CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 1 hour 59 min ago

Re: Who's got the worst bike, and how far have you ridden it

30 June 2015 - 12:08pm
I had an apollo hybrid 5 years ago that cost around £180 IIRC. I broke the bottom bracket in less than a week, cassette, chain and tyres all worn out within 2/3 weeks. Gears never stayed indexed, brakes and the wheel was back every few days to get trued by there "mechanics". I got my money back as it was not fit for purpose (riding).

Re: Who's got the worst bike, and how far have you ridden it

30 June 2015 - 10:02am
In 1987 I did LEJOG on a cheap Raleigh tourer style thing with crap everything. The heavy frame, rubbish gears and lacklustre brakes I could live with, but the cheap, nasty wheels with galv spokes and chrome plated steel rims were bad news. Every second day I broke a spoke in the rear wheel, and as I was a mechanical numptie at the time I had to find cycle shops and beg them to do an on the spot repair. When I got home I bought some better wheels and I learned how to change spokes.

Re: La linea or Gibraltar?

30 June 2015 - 9:50am
La Linea, we found a nice hotel by turning left out of customs and just off to the right in a back street.... Don't be put off by external appearances, we often found ones that looked a bit dingy outside were perfectly acceptable often with interesting features, courtyards or gardens that you would never have guessed at from the outside....., when we toured Andalucia.
Personally we found the Gibraltarians just a little bit too English for our liking...... with awful and expensive food, it was certianly an interesting experience to visit the Rock and take the tour.

Re: Expedition bike - all thumbs on 8 or 9

30 June 2015 - 8:28am
It was that bike which originally got me thinking down those lines dandru.

Then posts on this thread made me concerned that thumbies might not be as uber reliable as i thought.

And at over £100 (the special mounts needed can cost £50!) It then didn't seem such a good idea.

And my cheap altus 21 speed changers have lasted 15 to 20 years.

So i have managed to get a pair of alivio 8 speed rapidshift shifters.

If i was uber-cautious i could always carry a pair of altus or acera shifters.

Or carry a pair of downtube shifter levers.

Since the bike will be 8 speed i won't be needing super slick shifting anyway.

Re: Who's got the worst bike, and how far have you ridden it

30 June 2015 - 8:25am
I got fed up with the local transport Mafia when on a long non cycling trip to Madagascar. Bought a cheap new $50 (£30) Chinese MTB.

They were shipped in unassembled and put together on the pavement outside the shop by sub contractors. It was rubbish! Chain broke in first hour. None of the bearings were greased and bb seized after a few days. It required regular maintenance each day to tighten everything up. Rear derailleur jockey wheel fell off and I had to get lift to next town.

Had a full service where I oversaw the mechanic and instructed him to strip and grease all bearings. He couldn't understand why I would spend money before it was broken or needed fixing.

Steel wheels and hard bake blocks made fast downhills a nightmare.

I rode it over 500 kms through the mountains and up the coast and then used it for local transport and sightseeing. Better than the minibuses and a great experience, but I prefer my LHT!

Re: La linea or Gibraltar?

30 June 2015 - 7:42am
I stayed in La Linea as much cheaper for a tourist style hotel, pool, etc. Also cheaper and better and cheap food on the Spanish side.

Away from the border and marina, LL is a bit of a grubby working town, whereas Gib is more touristy.

Have a look on something like booking.com or other website for prices. The hotel I stayed in rented bikes.

Once across the Gib border you can get buses to centre, returns cheaper and discount for over 60s.

La linea or Gibraltar?

30 June 2015 - 4:49am
Sometimes the Spanish get a tad irate and have an effect on the border which can really slow down the in/out movement - gib itself gets a bit busy and you may see no delays at all but summer is the favoured time for border hassle to take place.

Re: Expedition bike - all thumbs on 8 or 9

30 June 2015 - 12:17am
The touring bike below uses an 8 speed drive with thumbies, interesting. I always use 9 speed gear and replace the chain when worn, usually about 3000 km or after each trip, which is normally about 2500 km.


http://i1.wp.com/tomsbiketrip.com/wp-co ... uide37.jpg

Re: La linea or Gibraltar?

29 June 2015 - 10:33pm
It is a lot cheaper to stay in La Linea.

La linea or Gibraltar?

29 June 2015 - 9:05pm
I should be in Gibraltar in a few days time. I want to spend a couple of days there. Is it best to stay in gib itself or la linea?

Re: Cycling Canal de Midi accomodation

29 June 2015 - 7:59pm
Thanks to everyone for the helpful information. We will be looking up the recommendations. Looking forward to a great trip even if it does sound a bit bumpy.
Thanks again.
Angela and Colin

Re: Cornish Adventure Scuppered?

29 June 2015 - 7:27pm

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool,
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.
To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure

But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.
Only the person who risks is truly free.

Often attributed to the poet and thinker, Leo Buscaglia, the real author of this inspirational verse is Janet Rand.

Re: Rent a bike in SF, ride to LA, and drop it off?

29 June 2015 - 4:15pm
I've not gone through the figures in my head but in theory it looks like a service I'd contemplate using.

