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Re: Oban to Stonehaven

12 November 2014 - 8:38pm
The roads around Oban, not sure to which you are referring but avoid the A82 south of fort william ( not that you will be going that way ) as it is not very pleasant. The main road heading east out of Oban can get busy but nothing bad. I'm sure others will be along with more info.

"even an educated "forget it!" as its not worth it"

I can give you an educated it is worth it!! Once you fall in love with Scotland and its people and scenery on your first visit you will want to go back.

For a few gems, if you have time, try heading to Rannoch Moor ( get the train it's easier!) , that will blow you away. Whilst in Oban try some of the islands. Mull is close and awesome. Cycling around Fort William stunning scenery.

Jura is excellent if you are heading that way. As for more gems the place is overloaded with them. Best advice is go and enjoy!

Oh and watch the midges if you are ever there in summer!

Re: Bristol to Reading - on road bikes?

12 November 2014 - 8:25pm
I'd concur with andrew_s, just after Devizes (my home town) isn't great, I'd want to be on 30 or 32 cyclocross tyres to do that bit. If it's wet you won't do it on road tyres, sorry don't know that much after Devizes but from Bristol all ok other than puncture risk on certain parts.



Oban to Stonehaven

12 November 2014 - 7:52pm
Hi All

My first post here. Just found this wealth of information and its fair to say I am chuffed.

I am fairly new to cycling and managed to enjoy every one of the 2000 miles I did this year, mainly sportives and a few solo 100 mile rides and the touring aspect really appeals.

i am planning a cycle from Oban to Stonehaven early in the spring and would really appreciate any help with the route. The stories regarding the main road near Oban scare me a bit. I was hoping there may be a few hidden gems out there or even an educated "forget it!" as its not worth it.

Thanks in advance.

Re: Planning My First Tour

12 November 2014 - 6:21pm
One last thing to be aware of. I have twice not finished a tour when I by myself. This is just silly and having reflected on it I should have taken a rest and maybe moved by public transport to somewhere more enjoyable. Once I was in Spain and it was just intolerably hot by 11 in the morning and another time I was on the Massif Central and had had enough of being rained on.

In France I hopped on a train -one of the most beautiful train rides I've ever done from Le Puy to Ales - and in a few hours was far enough South to have moved into a better climate zone ( and to scare the hell out of my boyfriend who I was cycling down to join). This was a reasonable solution. The other time I flew back from Madrid when I could have just found a reasonably priced hotel and chilled out there for a few days (I think I was homesick that time). Anyway don't worry if it happens to you, just remember it won't be a crisis if you head to a beach in the south of France for a few days and chill out and listen to people talking english in a bar. You can pick up the tour when you are ready, it's a holiday not an endurance test.

Re: Trail A Bike For Tourer?

12 November 2014 - 2:26pm
Hi, I have just read this thread and I am doing the same but I am changing the tag along into a pannier carrier. TYo hitch it on my bike, I have to raise the seat but that is uncomfortable for me so I have made a rack hitch with a seat post that I had laying around.

I can lift the bike up with the post as it is. The trailer bike is being delivered next tuesday. It should clear the panniers on the bike.

Re: Planning My First Tour

12 November 2014 - 1:58pm
Superb responses MrsHJ and nirakaro. Such invaluable information in your posts, exactly what I am looking for.

With regard to the cities. I was plotting quite generally and don't have a firm preference to pass through major cities. I have been fortunate enough to spend time in both Paris and Milan in the past, and admittedly this isn't really what the tour is about for me. My sporadic ten years travelling in Europe has been exclusively in larger cities. I'm pining for rural Europe for sure.

Thanks again, and I'll incorporate that into my planning. I will no doubt update the post as I progress. Maybe at some point I'll be able to post helpful information for other prospective tourers!

Re: Touring Cassette

12 November 2014 - 12:51pm
I have 44/32/22 x 11-34 on my touring bike but my preference is spinning rather than honking up hills. Assuming your knees are in much better shape than mine you could leave the chainset as is and have an 11-32 on the rear, which would still give you a sporting range of gears

Re: Outer Hebrides/Orkeys/Shetland tour.

12 November 2014 - 10:21am
andrew_s wrote:the bird is a whimbrel (regenwalp), not a curlew.
Oops, you got me.
But I'm not a real birdspotter. I always thought that "wulp" was short for "regenwulp".
So even on this forum you can learn something about birds.

Re: Bristol to Reading - on road bikes?

12 November 2014 - 10:18am
stubbo66 wrote:I'm doing it this weekend with my neighbours but from Reading to Bristol (in amongst the showers) with a B&B stop over in Pewsey.

Happy to provide an update after the ride if you need current conditions.

Two of us are on 29er hard tail mountain bikes, one is on a Hybrid.

So how did it go? you didnt come back on this.

Re: Outer Hebrides/Orkeys/Shetland tour.

