CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

Re: Canal du Midi?

19 June 2015 - 8:49am
Pugwash wrote:Hi,

I am planning to do the Canal Du Midi a bit later in the year, but am planning to hire a bike as it will be easier than taking ours on the plane.

Has anyone used any of the Cycle Hire Providers ?, if it comes to it, I can take a bike, but would prefer to hire if there is a decent place locally.



Where are you starting from? If you are starting from the Narbonne area then I'd recommend Phil at Mellow Velos http://www.mellowvelos.com/index.html

They also offer to deliver bikes to you if you'd like.

Re: Single room B&B Hay-on -Wye / Builth

18 June 2015 - 11:43pm
Nicky said the mill had only been advertised for a few weeks and there was no great rush. It's a great building , obviously a lot of work gone into it.

Anyway, had a great three days out and about - rode Abergavenny to Hay-onWye over the Gospel Pass, then on to Dolgoch Hostel where I was sole occupant. Then back to Abergavenny and over the pass again. NCN42 and NCN8 played a major part. Lovely part of the UK and I was blessed with near perfect cycling weather.

Gospel Pass was easily highlight of the year, especially the virtually traffic free descent on a clear sunny day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiZW_u5 ... e=youtu.be

Re: Tubus Ti racks

18 June 2015 - 9:47pm
Is this ti rack shortage any sort of problem?

What's the advantage, if any, other than a bit of weight, of a TI rack?

Re: Canal du Midi?

18 June 2015 - 9:02pm
Canal du Midi is a lovely ride....nothing too strenuous with loads of places to stop while you watch the world go by. The only advice I want to offer is to keep an eye on the surface if you ride the actual canal tow path. It has lots of tree roots which can catch you out and have you in the water if you aren't careful! This is especially true between Caracassone and Beziers. But it really is a great ride so be aware not deterred.

Re: Expedition bike - all thumbs on 8 or 9

18 June 2015 - 8:17pm
I've used old Deore thumbies for years. 7 speed with an extra 8th click if you want them indexed. I always go with the friction option. Bombproof and in my opinion, perfect for an expedition bike.

Re: Single room B&B Hay-on -Wye / Builth

18 June 2015 - 8:10pm
johnnyhamster wrote:Jon Lucas - I had a lovely overnight stay at Trericket Mill and did indeed pass on your regards. Alistair went off to fetch a book with your picture on the cover

Ah, that book!

Have they had any luck finding a buyer for the place, or have they given up trying to sell?

Re: Schwalbe Marathon vs Marathon Plus

18 June 2015 - 7:35pm
mercalia wrote:which Marathons? the new green guard ones or the older kevlar ones? I dont really rate the kevlar ones - maybe kevlar good at stopping a knife but a tiny needle thorn , no
This must have been fate. I knew I shouldn't have posted on a thread about punctures while I am on tour in Spain. What happened today, got a puncture in my brand new marathons with kevlar. Found a tiny but sharp bit of wire had penetrated. Frustrating as just 5 miles to my destination. At least it was a front wheel for a change.

Re: Tubus Ti racks

18 June 2015 - 7:32pm
Is arms production increasing?

Re: Expedition bike - all thumbs on 8 or 9

18 June 2015 - 6:04pm
Sweep wrote:... And my aim is to think things through, get the bike right and ride it for 20 years without extensive fiddling/respeccing. 10 at least.
20 years is a long time to own one bike without some changes.Will a frameset last that long for the type of work you have in mind for it.
IMO it has to be steel for durability and possible repair on tour .
10years is more realistic IMO
How much use is it likely to get each year?
How far are you planning to roam,Europe,or the more far flung corners of the globe?

Am thinking in the next year or so of getting an expedition bike - expedition as in 26 inch wheels, tough, and specced to cause minimum fuss on the road (or for the rest of its/my life) and to be easily fixed/adjusted on the road if anything should happen. This stuff may happen in some pretty out of the way places with only basic bike shops. I do have other bikes so it doesn't have to do everything.
So a full on heavy duty tourer?
I'd go with 36 spoke Shimano hubs Deore spec or better.but I'd be inclined to steer clear of hubs with aluminium axles,such as the later XT offerings.
My preference would be LX for non disc and XT M756 six bolt for discs.Sputnik rims are bombproof.
DT spokes are good quality,but I'd talk to a decent wheel builder for which spokes are best .

First - the possibly fraught question of speeds.

So will 8 speed give me access to the widest choice of bits on the road or is there no dfference and I can fit either 8 or 9 and merrily pick up either 8 or 9 on the road?
Simplicity leans me towards 8 speed.

Folks views of continued availability of 8 speed cassettes (the only potential component that will have issues as I can see) for a tourer/MTB type set up?

8 and 9speed cogs are the same thickness and so a 9sp chain runs and changes just as good on a 8sp drivetrain.
I'd go for 9sp not because you really need it but because it's more readily available,cassettes,chains,mechs,but most importantly changers.
9sp is just as robust as 8sp so it's all down to availability of spares in the back of beyond.

