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

22 August 2014 - 2:43pm
theDaveB wrote: ... I haven't spent a lot on a bike as didn't want to unless I really loved touring and was going to make use of a more expensive bike. ...

Good thinking. I've often posted on here that it's pointless drooling over catalogues then shelling out for a bike till you know you like cycling, by which time you'll also have a better idea of what sort of bike suits you, rather than what suits Team Sky etc.

So for my £200 bike I thought a trailer would be better for it than panniers.

You have the trailer now and it's a good one, but a quick check of current prices suggests it cost 50% more than the bike.

Anyway, in an age when an awful lot of people couldn't ride a bike to the end of the street, you've made a valiant start. While you may not have achieved your own targets, there's nothing wrong with aiming high and I don't think anybody would agree with the implication of failure in your thread title so don't be put off.

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

22 August 2014 - 2:06pm
theDaveB wrote:In the camping shop they told me a sleeping mat is for insulation not comfort. This is sorted now, got a blow up single airbed.

The two are not necessarily exclusive!

A blow-up airbed won't do much to protect you from heat leaking away underneath you (insulation compressed by your body weight doesn't do so well and an airbed is a poor insulator as there's loads of room for convection currents) so you tend to get cold underneath unless it's a warmish night. Nights often are warmish in summer, but not always...

A closed cell mat, on the other hand, gives good thermal insulation but not much suspension so you're warm but not necessarily comfy.

There's another class of thing however, the insulated air-bed, which gives you both.
Self-inflating mats are one, which is open-cell foam (like a sponge) in an airtight shell. Compress the foam to squeeze out the air and do up the valve and it packs down to not much more than an airbed. Open the valve and the foam can expand, drawing in air and the mat blows itself up. You can top it up with extra air from your lungs if you want. These are available in varying thicknesses, the thicker they are the comfier they are, but also the heavier and bulkier when packed. Thermarest are the leading brand, though there are many cheaper alternatives. Spend less and expect more weight/bulk.
More recently there are airbeds with down or synthetic insulation added, which are just as comfy and almost as low bulk as the lightest airbeds (lighter than cheap ones) but very effective thermally too; things like the Exped Synmat/Downmat range. Not cheap though. Thermarest do an airbed called the NeoAir which uses clever internal baffling in reflective materials to keep the insulation value up, which is as light as you'll find but again not cheap.

So you can do better, but it does need money throwing at it. One can always ask Santa...

Pete.

Re: Notes from a flat country

22 August 2014 - 2:06pm
Farawayvisions wrote:I'd been looking forward to riding in a land without hills. It would be a change to be able to cycle without slogging up a hill pushing and panting like I was about to give birth. A long weekend touring the Netherlands seemed like the perfect gift for the person who moans about hills.
http://wp.me/p3yZa1-16C


It's not the flat that bother's me but the headwinds. You have nowhere to hide: at least with a hill you can get off and push...

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

22 August 2014 - 1:54pm
vernon wrote:.
you ought to up your calorie intake if cycling in hilly territory - .

Translation = eat lots of pies

Getting enough food and liquid into you is important, especially if you do not do long distances very often.

I always get this wrong on the first day, to the extent of, on one occassion, ending up flat on my back with cramp in both legs being licked half to death by a friendly sheep dog.

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

22 August 2014 - 1:44pm
I toured with a guy with a trailer for a couple of days. The thing was a pest. It got in the way all the time. Hotel rooms, train, cycle paths. It's the first two days of my blog with pics under "Paris South". Put me off for life.

Re: Way of the Roses coast to Coast

22 August 2014 - 1:41pm
My wife and I did the Way of the Roses earlier this year (May), with a slightly different slant from the norm: we did it east to west, on Bromptons! This was our first cycling tour, although we have backpacked extensively around Europe and different parts of the World, and our principle was basically the same - if you think you MIGHT need it, don't take it! My main advice would be 'Don't travel east to west' because the prevailing wind can be quite strong at times - the reason we travelled east to west was because it suited us from the point of view of reaching the starting / finishing point by train, and we also fancied a couple of days at the start on the 'flat'(?) before hitting the hills of the Yorkshire Moors and the Dales. We took five days over the route, principally because a fully-loaded Brompton, even with six gears, can be damned hard work over that terrain, and we also went off route (deliberately) a couple of times, which increased the mileage. I'd love to do it again, as a sporting challenge, on my road-bike, without luggage and without the wind in my face, two days maximum! Did we enjoy it? Let's just say that a few weeks later we did a similar thing around Luxembourg and Belgium, also on the Bromptons,taking in the Vennbahn route (check it out on t'interweb!)............

