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Updated: 1 hour 56 min ago

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 5:34pm
I note that Altura have "closed the gap" somewhat since I bought mine, which would, no doubt, have an effect on my choices if I were in the same position again.
I wasn't suggesting buying cheap and nasty with a view to upgrading. I was suggesting buying reputable kit at a modest price to so that the OP can get out there, have some fun, and develop an understanding of what he really wants. I find it a real downer to buy high end kit and then discover there's something I don't quite like, wish I'd gone the other way... I discovered I prefer to ride light and use a trailer!
If I was after new panniers I think I'd be looking at Ortlieb precisely because of the plastic finish - looks to me as if it might be less prone to carting filth indoors at the end of a wet day. Does it work like that?

Re: North Sea route - Rotterdam to Esbjerg

11 November 2014 - 4:20pm
Hi Peter,

Your footer says "Please excuse my English I'm Dutch"

In my experience Dutch people speak English better than some native Brits

No excusing required

Evidence of this is that I have just edited this 3 times for typos

BTW interested in this thread because I am 20 miles from the Harwich to Hoek ferry and often thought of a bit of cycling in Holland.


Gibraltar - Perpignan (France) through Sierra Nevada

11 November 2014 - 4:13pm

I'm organizing a bike trip across Europe this summer and the first leg of my trip will be going from Gibraltar to the south of France (probably around Perpignan).
1. Do you have any route suggestions?

I've found a route that seems nice, going up to Malaga, then over to Guadix in the Sierra Nevada, then up to Cuenca and over to Girona (then north to France). Unfortunately all the websites I can find about it are in Dutch. The route is called the "Andalusia Route" on Cycling Unlimited (http://www.cyclingeurope.nl/routes/andalusie/index.php).
2. Has anyone done this route or parts of this route before? How was it?
3. Do you know of any good maps or guides for this route? (Ideally in english or french)
I'm thinking of using GPS tracks, but I think I would still like some hard copies of maps just in case. I'm sure there are other resources out there that I haven't considered though, I'm pretty new to all this.

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!

Re: North Sea route - Rotterdam to Esbjerg

11 November 2014 - 3:55pm
foxyrider wrote: I want to visit some of the islands
Do you also mean Dutch islands? If that's the case I can give you some information. There are possibillities for island-hopping, but I'm not sure if this is available in English.

Re: Touring Cassette

11 November 2014 - 2:35pm
For touring, with camping gear, I'd change to an 11-32 cassette, and also put a 24T chainring on.
You've always got the option of not using your bottom gear, but if your bottom gear isn't low enough, you'll suffer, or have to push (and pushing a loaded bike isn't that easy). You'll also find that you need lower gears at the end of a long loaded ride than you do on a brief test ride at home.

If you do change cassette, you'll also want to change the chain, unless it's fairly new. If you change back at the end of the tour, change the chain back too, and keep the touring chain with its matching cassette. Quick links make this sort of thing quite easy.

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 2:02pm
foxyrider wrote:bogmyrtle wrote:The next most irritating thing about Ortliebs are the roll tops. The add on pockets have roll tops. I won't be using them.
Ortliebs have their fans. I doubt I will ever be one of them.

Not sure why you should be so hateful of the roll tops, if it was a UK company i'm sure you'd have no issue but Johnny foreigner came up with it (after a very wet tour in southern England!) so all the flaps, buckles and drawstrings are clearly better...

...Of course there's always Vaude who offer an extensive range of both traditional and rolltop bags - oh i forgot, they are German too - erm Lidl bags are cheap and work okay, damn, Johnny foreigner again.
Have I missed something? I didn't see the slightest hint of xenophobia in the comments. People are entitled to have differing opinions without being portrayed as bigots. There are plenty of people touring with Lancashire bags attached to German racks mounted on Far Eastern bicycles

Re: Belgium and Luxembourg

11 November 2014 - 1:36pm
Hi Martin,

I have not cycled through Luxemburg but have done lots on my motorbike. If I were going I would definately ride the N27 from Esche sure Sure to Ettelbruck. It will be hilly but follows a river with lots of superb scenery, a castle or two and several riverside campsites, plus it is very quiet with minimal traffic. Probably about 20 miles long and absolutely lovely.

BTW Luxemburg is covered in very nice roads and towns, I visit when I go to the Eiffel and always spend a day in Luxemburg and have lunch at Esch sure Sure.



Re: panniers panniers panniers???

11 November 2014 - 1:30pm
Spend a hundred plus quid on some fancy new panniers then punch a couple of holes in them cos they haven't got rear pockets! Anyone got a drill so I can fit another bottle cage.

Seriously, I am a Super C chap. I like the heavyweight canvas, look and wear wise. The rear pockets are very useful. At the mo, one has 3 x 500ml bottles, 2 water and one milk, wouldn't want that spilling inside my waterproof panniers. The other has odds and s's eg lube bottle, lights, plastic fork and spoon, snacks, poly bags, a banana, etc.

I agree that its a bad idea to buy cheap with idea of upgrading. Also don't buy very cheap, they will probably fall apart once you start to overloading them, like we all do. Saw some guy in NZ a while ago he bought cheap and they lasted about a week before starting to fail.

