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Updated: 35 min 57 sec ago

Re: Traveling by Train.

8 November 2014 - 12:22pm
Main drawback is that the refund comes in rail vouchers which are tricky to use for later online discounted tickets.
Contrary to what The Trainline and their ilk would have us believe, tickets that are available online are (with very few exceptions) also available to purchase at any railway station (not London Underground) with a booking office. You can find a ticket online and purchase it at your local station with your vouchers.

Re: Traveling by Train.

8 November 2014 - 12:08pm
Ron wrote:The sheer volume of tips and advice on this thread proves, I think, that rail travel in the UK is just too complex an issue for mere mortals. Particularly if these mortals don't want or can't afford to pay the maximum fare!

I agree totally.

Now and again the oddities pay off.

Last year I booked a ticket from London to a small Lancashire town via Manchester - beyond Manchester.

Christmas Eve which I would have thought was super super peak.

For some reason it was only £16, even though to travel less distance ie: just to Manchester, or Preston taking the other route, would have been more.

Figure that out.

As it was the Virgin train to Manchester was late, meaning I arrived in said NW town an hour late.

Got a refund form and got the entire amount back - so the trip cost nowt.

Do check the delay compensation schemes - I think it's 50 per cent back if 30 mins late, 100 per cent if an hour.

I get the feeling that this scheme isn't as well known as it might be and the Virgin rep at Manchester Picadilly looked rather peeved when I asked for one.

Main drawback is that the refund comes in rail vouchers which are tricky to use for later online discounted tickets.

Luckily I discovered that they can be used to put credit on a London Oyster card.

Re: UK to Prague via northern Germany

8 November 2014 - 9:45am
Some great information Anne + you've touched on my next question: what is camping like in Holland and Germany + sources of information?

I am planing to cycle from either the Hook of Holland or Amsterdam to Berlin - any natural / good routes I should consider?

Re: Jan to May Riding?

8 November 2014 - 8:03am
I certainly wouldn't want to ride across central Turkey in January, temperatures often fall to -10 or -15 in central Anatolia; I'm not sure what you mean by Eastern Turkey, but you might be aware there's a war going on just over the border. That said, it would probably be quite pleasant following the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.

Re: Traveling by Train.

8 November 2014 - 7:18am
It is defiantly worth shopping a round for your tickets from what I have found over the last few days. It appears that you can get a substitutional discount with only 8 weeks notice! for instance, looking at prices on the National Rail Enquiries web site for the end of January this morning (I'm not intending to travel in January just fact finding) it is showing a price of £ 55 return from Doncaster Dumbarton. (Prices for beyond that are not shown and will probably be more) I was redirected to the East Coast booking web site and the same journey comes in at £46.10 & that was not the cheapest price on offer! If I was willing to take a later train on the return Journey and change 5 times it comes down to £40.05. I am quit sure I could not drive to Dumbarton in my T5 for that price. The price for departure today on National Rail Enquiries web site is showing £72.70 return again not the cheapest on offer. It all looks good in theory and the prices are looking good this far north. I will be, come the warmer months, letting the train take the strain.



8 November 2014 - 2:04am
Terrible website but I haven't found a German website yet that didn't suck. It's a bit like the whole world domination thing, they get 3/4 of the way there and fall over


8 November 2014 - 12:42am
Redvee wrote:mercalia wrote:Rose bikes I think the minimum postage is £7 - they use a courier.

DHL collects the parcel in Germany then ParcelFarce collect it from Coventry airport.

Depends, they give you a choice of delivery methods when you place your order, Royal Mail, UPS, or DHL, I think.
I placed a couple of orders recently and despite selecting UPS both times, the first one came with DHL and the second one with a combination of DHL and Parcelforce. I emailed to ask why they didn't send them with UPS as I had asked, and they said some things like battery lights, oils, etc. can only be sent by surface transport, hence DHL and Parcelforce.
Anyway, both orders were delivered within three days.