Then to the changers.

After various research, and though I have never used such things (always rapidfire), I have become interested in the idea of using thumbies created from bar end shifters and bar mounts. Both Paul Engineering and St John Street Cycles do such things.

Reasons - simplicity, durability, should last the life of the bike - no issues with indexing going wonky - and though I can sort indexing I always do it with the book in hand. The Paul units do seem to be an outrageous price for a no-matter-how-lovingly turned bit of metal but I suppose it's a small volume market and the set up should be economical in the long run.
Have you ever had problems with rapid fire shifters?
They seem to be pretty robust reliable units.
If you go for thumbies, I've heard stories on the forum of 9sp b/end levers going crock due to the indexing detents being made of plastic,so perhaps carrying a r/hand one as a spare could be an answer they don't weigh much anyway.
That said b/ends can be switched over to friction
Thumbie brackets are expensive but you should,barring accident,only need to buy once

Alternatively, in anticipation of a problem down the line with having to move from 8 to the dizzy heights of 9** could I fit 9 speed thumbies and use these with an 8 speed set up by judicious use of the limit screw on the rear mech? This will stop an overshift at the cassette end. Could this be done without harming either rear mech or level if I atempt to overshift to a 9th gear that the stop screw is blocking? See, I said that was a risky question. Polite ansers please.

Eight and nine speed cassettes are the same width across,it's only the gaps between cogs that differ,so limit screws are set the same for both 8 and 9sp cassettes.8 and 9sp rear mechs work with either cassettes.

** I would be moving to 9 speed for continued servicability - not because I needed an extra gear at the bottom - I was in a bike shop th eother day which had better remain nameless (because I like them) and was told that 9 speed was needed for range of gears - even though his suggested set up had less at the bottom than my 8 speed 700C hybrid wth a 42/32/22 chainring and a 34 big cog.
There is a 12-36 9sp cassette,though 11-34 is more commonly available,either with an MTB 22/32/42 chainset will offer a big range of gearing if you need to go that low,but you'll need front panniers to keep the front wheel on the ground on steep climbs

Re: Expedition bike - all thumbs on 8 or 9

18 June 2015 - 5:59pm
SJS Thumbies seem to me to be in their "remaindered" section just now.
Its in my mind that somebody on here has reported a Shimano lever dropping to bits, with the indexing bit broken......detent ring. or some such?....which was plastic.
Its also in my mind that this was a 9 speed Shimano bar end lever and the 8 speed are more robust, but I'm prepared to be wrong on that....I think Brucey had seen a similar failed lever.....you might be able to find the thread?..found! and its an 8 speed that broke! http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=94397&p=869873&hilit=detent#p869873
Then there is the question of whether downtube levers will fit the thumbie mounts, and if they are more robust......and there are various "aftermarket" thumbies.
I have a stash of 8 and 9 speed cassettes in my loft, enough to see me out, but i don't think I needed to have bothered.....Rose Versand still have 8 and 9 speed stuff at good prices, if you buy enough to cover the postage, and Chain Reaction (I think) have some super cheap cassette offers from time to time, including 9 speed cassettes for junior restricted gear racing which are a source of 13T top sprockets, if i remember correctly......i use the top end of these with the bottom end of MTB cassettes to get a wide spread with no big jumps.
I happily use 8 speed chain on my one 9 speed bike with 9 speed mechs, I think....remember you will have friction front shifting like me so there is no problem, the F. mech. is endlessly trimmable.
And i just remembered you were talking as if 8 and 9 indexing were the same, so you could just blank one gear off 9 and use it as an 8.........not so, I'm afraid.....8 and 9 cassettes are the same width (fit the same hub) so the 9 sprockets are closer together. Its 7 and 8 that are near enough to the same indexing to be interchangeable.

Re: Panniers etc on Ferries & how to have safe panniers

18 June 2015 - 5:10pm
On the bike safety rather than security point, for ferries in Scotland I used to use a spare toe strap round the rear brake lever to bars so that the rear brake acts like a parking brake.
I would leave panniers on the bike - and have done so even when loading on buses in the past. They protect the bike, especially the gears. I never keep valuables on my bike.

Re: Germany tour

18 June 2015 - 3:50pm
Think you might be pushing things a bit in your time window - first and last days will limit you time wise to 6/7 days proper ride. Its 2 hours train from Koblenz to Trier but more like 3 days following the river by bike as it twists about a fair amount. I looked at doing the Mosel loop as part of last years trip and decided i couldn't do it justice in under a week.

My advice would be do the Mosel loop or do the Rhein/Basel bit otherwise you won't have time to enjoy the beer, scenery or the beer!

Re: Canal du Midi?

18 June 2015 - 2:41pm

I am planning to do the Canal Du Midi a bit later in the year, but am planning to hire a bike as it will be easier than taking ours on the plane.

Has anyone used any of the Cycle Hire Providers ?, if it comes to it, I can take a bike, but would prefer to hire if there is a decent place locally.



