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Updated: 42 min 26 sec ago

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.

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 6:07am
A neighbour of mine who, has considerable walking experience, suggests taking a vitamin supplement for a couple of weeks before venturing into midge territory and then taking a daily dose whilst on the trip. Vitamin B1 I think.
On one trip with, some on the supplement and some not, he reported a marked difference in the bite rate, with those on the supplement bite free.
Not tried it myself yet, so can't say from personal experience if it works.

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 1:40am
Never tried this, but understand one strategy is to take antihistamines before setting off, as it's not (just) the bite that's the problem but the reaction.

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

9 April 2015 - 1:14am
I rely on Autan, if I've remembered to put it on then I have never once been bitten. Once I fell asleep outside and the buggers bit the soles of my feet to bits, the only place not covered in Autan.

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

9 April 2015 - 1:01am
Ryanair provide direct flights from London Stansted to Dinard which is around ten miles from St Malo. I have no idea what sort of pain you might experience getting bikes from Heathrow into London - I expect there's a thread on the subject somewhere. 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).

For pure convenience James' suggestion is the one to follow. The Seat61 website is a handy source of advice and information if you've never travelled on the French rail network.

Good luck on convincing the Mrs.

Re: Wild camping in England ???

8 April 2015 - 11:35pm
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.

Re: Mosquitos be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

8 April 2015 - 11:09pm
bikercolin wrote:I have toured in several places including India and have found Avon Skin So Soft works better and is kinder to skin than the products with deet in.

a friend just sent me this from snopes.com which puts a downer on skin so soft as effective for a long period http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/skeeters.asp

so I think in a DEET V's Skin so Soft, I am falling down on the deet side!

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

8 April 2015 - 11:04pm
Hiya,

I have considered that, and an article here: http://www.bcmj.org/article/mosquito-repellent-effectiveness-placebo-controlled-trial-comparing-95-deet-avon-skin-so-sof tends to back you up, however it still doesn't come out as effective as deet but I think useful if you are one of the rare people affected by deet based products.

I still haven't found any actual scientific evidence for avon skin so soft, which I find strange as I am sure Avon would push that if there was, i.e the scientific studies showing the blocking actions of deet on insects etc.. are documented.

Re: Mosquitos be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

8 April 2015 - 11:00pm
I have toured in several places including India and have found Avon Skin So Soft works better and is kinder to skin than the products with deet in.

Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

8 April 2015 - 10:52pm
Hi All,

I am pretty much fearless (or stupid) when it comes to most things however I have to admit it mosquitos/midges blood sucking flesh stripping insects fill me with fear/dread! You see mozzies love me or more acurately they see me as a free all you can eat buffet, I still bear the scars of a previous attack and overnight stay in hospital and the mental damage from weeks of scratching.

I am going to be travelling around the coast from the 3rd of July and after reading someone describe the mozzies on Stornaway are the insect equivalent of Ninja's and other tales of people abandoning their bikes a la wasp attack jumping into rivers I am even more worried. So I have decided to go on the attack and prepare for my equivalent of MOSQUITO ARMAGEDDON!

So far I have:

Purchased a mosquito net that drapes over your hat and ties round your neck
a 40% deet based repellant and wipes
I am looking for a mosquito cover for my entire tent.
I will check this website: http://midgeforecast.co.uk/home
I am also going to tuck my trousers into my socks and my long sleeve into my gloves and wear a neck cover
i may even invent a mosquito net that you can cycle along with on your bike...

but seriously I need to avoid heavy biting or I will go down like a ton of bricks..

so my thoughts were, if you have any ideas or tips (please only put the proven ones avoid the my granny says sleep with an onion and shout at the moon will prevent pimples suggestions). I will compile them along with the advice I have garnered from other sources such as habitat's to avoid etc.. and put them in a pdf for downloading.

so any proven suggestions please put here, I will try and test out as many as possible and feedback any that work for me!

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

8 April 2015 - 10:41pm
Thanks James this sounds just the ticket (so to speak) and thanks to everyone else who took the trouble to reply. It's starting to look very doable, now all that remains is talking the Mrs into it, a Mont Ventoux of social interactions. Fingers crossed.

