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Updated: 2 hours 2 min ago

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 1:20pm
My mate uses one of those Caxton cards and swears by it. He is pretty financially savvy so I reckon it is a good bet.

However, a lot of points have been raised and here are a few of my thoughts. I always think it is worth working out your money arrangements well in advance, it can save you up to 10% of your holiday costs.

The just take cash: that will probably be got from somewhere like Post Office at bad rate. Also taking £s and changing abroad can be expensive (Although in places like Thailand it can be the cheapest).

Use current a/c bank debit card: check the charges, some are great, some are awful.

Withdrawing small amounts can be much more expensive, again, check.

There may be a local charge on top of your own bank's charges.

Its MasterCard: this is OK in Europe, but can cause problems in other countries eg Japan and Cuba. Always check which is accepted Visa or M'card.

I am sure everywhere, including hotels wil accept cash at point of sale. Obviously you will need a card if doing anything on the internet. Is the Caxton OK for that?

You dont want a credit card. Unfortunately the credit rating agencies like to see credit worthiness. No card shows no history and can result in you having problems. Martin Lewis wil tell all.

Re: D&G circular

28 March 2015 - 1:20pm
That route from the B796 is a pretty rough track. I was thinking about it last year but decided against it when I saw it. You might be able to manage it on 32mm tyres but it definitely looks more suited to a mountain bike. However, continuing along the road to Creetown is a cracking cycle with superb views and probably much better than the track which is mainly through forest. There is a cycle path from Creetown to Newton Stewart which is reasonable quality so I would definitely go that way rather than up to Clatteringshaws.

It's a lovely area to cycle and there are loads of quiet roads so I wouldn't bother with off-road tracks. Most of the main roads are ok to cycle on too, except the a75 which is busy. I would largely ignore the Sustrans maps and make up your own route.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 1:07pm
These days i usually only take enough currency to cover a couple of days then find an ATM when i need to top up the funds, using the card to pay for accomodation etc where possible. I do take an emergency fund of 100 euros in my bike safe (stem) but i try not to carry too much cash to reduce any potential loss.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 12:58pm
psmiffy wrote:typically I tour with enough local cash to last me (about €200) a week plus a reserve fund of about €200 which is stashed separately (ive never really worked out a decent place for the stash) and top it up from a cashpoint when I get down to half of thatI do the same. For a safe place for the reserve I have considered inside the handlebars, but I've never got around to doing it - yet. I've been looking at prepaid cards for a couple of years and have not taken one because on a debit or credit card I would probably have access to enough cash or credit to get home from anywhere, whereas if I just have a prepaid card I might not. So I'd have to have a debit/credit card anyway so why bother with a prepaid card as well?

Re: Newcastle port to central station - route wanted

28 March 2015 - 12:56pm
Keep an eye on the website for any progress.

http://www.tynepedestrianandcyclisttunnels.co.uk

D&G circular

28 March 2015 - 12:55pm
No, nothing to do with a fashion house....
Thinking of planning a route in Dumfries & Galloway, and the Sustrans map shows some off-road bits of National Cycle Route near Newton Stewart, and an interesting looking route up from the B796 past Loch Grannoch to Clatteringshaws loch along the "Raiders Road".
I did find reference in this forum to the bits near Newton Stewart being forestry tracks and OK for touring bike tyres; but these references are a few years old. Any more recent experience out there?
The route past Loch Grannoch seems as if it might be more MTB than tourer. Opinions? I don't enjoy having my teeth rattled all day.
If I do go, I'll be on a Galaxy with 32mm tyres.

I'd welcome your views. (and promises of good weather)

Thidwick

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 12:43pm
The only time ive ever carried significant wads of cash was on tour in New Zealand years ago when I was warned in advance that cashpoints were a) often quite far apart b) didnt deal well with UK accounts

The only problems I had were a) having to tumble dry $750NZ $500US and £1000UK after stopping for coffee by the roadside and forgetting to put wallet back in dry place (only internaly packed that wet) b) same evening being very tired left wallet on bar top after paying for meal - out of bed before bar shut and wallet returned - but generally:

having lots of cash is not a good idea - typically I tour with enough local cash to last me (about €200) a week plus a reserve fund of about €200 which is stashed separately (ive never really worked out a decent place for the stash) and top it up from a cashpoint when I get down to half of that (depending on where you are cashpoints can be a bit fickle either compatibility or getting a connection) - depending on proximity of borders and potential different currencies.

I like the idea of the top up cards - maybe get one to stash in my shoe with the SD card with all my scans of my personnel documents and carry a smaller reserve

Re: Newcastle port to central station - route wanted

28 March 2015 - 12:20pm
Chiz wrote:The Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnel is still closed unfortunately. The firm that was carrying out the work has gone bust, speaking to the tunnel operator (TT2 Limited), they reckon another twelve months based on getting another firm in straight away but that's not likely as the local authority have ran out of money for the refurb.

It's been an absolute farce since the start.


Oh I'm so glad you posted this!
I was planning a mini tour to include the tunnels this summer, it means I can concentrate on some of the other stuff on the 'must do' list instead.

Re: North Sea Route - Norway (Kristiansand - Bergen)

28 March 2015 - 11:05am
Vorpal wrote:I haven't tried Stavanger, but most tourist information offices have a stock of cycle maps and information, even if the people working there are clueless.

