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Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

Re: Bike suitability for a particular interior road in Icela

19 January 2015 - 8:57am
If the experience of Horace Dall is anything to go by a Raleigh 3 speed is suitable. http://www.roughstuffnarrativ.com/horace/

Re: Bike suitability for a particular interior road in Icela

19 January 2015 - 1:56am
When I went around Iceland, I talked to some who had done the interior road on mountain bikes and found it hard work to do 30 miles in places due to bogging down in ash.
So if you think of the volcanic ash is like an inch of soft sand, I don't think you'd be far off in places.
How well would you cope with that when fully loaded.

Re: Bike suitability for a particular interior road in Icela

19 January 2015 - 12:34am
Thanks for the comments.

Camping, yes, I don't think it's optional along this interior stretch. So would be carrying about 25kg (5-7kg more than my usual touring load to account for extra supplies.. hopefully not more?!)

If I break down, I believe there is a bus, though I might have to wait a day for it.

Mountain bike hire would be extra cost, also I heard quality isn't great, maybe it's better now.

Yes, that's sort of what I suspected about tyre width. But then again it's not just about tyre width..

Re: Can't get bicycle insurance for less than £50 for a week

19 January 2015 - 12:32am
When a friend wanted to add me to her car insurance, it was actually cheaper to put me on permanently (or at least until renewal), than it was to add me for a few weeks.

It may be worth checking out annual insurance, with European cover. It may be cheaper than a one-off short cover.


Re: Can't get bicycle insurance for less than £50 for a week

19 January 2015 - 12:30am
It's not for a tour in this case - it's to cover the bikes in the house & garage, & out & about. There's some cover for touring in our current house insurance, it's just that Nationwide Anglia have hiked our house insurance premium up to ridiculous levels, & it doesn't even begin to cover the value of the bikes anyway. (Although I'd consider us very unlucky to have more than one nicked!)

Re: Bike suitability for a particular interior road in Icela

19 January 2015 - 12:17am
If your tyres are too narrow for the track, the general effect will be that you are slower, rather than that you can't get through at all.
For example, I figure I was descending the back side of the Pico Veleta at only about half the speed of my companion, with me on 700x28, and him on 26x1.75, which translated into an extra 2 hours.
With a 200 km inland track, slower may mean extra camps, which means more food, which means a bit slower again.

Re: Bike suitability for a particular interior road in Icela

19 January 2015 - 12:09am
If you are travelling light then you may be ok, you would be advised to get your wheels checked by a mechanic.

If you are camping and carry loads, then you are better sticking to paved roads, people do the interior on mountain bikes.

What will you do if you have wheel / component failure in the middle of nowhere.

Others may say it is possible, but Iceland demands the ultimate respect, go equipped with solid gear and you will have a better experience.

Why don't you hire a mountain bike when you get there. It is not that expensive and will solve all your problems.

Bike suitability for a particular interior road in Iceland

18 January 2015 - 11:10pm
I will be cycling in Iceland for 3 weeks in August this year.

I have a number of questions that I will start on a separate thread, but thought I should get the most important thing out of the way first. It concerns the route.

I have a road bike/light tourer, specialized tricross sport 2011 model, which has been pretty good for the three one week tours I've done to date and all the other riding I've done on it. Whilst I do plan to upgrade to a bike more suitable for rougher roads (which will be a proper touring bike not a mountain bike), this won't be happening this year (wrong timing) and I will be taking my tricross to Iceland and we shall see how far it will take me.

I have a route in mind that is perhaps a bit ambitious, that covers 1300-1400km, going from Keflavik toward the F26 (Sprengisandur) interior road which would bring me most of the way to Akureyri (there is a choice near the end here of the F821 or the F842, then route 1, approaches). From there on, depending on time available, it would be the ring road all the way East and returning along the South. Using the latest Ferdakort 1:200 000 atlas I have determined the total length of the unpaved section in the interior to be no more than 230km, starting at Vatnsfell and ending not far from Akureyri. Here the F26/F821/F842 are described partly as "gravel roads" and partly as "back roads maintained by government". It appears that the ring road is now entirely paved, possibly with the exception of a couple of tiny stretches in the east.

