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Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

Getting your bike to Harwich for the ferry

19 May 2015 - 6:29pm
Since Abellio is run by the Dutch who like to think they are cycle-friendly, there was me thinking it would be relatively straightforward to get our family with bikes to Harwich International for the ferry for the Netherlands. (My wife has already had to swallow the idea that we will have to cycle across central London between stations as it will be too early to be allowed onto the Circle Line, less than ideal with an 8-yr-old.)

But apparently not. The direct ferry special train to Harwich International at 1932 from Liverpool St has 4 non-bookable cycle spaces, so that's a risk, since maybe we are not the only cyclists trying to do this. We could take the 1930 or the 2000 to Manningtree to connect for the local service from M to H. These trains have 6 cycle spaces, but as they are intercity services you have to phone them to book them at least 24 hours in advance. There are also slow trains to Manningtree which require no cycle reservation, but if I took the first slow train to M after the 1932, we would be there too late for the 2245 last check-in time for the 2300 ferry, as it doesn't connect well at Manningtree. I could go earlier, since apparently you can put your bikes on a train from 1830 (the only hint of a relatively cycle friendly policy from this company) but then I'd have to pay peak fares, as off-peak fares are not valid before 1930 on Abellio trains, which, for the family of 3, would add an extra £75 to our journey cost, which is just disproportionate.

Well their anti-social cycle policies mean that I will now have to engage in the anti-social behaviour of booking cycle spaces on a train I don't want to use, just as an insurance policy.

I'm sure most people would have given up and driven there.

Cycling Chester to Bowland

19 May 2015 - 6:00pm
Hi
I am thinking of cycling from Chester to Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland in a couple of weeks. I wonder if anyone has any idea of the best way to go. I will be on a road bike, so don't want canal tow paths. I would like to avoid main roads where possible, and busy town centres. Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks

Re: A Sad Day for Google Maps

19 May 2015 - 5:51pm
axel_knutt wrote:I've just noticed that the new Google maps has Cressing Station at the top of Marconi Road in Chelmsford. If you measure the distance from where it's shown to where it belongs, Google says it's 1 min and 56 feet away, instead of about 10 miles.
Seems to be OK now. There must have been a glitch somewhere.

I had been going to say I couldn't see the problem with the new Google Maps. OK there were a few teething problems early on. But then I had to switch browsers temporarily which I sorted problems with Firefox (I think one or more add-ons didn't like the latest version) and was using Internet Exploder. What a difference - majorly slow loading! I'm glad to be back on Firefox where Google Maps seems to be working OK for me, along with other mapping tools I use.

Re: Islabikes Bienn 29 - tourer for a titch?

19 May 2015 - 5:40pm
If you want to come to Brum we have a 26" wheel Mercian Compact drop bared touring bike that if it fits we could sell you for about £200.
It is in nice condition and has touring gears with short cranks to match.
It is suitable for somebody just under 5ft.
Tempting! Thanks. I'm somewhat taller than that though, about 5' 2-3" and haven't got on with drops particularly well in the past - are they quite small? I know manufacturers have adapted drops to cater for smaller hands.

Re: Paneuropa Radweg - France

19 May 2015 - 4:05pm
Thanks, as suspected the signs won't be as lovely as when we did the Rhine last year.

I am planning to map the route using maps.me on an ipod. The ipod has GPS and I bookmark key points on the map. Combined with a pen and piece of paper of the daily route, I hope this works. I've tried to import the paneuropa radweg GPS into maps.me and it's not working so I'm manually bookmarking.

We've done a few long distance cycles, not necessarily on national routes and navigation always seems to be a problem, not getting lost, more the constant stopping to check direction takes so much time!

Re: Islabikes Bienn 29 - tourer for a titch?

19 May 2015 - 1:41pm
See this thread.
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=96933

Unfortunately it fails to answer the question of whether the frame failures that have clearly been reported to them are attributable only to usage extremely beyond design conditions, or whether some frame failures have come from more modest over-loading. There is no question but that for children Islabikes are exceedingly superior bikes. But apparently some people have broken them through misuse.

Bicycler's point is very valid and perhaps you should write to them and ask them. We have got replies to emails we have sent them, though not instantly.

Re: Rack Pack for Tubus Airey

19 May 2015 - 1:20pm
I think Tubus do have something in their 'Racktime' range that is closer to the Tortec Ultralight - i'm sure there was one fitted on the Specialized AWOL we had thru a few weeks ago.

Re: Islabikes Bienn 29 - tourer for a titch?

19 May 2015 - 1:10pm
iviehoff wrote:It's a light alloy frame and I expect 80kg is an legalistic attempt to limit their liability if you break it by pushing it well beyond its capabilities.
Maybe, but it begs the question of why competing (bigger and presumably necessarily legalistic) companies are willing to sell their light alloy framed hybrid and road bikes with a maximum weight 50% higher. It's a big step as a general purpose bike manufacturer to discourage the average man (83.6kg) - or average woman (70.2kg) plus a small shopping load - from riding your adult bikes. I'd need convincing that it was purely one manufacturer being more cautious than their competitors rather than a prioritisation of low weight over strength which might lessen the fatigue resistance and longevity of the frame. Unfortunately individual experiences don't provide enough information to make a decision on something like fatigue life.

