CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 2 hours 29 min ago

Re: Traveling by Train.

9 November 2014 - 3:43pm

Since you are cleary an expert on all this I wondered if you had any top tips (maybe small number of bullet points) bicycler for getting cheap tickets?

Apart from split ticketing of course or just booking three months ahead.

Any truth in something you hear sometimes, that particular days of the week are cheaper?

I remain puzzled by my £16 relatively-late-booked Christmas Eve ticket London to rural Lancashire.

Re: Traveling by Train.

9 November 2014 - 3:36pm
It is automatic. The booking system knows where tickets can be collected. If the departure station has not got a machine where you can collect tickets then it will offer the post option for free
East Coast.png
If it has a collection machine the post option will show a £1 fee:

Re: Traveling by Train.

9 November 2014 - 3:08pm
Yes, I knew that there was an option.

If I click that with no machine near me, that is when presumably it offers the miser option

Re: Traveling by Train.

9 November 2014 - 2:30pm
It's a tick box on the delivery options page below the option to collect from a machine. They will only offer the post option if you are booking several days in advance: http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/rail-travel/ ... y-options/

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

9 November 2014 - 1:50pm
I have a set of Altura Orkney panniers front and rear and they have provided very good service over several thousand miles and are still in very good condition. My own preference, supporting British companies, would be for either Carradice or Altura.

I would recommend, however, regardless of brand, that you go for a sturdy build. The lightweight panniers will always need additional waterproofing and are more susceptible to damage. I have met several people in the past whose (expensive) lightweight panniers were surviving only through the extensive use of duct tape!

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

9 November 2014 - 12:41pm
Thanks for the response,
my local bike shop's limited on panniers,but there is another not to far away.
don't think foot cleanance will be a problem as I have only got small feet,
I may look into altura & upgrade if need be(leaving me with spare panniers for my daily shop)

Re: UK to Prague via northern Germany

9 November 2014 - 10:46am
Hi Groberts...

Well I quite like camping in NL - they all speak fluent English and love cycling so have often been approached by friendly dutch people inquirying about my tour, had offerings of hot tea and once during a storm my dutch neighbor told me she had to peek out her camper window a couple times to make sure I was ok in my little tent...very friendly people and they are easy to engage conversations with and often share tips. I try to find campgrounds with good ratings, they often have a 'green camper' discount for cyclists (not using a motor vehicle I guess). The only time I felt insecure was when I chose to stay at a vacation park place, the sort with permanent camper homes. You can read more about my experiences in my blog which I had linked, I try to give honest reviews. I am not sure but think that wild camping is illegal in both countries.

Germany can be a little more challenging with language and have lesser wifi hookups, but some owners really take pride in their campsites and keep them very tidy. Since stumbling across the campsite search site (linked in my last post here) I really just use that, check reviews, sometimes click onto their links or check their rating with tripadvisor. Note that camping is very popular in both countries, generally there is 'always a spot for small tents and cyclist" but if you are travelling during a four day bank holiday on a sunny weekend you may not be so lucky (bank holidays are generally the church holidays such as Pentacost). Oh - if you didn't know already...FKK is the abbreviation for the German term for nudist colonies, they do have quite a few of those actually, so when planning you might just want to keep that in mind if searching about.
I do agree with Foxyrider, using prepared route maps can be frustrating because of limitations, the pp maps are just really a good price without the extra tour book bits they are available at most bike and book shops as well...the adfc maps are better but you may need to get these ahead of time. I like the security of having a printed map with me as my devices always seem to have moods when I travel. I will go to http://www.bikemap.net/en/?tab=top#/z15 ... 51/terrain and search using typing in the a and b cities in my tour (or section thereof) and print out a map. Because people can post freely here it has become a hot mess, not sure how to filter this site best...but use the a/b search over racing and MTB routes. I'm sure there are better online sources but every once in a while I will cross a route someone posted here that seems useful for my needs. Basically what I do is print it out in half or quarter sheet size, additionally I write down the cities I will pass through and ignore the printed route and just follow the bike path signs from city to city (in both countries they are white with cities/km in green, sometimes red).

More and more themed/named routes are being put together by communities and tourist boards, they often just add their route sign or sticker to the existing city/km signs. Paths in NL are generally seperate from car traffic, they do allow scooters on their paths so you need to take care, also the shared stretches can be a bit frightening because the dutch motorists do not swerve or slow for cyclists...I guess everyone is so used to the tighter situations and stay very steadfast in their paths. The German routes are a combinations of bike paths and agricultural paths, often in/near cities they are shared with pedestrians, but give a little ring and they will allow you to pass. Most are paced, sometimes you will have a stretch along a well packed gravel path.

If you prefer to have a proper route ahead of time...you can pick up the EuroVelo15 (Rhine Route) in Rotterdam ... then at Xanten/Wesel switch to the Lippe Römerroute (search the net for their logo, the route interchanges between the Lippe river and Wesel canal) to Paderborn...from there I would use a map from bikemap.net - looks like they list a couple ca. 500 km from Paderborn, flattish. The Ruhr (river/canal) route is just a bit south of the Lippe, the two run almost parallel so both could be good ways to work yourself eastwards, depending on where you enter Germany.