I could bore you at length with the detail of our trip(s), but if there is anything specific you have a question about, I'll always post a reply, assuming that it falls within the boundaries of our experiences..... hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Re: Stefan Abrutat's Tour Travel Blog

22 August 2014 - 12:12pm
The top part bends when the bottom breaks and the trailer body drops.

I didn't use Loctite, but it's not necessary, as if the pin starts to loosen even a tiny bit it is immediately noticeable in the way the trailer sways. The replacement certainly 'feels' a lot stronger and tighter.

I never looked for sponsorship from anybody, frankly because I'm too lazy to expend the effort canvassing. If my blog keeps growing, however, and if the books make some waves (I'm collating the blogs to produce an ebook for each country), I imagine I might attract a few.

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

22 August 2014 - 11:57am
I toured with a trailer earlier this year, not just a Bob Yak but two full panniers, a saddlebag and a bar bag as well. I was carrying everything needed for two of us to camp in comfort, including the trailer at least 35kg. We didn't do any mountain passes, though we did cross the Chilterns, 35 - 45 miles a day. It wasn't a struggle, but it was at least as hard as my usual touring with 15kg in two panniers riding 90 - 120 miles a day.
The point is there wasn't one thing you got wrong, you can take that much kit, you can take a trailer, you can go over the mountains, you can do a lot of miles, it's just that you can't do all of them without being fitter. Plenty of good advise on here, all worth considering, but in the end it'll be you turning the pedals, decide where you want to make the compromises and experiment.
Most of all, enjoy it.

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

22 August 2014 - 11:54am
don't concern yourself too much over the 100kg recommended limit for the bike. I weigh in at 120 and carry up to 30kg on my bikes. Have not had any serious issues. Braking can be hairy though and it's a good idea to make sure nuts are all tightened and wheels are straight. Never had one fail under me yet though

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

22 August 2014 - 11:33am
I think Vernon is sailing close to the wind with his recomendations. 23 stone plus heavy touring kits is asking for it.

Not much worse than breaking spokes for spoiling a journey - you keep wondering when the next will go, waiting for the tell tale ping.

When I was much younger I have also done heavy laden 4 pannier touring with my conquest cotton 3 man tent ( madness! 8 kg for that) and the whole shebang was a monster ( handle alright though) and I wouldnt say much better than having a trailer other than matters of transporting it all on trains. Weight is weight however you pull it.

Re: Stefan Abrutat's Tour Travel Blog

22 August 2014 - 11:27am
So it broke at the bottom where the hook is? I was never very happy with that aspect, always seemed like a likely break point. I also see the top part seems to be bent also. I think screws top & bottom should be much stronger aslong as they dont undo? You used loctite to make sure of that? Its a shame that the trailer doesnt have an easy nameable source/maker, you could have got sponorship from them? ( or maybe they would want to keep very low profile...)

Re: Stefan Abrutat's Tour Travel Blog

22 August 2014 - 11:08am
Pics of the damage and repair. Looks like I need a new rear tyre, too.



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

22 August 2014 - 11:07am
vernon wrote:I'm six stones heavier than you and have never used a trailer.

I have had one or two spokes break in the past twelve years but nothing catastrophic. The spokes that failed were on the cheaper bikes. Yoiu can safely ignore the advice to use use 40 spoke rear wheels they simply aren't necessary. A thirty six spoke wheel is perfectly acceptable.

What bike do you have ?

I haven't spent a lot on a bike as didn't want to unless I really loved touring and was going to make use of a more expensive bike. So for my £200 bike I thought a trailer would be better for it than panniers.

