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Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

Re: How do I get to St Malo from US?

9 April 2015 - 2:52pm
iviehoff wrote:Since it is now illegal to cycle on the A120 in the immediate vicinity of Stansted, you have to use Dunmow Rd to Takeley and then Parsonage Road to the airport[...]But unfortunately the major M11 junction is not avoidable by any practical route.
Why is the route via Birchanger and NCR16 over the M11, then the cycleway alongside Long Border Road not practical?

Back to the original question: I'd fly direct into Paris CDG and then take trains to St Malo. If determined to do LHR-Plymouth-ferry, then I'd take one of the Paddington services (Connect if not in enough of a hurry to pay the stonking Express fair), and book a bike ticket for a Great Western Plymouth service.

Re: How do I get to St Malo from US?

9 April 2015 - 1:34pm
Dinard Airport is only served from a few UK airports (and not from any French or other airport), so no practical direct alternative to going via Stansted if you want to fly there. Someone mentioned Aurigny, an airline, who are at Gatwick. But they serve Dinard from Guernsey - maybe it is doable but it would be indirect.

Rennes Airport is the next nearest alternative airport - about 75km from St-Malo - and has a much greater range of flights, the Paris CDG flight being the most useful connection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennes%E2% ... es_Airport

TonyR wrote:I'm surprised it was only occasional - non-folding bikes are not allowed on the Stansted Express.
It does now say that, but that is a fairly recent policy change, because it was very different last time I checked, sadly.

When Stansted Express was previously run by National Express, in practice boxed bikes were permitted on the train, even if it the website long said that non-folding bikes in general were not allowed. Maybe this is still true, but probably requires verbal confirmation, because that's how it was for a long time under NEx, before it became an admitted policy rather shortly before they lost control of the operation. When Abellio first took over Stansted Express, they liberalised the regime and allowed bikes in general to be taken. However they have now gone the other way it seems. It is a bit daft because the trains are frequently very empty, I've never been on one that was other than very empty. The sensible thing would be to have a timed policy related to when the train is busy. Also, in the past, there used to be slow non-express trains you could use, subject to time of day restrictions, but those no longer run.

You can still get to Stansted with a bike by train, sort-of, in two rather time-consuming ways. There are trains coming in to Stansted from the north which take bikes. So if you get a train from Liverpool St to somewhere like Audley End or Newport (Essex) - or even Kings Cross to Cambridge - you can then change onto a train to Stansted. I leave detailed research of the best method to others. There will be time-of-day restrictions on the train between London and the change station, and you may need a cycle reservation on the train you change onto, again needs testing, so this is a horrible method I have never tried. The trains coming into Stansted from the N are sometimes very crowded, as they serve midlands/northern cities.

The other way, which I have done a few times, is to take a train from Liverpool St to Bishops Stortford, which is only 3 or 4 miles from Stansted, and cycle the last bit. There will be time of day restrictions on use of this train service. Since it is now illegal to cycle on the A120 in the immediate vicinity of Stansted, you have to use Dunmow Rd to Takeley and then Parsonage Road to the airport, ia Takeley, which is only slightly longer and much more conducive to staying alive than riding the A120. It is slightly entertaining getting out of Bishops Stortford station with a bicycle in the right direction - or at least there is a substantial short-cut avoiding a lot of pain if you find it - so print off a detailed local google map of that. But unfortunately the major M11 junction is not avoidable by any practical route.

On the other hand, Heathrow Express to Paddington takes bikes at all times, or did last time I checked.

Re: Front rack Advice

9 April 2015 - 1:14pm
Haven't got one myself, but one of the best for the money.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tortec-Expediti ... ition+rack

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 12:52pm
I've got a half body midge suit that I got for camping on Skye a couple of years ago it works well and allows for you to wear short sleaves without being eaten alive too much. This is the one I've got and the zip in the hood means that eating and drinking is just about possible. http://www.midgejacket.co.uk/index.htm

For bug spray I use smidge as I don't want deet on clothes or climbing gear given what it can do to nylon.