Here is a dutch site with a English translation offering advice about their Cycling paths and both the LF routes (long distance) and Fietspunktroutes (junction system)...they even have a LF route planner. http://www.nederlandfietsland.nl/en

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

9 November 2014 - 9:26am
If it's possible take your bike to a shop with a range and try them out. You'll find out how the fittings work with your particular rack, if you've got enough heel clearance etc. etc.

I like Ortliebs, not really about the waterproofing (as noted, all it takes is a plastic bag, though I'd go for a rubble sack rather than a binliner as they don't rip nearly so easily, and if touring you'll probably want liners anyway so when you need to put e.g. a wet jacket or tent in you don't get all your dry stuff wet) but more about the ease of use and quality of the fittings. To lock the pannier on to the rack, let go of the handle. To unlock, pick up by the handle. I appreciate that every time I use them, rather than if it's raining.

Also have a think about how you like compartments. If you like lots of separate places with independent access then a One-Big-Bag style probably isn't best, and vice versa. This is again something that's easier to work out with them in your hands in front of you, rather than a third party recommendation and some interweb pictures.


Re: panniers panniers panniers???

9 November 2014 - 9:08am
+1 for the RCP bags.
I've had mine since July this year and they're brilliant. Very large capacity (45ltr I think) and literally airtight when closed. Water won't get into these. The mounts are adjustable to fit pretty much any rack.
These do a similar job to ortliebs for half the cost.

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

9 November 2014 - 8:02am
I have some of those disklock things.

Including a really nice small pair that i use on the back for day rides.

Goes off into a corner to weep for now long lost karrimor - my partner is from the middle of the Med and even as a young woman out there was aware of the company's reputation for quality.

On the OP if they also use the bike for shopping at all I'd splash out and go for Ortlieb now - I bought a pair almost 20 years ago and they still look fine after ferrying all sorts if stuff. Have long since paid for themselves.

Re: Map(s) of Wales

8 November 2014 - 8:26pm
mcallaghan wrote:Trying to avoid bringing my phone as well (I live in the US) due to the international charges etc. I think I can pickup a prepaid phone for cheap in case of emergencies? Or count on my mate who lives in the UK that is going to come with me on having a phone. I do have a GPS (Garmin 500 I think) but it has a battery life of 8 hours before needing a charge, and I am not sure how frequent I'll have access to electricity while camping most nights. I got away with it in Ireland as well (but did have my Laptop + GPS and did the B&B thing the whole time).

Those CycleCity Wales maps look pretty decent and at that price, much cheaper than the other options I've seen. Something to give me an idea of what is around the route, potential hills, campsites, castles, etc.

My American friends get prepaid phones when they come here. In fact, I think they arrange it from the States, but not sure how they do it. I think you can PM me, if you want me to ask them how.
Good luck with your trip.

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

8 November 2014 - 8:22pm
Karrimor are now ancient and obsolete - only for those who have some that need replacing - me - in my case I have the best ones with the disc lock to attach to the carrier. I got some nice almost mint ones from Ebay the other week that will just drop in where my old ones went. Altura make some not too costly panniers that I would otherwise consider

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

8 November 2014 - 6:42pm
I don't know what size you are after but I bought a set of these for commuting with as they are 100% waterproof. The waterproof bit was important to me as I carry laptops and tablet etc.. to work.

RCP WP100 carrier bags Colour black 2015 bike panniers https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002RLGWHA/ ... xub1HMMANV

You can also get some smaller pockets that attach to the front for keys and phone etc.. Red Cycling Products Outer Bag bike panniers black 2015 bike panniers waterproof https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00F40XYTK/ ... xub09V1GHA

Re: panniers panniers panniers???

8 November 2014 - 6:24pm
Or you could buy some budget panniers to start with, such as Altura. They are cheap but certainly not nasty. They won't suddenly disintegrate mid ride, and you can obtain very high levels of water proofing by lining them with - a bin liner. Replaced every trip.
Buy the expensive stuff when you have a clearer idea of what you need.

panniers panniers panniers???

8 November 2014 - 5:01pm
Hope you don't all get sick of seeing my name crop up all the time haha. . .new to all this mallarky .
I searching all the site's reading all reviews. . but it's a mine field out there. .
WHAT PANNIERS ARRRRRRRRRR. . . . Carradice . . Vaude. . Ortlileb . . all great panniers by all account's , but which one's to go for?
I'm swaying towards Carradice,whether it be Carradry's or Super C's but just seen Karrimor on ebay . . don't no what to do.
Don't mine paying out for quality,cause if I do end up and become a veteran tourer, they be worth the money and if I don't i'll reclaim a lump of my outlay back. .
What to do ?


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