Re: Paneuropa Radweg - France

19 May 2015 - 12:31pm
I did the whole of the Paneuropa Radweg in 2013, from Paris to Prague. The first sign I saw on the route was in Germany, just after crossing the Rhine! The route in France is a mixture of canal towpaths (some quite overgrown and rough), quiet roads and the occasional good tarmac cycle path. The route basically follows the Marne river from Paris to Vitry-le-François and then a canal that links the Marne to the Rhine in Strasbourg.

For route-finding we had four 'Top 100' IGN maps (1:100,000 scale), and copied the route from the gpx track on the Paneuropa website onto them with a highlighter.

In general we had no problems except for one part just after Dormans, where the Paneuropa route appears to go up a very steep and muddy mountain bike trail through the vineyards. In a few other places we took nearby small roads to avoid particularly rough sections of canal towpath.

I'd definitely recommend the route, it goes through some interesting places with some varied terrain. For accommodation, the youth hostel in Saverne and the municipal campsite in Bar-le-Duc were both really good. However, it might be hard to follow the route without a fairly detailed map or a GPS.

Re: Rack Pack for Tubus Airey

19 May 2015 - 12:30pm
Okay, maybe the Airy is right for its purpose (panniers), but it would be nice if Tubus would make a light rack with a wide top for rack packs. I have to go to Tortec for that at the moment.

Re: A Sad Day for Google Maps

19 May 2015 - 12:02pm
I've just noticed that the new Google maps has Cressing Station at the top of Marconi Road in Chelmsford. If you measure the distance from where it's shown to where it belongs, Google says it's 1 min and 56 feet away, instead of about 10 miles.

Re: Paneuropa Radweg - France

19 May 2015 - 11:44am
Hi there,
I've been doing the past year the portion Strasbourg-Nurnberg and planning to do now the Strasbourg-Paris.
I didn't use any maps at all, just relied on gpx tracks downloaded from the Paneuropa Radweg website that, I have to say, worked pretty well.
From their site you can download as well the French portion, it's true, the names of the several paths are not mentioned ... so if you want just make use maps it might be a little problem (sometime).

UK Premiere of Inspired to Ride

19 May 2015 - 10:30am
Inspired to Ride follows a handful of cyclists from around the world as they race unsupported in the inaugural year of a 4,233 mile transcontinental race across the USA. This race is the antithesis to events like Tour de France and Race Across America. There will be no teams, no support vehicles, no special jerseys and not a dime in prize money.

These athletes will endure agonising climbs in the Rockies, driving winds in the Great Plains and sawtooth switchbacks in the Appalachians all for a pat on the back, potential bragging rights and a cold beer when it's all over. Some are out to make history and set records, while others are simply trying to finish.

Two screenings: 7:30, and 9:30 https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/MDLIM

already seen this as I ordered the previw its excellent

Re: Rack Pack for Tubus Airey

19 May 2015 - 10:28am
The whole point of the Airy is that its for two small side bags and not a top bag. Tubus don't need to look at it, they already have!

Re: Islabikes Bienn 29 - tourer for a titch?

19 May 2015 - 10:07am
If you want to come to Brum we have a 26" wheel Mercian Compact drop bared touring bike that if it fits we could sell you for about £200.
It is in nice condition and has touring gears with short cranks to match.
It is suitable for somebody just under 5ft. My old computer has died so unfortunately I do not have photos at the moment.

Re: Islabikes Bienn 29 - tourer for a titch?

19 May 2015 - 9:10am
My wife's Islabikes Luath is, apparently, rated for a max load of only 60kg. But when I service it I usually test my work by giving it a little ride around the street (not sitting down) and it feels fine. I weigh 90kg. The wheels it came with are a bit low quality with play in the hubs, so it may not be the frame that is the main concern. I don't think the frame is particularly thin walled and fragile, so I think Islabikes are being a bit cautious.

Re: Islabikes Bienn 29 - tourer for a titch?

19 May 2015 - 8:52am
It's a light alloy frame and I expect 80kg is an legalistic attempt to limit their liability if you break it by pushing it well beyond its capabilities. My wife and I both think the bike is great, accepting it isn't, like many other light tourers, a bike for heavily loaded touring. I weigh something like 73kg in my naked flesh, so I expect I technically "overloaded" whenever I ride it, expecially when I had a family's day-ride paraphernalia and food in 2 panniers, without noticing I was doing anything foolish. Most of us can't fill our garages with different bikes for different rides and thus make compromises to some degree, and the bike you like will have it's own particular compromise. We find this bike an excellent compromise for most of our purposes, but not when we want to go cycle camping. It may or may not meet your own compromises.

Re: Rack Pack for Tubus Airey

19 May 2015 - 7:30am
I'm afraid that when I decided I wanted to use a rack pack (I love the Carradice Super C) I found my narrow topped Tubus Vega far too narrow to get it stable. I replaced it with the Tortec Ultralite (about £24) which is less robust but still well made, and light. A lot of Tubus racks are ridiculously narrow on top, but the Cargo on my tourer is perfect for a rack pack. the Airey is otherwise a high end quality item, and Tubus need to take a look at this problem. I would have bought one by now if it were not for this. The Super C rack pack on an Ultalite rack is rock solid, with all the capacity of a saddle bag and none of the stability issues. If you do find a solution for the Airey I will be interested.

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