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Updated: 46 min 48 sec ago

Re: Ideas for first tour - taking a toddler with us.

7 May 2015 - 9:51am
Just done way of the roses a couple of weeks ago. Vast majority of route on quiet roads and cycle paths but a couple of very very short section on busy roads. I have never rode with a trailer before - there are a few very steep uphill sections and one particular very steep and long downhill that would need caution into Pateley Bridge (greenhow hill). Some of the cycle paths are narrow and might be difficult to negotiate with a trailer?

Re: Ipswich to Southwold advise

7 May 2015 - 9:48am
He's the pilot for the deben entrance too. You can get his mob no online.

Re: LLC and Wales Questions

7 May 2015 - 9:48am
The Cardiff to Chester train journey takes you through some beautiful landscapes, and in good weather it is a bit of a treat. Booking a seat is a good idea, but you may need advice on the correct British etiquette should you find someone occupying your seat. You point out their mistake, nicely at first, then you become loud and insistent. I have seen people move the seat reservation tickets, so be prepared for a minor dispute. Look for the guard (or whatever they call them now) if necessary.

Re: travel insurance?

7 May 2015 - 9:09am
Nationwide Flexaccount. Annual European travel insurance is free. Flexplus account for worldwide cover. Take your card. Halifax Clarity CC delivers fee free Euros from any cash machine. 3 321 simm with a £10 add on gives you 3p a minute calls, 2p texts and 1p a megabyte data in France.


Re: travel insurance?

7 May 2015 - 8:59am
You probably need to think about what you want to insure, and why.

Is your bike covered for touring? Do you want it to be?
How about your belongings?
Do you have medical coverage in France? Do you want more than ehic provides?
Do you want your tickets and bookings to be covered?
Are you willing to pay excesses?
Insurance companies can sell you insurance for most eventualities. Only you can decide what is worthwhile paying to insure against relatively (or very) low risk events.

Re: LLC and Wales Questions

7 May 2015 - 8:17am
mcallaghan wrote:Its a 14-day tour (9 days of riding, followed by 4 days off the bike before I fly back) and staying in B&Bs the whole time, thus the extra clothes. I may bring them and decided to leave some pairs in my suitcase at my start/end city (have arrangements with my lodging to do so). But, I have a full weekend in Cardiff at the end of the cycling, then a day involving a 3 hr train ride, then another full day of non-cycling to explore Chester. Which is why I was thinking of taking more off-the-bike clothes so I can be clean and comfortable at the end.
I would not carry so many clothes. Even with some days off the bike, I would not carry many non-cycling clothes just to avoid carrying the extra clothes. You can always wash some stuff in the basin (bathroon sink) at the B&Bs you stay at.
Also, dual purpose stuff is handy for things like that. you have hiking pants (BTW the words pants is only used for underwear in the UK, so those are hiking trousers) on your list. If those can be used on the bike in a pinch, I might not take tights. I certainly would not carry jeans and t-shirts and things. My clothing list usually looks like

-3 pairs of cycling shorts (including one pair of MTB baggies)
-2 cycling jerseys
-1 long sleeved top (dual purpose; this can be a base layer or pub wear in the evening)
-1 thin wool sweater OR or a winter jersey (this is also dual purpose, as it is an extra warm layer on or off the bike)
-shower proof hiking or golf trousers (also pub/evening wear)
-1 or 2 pairs of underwear
-4 pairs of socks (all or some wool)
-rain jacket & trousers
-hiking shoes (I cycle in these)

I might also take a spare t-shirt. I would not probably not take tights or leg warmers, plus two pairs of trousers. I certainly would not take both tights and leg warmers. I take the same amount of clothing whether I am going for 4 days, or 15. I always take 3 pairs of cycling shorts for anything more than two days, though. That way I have one on, one clean & one drying. Many peole think two pairs are enough, but it's not always possible to find drying facilities, and they may not dry overnight. Damp cycling shorts are just yuck. I left women-specific stuff out of my list, on the basis that you don't need it.

I also would not bother with a backpack, unless you are planning to use it only in Chester? I do sometimes carry either a waist pouch (I won't go into the language difference about what to call them ) or a small camera bag, with a shoulder strap. Otherwise, I use pockets. A backpack is a lot of something mostly unused to carry around with you, but I can see that it might be useful for day trips off the bike.

The other non-clothing items are fine. I usually carry a bungee, some cable ties and a couple of velcro strips or straps from old-fashioned toe clips. They are good for temporary fixes, securing things, etc.

