling, no gardening and all the odd jobs piling up. You don't realise how much you rely on your knees, and I never thought I would be in this position just before retiring and cycling into the sunset. I will let you know the outcome and whether I get a new knee.
Have you (or your medical people) any idea what might have caused your issues ?

And hope recovery is going well.

Ian

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 8:23pm
In which case the Nexus is a good choice - both the original and the newer one. Having vanilla Android and getting new versions as soon as they're out are both key features in my book.

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

19 September 2014 - 8:07pm
I've recently tried a mix a water and Pepsi max after reading that Alastair humphries would sometimes mix them. Sounds like it would be horrible but was nice enough. I use 1.5l squash bottles with regular bottle holders.

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

19 September 2014 - 7:27pm
I've toured with 4 loaded panniers and with a similar trailer (Edinburgh Bike Coop) and prefer the trailer.

I reckon you were carrying too much kit, this is my set up



but this is camping kit for 2 of us for a week plus.

Get rid of the Lucozade, you can fill up bottles with water almost anywhere and add squash, it's much less weight to carry and would last much longer than 16 bottles of lucozade.

Re: knee pain and touring

19 September 2014 - 6:53pm
I have had problems with my right knee which was causing pain at the end of January 2014. I put the problem down to being a postman, in and out of a van up to 150 times a day in a rural situation, six days a week - five straight weeks on and then one week off. I cycle a short distance to work and use my bike for leisure purposes very regularly. I have been cycling for 15 years and I am 64.

I thought the pain would wear off, but throughout the following three months it persisted and I had to cancel a cycle tour to northern Spain planned for May. My visit to the doctor resulted in pain killers and later an X-ray which on inspection, the doctor said revealed nothing abnormal. Physiotherapy was recommended and I undertook several sessions which helped slightly. The pain subsided, but came back with a vengence late June and a return to the doctor. It was decided to send me for an MRI scan and the result was sent to my doctor. While at work delivering the post in rural Herefordshire I had a call fom my doctor to say that I was to return to the surgery immediately to pick up a pair of crutches and told to keep weight off the leg for 12 weeks. From the consultant's report I had got a condition called spontaneous osteonecrosis (SPONK) together with a hairline fracture of the knee cap. The article mirrored my complaints exactly.

When I had real pain in my knee with severe swelling of the leg in May, I found using the bike helpful for moving around, the only problem being that when you stopped you didn't put want to put the affected leg down! However as cycling has now been banned by the doctor I have been at home sitting down too much whilst watching the Tour de France and La Vuelta.

I am having another MRI scan to see if the condition is healing or getting worse. I will know the outcome in October. There is little pain in the knee now, which could have been down to the fracture. The year has been a bummer - no cycling, no gardening and all the odd jobs piling up. You don't realise how much you rely on your knees, and I never thought I would be in this position just before retiring and cycling into the sunset. I will let you know the outcome and whether I get a new knee.

Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

19 September 2014 - 5:11pm
ConRAD wrote:Try looking at my Portugal, if you need gpx tracks just let me know.
Don't know why I can't pm you. The only site that seems to be able to create tracks for Portugal is MyCycleTour[ Given up with Bikeroute toaster. Very frustrating to use now]. Funnily enough MCT seems to use Google mapping. However when you try to create a route on Google, choosing bike, it will not work.
I could do with looking at some tracks for Porto to Faro. Getting out of Porto looks fun. I created one track and when I put the little Google man on it, it showed it petering out into a dirt track. If you let it create tracks automatically it does this and also seems to favour busy roads. Don't know if that is to avoid hills or not.

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 4:18pm
stewartpratt wrote:Depends what you actually want to do with the tablet — Check maps? Read books? Look at photos? Process photos? Use it outdoors in all weathers? — and what your reason for wanting one over a phone is — Dodgy eyes? Ease of typing? Screen size for maps?

Mainly for use in the evenings in campsite or hotels. Mainly for easier web browsing on a bigger screen, FB etc. Also for emails, blog etc. Also I have a cheap keyboard and case for a 7" tablet that works really well, plugs in to the micro USB. Find it easier for typing.

I have a Kindle as well which I prefer to read books on.

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 4:14pm
al_yrpal wrote:Buy a Moto G 2nd generation smartphone. Does everthing a tablet does on a 5 inch screen. Only £155. Who needs a tablet?

Al

I think it's actually 4.5". I've just got the S5 mini which is same size as Moto G, better spec.

South American Plan- companions sought

19 September 2014 - 1:51pm
I am in the very early stages of planning an end 2 end of South America(Late 2015 or 2016), details still to be planned. I would like to do this trip with others. Please contact if you think this is something you would enjoy planning and joining.
Previous long distance trip experience, coast to coast USA and Lejog.

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 10:51am
+1 for the nexus 7.

The big advantage when touring is it has a built in GPS chip, so things like OSMAnd run fine without any internet connection. Dead handy for spot fixing when in a town and your map isn't quite detailed enough or if you're throwing your plans out the window and off exploring.
Mine is in a neoprene case also and is two years old now. Has been in my panniers commuting every work day and been away with me. No problems.
If I want internet on it, I can use my mobiles internet share facility if needed when wifi is not around.

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 9:12am
If you happen to need a long battery life, the Lenovo Yoga 8 is particularly good. Whatever you decide, a neoprene sleeve is a good investment.

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 8:09am
I've got a Nexus 7 2013 model 16 GB storage. It is light and thin, with excellent screen quality. I keep it in a padded neoprene case. Stuff it down the back side of my pannier.

I love it !!

Taken it on 2 long haul so far (SEAsia). It needs WiFi but works well for all internet stuff and apps. Internet cafes are becoming rarer and WiFi almost everywhere. I can do everything on it I used to do in the cafes.

Google maps are excellent, but you need to have opened the area in WiFi to allow you to see it in detail off line. GPS tells you exactly where you are. I wouldn't use it for full time navigating, but is useful if you are lost ; finding smaller roads than on paper map; or in big towns. If you wanted you could navigate but battery may be an issue if you can't charge each night.

Easier to see and type than smart phone. I don't use a phone when away so leave mine at home. My phone is too small (for me) for regular use, but I now find that I'm often using my tablet in preference to my PC.

Other cheaper tablets are available but I reckon the Nexus is worth the extra as it is so much better.

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 7:34am
Depends what you actually want to do with the tablet — Check maps? Read books? Look at photos? Process photos? Use it outdoors in all weathers? — and what your reason for wanting one over a phone is — Dodgy eyes? Ease of typing? Screen size for maps?

Re: Trail A Bike For Tourer?

19 September 2014 - 6:15am
I would contact Burley. They are usually quite good about helping, even secondhand purchasers.

Good luck with it.

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 4:28am
maybe a nexus? they are getting quite cheap now. in terms of weight though there not usually more than 50 grams in it.

Re: tablet for touring

19 September 2014 - 12:26am
Buy a Moto G 2nd generation smartphone. Does everthing a tablet does on a 5 inch screen. Only £155. Who needs a tablet?

Al

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