A Pacific Coast bike trip is on my bucket list and I fully intend doing it next year. I'm a keen cyclist but don't currently own a suitable touring bike, and when I started researching for the trip I looked into local bike hire as an option. In fact what I'm pretty sure I'll end up doing is trading in one of my road bikes for a tourer/winter training bike, with the intention of making touring a bit more of a habit. BUT, if you happen to get the business up and running over the coming months, AND you can facilitate my preferred route of Vancouver to SF rather than SF to LA, maybe we can talk.

Anyway, good luck if you do decide to go ahead with the plan.

Who's got the worst bike, and how far have you ridden it?

29 June 2015 - 4:11pm
There's always discussions on here about the best bike/parts for this and that... but has anyone had just a really cheap bike and made a crazy journey on it?

Life is easier with all the best gear, but lets face it you can tour on pretty much anything

Id be interested to hear a few tales.

Re: Map reading - can anyone do this now?

29 June 2015 - 3:38pm
Recently I had a GPS run out of battery a few miles from my destination, and whilst I had a paper map for most of my ride I did not have one to cover the last bit. I used my nose and a bit of luck to complete the journey, but I felt like a fool for not having all the paper maps I needed. GPS is good, but don't rely on it. It will let you down sometimes.

Re: Map reading - can anyone do this now?

29 June 2015 - 3:29pm
Neilo wrote:Mountain Rescue is often mispercieved as just rescuing people that have fallen off a mountain. In addition to that we are often called to search for missing people in urban and rural areas, for many different reasons, missing walkers, missing elderly people with dementia, people that wish to do them selves harm, missing children, the list is quite long. We are called to help the ambulance service, if the terrain is difficult. We have assisted the fire service with the recovery of casualties from car crashes when the car has ended up in a ravine. Some teams provide assistance during floods.
My team covers roughly the area west of a line drawn from Bridgend to Aberyswyth, but often go further afield to help other teams. So, locals who know the ground, not possible. Calls to places as far afield as Hereford, St Davids, Carmarthen, Newton and Aberystwyth.

I would not use a GPS to guide me, I would use it to navigate, along with a map, compass and all the navigational techniques I have learned over the years.

I am not one of those anti GPS tpyes, but I really do believe that people need to learn how to navigate with a paper map and compass first. I find it quite scary that some people venture into the hills with just a GPS and a route programmed into it to follow, with zero navigational skill. Ignorance is not always bliss, and a GPS is not a shortcut to experience.


Absolutely. Maritime navigation training emphasises that GPS is an aid to navigation. That means you still have to engage brain and there are other sources of navigational input.

Re: Skye to Oban Route

29 June 2015 - 1:29pm
iviehoff wrote:Arnisdale to Kinloch Hourn ferry ceased running about 4 years ago.

There is quite a steep climb with some loose material underfoot if you go from Corran to Arnisdale by bicycle, so you will probably walk a bit, and it will be a tough push if you have heavy luggage. But if Norman Hodghton (octogenarian editor of the Rough Stuff Journal) can do it (and it wasn't many years ago that he did, and he was never a strong/hard rider), most people can. http://www.bikeroutes.org.uk/trips/trip12.htm

Thanks for the link. My mate is 72, plus we will be on road bikes. The BandB owner in Kinloch Hourn has told me that they get the occasional cyclist through on mountain bikes, but the good news is I've tracked down the new boatman. I'm speaking to him tonight, if all goes well and he wants me to I'll post his details on here, in he mean time if anyone wants them PM me.

Re: Map reading - can anyone do this now?

29 June 2015 - 1:21pm
Even if you work with GPS, I've installed and verified GPS systems on ships you still have to learn mapping theory i.e. datum and projection as simply looking at WGS 84 doesn't do it for more precise positioning.

Personally I prefer paper maps although Mrs Whoof's Garmin has been useful in the past.

Re: Cycling Canal de Midi accomodation

29 June 2015 - 12:55pm
A bit out of date, but a few years ago the following all worked on a three day ride:

1) La Rougeanne (http://www.larougeanne.com)
This one is near Bram, it's a beautiful big old house run by a lovely lady. Quite expensive and plush but if you fancy a comfy bed and a lovely dinner, it's definitely good value.
It's about 5km north of the canal and a short sharp climb into the village.

2) L'Aur Blan (http://www.aur-blan.com)
In the heart of Le Somail. It was very cheap 4 years ago but the website looks like they've done it up a bit (there was definitely no pool, for instance, which always hikes the price a bit).
Has bike ‘lock-up’ and just down the road we found quite a cool bar (by rural French standards!) to have a couple of beers and a game of pool.
Of all the places we rode through on the Canal, Le Somail was one of my favourites, and definitely somewhere to think about staying.

3) When we got to Sete we stayed here:
Le National (http://www.hotellenational.fr)
Fairly basic but handy for the station and they locked our bikes in a room just behind the hotel reception.

Hope that helps.


Re: Map reading - can anyone do this now?

29 June 2015 - 11:34am
simonineaston wrote:gottogetfit wrote:...they are my favourite bed time read.When I tell people that, they look at me as if I'm strange and tell me I need to get out more - which is ironic...

I love 'em too. If I have a gripe it's that the 1:50,000 Landranger doesn't generally slide into the back pocket of a short-sleeve cycling jersey. Oddly the centre pocket on long-sleeved jerseys is often big enough. Rode on Saturday and needed a Landranger, managed to fit it in by removing it from it's cardboard outer. Do CTC jerseys account for this - if they do I might buy one!


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