8 November 2014 - 12:33am
mercalia wrote:Rose bikes I think the minimum postage is £7 - they use a courier.

DHL collects the parcel in Germany then ParcelFarce collect it from Coventry airport.

Re: Traveling by Train.

7 November 2014 - 11:17pm
Admittedly I'm a bit of a train nerd. If the OP or anyone else would like help ascertaining the cheapest tickets for their trip, please PM me and I will do my best to help.

Re: Jan to May Riding?

7 November 2014 - 10:53pm
My first thought is where do YOU want to go. No point in me waxing lyrically about India if it is the last place you would consider.

Second thought is look at weather. Plenty of great sites out there with historical weather. Jan in Europe can be very cold, May in SE Asia can be very hot.

Third thought is budget. You say you want to travel cheaply, then this could rule out OZ and NZ.

SE Asia is very cheap, no need to camp and great for cycling. Maybe try and include a bit of Southern China. Not sure about the teaching thing, it could take time to organise and you will have to be in the right place which could interfere with cycling. You can easily spend a month in each of the countries, Thai, Burma, Lao, VN, CAmbodia, etc.

As I love SE Asia that is where I would recommend, but probably only for 4 months. Although no reason why you couldn't do 3 months in SEA then fly to Instanbul, pick up camping gear and cycle home from there.

Re: UK to Prague via northern Germany

7 November 2014 - 8:05pm
Hi - I live in Germany and cycled a couple times through the Netherlands without using a map even because they have their numbered 'Fietspunktroute' maps everywhere. The system is getting a little dated though and I have ridden by some markers so tend to print out a map and write down the villages I'll pass through so if I lose the actual fietspunktroute I can always follow the normal city/km white and green/red signs. The old LF mushroom routes are more direct and not always included on the fietspunktroutes - these are designed to keep cyclists off the busier streets and offer more scenic options so I sort of mix and match (cutting through villages instead of going around them).
Germany has paths but they are just now starting to convert some to the fietspunktroute numbered systems. Unfortunately the routes in Germany are provincial and not uniform...it may be a good idea to see if you can find an existing route name (checking the national cyclist forum adfc is a good place to start) and print out that route name or logo...often route logo stickers or addition signs are added to the already bike routes (the white/green city/km signs). If you enter relatively north and want to stay up there, there is a well known river route called Roemer Lippe. It starts at the roman city of Xanten near the dutch border (there is a youth hostel here and a excellent roman archeological park/museum/colosseum)..it's almost directly eastwards along the river Lippe towards Paderborn, after that there are a couple mountain ranges, but nothing like the Alps. I haven't done that route but visited a cycle travel show and it looked interesting. You could also go south down the Rhine and pick up the Paneuropa route I think either in Mannheim or two days down from Kehl/Strasbourg...hmmm, I'd actually recommend staying at the campground in Mainz Kastel and heading eastwards away from the Rhine towards Darmstadt where you can pick up the Bergstrasse route to Heidelberg - from there follow the Neckar River Valley eastbound, this is part of the Paneuropa route (Paris-Prague). I also have a wonky knee so avoid hills, there are some but they aren't too tough. I wrote about some recent tours in NL, the Rhine and Bergstrasse on my blog which I'll link up here, with the campgrounds I stayed at, etc. It is a bit industrial in the Ruhr area but the middle Rhine picks up after Bonn it's a very scenic ride, especially between Koblenz and Bingen. So here are a couple sites I use and can reccommend:

This is a great camping site...I like the map search function. You will get some photos and reviews and best of all a link to the campsite website if they have one. This past year I relied on my printed maps for campsites because it was a couple days into my journey so I hadn't a realistic idea of where I'd end up...one day 2/3 of the campgrounds we checked had been closed for several years .

This is in dutch but easy to figure out...it's a planning tool using their fietspunktroute

http://suburbiadeutschland.blogspot.de/ ... cycle.html
Shameless...my blog - it's not that great, done via ipad and simply challenged with all that anyways - but I try to give an honest account and like to share quirky things and travel tips...this one was my first cycle camping tour in NL but I cycle there regularly on day trips. I did the Bergstrasse just last month and wrote about that as well.

