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South from Paris centre

24 July 2014 - 4:58pm
I am planning a ride through France and intend going through Paris, entering via part of the Avenue Verte which should deposit me at the Notre Dame. Does anyone have any ideas for a route south from there down towards Fontainbleau - as traffic free as possible without adding too many miles

Re: Looking for inspiration/ideas for a tour in Germany.

24 July 2014 - 4:27pm
Nigel
Any chance of explaining how you travelled to Donaueschingen?

Thanks

Re: Train tickets and bike reservations for someone in the U

24 July 2014 - 4:02pm
I want to thank everyone who responded. Here are the results:

I booked an advanced tickets from Slough to Reading to Cardiff to Holyhead for £46 at the eastcoast.co.uk site with a bicycle reservation. I wasn't able to post it to my family member as the card I used was a foreign, so I will have to pick the tickets up at a station.

I decided not to ride to Reading, as I will likely do that on the way back and it doesn't add much time or trouble to the trip. I leave at 10:30, arriving in Holyhead about 18:00.

Re: Touring bike alternatives?

24 July 2014 - 2:40pm
Have you looked at the 'allroad' machines? nice stuff from Giant, Trek, Specialized and even Raleigh!

You could do that particular ride on a quite spritely bit of kit so a sportive style would easily be okay and make a nice commuter too.

Re: Looking for inspiration/ideas for a tour in Germany.

24 July 2014 - 2:21pm
How about Luneburg Heath? There is a great bikeline guide covering the area and rather than a single loop there are several which can be combined depending on your needs.

You can fly into Hamburg and take the train to a starting point of your choice, Luneburg, Uelzen, Celle for example. Pleasant scenery, great food, wide variety of accomodation options and plenty to see!

Easy riding - when i took my bike i can't recall needing to change gear in a fortnight!

Re: Train tickets and bike reservations for someone in the U

24 July 2014 - 12:59pm
It's only about 17 miles through the lanes (mostly) from Slough (or a bit less from Beaconsfield) to Watford Junction, which is the obvious place around there to catch a train to Holyhead from, as it is on the correct railway line. Though the Holyhead trains don't stop at WJ so you will probably have to change at Milton Keynes. You could even cycle up the Grand Onion Canal for part of it, eg from Uxbridge or Denham, which is perfectly civilised though not tarred.

I recently bought a ticket for a foreign visitor with bicycle to travel from Watford Junction to Dublin via Holyhead. The through ticket to Dublin was actually cheaper than a ticket only to Holyhead, though you'd have to check some local knowledge about whether you'd have the ticket inspected if you exited at Holyhead station, as in theory you aren't supposed to do that. There was no concern about the fact that the purchaser of the ticket was different from the person travelling, even though it involved the international ferry.

To be clear - these were advance purchase tickets.

Re: Norway from the South to Trondheim

24 July 2014 - 11:41am
pal wrote:For large-scale route planning in Norway, by the way (and armchair travelling!), I use the 'Sykkelruter i Norge' map( http://www.nomaden.no/main/index.php?option=com_phpshop&page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=7795): it's a little bit out of date now (esp. on the ferry routes it shows), but it gives a sense of which routes are feasible (and shows the banned tunnels), so it can be a good way to sketch out a general route before getting down to details.
Thanks for that link. I already have a much used copy of that map but have been unable to find it in a nettbutikk in the last couple of years. It used to be for sale on the SLF website but then they 'improved' their website...

Re: Norway from the South to Trondheim

24 July 2014 - 11:08am
s_b wrote:Trying to plan a route from one of the ferry ports on the South coast of Norway (ferry from Denmark) to Trondheim without going round the coast or using the E6. But every route I try seems to end up on the coast or on the E6 or in a banned tunnel. Does anyone know a way through? Touring bikes so nothing too extreme off road.
To complicate things, I'd really like to call in at Rjukan if possible, though it's looking like I'll have to give up on that.

There is at least one way I know of that puts you on the E6 for only a day. It does involve a day of mostly gravel track between Vågåmo and Lesja. The E6 section is between Dombås and Oppdal.

This route starts in Kristiansand, following the Setesdal route up to Haukeli, then Rauland and Rjukan. I have cycled this bit a few years back so am fairly sure it is free of tunnel surprises. From Rjukan you can cut up to Geilo* (Rjukan-Dagali is the only bit I haven't cycled on this route). From Geilo you can take the busy Rv 7 to Gol, (or the gravel cycle route 4 on the other side of the valley. Be warned it is hard work but do-able with 38/42mm wide tyres.) up over Golsfjellet to Fagernes, Beitostølen, then Vågåmo-Lesja on gravel. From Dombås there is no real choice but to take the E6 to Oppdal. We did that section in really bad weather in a day.

Thereafter you can avoid the E6 all the way to Trondheim by taking the valley via Meldal up to Orkanger. After Orkanger you end up taking the old main road to Trondheim. This road is generally quiet and gives you some lovely views of the fjord.

I'd like to point out that this route involves a series of big climbs, although in my opinion well worth doing. However, even though the coastal route is longer you might well find out that it takes less time to go round the outside.

