CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago


26 May 2015 - 8:46am
If anyone is interested in going to Shetland for a tour we have just posted our travelogue of our Shetland tour last summer. If you like good quiet relatively traffic free roads, visiting islands, archaeology and watching wildlife then Shetland is a great place to tour. Oh and the natives are very friendly to .

The main highlights of Shetland for us were:
1.The RSPB bird reserve on Noss. It has an amazing bird life, Bonxies, Puffins, Arctic terns, Arctic skuas, Black guillemots with their wonderful red feet and an enormous gannetry with nearly 12,000 gannets.

2. Sitting on a bench at 2 o‛clock in the afternoon in Mid Yell overlooking the harbour where we watched an otter stroll across the road right in front of us by the post office, run across the beach, have a nose around the harbour jetty before swimming off across the bay. Absolutely amazing!

3. The Keen of Hammar nature reserve, which has some very rare alpine flowers growing in amongst some Serpentine and Harzburgite debris at the extreme height of 45m above sea level and we were delighted to find flowering the very rare Edmondstons Chickweed which is found nowhere else in the world.

4. The Unst Bus shelter, we had seen pictures of this in someone else's cycling blog and we just had to see it for ourselves.

5. Mousa Broch, the most complete broch in Scotland.

Oh and lastly we got involved in a helicopter rescue .

Re: Handlebar bag as security risk

26 May 2015 - 7:43am
I put all my valuables in a big, clunky, amateur looking bar bag - and I keep hold of it all the time. I also have a bit of cord in it and have been known to tie it to things like luggage trollies when at an airport and you could do the same with a supermarket trolly. As already mentioned, it is no different to a handbag - or a rucksack. Put your valuables in it and look after it.

Re: Lightweight packable trousers - recommendations please

26 May 2015 - 7:42am
Rohan do some nice quality ones, but somewhat pricey. If you are within reach of a Decathlon store they have a good range (look in the 'walking' aisles) for a lot less money, but decent quality.

Lightweight packable trousers - recommendations please

26 May 2015 - 7:31am
I'm looking for some lightweight packable trousers to wear in the evening when I'm touring

Not looking to spend a fortune

Re: D-Day Ride, Done It

25 May 2015 - 10:15pm
Hi groberts,

I thoroughly enjoyed your account of your D-Day Ride that you made a number of years ago now. I am also considering the same ride but I will take the ferry back to Portsmouth from Caen and not Le Harve - based on your recommendation!

I have never undertaken an overseas tour but I'm desperate to try. The only worry I have is security. I envisage - rightly or wrongly - that I'll go into a museum leaving my bike outside and when I return everything is gone! Naturally, I can lock the bike up to a post or something similar but it's things like panniers etc that might be a target for a quick fingered Frenchman or woman!

How did you handle this issue? Did you take your panniers into every museum / restaurant / toilet stop?

I'm sure that there are security measures in place at the front of these museums but it doesn't take much to whip off Altura panniers and be gone!

Any advice would be welcome.


St.Malo to Nice

25 May 2015 - 8:33pm
I want to do the St.Malo to Nice trip as suggested in the book, 'France en Velo'. I live in Canada and don't want the hassle of bringing my own bike by air. A few questions. Has anyone done this route on a rented bike from St Malo? Are there places in St. Malo for dedicated touring bikes with drop bars? I have to return from Nice to St.Malo so what is the train service like for carrying unboxed bikes? Appreciate your input guys!

Re: Tour of Switzerland

25 May 2015 - 8:17pm
foxyrider wrote:Unless you are used to alpine climbing give yourselves a few days of 'easier' terrain before you start on the passes!

There are routes that don't involve too much serious climbing but these can be directional eg the Brunig pass is much less climbing and stressful heading north than it is south.

The Veloland.ch site is excellent and on the ground signing is very good, be careful that you follow road cycle routes rather than MTB routes.

If you aren't great climbers you can take bikes on many Postbus (PTT) routes and most of the rail system.

Oh and be prepared for heavy rain - I've done quite a few trips to Switzerland at various times of year and whilst the weather can be glorious it can be dismal too, even in summer and it can be cold on top of the passes with snow even in July/August.
Thanks a lot, in my mind there is the climbing of san bernardino the first days and the climbing of neufenen pass or the furkapass the last days...i just hope the weather will be better than last year in Austria/Germany

Re: Tour of Switzerland

25 May 2015 - 8:10pm
JJF wrote:Switzerland has a network of cycle routes. I have used a few of them and found the signing very reliable.
Look at
I looked at it but i don't understand if those are all cycling route, only for cycles, or some of them are along the main roads

Re: National Parks in the Netherlands

25 May 2015 - 7:46pm
Glad you like the look of the Hoge Veluwe! (It translates as something like 'badlands'). The Netherlands have some lovely campsites, I used the Naturkampeerterrein sites (http://www.natuurkampeerterreinen.nl/ which are some of the best I've ever used.