I would also take one or two quick drying (microfibre) travel wash cloth. Hotels and B&Bs in the UK don't typically provide wash cloths (flannels). If you take two, you can use one for personal hygiene, and one for drying your hands after using a water bottle for washing, or cleaning up after a repair, or something. Some people carry wet wipes, or something like that for that purpose.

Re: Touring bike choice for people with long legs

7 May 2015 - 8:16am
Glad to hear you are making progress.
As I write fairly often on these pages, if somebody is uncomfortable on their bike, its not always the bike thats causing the discomfort, it can be random stuff like pre-existing injuries or bad posture in front of a computer all day.
On the other hand, if you are uncomfortable, then a conventional riding position should be among the first things to try......if you insist on a riding position far removed from the usual range then nobody can recommend a bike that will be magically "comfortable".

Re: travel insurance?

7 May 2015 - 8:10am
Do a search on insurance. It has been discussed a few times with recommendations; is it worthwhile; etc discussed.

An ehic will get you basic cover which may be good enough for you, but there will be no repatriation cover, etc. Double check the insurance covers cycle touring as a main activity NOT just cycling which would be considered an occasional activity.

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

7 May 2015 - 5:57am
IMO, there are other things that can affect trailer handling, as well. Tyre pressure on both bike and trailer will make a difference. Load distribution, road surface, wind, speed, trailer mounting system and bike handling are all things that could effect it.

When I experienced snaking with the trailer bike, I think that I just hit a harmonic point between my pedaling cadence (the bike swaying slightly), the speed, the length of the trailer bike, and maybe a couple of other factors. A seat post mounted trailer is both more affected by bike handling in this way, and has a longer distance between the mounting bike and the trailer. A shorter trailer hitch distance will mean less movement at the trailer, when the bike moves. A seat post mounting will reflect much more of the sway from pedaling than an axle mounting. The best thing to do is slow down, however, this may immediately make the problem temporarily worse.

As above, a slightly nose heavy trailer is best. The load should be as low as possible, and well-secured. Snaking is much more likely if the load can move.

lycra cycling shorts on tour

7 May 2015 - 1:09am
I am trying to decide on a saddle for touring, and have come across a school of thought that you need to wear padded lycra cycling shorts for comfort for long distance cycling. I am concerned about the practicality of this - fine so you have two pairs, wear each for 1-2 days, wash the other, swap them round, so you are always wearing a reasonably clean pair, obviously you probably want more civilised attire over the top, like normal shorts. Well I just got back from a week long tour, where I tried this, and it already seemed impractical enough, yes the sun was out and I could dry the one I'd washed as I was riding, but it was a faff, and I could imagine it becoming more so on a long tour, when you might eventually have to replace them (and they are not so cheap), and different types of shorts might be better for different climates etc.

Now there are some saddles I have happily ridden long distances without a padded lycra layer, like the Brooks, although they might be marginally more comfortable with one. There are others like the Selle SMP dynamic one I tried recently, that felt like a knife edge if you took the lycra off, but was pretty comfortable with the lycra on (though still a bit too hard) and I actually prefer it to the Brooks in other ways. I can imagine a more padded version of the Selle SMP range may well work for me, but only if I wear lycra shorts.

When choosing a saddle, should I assume I will always be wearing appropriate padded lycra cycling shorts when touring, or pick one that will be fine without the lycra too?

Re: Touring bike choice for people with long legs

7 May 2015 - 12:28am
This thread has gone off on a few tangents but as the OP, I thought I'd bring you up to date on where I have go to with this:

- the question in my original post was a bit misguided and a few more experienced posters pointed out I have issues with bike fit

- I had been considering it for a while anyway, but eventually decided to get some professional bike fitting help on my current bike, although I know I won't be riding it for much longer (I will be replacing it with a touring specific bike), and I was pretty skeptical, it turned out very helpful, I think.

- the main thing I learnt from the fit was that it's as much about my working on my own posture, as it is about the bike geometry. I have a tendency to ride with a hunched back (with the shoulders also hunched forward) this makes loads of sense to me as I know I have this tendency off the bike too, and apparently this was causing the neck discomfort, and if I work on my posture, by keeping more of a straight back, and getting more forward bend from the bottom of the spine, it should gradually lead to more comfort.

- some small bike adjustments were recommended, such as saddle height (I had lowered it a lot since the original post here, it was raised a bit), and bars were lowered, a more sporty position resulted overall with more weight on the hands. Interestingly, I also took a completely different saddle on trial (a Selle SMP dynamic) as this supposedly would encourage a better posture, in a way that my former saddle, the Brooks (Flyer Imperial) had apparently been encouraging me to ride hunched up.

