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Updated: 48 min 39 sec ago

Re: Lon Las Cymru - 4 or 5 days

26 May 2015 - 9:07pm
No write-up I'm afraid, only the video.

NCN 8 is fairly well sign-posted the whole length of the route. There are some instances where signs are missing or obscured by vegetation, but overall easy to follow. Still, I had my gps which made things a lot easier when navigating. Also, as backup I had a printed copy of the route from http://cycle.travel/route/lon_las_cymru (recommended).

There are lots of gates! Best addition to my bike before leaving for the ride (apart from the GPS) was the fitting of a kick-stand. Used this a lot when going through gates, as well as for taking pics when there wasn't anything to lean the bike against.

There are some steep sections. The two memorable ones are the the climb up to the hills at the back of Harlech (I reckon around 22% near the beginning) and the long winding climb between Machynlleth and Llanidloes.

The scenery is amazing and so varied. Lush green valleys when following the Wye, to the barren hills around Snowdonia when your only company will be the sheep. Like I did, I'm sure you'll have the most fantastic and memorable journey.

Re: St.Malo to Nice

26 May 2015 - 8:27pm
Thanks Aquilo! I'll check it out.

Re: Edinburgh airport

26 May 2015 - 7:57pm
If you are weary and it's pouring rain, you can put bike in a taxi at airport. Waverley, £25ish, Edinburgh Park probably £10ish.

MTB Ride round coast of Spain

26 May 2015 - 7:44pm
Any one interested in joining me on a bike ride round the coast of Spain and & Portugal now postponed till I can find some one to go with me as I was let down by my friend I'm willing to postpone to a date that's good for you so long as it's not too late in the season as it would be too hot and ferry from Plymouth or Portsmouth to Santander Spain what ever suits you and returning same route all you will need is a good hard tail mountain bike with panniers and racks sleeping bag and your personal equipment and funds to pay your way. I have two man tent and all the camping equipment or you can use your own I can help with any bike repairs and servicing before we go and on route any questions please call me ASAP

PS check my videos on YouTube ( 25 stone rider ) of my last ride I did in Spain from Blanes to Valencia last November.

Re: What do you do with your luggage if sightseeing?

26 May 2015 - 7:18pm
Put your valuables and important papers in a bar bag and take it with you while you sightsee, leaving the bike locked up.
Rely on gut feeling in campsites, if the place looks rough then don't stay there in the first place, but if you must then take the valuables with you.
People have horror stories regarding hearing of someone being robbed in a campsite, but I've never heard a first hand report, I think it is a rare occurrence.
I don't carry much of any value that will not fit in my bar bag apart from tent, sleeping bag and air mattress.
When sightseeing in towns I find it more convenient to walk and leave the bike locked up at the campsite/hotel/hostel, perhaps taking a bus into city centres if it's too far to walk.
I think there is a lot of unjustified concern regarding fear of theft while touring

Re: Lightweight packable trousers - recommendations please

26 May 2015 - 7:11pm
You haven't said what sort of touring or what you intend to do in the evenings. There's been some excellent advice on the sort of trousers I'd want for lounging around the campsite and going down the pub, but this might not be what you want.
Plain black golfing trousers from the likes of Sports Direct, pack smaller, dry quicker and are more crease resistant than my Rohan trousers, not bad for around £8. They are nothing like as robust, but then you might not be looking for that. I set of without any evening trousers once and bought some cheap polyester ones from Primark, they were fine.

Re: St.Malo to Nice

26 May 2015 - 7:02pm
Hi
Rode St Malo Nice last summer. Can't comment on bike hire, but can help with trains as I had to get back to St Malo.

In short you can return up the East side of France to St Malo via Paris, but you have to put bike in a bag as far as Paris if using TGV. Plus you may have to change stations in Paris with your bike in a box.

I couldn't be bothered with that and got a local train to Narbonne then TGV via Bordeaux, Paris, St Malo with bike in one piece. No need to change in Paris, just platforms at Montparnasse. Don't forget to book your bike on the TGV as soon as you can up to 3 months before you travel.

I didn't follow the route you mentioned, but it's a great ride across France and the Alps just top off the ride at the end.
Have fun

Re: What do you do with your luggage if sightseeing?

26 May 2015 - 6:43pm
Try doing an advanced search (top right of page) on security. There have been a number of recent posts on security of panniers when sightseeing, security of money, security of barbags, etc.

Many people have a strategy for panniers, but it often boils down to what suits at the time. Generally most would say that it is not a major problem, especially if there are two of you (watcher and shopper).

Re: Handlebar bag as security risk

26 May 2015 - 6:24pm
I like to think I have good instincts too but more likely I've just been lucky and even if I do have better instincts, thinking like that would make me complacent . Extra precautions, such as bag choice, even if they just reduce the risk by 1%, can do no harm.

