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Updated: 1 hour 42 min ago

Re: Camping in Northern Spain

7 August 2014 - 6:00pm
It's too long ago to rely on my advice but we've camped on route down through Rioja, coming from the Roncevalles pass to Santander. We camped at Haro and at Frias for instance and only did one night in a little hotel up in the Pyrenees. It isn't as common as in France but due to the proximity to the camino there is camping around. We tend to use the Michelin maps which have the little triangle symbol for campsite, I can't remember if that works for Spain but I have downloaded pocket earth ready for our next trip and that marks campsites. I just checked for Haro and for Frias and the camping is still there- . Also camping in Burgos, there is camping in the Picos but it may only be open in July and August. We struggled one year when we travelled in May/June coming up to Santander from the South but I've done Ok by myself in the Picos camping in late August.

As Mark says economically it's not a big deal, so what would you prefer to do?

Re: Cycling/driving/walking holiday, Hebrides, end September

7 August 2014 - 5:58pm
I'm sorry that this totally misses your brief (don't think you could rent it for 2 or 3 days) but it's on our (long) list of places to stay at. Not sure how much you would get done though - I'd be staring at that view all day: Fir Chlis.

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

7 August 2014 - 5:32pm
The problem with a bothy in November is getting it warm.

Met a lass last November who was walking the Cape Wrath way and she camped next to bothies for this reason ( we were travelling as a group of four and could carry coal).

Re: Camping in Northern Spain

7 August 2014 - 2:53pm
There is a camping section of the forum linked at the top of the Touring & Expedition posts.

I flew to Bilbao a couple of years ago and rode East to the Pyrenees and found campsite thin on the ground. There was one in Mundaka with great views over the estuary, called Camping and Bungalows Portuondo. Other than this we stayed in small hotels or hostels until we reached France.

Re: Cycling/driving/walking holiday, Hebrides, end September

7 August 2014 - 2:21pm
The Gatliff Trust Hostels are well worth a visit.
Fairly basic but the most wonderful locations.

Re: Italy cycle resources?

7 August 2014 - 2:17pm
ah iviehoff.

yes your memories of using Italian TCI and other Italian 200,000 maps mirrors mine - restricted to Sardinia I stress.

I agree totally about the poor representation. At times only maybe but I expect maps to be accurate.

As you imply, at least if the representation is correct you have a chance of figuring things out.

This is what I referred to with "trying to second-guess the mapmakers" - it's my impression that most of the mapping is based on a very very similar limited data set.

But sometimes the presentation/representation is different.

So when cycling in sardinia I often have 3 separate 200,00 maps in my backpack.

At junctions I can then be sometimes be spotted by bemused locals looking at three separate maps to try to enter their various mindsets.

It's not unusual for me to find myself at a junction I expect to have 3 exits to find 4 or 5.

Then I have to try to figure out, between the three maps, which ones the map makers have decided to show on the map.

I have quite often chosen the one that appears to be going in the right direction only to find that the road runs out across a field.

How mad is that?

I also find that there is a lack of landmarks/features marked on the maps. If more were marked you could perhaps figure out sooner that you are on the right/wrong road.

Interesting post from jezrant as someone who has lived in Italy.

I know what you mean about signage.

It is getting better gradually but I have memories of being nackered on a ride once and not being able to figure out which exit to take from a village. And there were only two. Sometimes (again in Sardinia I stress) the sign at a town exit will point to a quite bizarre not terribly local place. Again you have to start mind-reading.

In Sardinia they often seem to lack a sign for straight on to a town - they just have stocks of left and right. This can make things very unclear indeed (more sitting down to commune with the mind of the great map/signwriter in the sky) - I think that now and again, to make it clear that they mean straight on they have used a right arrow on the left hand side of the road and a left arrow on the right hand side, but how efficent is that?

There is something of a "shortage" of numbered roads in Sardinia for inevitable reasons to do with the topography, but with regular research I am gradually learning the smaller unmarked roads. It is possible to go a pretty long distance on these across country. Once you know where they are.

Don't worry about Mr Miller's putdown iviehoff.

I would commend his web page to anyone but such is his apparent defensiveness about Italy, at times almost vicious, that I have at least twice asked if he has any Italian family links or blood. But never had an answer

I would by the way commend Sardinian cycling to folk. But not in July or August.

