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Updated: 1 hour 58 min ago

Venice to Lecce - and how to get there (and back)

13 September 2014 - 12:13am
I would like to cycle down Italy's Adriatic coast, from Venice to Lecce - a journey of about 600 miles, along cycle routes.

If anybody has done this I'd be very grateful to know how it worked - and especially if the routes are suitable for road touring bikes.

Also, what is the best way of getting there and back, with your bike? I'd be confident enough of doing the bike journey in 7-8 days, but wonder how long it would take 'all in'.



GPS Training course - 2 days - only £70

12 September 2014 - 11:59pm
As a CTC leader I've organised a W/E tuition on GPS devices this W/E and have 2 places available, is anyone interested. They look great out of the box, but take a lot of effort and asking others to get started on them and this course will make that a lot easier
This will be the second W/E course and the first in June was very helpful.
This one is based at Mungrisdale, close to the Lake District on the 4th and 5th October 2014.

I asked for
1) An introduction to gps and the devices available
2) An explanation of routes, waypoints and tracks
3) Building a route from a remote location. We are pretty unique in that the holidays we offer are truly original. Websites include http://www.bikely.com http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com etc.
4) Transferring this route to a format that can be used by various devices such as .gpx and an explanation of the options available
5) How to correctly send these to participants. There is an added step here in that many of our tours are subsequently copied by other companies, so a degree of security would be nice (Though appreciate that this may only be possible if we supply the units as well)
6) Transferring these to devices and converting these to formats that cyclists use. As we are dealing with participants that have their own gps units we are often dealing with various types of Garmin, Satmaps etc.
7) With a gps route on file, having the ability to edit it after the holiday. An example would be altering the route slighly as a better road is found or a different starting point is found without having to rewrite the whole day.

REPLY from GPS training
I’ve read your brief and all makes sense and would present no problems for us
As you have quite an extensive brief and are still thinking about which type of GPS you may end up using I’m pretty sure that you will need two days – the first for the practicalities of the use of GPS and the second for working with BaseCamp & Garmin Connect their free computer software to allow import/export of user data in GPX and Fit file formats and planning routes like your Yellowstone trip – learning how to manage files formats on your computers etc. and import/export to GPS.
All the points covered in your notes would be covered in the two days; although your head may hurt at the end of the second day – we can provide loan & demo GPS for you to use and Laptops with Basecamp installed – Garmin Connect may be a bit more tricky as it’s an online application but Pete is very familiar with it so will be able to show you how to sue it with some captured pages – he also uses Bikey & Bike Toaster so will be able to help there as well – you could bring your own computers but it may just be easier to use ours – I would recommend you don’t purchase any GPS until you’ve been on the course – we would be happy to do a deal for you and your members on GPS, Maps & Accessories
The cost of the course is £70 for both days

If you would like to come, please contact Neil at Neil@Tandem-club.org.uk

Re: Anyone recommend any good books?

12 September 2014 - 11:53pm
No place like home thank god. By Stephen Primrose Smith. A really good read and funny.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00M9QV ... mp_s_a_1_1

Re: Anyone recommend any good books?

12 September 2014 - 10:30pm
Travels with Rosinante - French bloke cycles round the world rivetting local beer bottle caps onto his mudguards as he goes. doesn't get much better than that

Re: How to train for long distance cycle touring

12 September 2014 - 9:30pm
Excellent stuff, thanks for posting

Re: How to train for long distance cycle touring

12 September 2014 - 9:17pm
Especially the "signing out" bit. Wise man indeed.

Re: How to train for long distance cycle touring

12 September 2014 - 8:36pm
Wise words

Re: Anyone recommend any good books?

12 September 2014 - 10:23am
pedalsheep wrote:
I bought this a couple of years ago from their website http://www.travellingtwo.com and a couple of days ago I received an email from them telling me that I was entitled to download the new updated edition for free. I did so and it is absolutely excellent. The focus is primarily on lengthy tours but the advice is equally applicable to shorter jaunts.
Highly recommended.

Agreed - I have just read the updated edition and it's even better than the first.

I know this might sound like a cliche, but if you buy this ebook I don't think you will need to buy another practical book on touring again.

IMPORTANT: I'd recmmend that folk buy the book direct from travellingtwo as pedalsheep did.

Apart from (presumably) more money going to the authors, the updating system works far better when buying direct than through Amazon.

In addition to the ebook format you also get a PDF.

Also a fair chance that more tax will end up in the public purse as well so a win win.

Re: Santander to Calais - info required

12 September 2014 - 10:06am
I cycled from Santander to Caen in 2010 and, like Bikepacker, caught the ferry across the bay from Santander to Pedrena which cost 6 euros. This puts you on quieter roads straight away. Then I followed an inland route across northern Spain to avoid the busy coastal strip using campsites at Ramales, Villanane, Estella and Roncevalles, going just south of Pamplona and crossing the Pyrenees via the Puerto de Ibaneta down to St Jean Pied de Port in France. This worked out at about 240 miles to the French border. The roads were good and not busy at all but there were some big hills along the way, as there would be if you stayed nearer the coast. After St Jean I cycled up the middle of France linking towns with campsites that I had found on the internet (CampingFrance.com). There is scope for using some French cycle routes on your trip - see www.af3v.org for an interactive map of these. What you intend is certainly a worthwhile trip with lots of route choices.

Re: Have I Planned a *good* Route in Belgium?

