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5 days tour in Scotland

6 May 2015 - 1:53pm
I'm planning to take 5 days off to see a bit of Scotland in August, but I'm not really sure where to go. The most important thing to get as much beautiful scenery as it is possible to pack in this short time. We'll probably be going with a few friends who only have road bikes so the road mustn't be too bad... We'd be wild camping (yes, I know, midges). Also we'll be coming from London so it should be convenient to get to/from (we might arrive by plane - cheaper - and leave on a sleeper train)
For the moment I'm considering the NCN7 route from Glasgow to Inverness - seems really good but I'm not sure if it's doable without stress in five days (with a train to catch on the last evening); and from what I've read it's not advisable to use road bikes on this. So any advice on this route or any other recommendation would be very welcome.

Re: freecamping italy - abandoned places?

6 May 2015 - 1:37pm
Many thanks for the encouraging reply eileithyia - I was rather living in fear of some no no no nannying responses.

Interesting experiences of yours - a long time ago I did once camp with a cheap dome tent on pretty disused cinder tennis court/football pitch in full view of the Sardinian town which climbed above it. I maybe wouldn't do something so visible in Sardinia any more as the place has gone upmarket somewhat, even away from the Costa Smerelda. My experience and yours makes a free standing dome/semi geodesic tent a good idea I think.

Re your tagline by the way - HG Wells was of course a great cycling fan - also a great fan of untramelled women as well though, whether on bikes or not

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 1:33pm
Tangled Metal wrote:The speed that this happens at is not fixed but changes as the load in the trailer changes and TBH I think it is bad luck or bad loading of the trailer that gets the snaking.
So what's good loading of a trailer? I've never had one before the last year, for any vehicle.

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 1:25pm
I've never had snaking with my trailer (a child one weighing 13,6kg empty and usually about 28-30kg full I think). I believe the sales blurb from Burley goes on about testing for stability and how the towing arm is off centre so the centre of the trailer is in line with the centre of the bike. This means there is not supposed to be much of a moment at the hitch but I do not know for sure whether that it correct. I have never noticed a side pull to my Burley so perhaps it is well set up. The most I have had from my trailer is a bounce onto one wheel when I rode over a big rock at a bit of speed when riding off road with it.

BTW to anyone towing a trailer with a child in please refer to the operators manual for your trailer model. They usually give you a maximum recommended speed for riding at while towing the trailer. With my Burley D-lite that is 15mph. With another make I think it works out at 18mph. All that is a lot less than the 30mph someone on here claimed to be riding at. It may be safe at speed but personally I do not want to test it with my toddler, your choice of course (not the choice of the trailer occupant over the speed traveled). I have done 24.6mph (as I discovered after checking Strava at the end of the ride) but I got a stern telling off at the time and slowed down. The D-lite was very stable at that speed but at what speed does that stability go?

IIRC with cars you accelerate out of a snaking trailer but I have never been in that situation. It is basically about changing the speed of travel so that the resonance of the trailer with the drive source is not met. Braking is supposed to cause even more issues. The speed that this happens at is not fixed but changes as the load in the trailer changes and TBH I think it is bad luck or bad loading of the trailer that gets the snaking.

Re: freecamping italy - abandoned places?

6 May 2015 - 12:07pm
No experience of the abandoned villages. But had some strange experiences of camping in Italy.
1st night we were climbing up a valley road, had not found a place to camp as a thunder storm was gathering, last minute we found a car park with a flat grassed area next to a closed restuarant (the tent that had only been used once before never went up so fast), no one was around, no one bothered us etc.
Next night arrived at a campsite, no one around, worker turned up part way into evening and did some work in toilet block (later locked one but left one open), at one stage walked over toward us, i dived into tent to get money to pay, instead he walked straight past, ran a flag up a pole and walked off.... workers arrived next morning, we made no secret of the fact we were packing up but was never asked to pay up...

Couple of other times we found some corner on a mountain road to camp and were never bothered.... (we were in the Dolomites and linking back across to the Bolzano area).

I doubt you would have any problems.

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 11:55am
Vorpal wrote:It is a good technique, and a child trailer tends to get more space on the roads, anyway. A child trailer, plus protectively positioned parent takes up more or less the same space as a car, and driver are more likely to overtake correctly. However, Norwegian drivers are generally more considerate than British ones. And I wouldn't expect quite as much space and care in the UK as Norway.
Indeed. However, you do have to be careful in Norway particularly just after knocking off time. We have had enough close shaves with vehicles with green number plates between 4pm and 6pm to know that not all Norwegian drivers are always that considerate. Generally if I am being tailgated whilst driving my car it will be a vehicle with green number plates or one with a number plate that starts with BS. Both groups seem to be in a terrible hurry to get somewhere.