Dave

Notes from a flat country

22 August 2014 - 9:22am
I'd been looking forward to riding in a land without hills. It would be a change to be able to cycle without slogging up a hill pushing and panting like I was about to give birth. A long weekend touring the Netherlands seemed like the perfect gift for the person who moans about hills.
http://wp.me/p3yZa1-16C

Re: Vintage steel frame bicycle for touring

22 August 2014 - 4:43am
Aubergine wrote:Continuing this post since I have a similar question - I'm thinking of cycling in South America next year, likely along the salt plains in Bolivia and some fairly off-road tracks.

I have a ridgeback voyager bike, which survived me very well in Kyrgyzstan, the Himalayas, Morocco etc. I added an additional gear ring at the back so I can cope with mountain passes.
My boyfriend thinks that it may not be up to scratch for South America and that I should invest in a mountain bike. I'm slightly loathe to get a mountain bike since:
1.I don't want to buy another bike when my current one is great! and 2.I imagine it will be much tougher when we are on tarmac roads.

Any thoughts? If I should get another bike, any recommendations? Thank you!
A tourer is closest you will get to teh best of both worlds. But if the off road is really rough, a tourer may not be ideal. On the other hand, you are correct that a MTB will be much harder to ride on the road. If most of your miles are going to be on road, maybe it would be best to skip the roughest off road? Maybe you could put semi-slicks on whichever bike you decide to take?

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

21 August 2014 - 11:21pm
theDaveB wrote:To answer some questions (can't remember who posted what) -

Am not against panniers but against all that weight on my back wheel as well as me being 17 stone. I thought a trailer would be less strain on the bike. Kept reading about people with broken spokes and replacing back wheels on tour.


I'm six stones heavier than you and have never used a trailer. Yes, the trailer reduces the weight on the rear wheel but it does increase the weight that you have to get up hills. There's no shame in getting off and pushing. One thing to bear in mind is that you ought to up your calorie intake if cycling in hilly territory - you need extra energy to move your bike, trailer and payload uphill. A calorie deficiency is a killer which turns roads into sticky 'treacle'. I tour with panniers, sometimes two of them, sometimes four.

I have had one or two spokes break in the past twelve years but nothing catastrophic. The spokes that failed were on the cheaper bikes. Yoiu can safely ignore the advice to use use 40 spoke rear wheels they simply aren't necessary. A thirty six spoke wheel is perfectly acceptable.

As for locking your bike and trailer - a thickish cable lock will immobilise your bike - the trailer is a complication making parking your bike problematic at some supermarkets.

I keep all of my valuables: phone, wallet, camera, passport, and documentation in a bar bag and take it into shops and supermarkets with me once I've locked my bike. The theft of laden touring bikes is a rarity and you can relax about the risks of theft.

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

21 August 2014 - 8:42pm
Dave, I salute you.
Any attempt to escape from Runcorn leaves me with admiration ( I succeeded 30-odd years ago ).
I'm glad you've not been put off and are determined to have another go.
A mate of mine set his heart on a first tour and opted for the Coast and Castles route (Edinburgh to Newcastle?).
I thought he was a bit optimistic choosing a start point 400 miles from home.
Sadly he packed after a coupe of days. Like you he overdid it somewhat for a first tour and felt dreadful about it.
I convinced him to build up slowly with a couple of good day rides closer to home and then an overnighter.
Happily, the following year he went back and completed it.
Good luck mate,
fausto,

Re: Gijon to Poole Ferry

21 August 2014 - 5:54pm
None of this makes sense to me. I took the LD Lines ferry from Poole to Gijon in April of this year with my bicycle. The booking ws quite straightforward online with 'Bicycle' listed as a drop-down option under transport used.

Very weird considering what the lady on the phone said. I tried to check again using the website but now it says that there is no availability. Anyway, we've already booked flights to Asturias for the way out and getting the Santander ferry back. Ferry both ways would have been nicer and better for my airport baggage handler paranoia, but flying out seemed the easiest option in the end.

Re: New Route Planner

21 August 2014 - 4:46pm
Psamathe wrote:mark a. wrote:... OSM ... It's easy to do (their new editor is excellent) ...
Which editor and where can you get it (Windows and/or Mac and/or Linux ...)

Ian

Just the standard in-browser iD editor.

Re: New Route Planner

21 August 2014 - 4:45pm
Richard Fairhurst wrote:It's somewhere between the second and the third!

I understand. Thanks again Richard for an excellent tool.

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