CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 34 min 18 sec ago

Re: Touring with prescription glasses

6 January 2015 - 10:54pm
I've had Optilabs glasses with photochromic prescription lenses for several years (not quite the same model as you mentioned above, but close enough). They're perfect for touring - I've never felt the need to take them on and off when entering shops, cafés and suchlike, perhaps partly because they don't turn completely pitch-black and so don't totally obscure your eyes. The lenses also adjust very quickly to changes in natural light.

Re: Bike friendly hotels in Northern France?i

6 January 2015 - 10:24pm
chocjohn9 wrote:* If there is a cycle path, you HAVE TO use it. Car drivers will be very unkind to you if you don't. But if you have right of way, they are very nice Disagree. I was last in Belgium in 2006 and looked careful into this and found that you have to use the path unless it is "unsuitable". I found one alongside a main road which was sub standard even by UK standards. I did not use it and had no problems whatsoever. Other paths were fine. Agree that the drivers are excellent at watching for you.
* Make sure you have good maps/GPS. The signposts are terrible. The road surfaces aren't great either.Agree entirely. I used IGN 1:100,000 maps because that is what I use in France. The Belgian ones were poor. Signposts in the lanes barely exist, but on the other hand the road might have a name like Rue de Next Town which helps. Road surfaces often seemed to be concrete slabs so you hit a join every 10 yards of so.

It's a different experience.

Re: Touring with prescription glasses

6 January 2015 - 10:03pm
Thanks Simon, yes that's an idea.. though assuming these safety over-glasses are clear, I would still need some sort of prescription sunglasses under them for the really bright days. Though there might be some photochromic safety glasses out there - something like this - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Spits-Outfitter ... 3a94698d5f - which might work great, though it does look a bit heavy and could get hot.

But I think the problem with any sort of over-glasses is that my regular glasses don't have 180 degree coverage, so I would have blurry vision at wide angles, thus I'd still need to get a new pair of prescription glasses with a more wrap-around fit..

Re: Touring with prescription glasses

6 January 2015 - 9:18pm
I wear protective/safety glasses over my normal ones (ie ordinary or sun glasses). They are the sort you see people on TV wearing when they visit factories.

I get them from Wickes and they cost £1.99.

OK a cheap skate option, but they do work well. They shield my eyes from wind and dust etc and best of all is they have transparent sides I retain peripheral vision.

As soon as I get off the bike I take them off and look 'normal'.

Maybe worth a try??

Re: Touring with prescription glasses

6 January 2015 - 9:11pm
Thanks for the replies.

The insert option where you change the outer lens according to conditions doesn't sound nearly as convenient as the photochromic lens which changes automatically, am I missing something? I suppose if my prescription changed this would work better as then I could just get a new insert, but my prescription has been constant for twenty years.

My main concern is still that I'll have to take them off whenever I am interacting with people to swap to my regular glasses.

Re: Jura, France via Belgium & Luxembourg

6 January 2015 - 9:05pm
For Belgium / Lux, there is a long distance cycle route guide here -


Re: Belgium fixed base recommendations please

6 January 2015 - 9:03pm
If you look at a map of Belgium, draw an imaginary line horizontally which runs just under Brussels. To the north, it is boring and flat but to the south it is interesting and good fun (French speaking). Bearing this in mind, and it is a lovely town, Namur is great. it also happens to be 70kms from Brussels, which could be your first day, post Eurostar arrival!

Other towns that are worth seeing in this region are - Liege, Spa and Maastrict - avoid Charleroi.

Re: Touring with prescription glasses

6 January 2015 - 9:02pm
There are two basic options, both are fine, both work well and it is down to personal choice

The first is to buy glasses with an optical lens, tuned to your prescription

The second is to buy glasses with an insert that is made to your prescription

My personal preference is the latter

I have a pair of Rudy Project with an RX insert

The adaptability is the reason.

I can change the outer lens according to light and conditions

As a bonus I can then also change the insert as my prescription changes

Re: Experience of La Vélodyssée/ Eurovelo 1

6 January 2015 - 9:00pm
Last year I rode from the Med to the Atlantic (just S of Bordeaux) where I picked up La Velodyssee up to Roscoff. I was camping and using a full sus mountain bike for comfort. Suspension not essential but fatish tyres useful. Lots of different surfaces from muddy slippery canal side paths, wide gravel tracks and quiet tarmac roads.
I averaged 50 miles per day (80km) and sometimes could easily have extended that on occasions but for the location of campsites and having a desire to enjoy the countryside.
For me, a reasonably experienced cycle tourist, 160km would be too much and be just a painful slog.

Re: Experience of La Vélodyssée/ Eurovelo 1

6 January 2015 - 8:56pm
Hi Conrad. You couldn't have revealed yourself at a better time for me!
I too would like to use some or all of this part of Eurovelo 1 this summer. I would appreciate any comments you may have about the quality of the track. I don't mind rough going - but I want to use a tandem with a two wheel trailer. I have found reports from people who found no need to comment on the track - but I have also seen photos of a very narrow strip of concrete with a serious ditch on both sides.
Any advice about sections to avoid would be most useful.

Re: Touring with prescription glasses

6 January 2015 - 8:54pm
I just bought my second pair of Optilab photochromatics. The others broke after 6 years. They're fine for cycling. I tend to take them off in cafes, etc but there's no reason why you can't wear them all the time. They only go really dark in bright sun and have a grey tint in lower light conditions. They go completely clear indoors or at night. The only potential issue is slight distortion of vision due to the curvature of the lenses, but you soon adjust to this. I now find it weird to cycle in my normal specs. I don't take my normal specs when I'm out on my bike.

