CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Re: Wild camping in England ???

2 March 2015 - 11:31am
You could always pop in to the local pub and ask around. Many rural pubs have back gardens where they will let you pitch up after spending some cash in the bar. Or maybe one of the locals will let you use their garden. Never be afraid to ask. Most folk are sympathetic to lone travellers.

Re: Warmshowers "membership" charges.

2 March 2015 - 11:23am
To be honest I would feel better paying as I can't really offer to host due to house size, we don't have a spare room.

None of this money (or any other money) will be going to the people who host you.

The rewards for hosts are some interesting company, getting to meet and talk to people from other countries and cultures (even those who you are not disposed to like but you get a chance to meet them and hear how they see things).

When I am doing my faster touring I do not want to use warmshowers as really I only want to eat, wash, sleep and leave. I consider a bit of socialising with the host to be expected of me.

There is also the big idea of reciprocity, I do not expect any payment from my guests because I have already been paid up front, tens of times over, by people across the world who have put me up on my travels.

Further, motels, B & Bs and the like have to conform to some kinds of standards: liability insurance, fire regs etc. To me that's worth paying for.

There are different styles of traveling, I noticed people traveling on three different tiers on my world trip.

There were those who went to "Western hotels of the five star variety" and they were predominantly from the USA.
Those who went to budget hostels which were mostly travelers from other nations and enjoyed socialising with other travelers but doing so in the environment and style of that country.
Then there were those who wanted to mix with and if possible stay with local people.

To me that third group are the ones who have really experienced a country rather than being tourists.

Re: Warmshowers "membership" charges.

2 March 2015 - 11:08am
I joined early last year and following that we hosted about seven or eight visitors. I joined because I thought the idea of reciprocal hosting was inherently a good one and I believe that people who tour on bicycles are generally sound folk who are likely to share my views on the outdoors, the environment, sustainable transport etc. This has been confirmed by the visitors we had from all over Europe last year. Now I am a few days away from taking my bike to Barcelona and cycling back to my home in Paisley. It will take me about five weeks and I already have confirmed offers from warmshowers members for 12 nights. This, together with some budget hotels and hostels plus a few campsites should mean very little need for wild camping en route. I think the biggest challenge of a trip like this is going to be the loneliness factor. Hours on the road with no conversation and having the prospect of a night in a family home sharing stories will be a great comfort. Hotels and B&B's may have standards to meet but they are primarily money making enterprises and you are a customer. The accommodation you will get as a guest in the home of another cyclist is offered purely on the basis of their generosity, humanity and willingness to share what they have. All attributes to be commended in my opinion. I willingly responded to the email by making a contribution and would do so even if I didn't use the site because I believe that any medium which allows people from different countries and cultures to meet and socialise with each other is inherently a good thing and worthy of my support. I will try to keep up a blog en route at barcataeborrheid.wordpress.com if anyone is interested in following my progress.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

2 March 2015 - 10:52am
Matt

I agree with you, except on the point of what a touring bike is for. Mine is a tourer when I tour, but for most of the time it is my general purpose bike and it's brilliant at that too. My Club Tour is just about ideal for touring on road or surfaced track, but it is also great for going for a spin for an hour around the lanes. If it were too heavy it would spend more time in the back of the garage.

Re: How to convince others cycle touring is safe?

2 March 2015 - 10:47am
I've done 3 x 2-week cycle trips on the continent, and I feel safer there than I do cycling on the roads in the UK...

Re: Chromebook for touring?

2 March 2015 - 10:25am
I've only used remote access software within limited/local networks that are constantly in use, so am not sure about the fine print, but in order to use the home PC remotely, does it not need to be on all the time? Are you meaning to go touring and leave the PC running at home, and permanently connected to the internet? Hmmm.

Also...

al_yrpal wrote:If you have a poor internet connection at home forget the Chromebook it relies heavily on a good continuous internet connection.

But you're talking about using it for touring purposes, as well as remotely connecting to a home machine? Surely if a home connection needs to be solid, any connection 'on the road' is likely to compare poorly. This aspect suggests poor useability for touring. I'd also suggest 16gb is not huge... Pictures are bad enough, but you're a music buff; you'll need an external or at least a hefty micro SD to compensate surely?

Re: Warmshowers "membership" charges.

2 March 2015 - 9:34am
To be honest I would feel better paying as I can't really offer to host due to house size, we don't have a spare room.

+2 I've had people that I've met on the road give me a night's stay but they had a chance to look at me and vice versa and I've been very grateful. But I just can't bring myself to ask people I've never met to put me up. Further, motels, B & Bs and the like have to conform to some kinds of standards: liability insurance, fire regs etc. To me that's worth paying for.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

2 March 2015 - 9:32am
pwa wrote:Matin

I have 2 Thorns. One is a tandem with 26" wheels and Rohloff, and its a steady, comfortable ride on country lanes. But it doesn't freewheel down hill as fast as my solo bikes, and tandems are usually said to roll faster than solos on the flat. I suppose the Rohloff may be to blame with its draggy freewheel action, but mainly I blame having 26x1.75" tyres. They just don't roll as well as 700cx32mm on lanes.