Thanks Heltor for your offer. It sounded fun, I haven't slept in a bell tent since school camp near Kirkudbright over 50 years ago. I believe they were WWI vintage. Touch the sides if it was raining and they sprung a leak.

Re: Dilema - mud-guards or wider tyres

8 April 2015 - 10:35pm
Hiya,

probably not amazingly useful to your situation, but I ran 700x38c tyres on my hybrid bike for touring and recently built a new bike intending to go for thinner tyres as I insist on full mudguards with flaps. They save me and save my bike from all the crap and rain etc. I wouldn't go long distance without mudguards it's as simple as that, well I decided to do an experiment I went from 700 x 38c right down to 700 x 28c and i am a fully loaded tourer, I felt just as stable, rolled faster and still had my mudguards..

I would say whatever it takes but keep your mudguards!

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

8 April 2015 - 9:59pm
I think the easiest option would be a flight to Charles de Gaulle followed by the train. The train station is right in the airport and there are direct high-speed trains from CDG to Rennes which accept bikes for a 10 euro fee. Journey time to Rennes is about 3 hours, you then get a local (called TER) train on to Saint Malo in about 45 minutes (they are quite regular and bikes are free, no reservation required).

If you book well in advance, tickets will only cost about 35 euros per person plus 10 euros per bike.

I'd recommend booking on https://www.capitainetrain.com - ticket prices are the same as the 'official' SNCF website but it's in English and it's possible to book spaces for the bikes on the TGV. You get a booking reference which you just need to enter into a machine at the station to print your tickets, no credit cards involved.

Re: Would this bike be a suitable entry level tourer

8 April 2015 - 9:48pm
> Well, I hope you find the suspension worth while. I personally think it's probably a waste of time on that bike and for touring in general, but if it helps your neck problem, then good on you.
> One thing I'm pretty certain on and that is if this bike is your first or even second bike, and whilst you think you know what you want now, after a bit of experience riding the bike, you'll almost undoubtedly start to think of improvements required in the next bike
> This is why buying your first few bikes second hand can end up saving you loadsa money as you find out what really meets your needs.
> Anyway, enjoy the bike and maybe in say 6 months time, you could update this post with how you found it in terms of meeting your needs?

Re: Would this bike be a suitable entry level tourer

8 April 2015 - 9:30pm
dakari-mane wrote:
Nothing wrong with hybrids as tourers. Also dirt cheap to pick up.

Agree totally i have a ridgeback adventure.

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

8 April 2015 - 9:10pm
Heltor Chasca wrote: In the past I have caught a ferry from Weymouth to St Malo in the Summer.

Unfortunately this route is no longer possible, but you can go from Poole instead. This would have been with Condor Ferries on their Channel Islands - St. Malo service. Their latest boat is too large for Weymouth and no-one wanted to pay to upgrade the harbour facilities.

Getting from Poole to St. Malo may mean a stop in Guernsey or Jersey, no bad thing in itself but does make the journey longer.

Re: Wild camping in England ???

8 April 2015 - 8:49pm
I recall in my youth doing quite a bit of camping in odd places in England. Often neither "wild" nor "stealthy". Quiet and wide roadside verges, edge of a cricket pitch, nice flat bit just off a golf course, and once on a nice big grassy roundabout. I don't recall being complained about at all. (Except in Ireland: which is a different story). Camp late, leave early, leave nothing behind!

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

8 April 2015 - 8:43pm
There is a ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo.
My copy of European Rail (and ferry) Timetable (formerly produced by Thomas Cook) doesn't show any ferries from Weymouth now.

There is a small airport at Dinard which is very near to St Malo. You would need to research how to fly there from UK. There might not be flights from Heathrow. Your suggestion of going via Paris seems more likely.

Re: Dilema - mud-guards or wider tyres

8 April 2015 - 8:40pm
I may be unusual but i couldn't tell the difference between 23mm and 25mm gatorskins. I would stick with the mudguards as doing without them will make a very noticeable difference if the weather is at all wet

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