I currently have 28mm tyres on Mavic CXP22 rims, I plan to put 35mm tyres on it, which are against the Mavic recommendations but it sounds like you can do this. Above 35mm is probably pushing it.

I have already spent a fair bit of time reading up various resources, such as iviehoff's Touring Notes, Mike Erens' Iceland pages and the Icelandic Mountain Bike Club pages, and it has not escaped my attention that generally a mountain bike is recommended for Icelandic gravel roads. However I have a feeling that the F26 is one of the best known and best maintained gravel roads, so my hope is that whilst my bike will be sup-optimal, it will not reduce me all the way to walking pace.

So my question is, am I being completely stupid to even think of tackling a section of unpaved interior road on this bike, or will it be OK-ish? Perhaps another interior road, like the Kjolur route, might be more suitable than the F26?

If it's not OK, I will try and stick to the paved roads. Probably loop around the ring road if winds allow, though I would love to see more of the interior.

It makes me want to tour there again .....

18 January 2015 - 10:55pm
Short 1953 film on Northumberland. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taatdbeIZH4 Best stretch of coastline in any county...

Re: accommodation

18 January 2015 - 8:38pm
Costs can vary considerably and not neccesarily in line with what you get!

A couple of years ago I did a two week German trip using hotels / b+b's and prices went from €24 (beautiful room in a renovated 13th century Schloss guest house including breakfast) to €89 (at the Ibis in Wurzburg plus breakfast!) but the majority were in the €35 to €45 range. I like to book in advance so I know that I have a bed and where I'm heading for whether it be campsite or hotel, wasting time out of my day searching for accommodation would not make me very happy! I did use that approach on a tour in the UK and ended up on 1 campsite with basic facilities and miles from any eateries/pubs, another some ten miles off route and the last bed at a hotel off Hadrian's Wall which if I'd missed would've meant a dreary evening trying to find an alternative in the cold and rain of a Pennine summer!

Touring solo obviously increases the pp/pn cost but in most instances I've managed to get a bed for under €50, that room on Hadrian's Wall cost me under £40 with breakfast but other times you just have to bite the bullet, Aalen last year I took the cheapest option I could find which was another €89 Ibis job! Accommodation is always the biggest single cost on my trips and by booking in advance I can budget accordingly.

Re: accommodation

18 January 2015 - 7:26pm
I don't think I can disagree with any of the above comments,tho the survey isn't comprehensive!!

I'd rather camp than use bricked accommodation,but age and increasing disabilities limit my zzzzzz's and flexibility.

I also walk National Trails but begrudge turning up KO'd at hotels or 5* joints to just sleep 9hrs then get up and say goodbye. Above £90pn I expect to sit-in-the-lounge,relax for a while: 'reasoned' or mean?

I've found accommodation throughout Europe less expensive than Britain(sometimes substantially so),and with a better variety.

The 'homogenised' hotel chains I find particularly dreadful,but for any reasonable price offered. The McDs of hotel networks. Still,you know what you get...everywhere!So much so that you don't know where you are. To be fair,the local accommodation can vary from 'tired' to excellent...a throw o the dice that can be disappointing to sublime.

For my touring my ideal(accommodation) is clean but basic. Contrary to one commentator, my wife and I have experienced demands for £90pn whereas booked 24hrs earlier,£40! A UK experience.

Re: Can't get bicycle insurance for less than £50 for a week

18 January 2015 - 6:22pm
Is it actually worth getting insurance for a bicycle tour? The house insurance will cover certain things, in Europe you've got the health card. If your bike gets nicked then it's tour over anyway. Plus they may not pay out if it does get nicked?

Re: Holland cycle route info

18 January 2015 - 6:11pm
I agree with Mockcyclist regarding the route. We toured NL last year using Stay Okay hostels and I have ridden there several times in the past and used Stay Okay many times. They are great accommodation. If visiting Amsterdam try the one at Vondel park. Very handy for the Leitseplein, Rijksmuseum and not far out of the centre 5 mins by bike. Amsterdam is easy to cycle around but take a good lock. Cycle theft is prevalent.