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 11:30am
Tangled Metal wrote:Carry Freedom trailer hitches, are they similar to a Burley one by any chance? Do you think it could be rigged to tow from a burley hitch?
Is the Carry Freedom hitch approved for use with child trailers?

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 11:22am
meic wrote:By far the most incapacitating effect of the child trailer is aerodynamic drag. I can beat people uphill with it but as soon as we are on the level or into the wind I am working up a sweat just holding 15mph as the solo riders cruise along effortlessly.

Aerodynamic drag is an interesting point. Last summer I found that I noticed little extra drag with a full on headwind or when there is no wind. The trailer is no wider or higher than my bike with panniers which meant the bike effectively shielded the trailer from the wind. The big problem is head-side winds, your effective 'sail area' is doubled by the trailer. Having someone next to you taking point doesn't help as much as when on a solo bike. Either your bike is shielded from the breeze or the trailer is shielded. On the plus side, life is good with a tail wind and/or tail-side wind. The double 'sail area' effect is reversed especially with a tail-side wind which is closer to a tailwind than a side wind.

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 11:20am
Meic has a good point about drag, however, I will say that it very seldom matters to me. Usually, when I pull the trailer, either I am pulling it with a child back tandem, doing the shopping, and/or in the company of one or more family members. Hauling shopping and riding with family members are far more likely to limit my speed than the drag on the trailer. I tend to freewheel down the hills, but when I've taken the trailer on group rides, it has been with other families, and sometimes with similar combinations of tandem + trailer, so I haven't had any trouble keeping up.

As for snaking, I have never had problem with my trailer. I did have some trouble with a hired trailer bike and a Trail Gator. They were both seat post mounted, and single wheel; I would expect that to be much more prone to snaking than a two wheeled, axle-mounted trailer.

Re: freecamping italy - abandoned places?

6 May 2015 - 11:19am
Thanks for the caution mjr but I was thinking of the usual discipline of arrive late/leave early/leave no trace.

And generally not even erecting a tent.

Naturally some of the disused buildings could be somewhat wonky/dangerous.

So I was also thinking of in close proximity to these abandoned places, not in any buildings.

I gather that some of these places are semi occupied by holidaymakers in season (but in my experience the Italian season can be rather short) but I shouldn't imagine they get up too early to go wandering round pretty much abandoned land.

I know some folks on this forum have a lot of knowledge of Italy, happy to hear from them.

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 11:06am
meic wrote:MJR: I never had snaking on my trailer always perfectly behaved, so it may be that some trailers are better designed (does yours hitch at the rear axle or at the seatpost?) or just how much a percentage of the gross weight is in it. My personal gross weight is quite gross enough to control a trailer.
My current one is a seatpost hitch because it's very helpful being able to use it as a handcart and yes, I'm fairly light and usually pulling silly weights in it (it only gets used if the load is too bulky or too heavy for the 25kg-rated rear rack), although it does even start to snake sometimes when lightly loaded.

Re: Singlewheel trailers - experiences and modifications

6 May 2015 - 10:42am
A good point about leaning over for the 2 wheeler - the single wheel yakalike works as it can lean over with the bike, but the 2 wheeler? would put a strain atleast on the cycle frame as the trailer resists.It needs some kind of universal joint there? I suppose the trailer would turn your bike into a tricycle? is that a good or bad idea, how easy is it to turn corners on a tricycle? One to avoid maybe, no doubt thats why dont see many more of that type imported ( or made?)

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 10:41am
MJR: I never had snaking on my trailer always perfectly behaved, so it may be that some trailers are better designed (does yours hitch at the rear axle or at the seatpost?) or just how much a percentage of the gross weight is in it. My personal gross weight is quite gross enough to control a trailer.

I have had rather a lot of experience of towing a trailer with the girl in it, on a day to day basis mostly in hilly terrain.
It was an old Burley Lite trailer and its handling was always perfect, I just point the bike concentrating on keeping the tyres of the towing bike in the best place and the trailer will just follow, over any surface!

By far the most incapacitating effect of the child trailer is aerodynamic drag. I can beat people uphill with it but as soon as we are on the level or into the wind I am working up a sweat just holding 15mph as the solo riders cruise along effortlessly.

Going down hill we would exceed thirty mph on a daily basis, the trailer was flawless and if we ever had had a spill my dear darling daughter would have ridden over the remains of her dad, giggling safely in the trailer.

If you consider a trailer, you have two wheels sharing a relatively very light load. Girl and trailer may have been 25Kg, ie 13Kg per wheel. Older girl and touring gear could achieve 25Kg per wheel (Burley have a 100lb limit). With that load compared to the pulling bike, it just gets pulled along. Also it has little impact on the main bike, it supports its own weight and just has a slight push or pull right next to the rear axle, the coupling moment is undetectable. I hit black ice on with mine once and I am convinced that the trailer kept me upright by applying extra resistance to the hub moving sideways and not letting me slide out sideways.

