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Updated: 2 hours 5 min ago

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


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