Re: Dilema - mud-guards or wider tyres

9 April 2015 - 12:51pm
I've switched between 23 and 25 a few times, and to be honest I don't notice a lot of difference, it's marginal at best. There's more difference in the construction of the tyre than width will get you.

However guards do make a massive difference and essential for a tour like that IMO. So keep the mudguards!

Re: How do I get to St Malo from US?

9 April 2015 - 12:42pm
TonyR wrote:[ That might make it mighty attractive to fly BA to London Heathrow then on to Paris even though it means a change of plane


I'd second that. The luggage check through works well. I've flown UK to USA from Glasgow changing plane at LHR with no issues. Handed the bike in at Glasgow then picked it up in LA. Also coming back San Francisco - LHR - Glasgow. So I'd suggest BA from Seattle to the most suitable French airport.

Re: How do I get to St Malo from US?

9 April 2015 - 11:57am
simonhill wrote:BA are usually rated well. Not sure if Virgin do your route, but they are excellent, 20kgs plus free bike.

+1 for BA and Virgin. US airlines can levy extortionate charges for carrying a bike but BA and Virgin carry them for free. Virgin don't fly from Seattle and they've discontinued their summer flights from Vancouver. Superficially the best route appears to be fly to Paris and then get the train. The big problem with that route is only served with direct flights from Seattle by Air France and Delta. Both charge for bikes. The Air France details are below and the US is Zone 4 so $300 round trip per bike on Air France (or Delta). That might make it mighty attractive to fly BA to London Heathrow then on to Paris even though it means a change of plane (BA is also much nicer to fly than AF or Delta). You could also go from Heathrow to Stansted to catch the St Malo flight and it needn't be too bad a journey. Heathrow Express to Paddington, cycle to Liverpool Street, train to Bishop Stortford, cycle to Stansted. Total cycling distance about 8 miles and you can order cycle route maps for the London leg in advance from Transport for London. I'm sure someone from here would accompany you on that leg as well if you are unsure about cycling in London.

Bikes and tandems
Bikes, folding bikes and tandems can be transported in the hold with prior approval from our Customer Service department. You must submit your request at least 48 hours before your flight’s departure. Folding bikes and tandems cannot be transported in the cabin, regardless of their size.

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Bike containers (175 x 21.5 x 86 cm / 68 x 8 x 33 in) are available for purchase at most Air France airport check-in desks.

Please note: when transporting a bike, folding bike or tandem on air + rail trips, SNCF requires the use of bike cases with the following maximum dimensions: 120 x 90 cm / 47 x 35 in.

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 11:00am
irc wrote:Another good reason for starting a coast ride Ardossan - Campbelltown in April . Gets the worst midgie areas out the way before peak season - end of May onwards.

Unfortunately, and one of the reasons I was quaking with fear is that I start my tour of the UK & Irish coast in July so I will be riding around scotland/Ireland in the peak season as it were! Meals on Wheels for the beggars!

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 10:55am
Another good reason for starting a coast ride Ardossan - Campbelltown in April . Gets the worst midgie areas out the way before peak season - end of May onwards.

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 10:45am
DarkNewt wrote:i may even invent a mosquito net that you can cycle along with on your bike...
I have seen a full all-in-one mozzy net suit for sale on the web somewhere

Re: Cycling from Suffolk to Paris

9 April 2015 - 10:14am
Welcome to the forum.

Some recent threads which may be of help: London to Paris. London to Dover. Haverhill to Dover.

Re: How do I get to St Malo from US?

9 April 2015 - 9:51am
The Paris and then train option sounds best BUT if I were you I would check the flights and cost of bikes first.

Air France/KLM aren't bike friendly! US airlines often much less so. You could end up paying hundreds of $s for your bikes. BA are usually rated well. Not sure if Virgin do your route, but they are excellent, 20kgs plus free bike.

Also see if anything is flying into Gatwick. Train station in airport and connection to all south coast routes eg to Portsmouth. Bikes not a problem if outside peak hours.

Re: How do I get to St Malo from US?

9 April 2015 - 9:45am
The closest airport is Dinard - Pleurtuit - Saint-Malo Airport. They do have international flights, but you will need to change somewhere to a European airline. If you fly to Gatwick, you can change to Aurigny. There are also flights from Stansted and London City. You can take a boxed/bagged bike on the train services like luggage, but if it isn't packed, you may not be allowed to take it on the Stansted Express.