If you think about the forces that you put the panniers through, you will realise why they have to be strong. They are dead weight and be every bump is a shock to them, add speed and the forces increase greatly.

Re: Touring Cassette

11 November 2014 - 1:17pm
If you are commuting 15 mpd and have been for a while, my guess is that you are probably due a new chain and may have to change the casette due to excessive wear. What mileage do you reckon its done?

This is no help in sizing it, but may make you feel better knowing it needed changing anyway.

Re: Belgium and Luxembourg

11 November 2014 - 12:55pm

It's in french but maybe usefull
the RAVEL is for cyclist,walker....réseau autonome de voies lentes

North Sea route - Rotterdam to Esbjerg

11 November 2014 - 12:39pm
I'm doing this next summer, probably late July/early August, got my maps and general route sorted. I want to visit some of the islands and i anticipate mostly camping over the two weeks.

Has anyone got any particular recomendations for stuff to see, particular campsites/accomodation to use / avoid or route advice - all welcomed.

Re: Touring Cassette

11 November 2014 - 12:22pm
You probably don't need the 32 thats being spouted above but certainly increasing your range to 28/29 would be appropriate. You are used to riding a fairly close spaced set of gears so with your triple front you should be able to cope with almost anything. Of course that might not be true if you are lumping forty kilos around the Alps I find that i need @ 20% lower gearing when loaded than unloaded, going too low can actually make it more difficult rather than easier. try loading your bike for touring and doing a regular ride, it'll give you an idea of what you need and can cope with.

Another advantage of not going too big at the rear is that you can keep the chain shorter which helps prevent loosing it on rough surfaces!

Re: Traveling by Train.

11 November 2014 - 12:03pm
Having spent two hours on the phone yesterdat trying to book Nottingham to Portsmouth Harbour (for Isle of Wight), dealing with several different bicycle reservation departments of several rail companies, and the national lot, without nailing it down, my top tip is:

- (Possibly) do some online playing around first to find out which tickets are available for your route segments (eg advance), so you know the right suggestions to make.
- Go to your local station at a quiet time, and do the purchase and bicycle reservation bit there via the man who can look up far more at once than you can.
- Take a newspaper just in case.

My little man did it in about 20 minutes, including a return via Canterbury.

I ended up with Advance tickets with reservations for this Thursday £38 from Nottingham to Portsmouth in 2 segments because I wanted an extra hour in London as it is my first cycle-transit.
I may have saved £10 by booking 2 months ago.


Re: Outer Hebrides/Orkeys/Shetland tour.

11 November 2014 - 12:00pm
largeallan wrote:WOW!!! Fantastic photographs

Re: Touring Cassette

11 November 2014 - 11:43am
cycleruk wrote:For touring I'd change it for the lowest gear that your current setup would take.
Initially what cassette do you have, 7,8,9 or 10 speed ?
What rear derailleur is on the bike - road or MTB ?

You could also change the "granny gear" for something a little smaller quite cheaply.

Many thanks for the replies........

Think my cassette is either 9 or 10 speed (think 10)

The rear derailleur is a MTB ....

Is the garnny gear you are referring to at the front as I hardly use it ?



Belgium and Luxembourg

11 November 2014 - 11:41am
Now starting to think about next year's tour and putting together some ideas for a trip through Belgium to Luxembourg. As far as Namur or so the routes are fine. After that I would like to do a relaxed tour through the Ardennes taking in some nice small towns, forests, high areas, preferably quiet country routes, in other words the high points and ending up in Luxembourg. Don't particularly want to just do a straight line down to Luxembourg but wiggle about a bit taking time to see the best bits. Has anyone cycled this area and can recommend some routes/ must see places? Routes in gpx format would be especially welcome. Thanks in advance for the help.

Re: Touring Cassette

11 November 2014 - 11:28am
It depends on many things - riding style, strength, touring areas, touring load and a whole lot more. You already have lower gears than I used for lightweight hilly touring right up until my mid 40s (20 years ago). When I ventured into mountains and then added camping equipment I geared lower, down to 24 front 28 rear. I agree that your top gear is already fashionably large, larger than anything I ever raced on.

Changing the cassette for a tour may be as easy as keeping a separate chain and cassette for those occasions, assuming you have a rear mech capable of supporting the range of sprocket sizes.

So to make a judgement we need more information on what your capabilities are and what you intend. If as you say it is only a couple of weekends a year then I would not bother.

Re: Touring Cassette

11 November 2014 - 11:22am
I used a 22 chainring with an 11-32 cassette when I lived in Paignton, I needed it there. My advice to the OP is; if your rear mech arm is long enough to cope just fit an 11-32 cassette and leave your chainset as it is.

Re: Touring Cassette

11 November 2014 - 11:21am
For touring I'd change it for the lowest gear that your current setup would take.
Initially what cassette do you have, 7,8,9 or 10 speed ?
What rear derailleur is on the bike - road or MTB ?

You could also change the "granny gear" for something a little smaller quite cheaply.

Re: Outer Hebrides/Orkeys/Shetland tour.

11 November 2014 - 10:21am
WOW!!! Fantastic photographs Peter.....those would make anyone want to come to Scotland


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