Another alternative is to take the NSCR to Moss, then pick up cycle route 9 that runs up the east of Norway via Elverum, Akrestrømmen, Rorøs, Selbu to Trondheim. I did this in 2008 the other way round. The scenery round lake Femund is quite spectacular, rivalling the fjords IMHO. There are some home made maps of route 9 on my website.

Banned tunnels try the Norwegian Tunnel map on the cycletourer.co.uk website. If you want to check the scenery then kart.finn.no has some excellent satellite imagery.

*this does cut out a truly lovely valley between Uvdal Stave church and Dagali. Gravel track but in excellent condition when we went down it a few weeks ago.

Re: Looking for inspiration/ideas for a tour in Germany.

24 July 2014 - 10:49am
I have to second the Danube route. It's absolutely superb.

Re: Train tickets and bike reservations for someone in the U

24 July 2014 - 10:02am
It can be done with one change: Slough-Hereford, Hereford-Holyhead. Tell the journey-planner to find you a route via Ledbury for these to pop up. (If it shows you two changes, one at Great Malvern and one at Hereford, that's also a good option - it's the same route and the Great Malvern change will be between two trains on the same platform.)

Ask the station staff at Hereford and they'll shepherd you across the tracks, so you don't have to lug your bike across the bridge. (There's a new bridge with lift going in, but I don't think it's open yet - might be wrong.)

But james01's suggestion of Cardiff is good too. Changing at Reading is pretty easy now that the station's redeveloped.

Very very definitely book a bike space for the Arriva Trains Wales services (i.e. Cardiff/Hereford/Crewe to Holyhead). These are little trains with limited bike space and get very busy. First Great Western (Slough/Reading to Cardiff/Hereford) have better bike accommodation but booking doesn't hurt. If you go another route and your journey takes you on a CrossCountry train, definitely book for that too.

Re: Train tickets and bike reservations for someone in the U

24 July 2014 - 9:47am
http://www.cyclestreets.net/journey/ is a good place to start with route planning.

But I would put together a route and post it on here & ask locals / knowledgeable people to comment.

Re: Train tickets and bike reservations for someone in the U

24 July 2014 - 9:44am
My suggestion:and just one change of trains needed: cycle the short hop from Slough to Reading on Sustrans routes :http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/238442,202537
Catch the Reading to Cardiff train, change in Cardiff for the Cardiff to Holyhead train - book early for a bargain, the Trainline website is showing off-peak September tickets Cardiff to Holyhead £21.00. This is quite slow, it stops at many rural stations en-route but passes through great countryside. Bikes were free when I did it a couple of years ago. I cycled the Lon-Las route Holyhead to Cardiff in 5 days carrying camping gear, not pushing too hard. It's a great trip.

Re: Train tickets and bike reservations for someone in the U

24 July 2014 - 8:20am
I'd recommend booking via eastcoast.co.uk (which is the franchise for the East Coast mainline -- London to Edinburgh, more or less -- but sells tickets for the whole UK rail network). For your qn. 1, their search tool has an 'avoid' option (click the 'more options' button to see it) -- though I should say that I've never used that feature, so I can't vouch for its effectiveness. For your qn. 2, their booking system has an option to add a bike reservation --- it appears on the page where you have an option to reserve a seat (again: it's a little bit hard to spot, but it is there: just above the place where they try to sell you some bus tickets...). You're told whether the bike space is available before you have to commit to buying the ticket. You'll be given a booking code, which you can then use to collect your tickets from a machine at the station when you get to the UK (you need to specify the station, but it shouldn't be a problem that Slough isn't an 'East Coast' station); you need to make sure you have the same credit card with you as you used to pay for the tickets.

One thing to be aware of is that all the train operators have slightly different rules about bike carriage, particularly when it comes to reservations (some -- e.g. Virgin -- absolutely insist on reservations; some -- e.g. Cross Country -- have a reservation system, but will let you on without a reservation if there's space; and some -- e.g. London Midland -- just operate a first-come-first-served policy, with no reservations at all). In other words: don't be alarmed if the booking doesn't have a bike space for every leg of the journey (but do double check that you have reservations for any bits where reservations are compulsory). Such are the joys of our privatised rail system!

Re: Looking for inspiration/ideas for a tour in Germany.

24 July 2014 - 8:06am
I did the Danube route (from its source at Donaueschingen to Vienna) in 2012 and the Elbe route (Hamburg-Prague with a diversion via Berlin) last year. Both were 1000km in 12 days including 2 "rest" days. The Danube is an excellent first route, almost completely flat with a smooth surface, excellent infrastructure all the way and very nice scenery. The weather was also superb all the way. The Elbe was also flat but slightly more challenging, the surface not quite as good. Again, it was hot and sunny almost all the way, I only saw half an hour of rain. Lots of shady woods around Berlin helped in the 35C heat. The Elbe was also badly flooded last year so I had lots of diversions but was never lost. For both trips I went out via Eurostar and City nightline sleeper to Stuttgart/Hamburg.