The trains are not too bad between airports, but it may be a bit confusing jet-lagged if you haven't done it before. It's probably best to avoid transfer between airports if you can.

I'm sure that a little research will turn up some other flight options.

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 8:45am
DEET breaks down nylon, so damage to waterproofing is indirect.

It's best to use DEET on your (non nylon) clothes, as the effect can last for days, where on your skin, it only lasts for hours. You can also spray your mosquito netting and improve it effectiveness that way. So, to protect yourself in your tent, spray your mosquito netting, and ensure that it dries completely before you use it with your tent. You can also try permethrin, instead of DEET. Permethrin does not harm fabrics. It is an insecticide, instead of a repellent, and for this reason many people recommend against using it on the skin. It is commonly used on mosquito netting in malaria prone areas.

There are also http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thermacell-Appl ... B0031ESIVK sort of things to use whilst cooking and camping.

Dilema - mud-guards or wider tyres

9 April 2015 - 8:23am
stewartpratt wrote:Ideal excuse to buy a new bike, no?

[emoji23]I like your thinking. Yes why not join the skint but happy brigade? That's me...b

EDIT: Sorry mudguards...I run with them all year round. I just can't be doing with all the extra cleaning, maintenance and wear on the bike. I'm too old and ugly now.

Re: Wild camping in England ???

9 April 2015 - 8:20am
Geoff.D wrote:I ought to have added that I've also "bivvied" in field barns, outbuildings, park pavillions, a cave, under a pier, in a WW2 concrete bunker overlooking the English Channel. It's not real bivvying, in that there's a "roof" above me to keep the rain off, but is a bit more relaxing (not least because you don't need a sweaty, rain-proof layer).

Again... arrive late, leave early, disturb little.

Nice! I found a cracking little cave (!) in some woods a couple of years ago and went back with one of my daughters for an overnighter, only to find it filled with smashed up bottles. [emoji20]Sadness.

I wouldn't necessarily blame teens either. I witnessed 3 mountain bikers on a local trail, in their 20s stop mid-ride for a snack and a bottle of cider each. Very civilised...Then smashed the bottles up and whizzed off down the hill. What?

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 8:12am
Is it true that deet can damage the waterproofing on tents?

Re: How do I get to St Malo from US?

9 April 2015 - 7:38am
GasPipeWarrior wrote:I've had occasional problems with the gate staff at Liverpool Street not wanting to allow my bike on an off-peak Stansted Express (regardless of the bike spaces on the train - they must believe that I'd end up blocking their rip-off on-board trolley service).

I'm surprised it was only occasional - non-folding bikes are not allowed on the Stansted Express.

Re: How do I get to St Malo from US?

9 April 2015 - 7:23am
Here is a suggestion that will be expensive versus trains etc. I used to live in Portsmouth (the nearest ferry port to LHR for St Malo, 70 miles away) so I know that there are several airport taxi companies in and around Portsmouth, I used them regularly when flying out of LHR on business or with a bike. The problem is that there are 2 of you and hence 2 bikes so the company would need to have a mini bus or MPV (minivan in USA). I would expect the cost to be something like £100 each way. The ferry leaves at around 20:00 and the flight arrives mid morning (assuming BA, I flew this route regularly and I lived in Seattle for 2 years as well), so that gives you probably 6 hours to lose in Portsmouth while looking after bikes as well. That might not be too bad because you could assemble your bikes around the ferry terminal and discard any unwanted packaging. Being overnight, the ferry crossing would sensibly need a cabin after an overnight flight which will add £50 minimum. An expensive option and maybe not practical especially depending on timing of flights. Having written all that, I think I would fly to Paris, anything else is simply too time consuming.

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 6:28am
For the last few years I've been using Smidge, and been very happy with it. It's pleasant to use and has proved very effective on the west coast of Scotland, although I have tended to avoid seriously midgy environments.

However, in the past I've used 100% deet and found it 100% effective, walking through humming swarms of midges on Rhum with no bites at all.

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