Re: Ouistreham ferry disembarkation hazard.

18 June 2015 - 2:28pm
Why doesn't someone take a photo and post it here? Much better than all this yes/no chatter.
Is there more than one ferry running this route? Maybe one has a damaged ramp and another one has a good one? I haven't used this ferry but rather than seeing people argue over it...

Re: Extra stuff inside bike bag with Easyjet

18 June 2015 - 2:06pm
My latest thinking is that even if I can get away with it, it's not good to stuff too much gear into the bike bag as it makes damage to the bike more likely, because I have a soft bag with little padding and it's not obvious there's a bike inside, the extra weight of the gear is not going to help if it gets dropped and very heavy things will annoy baggage handlers. If I had a heavily padded bag, or a hard case, I would perhaps be less concerned. Cardboard box, not so sure (yet to try that method).

Most recently I again maxed out the BA 23kg allowance - 11.5kg was bike, the rest was gear and the weight of the bag (1.3kg), see below. I've flown a few times like this now but I think I've been lucky. Will have more gear to take on the upcoming Easyjet flight and decided to pay for an extra check-in bag for the panniers, and use a CTC clear bag for the bike itself. It does cost more though, this extra bag. This time it was £41 return which is not that much compared to the £150 the flight + bike cost. On the other hand, I've got another flight in autumn with BA, that cost me £100 return incl. bike, and there I would have to pay £72 for an extra check-in bag, which would make no sense at all. Fortunately I am planning to go light on that occasion.

This would all be much easier if airlines just gave you a total weight allowance so you could carry as many bags as you like within a weight and size limit. It appears to be that way for some, e.g. Emirates last time I checked, at least on certain routes.


Re: Germany tour

18 June 2015 - 2:05pm
Yes lucky sod indeed

Right that's the flight booked so at least that's done.. Now for the planning...

I'm looking at the possibility of heading to Koblenz then down the Mosel area to Luxembourg City... From here I would like to follow the French/ German border to Basle before heading towards Stuttgart and Heidelberg and back to Frankfurt..

Not sure if this is a bit much but I'm comfortable cycling around 70 miles per day but if need be I could jump on a train for the less interesting areas...

Does anyone have any experience of this route ?

Re: "End of the line for Europe's iconic night trains?"

18 June 2015 - 2:02pm
Interrail used to be good with the overnight trains. 2 or 3 weeks in Europe without needing a hotel at all. It meant taking a train every night, so a new city every day - so if you wanted more than one day in a city you came back again a few days later. Planning routes was part of the fun - and at times frustration as the aim was to always have at least a 6 hour journey to give enough sleep. Ah, happy days way back then.

Re: Extra stuff inside bike bag with Easyjet

18 June 2015 - 1:52pm
cycleruk wrote:Flown Easyjet a few times with a bikebox. Extra items in box included helmet & shoes + all parts appertaining to bike such as tools/pump/saddlebag etc.
I have had companions who took just a "cabin bag" and put other clothes and items in their boxes with no problems.
The only time Easyjet has come into contact with the bike is at the checking in desk when they weigh the bike etc.
After that the boxes/bikes usually go through an Xray machine but it's not Easyjet personnel who carry this out.
Upto now the only issue has been CO2 cylinders that have shown up on Xray and been confiscated.
If you are using a "see through" bag then you may have problems at the check-in desk?

My bike & box + bits usually weighs about 24 kgs.
+1 for that, get past checkin and you're done, never been asked to open the bag to check whats there and the guys at the scanners are only interested in 'contraband'.

I've never had any issue other than getting under the 23kg weight! With 32kg thats not an issue either. My bike bag has often had a lot of 'not' bike in with it - pannier bags, shoes, camping gear etc. If i can get that in the bike bag i can easily get my clothing into my hand luggage - made even easier with the relaxation of hand luggage weight limits!

Re: Expedition bike - all thumbs on 8 or 9

18 June 2015 - 1:51pm
Subways have no suspension the forks are steel, the very rigid frame is aluminium. The SRAM trigger shifters and the mechanical disk brakes are excellent.


Re: 11 speed for touring?

18 June 2015 - 1:33pm
Nice thing about the 2x11 is that with climbing ahead you drop onto the smaller chain ring and then forget about the front mech for a while. No worries about moving to the granny at the right moment to avoid losing the chain.

Approaching one of our local lumps on Tuesday I forgot to move to the smaller ring and went up a 9%er on 50/34. Was quite chuffed at that, seeing but as what I'm a decrepit old bougre.

T'other thing: the bloke who sold me my 2x11 pointed out that the cassette took up more axle space than a 10-spd but the back wheel wasn't dished, it was narrower than a 3x10 wheel and symmetrical. To provide lateral stability they had staggered the spoke holes in the rims, so that a left spoke went into a rightwards-offset hole & vv. Result was a wheel at least as stable as a 3x10.

Dunno if they're all like that, though.


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