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Updated: 1 hour 58 min ago

Re: Planning My First Tour

12 November 2014 - 1:35am
Thanks for your experiences on that last point. It has eased my mind somewhat. Deep down I know that it would be 'alright on the night' but I suppose it's just the uncertainty.

I have spent the past few days planning a rough route of the tour, and have attached a draft. I would be interested to hear your feedback, based on knowledge or experiences. My logic is as follows:

- Incorporates the main countries I want to see.
- Incorporates well established main (Eurovelo) cycle routes.
- Allows easy ferry access to the start and finish from my place of origin in UK.
- Heads south quickly to make the most of the weather (assuming May 2015 start).
- Allows a 'grace period' to get into the seing of things, with good camping and roads down through France.
- Allows Eurovelo 15 (Rhine Route) to be ridden in the favoured direction.

I have to admit, I haven't deeply considered the locations on the route. It just kind of fit, joining up places I liked the look of. I certainly want to start in Belgium and then France though (unless there is a reason not to). Pamplona and northern Spain look amazing. Always wanted to see Carcassone. Montpellier equally. The Eurovelo 15 (Rhine Route) route looks to my taste; scenery, history and rivers. Also relatively easy going and largely downhill from Switzerland onwards. Maybe subconciously I have thought about it more than I first think.

The rough estimated distance is around 4,000km. I have cycled 100km plus (on an unloaded road bike, much different I know) on a few occassions I would anticipate no issue with at least 75km per day, day after day (famous last words!) as I have the luxury of time. This will obviously be firmed up as I take a few 'training rides'. Assuming the above, incorporating one rest day per week, I would be aiming to complete the tour in around two months. I would also have some alternative plans in case I underestiamte the logistics and/or distances.

Any comments or sugegstions? Have I missed anywhere that I can't afford to miss? Any pitfalls regarding the proposed route? Would I be better off skipping the Western France and northern Spain sections, instead taking the most direct route to the south of France before heading north to join Eurovelo 15 (Rhine Route).

Re: New Route Planner

12 November 2014 - 12:35am
Hi Richard,
I just tried to look at routes in Shetland, but I can't move the map any further north than Fitful Head
(I can, but as soon as I take my finger off the mouse button, it just moves back again).

Re: Uruguay-Brazil-Argentina-Paraguay

11 November 2014 - 11:52pm
The trip is ongoing.
The blog is in Italian but should you need any information please ask, I can easily reply in English.

Re: Map(s) of Wales

11 November 2014 - 11:08pm
mcallaghan wrote:

The OS Survey maps look like they'd be great, but I'd need about a dozen of them to cover the areas of Wales I will be touring.

As an alternative to carrying lots of bulky OS maps, have you considered a digital mapping package.

Memory Map, here in the UK, currently have them on offer (£50 for the whole of the UK at 1:50K) http://shop.memory-map.co.uk/acatalog/maps-ordnance-survey-landranger.html

It comes on a single DVD and includes the OS road atlas at 1:250K. Compared with the cost of the equivalent paper maps it's a very good deal.

The 50K maps and bundled software are great for planning tours on your PC and when you've decided your route you can print paper copies, A4 size, of just the sections you need. They also sell waterproof paper on which to print your maps. For a lot of tours the 1:250K map will be sufficient.

The maps are licensed for use on more than one device and if you have an android device there is a free MM App available.

Re: Outer Hebrides/Orkeys/Shetland tour.

11 November 2014 - 10:24pm
Good photos Peter, looks like a great trip.

Re: Outer Hebrides/Orkeys/Shetland tour.

11 November 2014 - 10:15pm
DaleFTW wrote:Westray = Puffingeddon
easily accessible puffins on Shetland are at Sumbergh lighthouse, Noss, and Hermaness (Muckle Flugga viewpoint)
July is probably the best time to see them,when there's a lot of coming and going as they are feeding their chicks.

Between Ullapool and Thurso, it's well worth while following the coast road via Inverpolly, Lochinver and Drumbeg rather than the inland main road. Hilly though, so it's likely that you have to stop at Scourie rather than continuing to Durness.