However, I have often gotten better information from the Den Norske Turistforeningen https://www.dnt.no/ which has shops or offices in most cities. They also have camping cabins that members can use in some places. Many Norwegians consider them a good alternative. It may be easiest to contact them by email.

Other than in Stavanger and Bergen, we've found the tourist offices to be useful - I think it is just a problem in the big busy cities. Bergen had no cycle maps or info last August (they claimed to have run out).
The DNT (in Oslo at least) is very helpful. We use their cabins in the mountain areas - but they don't have cabins near the coastal cycle route so his would only be an option if you head inland, and many/most of their cabins are far from any tarmac.

Re: North Sea Route - Norway (Kristiansand - Bergen)

28 March 2015 - 10:57am
FarOeuf wrote:find someone in Stavanger who many be able to help you out with finding times, etc. I ended up cycling inland via a ferry to Tau, and then round to Bergen.

No need for that - there are currently 3 direct ferries a day from Stavanger to Nedstrand midweek (fewer at weekends).
From Nedstrand it is only 2 hours pleasant and easy cycling to rejoin the North Sea coastal route.
You can see the ferries here:
http://reiseplanlegger.kolumbus.no/scripts/TravelMagic/travelmagicwe.dll/svar?referrer=forum.ctc.org.uk&lang=en&dep1=&theme=&from=Stavanger+%28B%C3%A5tterminal%29&to=Nedstrand+b%C3%A5tkai+%28Tysv%C3%A6r%29&Time=08%3A22&Date=02.04.2015&direction=1&search=Search&GetTR0=1&GetTR1=1&GetTR2=1&GetTR3=1&GetTR4=1&GetTR5=1&GetTR6=1&through=&throughpause=&changepenalty=1&changepause=0&linjer=&destinations=

Just use the travel planner web site, or go to the tourist office or the ferry terminal for info.

Re: 3 ladies from Belgium travelling from London to Dover

28 March 2015 - 10:37am
IMO you are unlikely to find a better route into Canterbury than NCN1 from Whitstable, aka the Crab and Winkle Way.

A number of barriers similar to this: https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=whitst ... 180,,1,7.5

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 10:15am
bainbridge wrote:Vorpal wrote:I use my debit card, as well. I only carry enough cash for a taxi in an emergency, or to pick up a few things at a rural stop, if I can.

I think cash is riskier than a card. If you don't want to use your normal debit card, get a prepaid one.

This means you'll be paying a charge (in some way) on every purchase doesn't it?
The fees vary from one card to another. http://www.moneysupermarket.com/prepaid-cards/ has comparisons.

Re: Reducing pannier weight

28 March 2015 - 9:57am
yep that was similar to me the thigh muscles expanded to fill the gap, did you know they start around the waistline

Re: 3 ladies from Belgium travelling from London to Dover

28 March 2015 - 9:54am
First of all... many thanks to all of you who have given us a mine of information. I hadn't checked the forum until today and frankly am overwhelmed by the response and help.

I have cycled parts of the NCN routes and yes, have found them very nice for short discovery routes but very convoluted for longer rides so... we shall plot our own route following your collective advice. I shall now print off everything and see how we can best do this. If you're in the London (NEw Cross to Bromley) to Canterbury area sometime between 13th May and 15th May you may catch sight of us as we sail by waving Belgian Uk and Italian flags!

Many thanks. Theresa

Re: Reducing pannier weight

28 March 2015 - 9:46am
DarkNewt wrote:I found the easiest way to lose weight off my bike was to lose it off me... but often the hardest to do... when I did a JOGLE i weighed more at the end....

I think this might be the case with me too. Training in earnest for this ride began in January and rather than losing weight as I expected it's remained the same, though the waistband has gone down 2 buckle-holes

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 9:41am
robing wrote:Get the Caxton fx euro traveller card. It's brilliant. You transfer money from your bank account. You get a really good rate in to euros, no commission. That's it! You then can withdraw euros from any atm with no charges or you can pay by card, it's visa.

Thanks for this suggestion, Martin Lewis says it's a good card and taking into account we leave a fortnight on Monday and this card takes 5-7 days to arrive it might be the way to go.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 9:40am
Vorpal wrote:I use my debit card, as well. I only carry enough cash for a taxi in an emergency, or to pick up a few things at a rural stop, if I can.

I think cash is riskier than a card. If you don't want to use your normal debit card, get a prepaid one.

This means you'll be paying a charge (in some way) on every purchase doesn't it?

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 9:38am
eileithyia wrote:I just take cash, keep it with me at all times and have visa for emergencies / if extra cash is needed. With the frequency with which I use euros I rarely bother changing them back once home, just put it toward the next trip.

So would it be true to say that you can cycle tour on cash alone in Holland and Germany? I understand that cash would be accepted at probably all shops and restaurants but what about hotels? I've never paid for a hotel in cash and will be aiming to book 2-3 days in advance, so will using a UK debit card sting me with charges for using it abroad?

Also, maybe a dumb question, but does the internet recognise borders? There is a hostel booking app which pre-authorises your card when you book and then debits it properly when you check out. Will that be charged as if you were out of the UK?

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 9:15am
I use my debit card, as well. I only carry enough cash for a taxi in an emergency, or to pick up a few things at a rural stop, if I can.

I think cash is riskier than a card. If you don't want to use your normal debit card, get a prepaid one.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

28 March 2015 - 8:24am
I just draw cash as I need it out of an ATM with my bank debit card. Too much risk carrying all that cash.

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