My other Thorn is my Club Tour 700c wheeled tourer, and it is a much nicer ride. It rolls well, it feels comfortable and its mountain bike gears are just right. Drop bars are my favourites for comfort, much better than the straight bars on the tandem. I can see how problems getting tyres in far flung parts of the world might influence wheel choice, but I do all my touring in Europe.

If I was asked to recommend Thorn I could not do it. Their stuff is too expensive. And their paint finishes are hit and miss. My dark green Club Tour has decent paint, but my bright yellow tandem has paint flaking off all over the place. So much for tough powder coat! And some of Thorn's solo machines are too heavy. Okay, you might be someone who carries a lot of stuff on tour, but are you only ever going to ride a bike fully laden?

Good points.
I'm a Thorn Raven man myself.
I find SJS very good to deal with and although their parts are not cheap they have given me lots of free advice when fixing my Raven. And I didn't buy it from them.
Your last sentence should be set against the posters question.
He wants a touring bike. Not an every day bike.
I often wish I had a lighter faster bike when I ride my Raven but bought it for touring. So should not complain.
Boom proof but not a rocket.
Matt

Re: Touring in Norway

2 March 2015 - 9:13am
It would be great if people could suggest specific places/roads I wouldn't want to miss while in Norway so I can try and work them into my route.

There are a lot of very nice roads to choose from, and as Vorpal says, picking the best will always be a bit subjective... But I'd second the recommendations of Geirangerfjord and Aurlandsfjord. If you can work it into your route, the Gamle Strynefjellsvegen is (for my money) one of the best roads in Norway: info here http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/gamle-strynefjellsvegen. If heading north, you could come up from Stryn, then turn left at the end of the road and drop down to Geiranger from there. Further north, the Atlantic Highway is spectacular (though can be a bit busy with campervans): there's an undersea tunnel at the (north) end which is closed to bikes, but there's a fairly regular bus service through it which takes bicycles.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

2 March 2015 - 9:08am
Matin

I have 2 Thorns. One is a tandem with 26" wheels and Rohloff, and its a steady, comfortable ride on country lanes. But it doesn't freewheel down hill as fast as my solo bikes, and tandems are usually said to roll faster than solos on the flat. I suppose the Rohloff may be to blame with its draggy freewheel action, but mainly I blame having 26x1.75" tyres. They just don't roll as well as 700cx32mm on lanes.

My other Thorn is my Club Tour 700c wheeled tourer, and it is a much nicer ride. It rolls well, it feels comfortable and its mountain bike gears are just right. Drop bars are my favourites for comfort, much better than the straight bars on the tandem. I can see how problems getting tyres in far flung parts of the world might influence wheel choice, but I do all my touring in Europe.

If I was asked to recommend Thorn I could not do it. Their stuff is too expensive. And their paint finishes are hit and miss. My dark green Club Tour has decent paint, but my bright yellow tandem has paint flaking off all over the place. So much for tough powder coat! And some of Thorn's solo machines are too heavy. Okay, you might be someone who carries a lot of stuff on tour, but are you only ever going to ride a bike fully laden?

Re: Bike box for airline too short

2 March 2015 - 4:43am
Re packing bike eg in poly bag so handlers can see and treat better!!! Not so sure.

I remember a few years ago at Gatwick when I used to bubble wrap my bike. The guy at the oversize luggage said the handlers hate bikes packed like that and would go out of their way to treat badly. I also used to have problems in Australia as well. Basically the handlers didnt like any thing that made their job a tad more difficult.

In places like Asia, they often did treat better, although not always a good thing. One baggage handler tried to 'straighten' my handle bars after in had tightened them parallel to the frame.

This is why I favour a box if poss/available.

Re: Advice sought on choosing a touring bike

2 March 2015 - 4:38am
There are only three bits to a bike: the bit that makes it go, the bit that make it stop, and the bit that holds it together.
The bit that makes it go can be upgraded at any time. I prefer a Rohloff hub. It's about the same price as very top grade Shimano kit. You need a special frame with vertical drop-outs. So cheap Shimano stuff will do. The wheels should be 26 inch because when you have wheel trouble, which you will do, you can find any old mountain bike in any south American village and buy a wheel or buy the spokes. You can't do that with 700c wheels. Tyres for mountain bikes can be bought anywhere. Tyres for 700c wheels will usually be racing tyres, assuming you can find them.
Brakes are important: V brakes are miles better than the crap caliper brakes Dawes still fit to the galaxy. It's worth upgrading to Shimano xt levers so you can brake with one finger: their better leverage makes descents with a heavily loaded bike pleasurable rather than scary.
The frame should be steel: it's bombproof. Almost immune to baggage handlers, bus drivers, falling over, etc.
Don't worry about the weight that's all cobblers. You'll be carrying camping kit, food, water, wine, warm clothing, thermarest, plus your weight. It can all get up to about 100 kilos so a few pounds here or there is irrelevant.
Remember when you buy the bike you might one day need to have someone in the uk who can post you the correct part. I like Thorn: they have a record of my bike and I can ring them up and ask for a part to be posted.
To start with, you might want to get a reasonable used bike. One day you'll want one designed for you - you'll be sitting on it for a long time. I've just done seven weeks in south America and was glad many many times the bike was comfy.

