CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

Syndicate content
Discussion boards hosted by CTC, the national cycling charity
Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago

Northern Greece

14 October 2014 - 2:36pm
So every Easter for the past few years I go on a week's cycle tour with 5 friends, in the past we've been to the Peloponnese, Crete, Portugal (twice) and Andalucia. We average about 50-60 miles a day and travel fairly light staying in hotels, b&bs etc. This year we have decided to return to Greece as the cycling can be superb, its always been good fun, the chances of getting good weather at that time of year are reasonable, and places to stay can be hilariously grotty and memorable - one year we stayed in a hotel that was being redecorated and it was only after we'd paid etc that we realised that all the doors had been removed to paint, in another place an emergency strip light came on in the room at 3am and couldn't be turned off, and in a further place our balcony gave a lovely vista of the largest coal-fired power station in Greece, the hum of which kept us awake half the night.

Anyway I digress, we're flying to Thessaloniki and was wondering if anyone had any tips as to where would be some good places to head - should we be thinking about heading up or down the coast or going inland to Macedonia or Bulgaria or even on to Turkey? What we like are quiet roads, nice scenery, we don't mind mountains and a grotty place to stay is optional.

Rotterdam to Paris

14 October 2014 - 1:54pm
A couple of us are considering a Peterborough to Paris charity ride in the Spring. Peterborough to Harwich looks straighforward, though a really really long day, but has anyone done a good route from Rotterdam/ Hook of Holland to Paris. There seem to be lots of options, especially through Holland & Belgium. Any interesting/ unusual things along the way that we should take in?

Thanks in Anticipation

Jason

Re: finding a suitable route - southwest UK

14 October 2014 - 1:01pm
rogerwilco wrote:Looking for a single day, round-trip, roughly 70-100 km total and with limited total elevation (less than 1000m).
We'll be travelling with a car from London through Somerset and Devon to Cornwall (google maps route http://bit.ly/1vYHkiG)
As you'll be going through Okehampton, have you though of riding parts of the Coast 2 Coast? Not all of it in one day, obviously but there are more ideas on parts in this thread:
http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=89435

There is a route guide for the C2C which give you more ideas on what you'll find there: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/devon-coast-to-coast and you can even buy the t-shirt.

Alternatively, there might be a small chance that Mick F is available to hire as a local cycling tour guide!

Re: finding a suitable route - southwest UK

14 October 2014 - 12:49pm
robing wrote:You might be better off sticking to Somerset as it's much flatter. They're not called the Somerset Levels for nothing

And it very much depends on the time of year as for the early part of 2014 they were known as the Somerset flood-plains...

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 12:47pm
andrew_s wrote:shane wrote:Luckily Helen loves it and will paint a totally different picture
Since Helen doesn't seem to be around at the moment, here's a link to her blog
2000km from Yakutsk to Magadan, Siberia

Blimey. I'm just a lad..

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 12:38pm
shane wrote:Luckily Helen loves it and will paint a totally different picture
Since Helen doesn't seem to be around at the moment, here's a link to her blog
2000km from Yakutsk to Magadan, Siberia

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 12:25pm
landsurfer wrote:ukdodger wrote:landsurfer wrote:The winter trip to the north of Scotland took 5 days, 1 day was lost to bad weather. We spent it in the tent. With a bottle of scotch. We had planned to visit Cape Wrath but time and the weather was against us.

Very brave and adventurous. Almost a qualifier for the SAS. Dunno how you did it.

All 3 of us are ex RAF Mountain Rescue, all love the cold and snow, if we had the capacity our surf boards would have been with us as well ......

Re: How to carry a guitar on your bicycle

14 October 2014 - 12:19pm
A couple of times I've seen a cyclist in Glasgow riding one-handed and holding his guitar, without a case, in the other. Presumably he didn't believe in hand signals. I've even see a skateboarder whizzing down a hill with a guitar on his back -- it was in a soft case but he must have been very sure of his technique. .

I regularly cycle with my violin over my shoulder, but usually only for short distances. Over 5 miles I prefer to put it in a pannier with extra foam - the top sticks out, of course, but an extra bungie secures it to the carrier.

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 11:54am
ukdodger wrote:landsurfer wrote:The winter trip to the north of Scotland took 5 days, 1 day was lost to bad weather. We spent it in the tent. With a bottle of scotch. We had planned to visit Cape Wrath but time and the weather was against us.

Very brave and adventurous. Almost a qualifier for the SAS. Dunno how you did it.