12 November 2014 - 9:51am
Peter Molog wrote:If you want more you can look here, this is a day to day report, only in Dutch, but it is more maps and photo's then text.
27 june:
If you had intended to stay at Voe, you'll have found that many of the campsites marked on the OS mapping aren't actual campsites, but "camping böds". These are fairly basic bunkhouses with an off-site warden. Pre-booking is preferred, but the one I stayed at (Windhouse, Mid Yell) had a card in the window with the warden's contact details, as did the one at Voe. Sleeping bags were required, 50p in the meter for electricity (lights, shower, kettle), a wood-burning stove (bundles of wood from the warden), no other cooking facilities (at Windhouse).

29 june:
the bird is a whimbrel (regenwalp), not a curlew.

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

12 November 2014 - 9:42am
Most of the pannier threads end up being an argument of preference, mainly between Ortlieb and Carradice. Fourteen years ago I swopped my Carradice for Ortliebs after all my gear got soaked (I know all the could have put it in plastic bag replies so don't bother) and would no longer use anything else. Where some posters get bikepackers are not waterproof from I will never know. I tour for around 5 months of the year and have been in some of the most torrential rain known (I was near the Tormalet when it got washed away last year) yet not the slightest hint of a leak.

If you want to see my set up and gear list look on my website.

Re: Touring Cassette

12 November 2014 - 9:30am
I have a 24 x 34 lowest gear on my touring bike. At this level of gearing it becomes a personal thing - others may be better suited to something higher.

Re: Routes on small roads near Calais

12 November 2014 - 9:24am
I used to ride the CC Calais (something like "route de champ du drap d'or" which was in early June).
After their President died it didn't run for a couple of years and was then rerun on a different date as "Souvenir Maurice Poiret". Perhaps it's returned to its original early june date?
You can ride a number of randonees in the Nord-Pas de Calais region. There are details on the ffct.org website - it's in French and takes a bit of searching - you need to look for randonees.
" Sur les Traces de Napoleon" from Le Portel in Boulogne is a nice ride in the Artois hills with a choice of distances. It's run by the Amicale St Joseph - a very friendly club, on the first Sunday in May.

Re: Planning My First Tour

12 November 2014 - 9:13am
Yes, looks like a splendid route. As Mrs HJ says, you’ve got quite a few big cities there. You might like big-city cycling (I do), but it’s more challenging. Paris and Milan both have excellent campsites; the one in Turin is a bit seedy and overpriced, but friendly and superbly located.
As a detail, it looks from your map that your first alpine pass is Montgenevre. I haven’t done it, but believe it’s one of the busier ones. If you take a left after Briancon, you can do the col d’Echelle instead: it’s a bit further, about 100m lower, signed as a bike route, and virtually traffic free. And a beautiful wild-camping opportunity at the top.

Re: Planning My First Tour

12 November 2014 - 6:45am
Looks fab, and tempting.

Only one or two things to be aware of. You've got quite a few big cities on your list, like Paris and Milan. Big cities can be a bit of a challenge on a bike (limited camping, slow to get in and out of and bike thieves if you have a nice bit of kit). I'm certainly not saying don't do it as if that's what you want to see then go and see it and most cities now have lots of cycle routes. You will probably figure out a strategy for managing your visits eg choosing a small hotel with bike parking on the outskirts or whatever suits you.

The other thing I was going to mention is the mountains/terrain. Looks like you will do you first big pass in the Pyrenees after you've had time to build up your legs. Should be fine. I prefer to do yellow roads or small red roads (if you are on Michelin maps) for passes and avoid the major ones as they can get quite busy. For the cycle route eg EV1 the surfaces can be slower than tarmaced road so see how you go and switch onto a road if you prefer a smoother surface. Personally I enjoy the variety of both types of route (some of EV1 is minor road anyway). I knew the western France and northern Spain sections quite well and love cycling in both, might get a bit wet in May but if you want to see it go for it, if you are unlucky and it rains a lot then do more hotels for this section, rooms won't be too pricey in rural France and Spain in May. the Atlantic Coast is well worth a visit. Cycling in Spain is a very worthwhile experience, different to other parts of Europe. I've cycled throught Pamplona and Jaca a couple of times.

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

12 November 2014 - 4:25am
On the longevity thing, I think my current Super Cs are about 5 years old. As I tour for about 5 mths every year (winters in Asia, Oz, etc) they have probably done about 25 month's touring and about 25,000kms I guess. Sometimes very rough, sometimes not. Plus a few camping tours nearer home.

So far nothing has needed to be replaced. Their is a small hole due to wear from rack, which I should have fixed before it wore through. Otherwise no problems.

Not 100% waterproof, but I try to avoid riding in rain. Forced to 2 days ago, very heavy for 4 hours and only slight dampness on inside. Use stout linings so no problem for my gear. Anyway, I like their breathability as I am mostly in hot climates, so can put up with not 100% waterproof.

They do look a bit grubby!

Considering a wash and reproofing at end of (my) touring season.

Still use my 25 year old ones for shopping and leisure. Got fed up repairing them, which being canvas, you can do almost ad infinitum.

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.


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