I came back from Vienna on German regional express trains, city night line Munich-Paris, TGV to Caen and the ferry to Portsmouth; this was a pleasant way to come home. From Prague it was rather more difficult: a Czech train to Dresden, then I had to go back to Berlin, then back to Hamburg, then Luxemburg then Brussels, where I spent the night in the station. Finally I got the Eurostar to London. However because I hadn't pre-booked the return (with all the floods I didn't know which day I would be travelling), I could not get a direct train westwards with the bike. Going through Brussels Midi was a pretty unpleasant experience, and I wasn't too impressed with Belgian trains; I would recommend going via Paris if at all possible.

Train tickets and bike reservations for someone in the US

24 July 2014 - 1:01am
I live in the US and have family in the UK. I am planning a bike ride Holyhead south along the Lon Las Cymru and back to Beaconsfield, my starting point.

I would like to take the train to Holyhead and start riding from there. For obvious reasons, I don't want to take my full-sized bike and panniers through London and it appears I can start in Slough and make my way up to Holyhead without having to go into London.

I will be traveling by train on September 8.

I have 2 questions:

1) What website do you recommend I use to find routes from Slough to Holyhead that don't go into London? The ones I've tried either always route me through London or have 4 train changes.

2) How do I secure bike reservations on all the routes necessary (using different train companies) from the US? It seems that going into a station or having ticket numbers are necessary and each train company requires a separate contact. I don't want to buy the tickets before I am certain I can get my bike on the train. Yet, I need to get the tickets before I can get a bike reservation or so it seems.

Any guidance would be appreciated.

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

23 July 2014 - 9:29pm
hi mark

here is our route from 10/6/12-13/6/12 3 old sticks 77-65-57 years young
garmin edge 800 great piece of kit ..

well we all got back on wed night a little bit weary.. total mileage was 220.40 no probs with bikes not even one p***ture and best of all 10 mins of light rain at nenthead..
sunday ride from carlisle down to whitehaven .we had to take the short route as when we arrived at newcastle st the train to carlise already had 9 bikes on so we had a 45 min wait for the next which ended up getting 8 bikes on (very helpfull staff) turned no one away
sunday.. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/188717232
monday. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/188717207
tuesday. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/188717152
w/day.... http://connect.garmin.com/activity/188717099

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

23 July 2014 - 8:46pm
Never had any trouble either getting tickets, avec velo on the TER train service but has always been off peak and solo. The trains and stations were very quiet, you would probably have no trouble just turning up but have a plan b just in case like the Hotel de la Gare!

Re: Looking for inspiration/ideas for a tour in Germany.

23 July 2014 - 8:02pm
The Rhine route appeals from an ease of navigation point of view, but I just worry it might be a bit industrial scenery??

Plus I'd have to cycle one way and then back rather than a loop.

Re: Alaska to Argentinia

23 July 2014 - 5:47pm
Hi wannabepunk,
I've been touring in the Americas for 1.5 years now. Although I started in San Francisco, not in Alaska. I'm in Costa rica at the moment. Will try to answer some of you questions, but feel free to message me if you need anything. Happy to help

1. Essential kit needed. I have an old EG Bates (reynolds 531 tubing) tourer that I'd love to do it on but it's 30 years old and I am not sure the thin tyres would cope with the different road surfaces! But other than the bike what else do you think I need?
In general, I would say your mindset is more important than your gear. Things will break, no matter how good they are. So you need to be prepare to be able to solve problems on the road. I've seen people touring with really cheap and old bikes, and every problem becomes a challenge. What I would absolutely recommend is some sort of waterproof bags to keep the important things dry. Most of the tourers use Ortlieb panniers, but I've also seen plastic buckets attached to the racks that work quite well.

2. Amount of money needed.
Well, that depends on your needs. I travel with my girlfriend on 10 USD per day each. This covers everything. I've met people travelling on even less money and others on more. If you want to read about specific touring budgets per country, here you can have an idea: http://www.cyclingelmundo.com/travel-budgets/

3. Best time of year to try and do it (At 80 miles a day it would take about 270 days, so probably closer to a year with stops etc)
Normally, people starts in Alaska in summer, so they hit the fall in the US, the dry season in Central America, clear skies in the Andes and summer again in Patagonia - Tierra del Fuego. But this would take about 1.5 years to complete. It seems you want to go a lot faster than that. So you will hit some not-so-good weather at some point. But hey, that's part of the adventure!

4. Skills needed - which bits of the bike am I likely to need to learn to fix? It took me roughly 5 years to successfully sort out a puncture, so this one is a biggy.
As I said, mindset is the most important. You can always hitch a ride to the next town to get your bike fixed if you can't. But I would recommend to learn how to do the basic stuff, specially the basic maintenance to keep your bike running smoothly.

5. Any tips on routes, or places I can get tips from?
You can check the route i followed here: http://www.cyclingelmundo.com/route/

6. Places to definitely try and avoid?
I would say the caribbean coast of Honduras wasn't my favourite place for bicycle touring. Nothing ever happened to me, but I could feel things weren't just right. I didn't have any problems at any other place

If you need anything else, just ask
Antonio

Re: Looking for inspiration/ideas for a tour in Germany.

23 July 2014 - 5:33pm
Rhine cycle route

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