If riding up to Monikendam from Amsterdam you can catch a free ferry from behind the Central station across the harbour and head up through Landsmeer where there are bars and cafes and follow signs up to Monikendam via Broek in waterland and Zuiderwoude. It's a very picturesque area known as Waterland. Part of the route takes you along the dyke top next to the Ijsselmeer. Edam isn't too much further and has the very touristy but amusing Edam cheese auction. The town is pleasant and worth a visit.

The riding is easy and mostly away from traffic, there are plenty of bars and cafes in the towns and villages. It really is a great place to ride.

Re: Cycle Touring Festival Clitheroe

18 January 2015 - 2:41pm
Er, tell laura i have a question forher

I have a question about the event.

But a problem..

The contact form on the web site appears to say it is for folk with suggestions etc who want to get involved, not punters/visitors.

Laura who is on this thread (oddly with a guy's name) cannot be send pms, maybe because s/he has only posted once.

Contact point please.

Re: Can't get bicycle insurance for less than £50 for a week

18 January 2015 - 2:28pm
Great - thanks for that link. I've got lots of others to go through from forum searches, but it really helps to have a direct recommendation

Re: Marrakech to the High Atlas - December (parts 1 -3)

18 January 2015 - 1:04pm
phil parker wrote:Great blogs, as usual; the right amount of narrative to photos with lots of interest, making me jealous and wanting to get out there and start the adventures again!

(what is it about goats in trees?)
Thanks Phil
The goats climb into the Argan trees to eat the argan nuts.

Re: Default tourer?

18 January 2015 - 12:56pm
I got a DT for my birthday in December, and have riden it every day. I did lots of research and for the money it is a great bike. I have done various tours LEJOG and coast to coast etc, but the DT is by far the best bike Iv'e ridden. I have already booked a tour of the Isles of MAN In June and I'm looking forwardto going over to Clitheroe for the May bank holidays. The festivel of cycle touring. Hope to see you there.
For the money the Surly does it for me.


Re: accommodation

18 January 2015 - 9:34am
During off season, I've gotten the best prices on short notice by just turning up at independent B&B type places and negotiating a room for the night. A couple of times, I stopped at several places that were full up, and ended up taking whatever I could get at whatever people wanted to charge me, but mostly it has worked well. Brits seem less likely to negotiate on price, but I wouldn't say it's a rip off.

Local tourist information can be variable. Some places they are quite good and helpful. Other places, not so much.


18 January 2015 - 8:19am
I have to say in answer to your question "or have I got it wrong?" yes you have.

I travel a lot for work and can't think of a hotel chain offering the almost 50% discount you suggest is available the night before. It's true Travelodge and to a lesser extent Premierinn offer some very cheap deals but this is weeks ahead and in places few people want to to be!!

Laterooms.com do have some good deals but often only on the day and it can take ages to find the deal. This site and booking.com increasingly offer a "deal" which is nothing more than the hotel's standard rate. These, and other sites, have become places to advertise and gather information rather than offering a true "deal."

My thoughts would be to look for value for money, visit or contact the local tourist information centre and work from that advice. Value for money is often a better guide than price.

Summer 2014 I rode across France stopping wherever. I didn't make a close record but a decent B&B was in the region of €60/70 which is not far off the prices available in the UK. You mentioned turning up in a city, I feel you will always pay more in an urban location and often for lesser quality.

Clearly it depends on the standard you want but for me B&B to a decent level is going to start around £50 if you're lucky. When I'm working I expect to pay £65/70, at least, for the standard I require.

I suspect your expectations are high, or low in price terms.

Re: Holland cycle route info

18 January 2015 - 12:02am
....with a unique mapping system. It takes a bit of getting used to but once you've got the hang of it, it's brilliant
I was cycling across the Netherlands last summer (from Germany in the East to Amsterdam) and found the signage good. But sometimes very confusing because the 'knoopunten' numbers only apply to each district, and numbers in adjacent districts aren't always signposted. So I often found myself looking for, say, number 83 and it wasn't mentioned on the signpost. I had to resort to a printed map to find that point 83 was just over a bridge, only 100m away, but in the next district.
Because the numbers are used again separately in each district, I think I ended up going past at least three different points numbered 83!


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