12 September 2014 - 8:50am
You could try the LF routes on this site:

Alternatively cycle.travel now provides routes on mainland Europe and I have found it superb for finding quiet traffic free route sin England so I assume it will do just as well in Belgium.

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

11 September 2014 - 8:52pm
What about a front rack?

Roberts above Loch Torridon by dean.clementson, on Flickr

Rear panniers + front rack helps to spread the weight. I generally just chuck tent and sleeping stuff on the front.

The saddlebag is just for tools and stuff I want ready access to, and I have a light bag for valuables I don't want to leave on the bike.

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

11 September 2014 - 8:21pm
I did a 30 day camping tour to the 4 cornets of Scotland in ,July.
Just 2 rear panniers and a bar bag. But I felt back heavey and could have done with 2 fronts ones as well.
Depends on how ruthless you are.
I went with 1 hat and came back with 4.
I took 1 t shirt and came back with 3.
I kept finding stuff and keeping hold of it.
Also, I carried too much emergency food.
In UK you ate never a day away from something to eat.
Well, forost of most tours.
I look forward to hitching up the front ,2 for next tour,!

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

11 September 2014 - 6:17pm
I like the laundry bag idea! They don't weigh much and usually have a zip. It'd make train journeys here a bit easier too, the ones where you have to take all your gear off and hang the bike up...

Re: Have I Planned a *good* Route in Belgium?

11 September 2014 - 3:26pm
Welcome to the Forum.
Day 1 - there are two schools of thought here. Some like the canal route whilst others prefer to follow the sea and the wonderful tram line (the longest in the World) up to Oostende, before cutting in to Brugge. I like the latter because I hardly ever get to follow the sea, so it's a change. The cycle path is excellent quality and obviously the route is flat

The roads, north and south of the main N49 between Brugge and Antwerpen are quiet, if you choose to go either side of it. I think the southern route is slightly shorter but less rural. BTW, the sign posts in this part are terrible but the people tend to speak English. It's not such a good idea to try French out on them....!!

Antwerpen to Brussels doesn't have a direct route as such. The roads to the west of the A1 are more direct than to the East BUT the eastern side is more interesting and it will also mean that you enter Bruxelles from the north east or east. The northern part of Bruxelles is far from charming. If I were you, I would swing around to the east of the airport (Zaventem) and then enter via Kraainem. Avoid Michelen at all costs.

One final bit of good news and that is that bike shops here tend to be found even in medium sized villages....

PM me for me info. Hope you have a good ride.

Re: Tips for touring the Alps

11 September 2014 - 2:45pm
Thanks for all the responses to this, a lot of useful info.

I've now finished the tour. You can see photos at my blog: http://www.khain.net

I took a four season bag but a 1 season bag would have done fine. It was very warm everywhere I camped, except on a 2km+ pass but even that wasn't too cold. Most of the campsites had charge points for shaving so I had no problems keeping my phone charged.

Although the scenery is spectacular I wouldn't really recommend the Alps for cycle touring. It was very busy, motorbikes were a real nuisance on the passes, campsites were very large and of poor quality, and there were thunderstorms every other day. I enjoyed Slovenia and Bavaria the most as they were quieter and less commercialised.

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

11 September 2014 - 1:37pm
horizon wrote:I think it would really help if the OP clarified what he/she was really asking. Is it, "Do you really need to take so much stuff for camping?" or is it, "Do you need front panniers or can you pile everything on the back?" I think we've all assumed it's the former but if that's the case, the answer is easy - no you don't need front panniers if you don't take much stuff and yes you do if you do. This thread really has got nothing to do with front panniers.

Yep you're right I really was just wondering if there was a weight/stability issue with having lal the weight at the back of the bike instead of evenly distributed. But it's still interesting to hear about the pros and cons of front panniers. I'm not going to bother as if I feel I need the extra room I can always buy some on my travels.

But does seem a bit fiddly to have 4 bags. My plan is to have two back panniers and a big laundry bag (thats I'll use to put my bags in for the flights). The I can have the bag on the back for my tent, food, and anything else. Then if I need to take my panniers off the bike (if I don't want to leave them on the bike while in a museum/coffee shop etc) then I can just stick them in the bag and take it all with me.

Thanks for all your comments by the way

Bikes to Germany

11 September 2014 - 12:15pm
I recently had the relative pleasure of flying with my bike in and out of Frankfurt airport, i thought people might find the following of interest / use.

If you use a bike box/bag to transport your bike there is a very good 24 hour open left luggage office - prices vary depending on size but i paid 126 euros to leave my large suitcase for 18 days - sounds a lot but at least the bike was well protected for the flights - a soft bag would cost significantly less and at least you don't have to carry said bag around on your trip.

You can ride away from the airport on dedicated cycle tracks almost from the terminal doors - my advice is to take the route to the right towards Zeppelinheim (there is a nice little Zeppelin museum at the rathaus which is worth a look if you get a chance) which very quickly gets you away from the traffic.

Of course you can catch a train almost directly from the terminal too if you are travelling further afield.

One of the best bike/airport experiences i can remember!

Re: Ditching my Hybrid for a full Spec Tourer

11 September 2014 - 12:05pm
I bought my 2nd hand 1990 Galaxy 4 years ago for £350 & it's done a good few thousands of miles with full camping load and no problems what so ever. (thanks Jerry, you know who you are).

Re: Have I Planned a *good* Route in Belgium?

11 September 2014 - 10:16am
sorry folks, it looks as though my urls didn't work very well, first post jitters..

I'll look at that planner...


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