To be specific, let's say valuables = money+passport. I'll have a cheap phone and an inexpensive camera that I won't mind losing too much. The safest place for the valuables is next to your body, hidden from obvious view (neck pouches or money belts) or at least in front pockets not rear. Is it comfortable to cycle like that? I doubt it, though maybe it's fine, sometimes. They might get wet. It's tempting to put them all in the bar bag. The other alternative is panniers but then you'd have to take them out every time you leave the bike for a few minutes. So you keep them in your bar bag and every time you stop you move them to your body (assume you've got lots of pockets). What a hassle. And every time you shift them around you increase the chance of losing them and also advertising them to onlookers - sorry if I sound ultra-paranoid here I am actually quite trusting . So they stay in the bar bag. Of course you have emergency cash and perhaps a card and copies of documents in other places on the bike, so it's not that bad, and then there's the decoy wallet trick.

Ok, fine, say I accept the bar bag is indispensable. Still wouldn't it be better to have one that looks as regular as possible off the bike, that blends in more, and I don't think, say a bright yellow or red Ortlieb bar bag is very inconspicuous on the streets of, say, New Delhi. I know with a bicycle you will stand out anyway but there'll be many occasions when you'll be away from the bike. Of course, when in a city you check into a hotel, you have the space to reorganise your stuff and can walk with the valuables in pockets and perhaps a rucksack. But there'll be many other times when you'll stop in a city or large town when you won't have the chance to reshuffle things and will be walking around with your bar bag with all the valuables in it.

I'm probably not making any sense, am I?

Re: Lightweight packable trousers - recommendations please

26 May 2015 - 6:08pm
You can get Craghoppers for £15-£20 a pair in TKMax. The RRP is £40. Other places like Yeomans do them for £20-£25 and sometimes cheaper if you buy 2 pairs.

Re: Lightweight packable trousers - recommendations please

26 May 2015 - 5:58pm
Craghoppers trousers are good, IMO and as well as being quite reasonably priced to begin with, they are further discounted in their outlet shops.

Taking a different approach, TKmaxx can be excellent if you are lucky enough to find what you want.

Rohan stuff is OK but the price you pay seems to include a lot of expensive marketing and a target clientele with bags ( ) of money. I've had all sorts of Rohan stuff over the years BTW, and I'd probably have bought more if they didn't have such a patronising approach to what they consider shorter inside leg measurements. New Rohan lines start out at a silly price and then they have various sales and special offers to get those customers in who are not desperate to have the very latest catalogue release.

Re: Handlebar bag as security risk

26 May 2015 - 5:53pm
The only place I would worry about a bar bag is in a city. But in a city I would be staying a hotel and leaving it in the room / safe. I would just have my wallet on me in my front trouser pocket like I would at home so I don't see the problem.

Re: Lon Las Cymru - 4 or 5 days

26 May 2015 - 5:23pm
Nice! Do you have a writeup or blog? My LLC trip is just around the corner (end of July) - though I will be starting in Chester. Was the NCN 8 easy to follow? I see from the video (watched it without sound as I am at work) that there are some gates to pass through. I assume that is a common occurrence? Also - I hear there are some 25% grade hills in Wales - anything like that along NCN 8?

Re: Handlebar bag as security risk

26 May 2015 - 4:55pm
A throwaway wallet works for armed theft or mugging where it is a confrontation I reckon. Pickpocketing and a quick snatch of a bag and off (usually on a moped or similar) won't benefit from a throwaway. That is down to just being aware and catching on to what could happen before it does. Instincts I believe play a lot into this. I have never been robbed anywhere I have been. It is the same thing that has meant I have never had an accident on the bike. That is not through not being in such a situation but I really believe in people having good instincts and bad instincts for this.

Please note that I am not being conceited here I just have no other way to explain it. Some get into trouble others do not. If I could explain that I would be running courses in it and writing security books about it. There is money to be made in bottling security I reckon.

The muggers can have good and bad instincts too. I know a guy got mugged on Liverpool's train line through Central station to Moorfields. Trouble was he was a 4th Dan in Ju-jitsu and he broke the guy's arm when he took the knife off him. The mugger should have realized because the guy has a neck as wide as his head and a military bearing (was a non-com for a number of years I think). I hope that image pleases you if you have ever been mugged...a mugger getting his just deserts!!

Re: touring around france

26 May 2015 - 2:37pm
Hi Stuart

Im going to be camping and using hotels. from st malo i will be heading down towards Bordeaux then over to vontoux to do the 3 times up it in 24 hours, after that up to alps.

looking to do around 100km a day but that can change day by day,im still planning what stuff to take etc etc

kurt.

Re: Lightweight packable trousers - recommendations please

26 May 2015 - 2:29pm
Ray wrote:Rohan do some nice quality ones, but somewhat pricey.

Often worth a look in their "Souk", discontinued colours, lines at a good reduction. See http://www.rohan.co.uk/bargain-travel-and-outdoor-clothes-in-the-souk

Even the standard prices are justifiable if you can wear them as general purpose trews a lot of the time (I use Bags for work, including cycling to it, and get about 10-15 years out of a pair, I've just replaced some Goas wih their newer counterparts after slumming around in them for over a decade).

Pete.