Re: Bike box for airline too short

2 March 2015 - 4:23am
An afterthought: once pedals are off (for gawd's sake do this a week before flying and not at the airport as pedals can be really stubborn*) you can just put them back on the other way round. This way, if the bike is dropped on to the chainring, the pedal takes the strain.
*if it won't come off, add heat by using a camping gas stove and then wrench it. Repeat until it moves. Then put coppaslip in so it doesn't jam.

Re: Bike box for airline too short

2 March 2015 - 4:19am
Also, I've just read the advice on the ctc page about packing the bike and agree with every word. I might add that you can swivel the brake levers so they are protected when the bike goes down a chute from a conveyor belt on to a cart. STI levers are quite fragile and if you turn them inwards the handlebars take the hit.

Re: Bike box for airline too short

2 March 2015 - 4:08am
There were no bike boxes available when I needed to pack the bike a few days ago so I went to the local supermarket and collected a load of empty cardboard boxes, cling film and gaffer tape. Then I dismantled the bike (including taking the front forks off) and wrapped it all in cling film to help hold it together. (There were cable ties also holding it together.) Then the box was made to fit the bike, then wrapped in cling film to give it all a bit more strength, then wrapped in parcel tape and gaffer tape. I even added a handle and labelled it in the local language.
I did this because the journey home includes a minibus, flight, airport trolley, left luggage office for two days, airport trolley, flight from Chile to Brazil, then flight Brazil-heathrow, then a car journey. I thought putting the bike into a box made the journey easier. Usually I prefer the plastic bag option cos then the baggage handlers can see it's a bike. The bag needs to be strong: the ctc bag is very good but you can buy strong plastic and make a bag for about half the price. The plastic bag can then be used as a groundsheet protector.

Re: Wild camping in England ???

2 March 2015 - 3:30am
Hi TM , I'm from Scotland and am familiar with the legislation re wild camping there. I'm just curious as to how to plan a relaxed trip such as the Coast and Castles route from Newcastle North. Seems it would be wise to book accommodation at different stages on the way up through England. I've no problem with that now that it's clear there's very little or any alternative available.

Re: Wild camping in England ???

2 March 2015 - 12:49am
I spent one of my wildcamping nights on slopes of Coniston old man once when I met this old guy on a bike. It was well off any path or bridleway. He'd taken up bikepacking when age limited him backpacking. A real character who spent 5 minutes moaning about how he'd just found out they'd turned off analogue TV signal meaning his tiny portable crt tv with car battery didn't work anymore. I kid you not he'd be riding the hills in the lakes and elsewhere pitching up and watching tv. His home area still had analogue so he'd not realised it was off elsewhere.

Anyway him and others I've met on bikes prove you can wildcamp in some areas without issues. If you want to wild camp pick your areas in England or go to most of Scotland. Parts around loch Lomond it's banned and other hotspots of poor camping behaviour.

Have fun doing it BTW.

Re: Warmshowers "membership" charges.

1 March 2015 - 11:33pm
To be honest I would feel better paying as I can't really offer to host due to house size, we don't have a spare room.

This has been my point of view so far, I'd really like to use this as a visitor but I wouldn't be able to reciprocate.
I've never thought it fair to use the offer of places but not be able to host in return. Maybe paying a fee will ease this, but I do think it defeats the object somewhat

Re: Touring in Norway

1 March 2015 - 10:06pm
What to do in Norway somewhat depends on what you like... I usually tell visitors that Oslo is worth 2 or 3 days. Maybe more, if you like museums. http://www.visitoslo.com/n has information about the attractions, passes, etc. I usually take visitors to the Viking Ship Museum, and Bygdøy is a nice place to cycle, as well. Fram and Kontiki museums are also there. You can take you bike on the ferry, or cycle there.

Other things... Sognefjord and Aurlandfjord or perhaps Geirangerfjord. I like Aurlandsfjord, and Stegastein (a view point above the fjord), which you can get to by bicycle. That climb / descent is eell known amongst cyclists, and it's quite common to see cyclists on that road. It's not as famous as Trollstigen, but the ride across the mountains on Aurland is also amazing (but cold!). There are lots of things that visitors typically do, like hike up to Preikestolen that I guess you can fond out on the internet. I've never been there, but I'm not entirely comfortable with things like that, and prefer something like Stegastein

I also said I would recommend some routes... I think I have a suggestion, but I wanted to check a couple of things with a colleague, and will post here after I have done so.

Re: Fitting a Blackburn Lowrider on a Surly Disk Trucker

1 March 2015 - 9:13pm
Fretz54 wrote:It appears that the rack is not suitable with Carridise bags. Some of the reviews have cut slots so the rack will take the carridise clips, I'm happy to do this as long as I can get them to fit.
hey Fretz
I have the same rack and the same bags... I bought it off here from a guy who modified it so they would fit will get a photo if you like
he just put 2 holes in each side look rough but it gets the job done.. hope this helps

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