Am in the process of planning a route London to Rome but will be using GPS/OSM to find the quiet roads.

Re: St Malo to Morocco

7 August 2014 - 1:40pm
I use booking.com to find hotels for my first nights.

I put in St Malo for 29 Aug and found a double room 1.3 mls from centre for Euro 42 for two people.

Have a look.

Re: St Malo to Morocco

7 August 2014 - 1:24pm
Theres a campsite at St Servan about 2km from the port and its usuallg nice and quiet.


Camping in Northern Spain

7 August 2014 - 1:06pm
I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post or whether it should go elsewhere.

However my son and I are travelling to Northern Spain in a week's time and having found campsites to be few and far between on a previous visit I was wondering what the forum's view was on this.

We arrive in Santander and will be doing a fortnight loop back there via Burgos and the Rioja region. As the area is rather hilly I wondered whether we should ditch the camping gear and do cheap bed and breakfasts. This would considerably reduce the weight we would be carrying which might help me with the hills.

This might well increase the overall cost of accommodation but I am not keen on wild camping.

Would be interested in the views of others.



7 August 2014 - 1:00pm
Did Whitby to Ravenscar as part of the Moor to Sea cycle route in early July. We had fully loaded bikes with 2inch tyres and a 21 month old in a trailer so took it at a steady pace and very much enjoyed it. We had very dry conditions and so the surface was very passable - in wet conditions I am sure it would have been less easy.

Parts of the rest of the Moor to Sea route (especially around Rosedale Abbey) were not so good! Overall it was a very nice route (we linked bits together to do a big circle starting and ending in Danby) but there were (admittedly short) muddy singletracks through some forested bits that I would avoid on my mountain bike.

Re: Quick poll: Your touring accomm - tent, hostel, hotel?

7 August 2014 - 12:39pm
We cross the pond from Canada every two or three years for about 6 weeks. Accommodation: 25% family and friends; 5% hostels; 5% hotels; 65% B&B with our first choice being on working farms and the rest in homes or village pubs as dictated by location and availability.

We used hostels a lot in our younger, less affluent, foot-slogging days. Nowadays, with our team age totalling 130 years, we seek more creature comforts, and safe storage for our tandem bicycle .

Cycling/driving/walking holiday, Hebrides, end September

7 August 2014 - 12:11pm
We have my in-laws coming out from South Africa at the end of September and would like to take them somewhere they've never been and that we've never been either. We have 8 days. Mother-in-law is fit and able and a keen walker, father in law fairly limited mobility due to double knee replacements and obesity.

So looking at heading somewhere where we can base ourselves for 2/3 days before heading on and where the wife and I can do the odd day trip on the bikes but where we have walking/scenery and some local interest stuff for the in-laws. Probably look at two or three "bases" over the 8 days and exploring the local area before heading on. Would not mind including trips to Oban/ Western side of Scotland too as I have not seen much of that part of the world.

So: is that too late in the year for the Hebrides? Suggestions as to where to stay and what to see very welcome, both on the islands and mainlands. Also suggestions as to how long we should give to each spot?

Re: Italy cycle resources?

7 August 2014 - 11:33am
I've traveled around Italy extensively over the past forty years, lived in Tuscany for a while, and speak the language pretty well. The mapping and signposting can drive you nuts, especially on the backroads in the countryside just about anywhere in Italy. Forget GPS, and asking locals for directions can at times be just as maddening with their vague, misleading, confusing and sometimes simply wrong information. This reminds me of an insightful and amusing book by Tim Parks ostensibly about the Italian railways. The last chapter, about trying to get to Otranto by train, is hilarious. He ends the book with some wise advice that applies just as well to touring the country by bike. You really just have to go with the flow in Italy.

Re: Italy cycle resources?

7 August 2014 - 10:56am
I tend to navigate in Italy mostly by a combination of junction signposts and a list of towns. I mean that rather than looking for a specific road from a mapped route, I plan the route, and then look for the town and village names on signposts, and follow those. I will check that I'm not headed for a main route or autostrada route, or something, and occasionally have to check the map when signposts are missing, or I am not sure where I am, but except for those, I don't do much map reading. I don't always follow exactly the route I have planned, but this method has generally gotten me where I was going.

While I have followed roads that led nowhere a couple of times, and taken longer routes than necessary, I can't say that I've had any experiences where I lost hours to a wrong turn or missed road, or anything. Maybe it was just dumb luck.