A possible alternative to driving to Oban and riding back to Oban from Inverness, if you live in a convenient place, would be to get the sleeper from Euston to Ft William & ride to Oban, the Shetland to Aberdeen ferry, and the sleeper back to Euston.

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 9:39pm
mercalia wrote:cross referenceing the thread on tent - do these plastic Ortlieb panniers die after a time also?
I don't really remember when I got my Front Rollers, but they have the pre-1998 straps, and are of riveted construction rather than the current screwed together construction. Still going strong, and still properly waterproof.
Repairs so far are that 3 of the 4 end hook rail rivets have popped and been replaced by screws, and that protruding rack bolts ate holes in the backs, which I fixed by gluing patches over (after having file the bolts down).

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 9:27pm
Thanks for the reply.

That confirms to me that the bikepackers are watertight.

Or as much as i ever need them to be.

Perhaps ortlieb's testing regime includes a jumbo size glass jar of olives and a load of salty water.

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 9:20pm
Sweep wrote:What's the difference between waterproof and watertight?
My bikepacker pluses seem fine.
Waterproof keeps the rain out, watertight you can throw into a pond with impunity
One of the advantages of the Ortlieb style material is that if your shopping fills the pannier with spilled fluids, you can just hose the pannier out.

Re: Routes on small roads near Calais

11 November 2014 - 9:19pm
IGN TOP100 series at 1:100,000 are very good maps, certainly on par with OS unless you want to spend all your time on MTB trails. http://www.themapcentre.com/ign-101--li ... e-34-p.asp

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 9:04pm
Bicycler wrote:Have I missed something? I didn't see the slightest hint of xenophobia in the comments. People are entitled to have differing opinions without being portrayed as bigots. There are plenty of people touring with Lancashire bags attached to German racks mounted on Far Eastern bicycles
Neither did i spot anything xenophobic.

All very curious.

Re: North Sea route - Rotterdam to Esbjerg

11 November 2014 - 9:04pm
Are the ferries to/from the endpoints running now/then? And do they take cycles without cars? Both have been subject to cancellation or plans of IIRC.

Re: Routes on small roads near Calais

11 November 2014 - 9:02pm
Thanks Andy. Really helpful. Thank you very much for your practical suggestions!!

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 8:06pm
mercalia wrote:cross referenceing the thread on tent - do these plastic Ortlieb panniers die after a time also?

Anything will die if you thrash it hard enough, but Ort classics should take more thrashing than many. You'll get your money's worth, I'd think (ditto Super Cs).


Routes on small roads near Calais

11 November 2014 - 7:41pm
Can anyone suggest some websites offering circular routes (day rides) in the Calais/ Boulogne area? French maps are in general less detailed than OS ones and I'm finding it hard going. Thanks!

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 7:16pm
I have just 'upgraded' my panniers from Altura Orkney 56/34 litres (back/front) to new Ortlieb roller plus 40/30. I've lost 20 litres capacity but have dropped c. 2 kg. That's a lot of weight. The Orkneys are huge but heavy. Mine have done 10000 km and are OK, but the back plates on the rears are getting a little floppy. I had an accident and one of the skid rubbers got sheared off when the pannier hit the road. Did its job and protected the material. But Altura were not at all interested in a repair service. Very difficult to sow back on because the inner liner is non removable. When my OH tried she unfortunately punctured the material and now one leaks a little. But everything is in plastic bags anyway.... first rule of backpacking/cyclo-touring.
The Orkneys have a pocket but you still have to unclip main pannier compartment to get to them Consequently, I never really used them
(My plan is to save the 20 litres by moving the tent flysheet up top to the rack and using a more compact sleeping bag and cooking equipment. So far its a plan; I have yet to do the 'stuff test'!)

Re: North Sea route - Rotterdam to Esbjerg

11 November 2014 - 6:55pm
Worth getting Bernie Friend's book "Cycling back to Happiness". He did the NSCR all the way to Oslo including some of the Dutch Islands.

Re: Jan to May Riding?

11 November 2014 - 6:14pm
Istanbul or Constantinople?

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 6:14pm
cross referenceing the thread on tent - do these plastic Ortlieb panniers die after a time also?


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