- shortly afterwards, I went on a week long tour. I rode 750km in 7 days with no rest day and loads of climbing, with very little training. I tried as much as I could to focus on my posture, but inevitably often fell back to old habits when tired esp when climbing. In any case, I was overall very satisfied with my comfort levels over the week. There was discomfort, but much better than my most recent multi-day experience (400km in 4 days two months prior). There could be 3 factors at play here: a) the bike fit and the posture changes working. b) improved flexibility - i had been working on it for about 3 weeks by doing some basic yoga. c) a case of spending hours in the saddle and the body adjusting. I think c) can be ruled out, so probably a bit of both a) and b). I didn't have any neck pain for the first three days actually, but would often get lower back pain that I don't recall ever getting before, I needed to stop to stretch quite a few times to handle it.

- still a work in progress and could be a case of stepping sideways, but am much happier about it for now. One thing that's certain is that my previous inclination to "go more upright" to deal with the neck pain was too simplistic.

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 11:25pm
mjr wrote:Tangled Metal wrote:So what's good loading of a trailer?

Mostly common sense. Anything heavy should go directly on the bed. Take care to distribute the weight evenly from side to side and make it slightly nose heavy (for two wheel trailers) You don't want the trailer hitch lifting the back wheels of the towing vehicle, whether car or bike. That could cause problems when trying to slow down...

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 10:57pm
My trailer, to has always been stable. I don't think we've done nearly so many miles as meic, but I have ignored the recommended maximum speed. I've also used it to haul some fairly heavy loads. I came off the bike once on ice when I pulling the trailer. It was a cold, January day. The roads had been treated, but I was approaching a 'road closed' sign, and I thought that road wouldn't have been treated ahead, so I was going to stop and walk. As soon as I touched the brakes, I realised I had already gotten to the bit that wasn't treated The bike went down. I went down. The trailer ran into me, and the kids thought it was funny. The worst that happened was I tore my favourite winter tights.

I did come close to tipping the trailer once, when I ran one wheel of an empty trailer up the kerb. It didn't tip, but it was a near thing. And lots of bouncing afterwards.

Re: Tent recommendation.

6 May 2015 - 10:20pm
Vango from CCC or Decathlon for pennies... DECATHLON'S mountain tents for less than £75 are excellent ... I know I lived in them on the snow .... top class kit

Re: Tent recommendation.

6 May 2015 - 10:12pm
Tarptent Moment, Outer pitch, Two pegs, Two vestibules, Setup Customizable and light, not a lot or room inside the inner, I'm 183 centimetres and fit with a bit of room to spare.


Re: Tent recommendation.

6 May 2015 - 9:48pm
I started off with Vaude as my first touring tent...tried a few different makes after that like Vango and Robens.

But ultimately, came back to Vaude for their lightness and intuitive designs. Currently have a Hogan UL which has served
me well so for the last 3 years.

Re: France en Velo

6 May 2015 - 9:45pm
Linda13 wrote:I will be cycling from St. Malo to Nice through May/June following the route in the book 'France en Velo' by Walsh and Reynolds. Has anyone in the forum done this alone unsupported, and what homeward transport to the UK did they use from Nice ?
Any advice on simple/gite d'etape accomodation or camping welcome or helpful websites.....Linda13
I did it last year, I also cut out a few parts where I'd cycled before. I used municipal sites along the way, using their recommendations or what was available, it was in August so I didn't book anything. Only one night when I was almost homeless. I stayed in a hotel for one night the evening before I cycled Mt Ventoux.

I didn't plan in advance so thought I could get a train home from Nice but it was ridiculously expensive. I got a flight with easyJet for a third of the price and a free bike box from a 'Sports Direct' type shop along rue Nationale (memory could be letting me down).

Great trip though a heavy book and not easy to refer to for directions without stopping/opening panniers, for what it's worth.

Tent recommendation.

6 May 2015 - 9:39pm
My Vaude TerraTrio is no more. Looking for lightweight, above anything else. Mainly summer use. Absolute maximum of £250. A Hubba Hubba is on my radar. All comments warmly welcomed. Thanks.

Re: travel insurance?

6 May 2015 - 9:29pm
Maybe. Don't know.
Don't get your currency from the post office though.

Re: travel insurance?

6 May 2015 - 9:20pm
Post Office Travel Insurance is very good and and reasonably priced and will cover you for cycling but not racing


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