Re: Handlebar bag as security risk

26 May 2015 - 2:27pm
I don't think bar bags pose a bad security risk , but if in a dodgy country doing a moving on tour (I got robbed at gun point in Mexico many years ago on a ctc tour) spread your valuable about. On this occasion I did the standard, wallet with one or tow days local currency, a pile of one dollars with a 10 and a 5 on the front and expired credit cards. You hand this over , they are nervous and they don't have time to look at it in detail generally , so I just lost about £30 , the other couple that got robbed had everything in a bum bag and lost a lot including passports.

Its about accessing the place and the risk .

If I was worried in a country with reliable access to cash points just carry 2 days money and 2 cards hidden say in your shoes

Re: People who have cycled the Pamir Highway...

26 May 2015 - 1:53pm
Hi there,

Nothing that is isn't common sense really,

- ideally camp where you are out of sight (for piece of mind and to stop folks turning up)
- near a water supply
- covered from the elements
- ask local land owners if it is okay to pitch if on someone's land (this would possibly happen on the first bit of the M41 between Kalaikhum and Khorog and the Wakhan, as they are fairly populated in places, and it shouldn't be an issue)
- try to camp lower at attitudes, where possible. Climb High Sleep Low mantra - a general rule of thumb would be to try and only ascend 500m in altitude per day to be on the safe side, this is not always possible and practical, but the lower you sleep the better chance you have of not becoming effected by AMS and altitude related issues, and you will get a better nights sleep certainly as it shouldn't be as cold or exposed to as much of the weather elements.
- try to bury human waste
- leave nothing but foot prints.

Overall The Pamir provides a wealth of amazing secluded & isolated camping opportunities.

Enjoy
Kieran

Re: Handlebar bag as security risk

26 May 2015 - 1:52pm
I live in the UK and for touring I've only been in Western Europe so far but am looking ahead - globally. I am not truly worried but just tried out a bar bag recently and wondering if they are worth sticking with. I've been around a fair bit on foot - so far only the northern hemisphere - and no nothing has happened. As you say, "My valuables tended to be in jeans front pocket or in a pair of hiking shorts in the front zipped pockets on the leg." - yes this is similar to how I have travelled, and yet "The whole idea of walking into town with your bar bag strap across your shoulder and your arm over it like you have a million dollars in diamonds in it just says to me "rob me! Rob me now!!!"" - yes this is exactly what I mean! So a bar bag is perfectly safe if carried without an arm over it?

I did a backpacking trip crossing many countries three years ago, and carried an SLR in its own bag - separately, outside the rucksack, and was very self conscious of it all the way through, I thought it made me stand out as a tourist. People will say you will stand out no matter what, but there is a way of looking more tourist and less tourist.

Sure, body language matters more, but my point with the bar bag, is, it is so convenient to chuck everything in there, that no matter what, if you lose that one bag, you're screwed. I'm not so sure that's a good idea.

Re: Handlebar bag as security risk

26 May 2015 - 1:22pm
Where do you live and where do you tour? Someone mentioned Barcelona and that city is known for pickpockets. However so is London now. I think any big city you are more at risk of pickpockets and snatch artists. That is as true at home (in the UK) as overseas. More exotic locations I do not know but my guess if you had someone pointing a knife or gun at you there is a very good reason to give up you bar bag or other bag no matter what difference the valuables container makes I think the same thing happens, you are deprived of something. My partner got held up by knife to the throat once in South America. I reckon even the secret waist belt would be handed over in such a case.

I have read another paranoid thread on here recently. Not really paranoid but someone fretting about touring security in Western Europe, sounded like in the countryside / small towns too. At the end of the day in most of Western Europe take the same level of precautions you would for equivalent areas. Out in the countryside is less of a risk than major city like London, Barcelona, etc. Do not pat your valuables and above all act naturally. The whole idea of walking into town with your bar bag strap across your shoulder and your arm over it like you have a million dollars in diamonds in it just says to me "rob me! Rob me now!!!". I am not well travelled but I have been in a few cities and places with a bad rep before now. Never been robbed yet. My valuables tended to be in jeans front pocket or in a pair of hiking shorts in the front zipped pockets on the leg. I am aware of stuff around me and have a healthy level of risk awareness I think. I do not stress to the nth degree over a bag looking more interesting to thieves because at the end of the day i believe it is the professional you really have to worry about. They will know if the bar bag is worth nicking as much as a handbag or jacket pocket of some other person. You could be wearing a bumbag or a waist belt under your clothes. They will know it by your demeanour and the way you hold yourself. Can anyone wear a hidden waist security belt without patting their tummy where it is???

If you are truly worried then work out strategies to cope if you do get robbed. How to get a new passport? How to get money without card or other means? Sort that out then perhaps you can stress less about stopping the theft (which I think will happen if it is going to). Just my idea on this. Of course do not be stupid. Take a look at what locals are doing, e.g. barcelona locals wearing rucksacks on the front in their subways. However, I did see a tourist in Ambleside at the weekend with the same way of wearing a sack. That is overkill for the area and marks you out as worth robbing IMHO as much as wearing it the other way around.

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