PS I'm an ex contact lense wearer. Had to give up after a serious bout of conjunctivitis.

Re: Cycle Tour U.S.A

6 January 2015 - 7:46pm
If you can get to Pittsburgh there is a railtrail and former towpath all the way back to central Washington Dc.




Re: Bicycling Around The World free photo eBook

6 January 2015 - 7:36pm
The photos in this are stunning. Its well worth a look.

Istanbul to North Sea June 2015

6 January 2015 - 6:36pm
We seek 2 more experienced cycle tourers to join Rob & Steve.
The plan to cycle from The BLACK Sea to The NORTH Sea – Istanbul to
Cuxhaven, The distance is c. 3,500 km/2,000 miles. I reckon on a 2 month
trip home/home with about 50 cycling days, average ~74 km (46 miles)/day.
The first half would be using cheap hotels/hostels in E Europe, then camping
through Czech & Germany. Time will be spent doing some tourist stuff & rest
days. Cost guess £2,000 to £2,500 all in.
Route is fly to Istanbul on June 15 , do W Turkey, cross Bulgaria, Romania taking in
scenic Transylvania, Hungary, bit on the Danube to nr. Vienna, head N into
Czech to reach the Elbe, follow that on the Elbe cycle way to the N Sea at
Cuxhaven, train/ferry home for tea & medals – Note that this is NOT a guided trip – just a group of cyclists who will share an adventure.

These links MAY work: (as a rough guide to the route, will take small roads
not motorways!!)
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... fT8kGbsCs8
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... paUw9HJSsc

Let me know if you are interested and I will provide more info. Thanks

Re: Cycle Tour U.S.A

6 January 2015 - 5:56pm
shane wrote:Maybe the http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/v.php?pg=15 Not sure how busy it is with traffic though. Apparently its quite pretty.

If you do do it beware the fogs which can be real pea soupers where you can't see the centre line or edge of the road and cars can't see you. Not ideal given the distances between habitations.

In the summer the area you are going to can get very very sticky and hot so plan your seasons to visit.

Re: Handlebar bag views and costs

6 January 2015 - 5:44pm
foxyrider wrote:They are now on Ultimate 6 and I'm not sure I approve of the 'improvements'! bit of cord to hold the map case on - recipe for disaster, fixed inner organiser, why? and what's with the locking feature - the thing goes everywhere I do!

Gah, fixed inner organiser?! On the earlier versions, first thing I did was pull the removal one, and fill the whole chamber with maps and guidebooks.

The locking feature I find quite useful tho - at cafes and such sometimes I lock the bike up with the barbag, grab what I need and leave it there. I'm talking about scenarios where it stays in line-of-sight. I'd rather that, than have it kicking about around my feet or on a chair where it can go walkies. Also, I do seem to remember reading a horror story of the rider being distracted while fixing a puncture and the barbag going walkies via 'a good samaritains' slight of hand. I could live without the lock feature admittedly, but it's there and it gets used.

The Ortlieb barbags are a bit steep, but a nice piece of kit and once you've got one last forever.

Re: Veloscenic France

6 January 2015 - 5:08pm
Thanks Jon - only just picked up your reply. Gravel surfaces not a problem, though I was under the impression that the majority was tarmac.

I notice you did it west to east, most of the write ups I have seen refer to the east west direction. Eased along my tailwinds, were you??! It looks an interesting ride in the sort of terrain my wife and I like.

Did you camp, or use hotels / B and Bs?


Re: Experience of La Vélodyssée/ Eurovelo 1

6 January 2015 - 4:52pm
convert wrote:Hi,

I am after some real world experience of the La Vélodyssée cycle route in France if possible.

My plan is to use it, or a road route equivalent next summer. I plan on getting the ferry to Bilbo, riding (solo) into France then riding back to one of the northern French ports to get back to the UK - either Roscoff, St Malo, Cherbourg or Le Havre depending on the chosen route - not too fussed at the moment. I'll be camping. My early resesrch has brought up the Eurovelo routes and number 1 in particular which uses the french La Vélodyssée route. It really appeals but I am wondering about how suitable it will be for me. I plan for it to be a tour of big days, circa 160kms a day, and I am concerned that it might be slow going in this context in comparison to the alternative quiet road routes I might be able to put together. Are there lots of frustrating gates and fiddly sections or are there areas with many walkers to navigate around? I have read some reports of sections being a little tedious and also it being unnecessarily winding to avoid small sections of roads. I don't feel a huge desire to avoid roads at all costs but this route still appeals if it is genuinely workable for fast touring.


Already did San Sebastian to Lacanau Ocean and now planning to do it again but this time covering the entire stretch from San Sebastian to Roscoff.
In April it was fantastic, just a few gates, no walkers at all, frequently impressively scenic, reasonably winding-up dunes and the forest.
Plenty of camp sites, hotels generally expansive (mostly closed till May).
160km/day seems to me a bit too much.

Re: Cycle Tour U.S.A

6 January 2015 - 4:43pm
Maybe the http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/v.php?pg=15 Not sure how busy it is with traffic though. Apparently its quite pretty.

Re: Cycle Tour U.S.A

6 January 2015 - 3:13pm
Cycle down to Williamsburg, nearby is Jamestown and Yorktown. Plenty of American history to immerse yourself in. http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com Fantastic area.



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