Maybe if I'd had better maps when I was there, I would have used the maps more.

Re: Italy cycle resources?

7 August 2014 - 10:44am
Sweep wrote:Vorpal wrote:They don't show all minor roads, but you're unlikely to get lost following them. .

Being an awkward sod i am rather wedded to the idea of maps showing the roads i am afraid. And on a bike it's the minor roads I am interested in. If not actually lost I have ended up having to turn back and add extra miles as a result of following TCI maps and their equivelents in Sardinia. Usually as a result of trhing to second guess the mapmakers and the lie of the land.

In addition to liking maps that show the roads that exist, I also like them to be correct in the way they show them joining together. If there are two successive forks in a road, then it is helpful if they are shown in the correct order or you end up going down the wrong road. If a turning is after a village when it is shown on the map as before a village, then you leave the village in the wrong direction and wonder where your road is. If you go along a road and find a fork when the map shows a single road, you don't know whether to go left or right. This is my experience of using TCI 1:200,000 maps. Going 4km down a big hill to come to a dead end is bad enough when you are in a car, it is soul-destroying when you are on a bike. A couple of times we went up some small road towards some sight we were trying to find, and found such a dense network of unmapped small roads it would have required an extensive exploration to try and find what we were looking for.

There was this town with a very narrow high street which had been made 1-way, and once you committed yourself to going down it, there was a return route of about 8km to get back to the other end of it. We ended up going around that circuit twice to try and find the correct way out of town that was so inaccurately represented on the map - of course in that case on the bike you would only have to walk back the 500m 1-way section.

If someone finds Italy adequately mapped, it is because they are content to travel the main roads. I'm not.

Re: Normandy Queries

7 August 2014 - 10:42am
I was in a bit of quandry about which topic to post this on, but plumped for this one eventually, 'cos it's got Normandy in the title...
Am planning to go to Normandy in a few weeks and have been looking for resources to do with cycle routes and the invasion, and have just stumbled on this page:
http://www.normandie-tourisme.fr/cycling-212-2.html and in particular, these pdfs:
http://www.normandie-tourisme.fr/articl ... 328-2.html

St Malo to Morocco

7 August 2014 - 10:34am
Hello CTC community I hope all is well.

A friend and myself will be taking part in our first cycle tour in aid of charity from St Malo to Morocco (via Gibraltar). We'll be arriving in St Malo via ferry from England (Weymouth) and will have to spend our first night in St Malo as our ferry is due to arrive at 20:40. We are looking to cover 80-100 miles a day depending on the terrain. We are doing this trip at the end of August. Whilst we're keen to have the most scenic route, we're also keen to use long, fast roads in order to keep on top of the mileage, so we aren't scared of the odd busy road to ensure we can clock the distances we need and to avoid fiddly navigation. I have a Garmin Edge 810 which I intend to plot the route on, but we'll also be using maps. We will be camping for the majority of the trip. My questions are:

1) Can anyone recommend some accommodation (most likely hotel/ hostel) in St Malo. We will be arriving late and we wont have much time to cycle out of the city so we're now looking for a convenient place to stay that doesn't brake the bank balance. Has anybody out there done a similar thing after arriving late of the ferry?

2) There are tons of conflicting routes on this forum that I could piece together to create our trip, but many take a largely scenic route, and often hug the coast. Can anybody recommend a route that can ensure we get the distances done? Something fast but obviously no illegal roads. There's plenty of cycle paths in france and I'm wondering whether they are good enough to ensure we can keep our avg speed up (i.e. not too much stopping and starting).

Any help advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Re: Anyone use a trailer ?

7 August 2014 - 9:46am
He realy needs a very cheap solution. If he went to such a place they would charge him more than the skewer is worth. I was hoping some kind soul here could do it for him, for free + postage. I would think its only a few minutes work with the right tools

Re: Italy cycle resources?

7 August 2014 - 7:25am
mnichols wrote:
I also felt the reputation that Italian drivers have is undeserved.

Based on my experience cycling (not as a pedestrian) in Sardinia, I'd agree with you.

mnichols wrote:
I've never had a problem in four cycling trips even in the big cities like Rome, Naples and Milan.

Did you cycle through the middle of Rome and Naples?

On the streets? (as opposed to separate cycline lane?

thanks for the interesting post


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