I still love my trailer and can not part with it BUT the aerodynamic drag is very severe above 15mph and I do prefer to go above that speed when possible. There is an easy increase in average speed of 1mph when using a trailer bike just because of the aerodynamics (the weight is the same). As the girl is now older it just sits in the lean too waiting for my car to break down.
Possibly I was such a trailer enthusiast because I live in a hilly area and the aerodynamic drag wasnt a problem for 90% of the time.

Of course a tandem would be even better.

Re: freecamping italy - abandoned places?

6 May 2015 - 10:30am
I don't know about Italy but some places that look abandoned in other countries are actually daytime-only shelters for agricultural workers, so please take care.

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 10:08am
pwa wrote:I've never used a bike trailer, but I have a lot of experience of towing trailers behind pick-up trucks and minibuses and the thing you are trying to avoid is "snaking", where the trailer starts to weave from left to right. If you are not doing so already, using a mirror to keep an eye on the steadiness of the trailer would be wise.
How does one avoid snaking? Just slow down, or are there ways to load the trailer to reduce it? I'm a bit fed up with experimenting, so any tips would be very welcome!

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 9:51am
This is the Burley hitch (taken from an online image), similar but not close enough to work. We'd have to switch the hitch over on the CF trailer which looks doable since the towing bars look the same sort of square profile.

I think I prefer the way there is a top and bottom hole to take the pin on the Burley with the thicker trailer connector between them is a better connection somehow. Kind of more of the pin in connection with the trailer and the bike side of the hitch seems stronger to me. Probably both are just as good.

I wonder if anyone on here has switched the CF lollipop hitch on their trailer to the Burley one?

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 9:43am
Two sorts of CF hitch.
The old Universal Joint system that I don't think is available any more, and the new Lollipop hitch.
Dunno about the Burley.

Lollipop Hitch.JPG

Re: bike storage Belgian hotels

6 May 2015 - 9:22am
Thanks for the replies.

In France, Formule 1 (or similar variations) is the about the only place I take my bike into the room. In other places there is always a garage or store room for it. I would not leave it chained up outside regardless of the type of rack they had. I will send each place a email before making a booking.

Re: Singlewheel trailers - experiences and modifications

6 May 2015 - 9:20am
Ah - you didn't see the problem then!
This trailer is connected to the rear drop outs in a manner that precludes any rotation about a front to back axis. What's going to happen when the towing bike leans into a corner? Or tries to.... Or one wheel goes over a bump...
I have a Carry Freedom as well. The linkage pivots to allow for steering, flexes to allow for vertical movement and flexes to allow independent leaning. I've never researched it but I fully expect that most other successful two wheel trailers make similar provision, one way or another.
Can't help thinking that "very good condition, few marks on the bag" might translate as only used once and never again!

Re: Trailer vs Panniers

6 May 2015 - 9:14am
LollyKat wrote:Where is Mick F? I thought he would have been along by now.Sorry, late to the party!
I've only been checking into the forum for little snatches over the last week or more as I'm busy with all sorts of stuff here.

I used panniers - big rear ones, and later a full set of four - and never really liked them. I think it has more to do with the bike than the panniers. Carrying heavy panniers made my bike feel like a tank and TBH I hated it and no doubt my bike hated it too.

Perhaps if you own a full tourer, it would actually feel fine and dandy when loaded up, but my "racing snake" of a Mercian didn't like it. The frame wasn't built for it, so it it's an unsuitable frame for loads.

It wasn't until 2004 when I planned my Double End2End and the prospect of panniers raised its head. It was then that I discovered trailers. I can't remember what put the idea into my head but it festered away in there for a few weeks and I eventually bought a Carry Freedom.

Next problem was how to carry my stuff, and Mrs Mick F hit on the idea of using a suitcase. This was brilliant except for one thing. In heavy rain, the damp gets in through the zip.

I made a plywood box and used that for a while but only utility and shopping, but it was a good strong system though unsuitable for touring of course.

I finally bought an alu box and bolted it directly onto a purpose made base with rubber seals to seal off the bolt holes. This is perfect and well worth the money and is totally weatherproof. It's lockable too. It's done JOGLE with my Raleigh Chopper (you try fitting a full set of panniers on a Chopper!) and been Up North a few times behind Mercian when I've been riding to daughters and relations up there and back.

CF trailers are wonderful. They are versatile and strong. They tow beautifully and faithfully and as you ride, you can forget about them as you bike feels normal ............. except when you go up hills of course. Even if you had panniers, you would still have the hills, so there's no difference really.Wombats.jpgHelmsdale.jpgGretna.jpgWooden Box.JPGJOG.jpg


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