Also - if you don't mind investing in route maps, publicpress.de has a series of maps of existing German routes without all the blah blah like the booklet ones...might just check here to see what routes could be possible options for your tour...

Hope this novella provides some help.


7 November 2014 - 6:41pm
We went to Morocco a few years ago in early February for a 17 day break. The High Atlas are just south of Marrakech. We went over the Tizi n Test pass and then on to the coast before heading over the Anti-Atlas and then back to the coast to Essaouira. The weather was great, the scenery beautiful and the cost very reasonable. I know EasyJet send their planes down to Morocco.

Re: Jan to May Riding?

7 November 2014 - 6:25pm
New Zealand and maybe some of Australia (Tasmania & Victoria).


7 November 2014 - 6:16pm
Has anyone suggestions for cycling somewhere warm in late January early February for one or two weeks?
Am trying to escape the worst of the British weather!

Criteria are:-
1) Preferably self catering accommodation to keep cost down.
2) Somewhere warm, have looked at Majorca, but looks as if it can be quite rainy at that time
of the year and temps only seem to hover around 10C
3) Somewhere where their are other interests near by or in the vicinity e.g. Museums, Scenery,
Architectural interest etc. Will probably hire a car for a few days.
4) Reasonable and cheap flying distance from the UK. i.e. Easy Jet or Ryanair
5) Regarding (4) above airlines that will take bikes at a reasonable charge. However it may be
cheaper and easier to hire bikes??

Any help, suggestions, thoughts or advice would be welcome.

Re: Jan to May Riding?

7 November 2014 - 5:27pm
At this time of the year, I'd be tempted to go to South America (I've only climbed there, not cycled, but I've been to a few of the countries) perhaps fly to Santiago and meander up to Lima taking in the sites to see en route or cut across to Paraguay, then Uraguay and keep going until you run out of time and have to fly back?

Re: Traveling by Train.

7 November 2014 - 4:35pm
The sheer volume of tips and advice on this thread proves, I think, that rail travel in the UK is just too complex an issue for mere mortals. Particularly if these mortals don't want or can't afford to pay the maximum fare!


7 November 2014 - 4:11pm
Used them MO several times and been to the amazing store in Germany too.

They have now stopped printing any parts/clothing catalog stating its all on the web site but they are still doing bike catalogs. Pity about that but from experience i know those catalogues are expensive to produce and distribute free.

Not everything is cheap but there are certainly bargains to be had!

Re: Jan to May Riding?

7 November 2014 - 3:11pm
Due to the January start I would certainly start somewhere warmer (southern europe/Asia) and ride back.
There is a Lonely Planet guide to cycling in Laos/Cambodia and Vietnam
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vietnam-Cambodi ... 1864501685
With the current sitation in Iraq/Syria/Afghanistan not so sure qabout a route back to Europe.

Re: Traveling by Train.

7 November 2014 - 1:58pm
A word on tickets. It is often worth booking well in advance (tickets available roughly 12 weeks in advance). Special discounted Advance tickets are sold as singles so you need two but often they work out much cheaper than the standard Off Peak ticket. They are limited in number though and require you to catch the particular train you booked on (which you will want to do anyway with a bicycle reservation). Currently the cheapest return from York to Dumbarton is £95, the cheapest Advance tickets are about £20 (each way).

I hope I'm not making unfair assumptions but if you are over 60 you are eligible for a Senior Railcard. These allow you to save 1/3 on most rail fares including Advance tickets. The cost is £30 for one year (or £70 for 3 years) so if your ticket(s) would have come to £90+ one would pay for itself in savings on that one trip.

If you aren't comfortable booking all this online then a booking clerk at any train station booking office should be able to get all this booked for you (best to go at a quiet time).

Re: Traveling by Train.

7 November 2014 - 1:50pm
monxton wrote:You've muddled up the two things I was trying to distinguish. I think we're agreeing:

Ah, now that I re-read your post a little more slowly, I see your point. I agree. We are in agreement


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