Re: Fort William - Oban

25 May 2015 - 7:16pm
Avoid weekends etc and the A82 isn't too bad. Mostly it is bendy enough that traffic is slow. I've cycled it and preferred this section with 45-50mph traffic to the Glencoe/Blackmount section where given a gap in traffic some cars are passing you at 70mph and having to make overtale/brake decisions at motorway speed on a single carriageway about 18ft wide.

Between Ballachuilish and Oban there are long sections of smooth tarmac surfaced cycle path.

If time is an issue I wouldn't hesitate to go this way. Scenically going via Mull is better and on much, much quieter roads.

The ride across Morvern requires climbing up and over the top of the mountain. I remember it being a bit of a low-gear grind. It is likely steeper going the other direction. Once at the top, the coast down going that way would be fabulous.

Yes, I've done that one N-S and the long downhill is a nice reward for the relatively short steep uphill.

Re: Fort William - Oban

25 May 2015 - 6:41pm
I've ridden the A861 route from Oban to Fort William. I took a ferry to Mull, a short bike ride up the coast, and then a ferry to Morvern, a long ride up to the top of the Island, and then a ferry back to the mainland, with several miles on the A82 into Fort William. Here is the journal entry for that day's ride, complete with a couple dozen photos of the route. By far, the worst section was the few miles I spent on the A82. Were I to do it again, I would probably take the long way around, assuming the A830 is a safer road than the A82. Though, that might add too many more miles for a single day.

The ride across Morvern requires climbing up and over the top of the mountain. I remember it being a bit of a low-gear grind. It is likely steeper going the other direction. Once at the top, the coast down going that way would be fabulous.

Re: Fort William - Oban

25 May 2015 - 2:39pm
The A861 is the more pleasant route. The A82 is not too bad but it can get quite busy at times.....Weekends, holidays and morning and evening rush hours. You could always make the call on the day.

Between Ballachulish and Oban NCN78 is an ongoing project and may be a possibility. I haven't been that way on a bike recently but perhaps someone with more up to date information will be along shortly.


Have you thought about going via Mull. Take the Camusnagaul ferry but stay on Morvern and head for the ferry at Lochaline. If you have time explore Mull before getting the ferry from Craignure to Oban.

Re: Fort William - Oban

25 May 2015 - 2:30pm
As far as I remember I have not done the A861 route, but I've done the A82 several times. It's only about 10 miles, of which the first few are 30/40 speed limit; while it's not pleasant I have been on worse roads. Actually if it weren't for the traffic it would be a nice enough wooded road with sea views in places. If I had time to kill I'd use the A861 but if my schedule didn't allow that I would not worry too much about the A82.

(IMO the main problem with that section of A82 is that drivers go too fast round the many bends, so as a cyclist you have to stay well out in the road to be seen, but be prepared to take avoiding action.)

Re: Stand for fully loaded bike : recommendations?

25 May 2015 - 1:37pm
some kind of hooked walking stick to create a sort of tripod? lean against top tube? As some people here have said I dont like the idea of tightening something like a stand to the tubes of the frame in case they are damaged.


Cycling the coast of Spain

25 May 2015 - 1:34pm
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: North Sea Cycle Route

25 May 2015 - 1:09pm
I haven't had a chance to look at the files yet, but perhaps you can used this as a starting point


and the money saved on maps can be invested in Tuborg

Re: Stand for fully loaded bike : recommendations?

25 May 2015 - 12:54pm
Mike777 wrote:.......
Are there any good stands that people would recommend for a fully loaded bike with front and rear panniers

I have used the click-stand http://www.click-stand.com/ for several years. It works for me, of course you have to engage the grey matter on soft ground...

My bike is very well loaded....


That said I reckon the best addition is the 2 bungeee 'hand brakes' you use on both brakes. Most times there is a convenient wall or fence to lean the bike against, engage both brakes and it's as stable as a rock.... They are easily made with bungee cord and left on the bike...

The actual clikstand generally is only used when loading / unloading the panniers or if there is nothing to lean against which is rare. The brakes are 'on' every time the bike is not wheeling....

Overnight, I normally lay the bike down.

Re: Stand for fully loaded bike : recommendations?

25 May 2015 - 12:36pm
hondated wrote:This link may interest you

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum/bo ... ted=0&v=2p
I read about the Clickstand when I was considering this problem. I was a bit put off by the price, for what is essentially as stick. So I've bought a collapsible walking stick off ebay for £3. It's lightweight and compact. The handle happily slots firmly under the junction of the seat stays and seat tube. Used in conjunction with a velcro brake lever strap (to steady the bike) I expect it to work perfectly well, although I've not used it yet.

Re: Stand for fully loaded bike : recommendations?

25 May 2015 - 12:31pm
What bike frame are you looking to put the stand on? some of the manufactures don't recommend you fit them due to thin frame walls.

Fort William - Oban

25 May 2015 - 12:26pm
Hi guys

Was wondering what people's opinions are on cycling either the A82 to Oban from Fort William or crossing over to Camusnagaul and taking the A861 to Corran and then heading back on over? I've heard the A861 is a nicer road but would be interested to hear if anyone has experience of them. Albeit ferry's are fun, I'm just wondering how much better those 10 or so miles on the A861 are than the A82.




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