All 3 of us are ex RAF Mountain Rescue, all love the cold and snow, if we had the capacity our surf boards would have been with us as well ......

Re: Fancy a trip to Germany next year?

14 October 2014 - 11:42am
What do you want to see? Roman remains, motor museums, historic churches, do you enjoy climbing or prefer river trails?

I did a fortnight this summer in north Baden / Bavaria, visited all of the above and more so tell us what you like doing.

Re: Majorca Road Cycling

14 October 2014 - 11:25am
wirral_cyclist wrote:
Brits in a hire car methinks - latest one probably thought you were on wrong side of road...

Wouldn't say so, it was a guy in an open top Merc and he looked Spanish to me. Definitely not hire cars.

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 10:26am
Vorpal wrote:ukdodger wrote:Here's a medal! how many days were those rides and out of interest what did you use for leg and feet covering? If any
If it's below freezing, lots of things are easier, as Shane rightly points out. It's much easier to dress for cold than wet & cold. Wool tights, plus thermal tights, plus some over trousers on my legs (wind blocking material is essential). On my feet, two pairs of wool socks and (oversized) lined winter boots.

If it's wet and near freezing, I wear thermal tights with waterproof trousers over them, wool socks and hiking boots. If I'm out multiple days in wet & cold, I usually end up with a layer of plastic carrier bag in my boots because even waterproof ones seem to eventually soak through with repeated exposure, and no chance to dry overnight.

VP how does one cycle in fur lined boots lined again with plastic bags?

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 10:21am
ukdodger wrote:Here's a medal! how many days were those rides and out of interest what did you use for leg and feet covering? If any
If it's below freezing, lots of things are easier, as Shane rightly points out. It's much easier to dress for cold than wet & cold. Wool tights, plus thermal tights, plus some over trousers on my legs (wind blocking material is essential). On my feet, two pairs of wool socks and (oversized) lined winter boots.

If it's wet and near freezing, I wear thermal tights with waterproof trousers over them, wool socks and hiking boots. If I'm out multiple days in wet & cold, I usually end up with a layer of plastic carrier bag in my boots because even waterproof ones seem to eventually soak through with repeated exposure, and no chance to dry overnight.

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 10:14am
shane wrote:ukdodger wrote:
Where was all that?

Trip 1, 3 weeks in Lapland
Trip 2, The trans labrador highway in Canada

You're a better man than me Gunga Din. I'm shivering now. Great pics and nice story though. Thanks.

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 10:12am
eileithyia wrote:PS Leg covering; usually normal winter cycling longs, thicker pair of socks, normal shoes, I have toyed with over shoes but never really found them very satisfactory, but always always have spare dry socks with me.

I've tried everything to keep my feet and legs dry but nothing does. So I gave up trying.

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 10:11am
ukdodger wrote:
Where was all that?

Trip 1, 3 weeks in Lapland
Trip 2, The trans labrador highway in Canada

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 10:10am
eileithyia wrote:ukdodger wrote:eileithyia wrote:Many a time; from winter weekends, the Christmas New Year hostel trip. What started to restrict such activities was RAH (rent a hostel), open hostels for just a handful (or 1-2 riders) became fewer further between, without renting the whole hostel for the weekend
Yes I've been wet through, coped with snow, wind and glorious crisp sunny days.

Here's a medal! how many days were those rides and out of interest what did you use for leg and feet covering? If any

Not sure a medal is needed, as said elsewhere, no different to being out on the winter clubrun only with the addition of staying away from home and repeating the following day.
Touring could be anything from 1 night away (usually Saturday), 2 nights (fri and Sat) to about 10 days when I hostelled solo across to South Wales to stop with relatives for a few days then hostelled back again.

I have had great fun negotiating my way in the dark; to obscure tiny hostels in Shropshire, I had memorised the last 2-3 junctions to the hostel from the main road and when we turned into this tiny lane... had to deal with the doubting Thomas's within the club .. stopping to re-check the map (yes I was sure I was sure the hostel should be a few 100yds on on the left) to riding up the Gospel Pass (again in the dark) to the hostel, finding the bike shed (opp side of the road to the hostel) and carting my bags up the track. Whenever I go over the Pass these days I wonder how on earth I managed it in the dark and never realised how narrow it was!!!

At one stage I reckon we had a YHA weekend at least once a month thru the winter months..... it was when most of the club were around to participate in such weekends; the summer months being full of activites; longer touring trips for everyone, juggling family holidays, rally weekends, and (for me) racing.

Going off for the weekend was nothing unusual in the winter and battling the elements did not seem unusual just part of what winter is about and probably no more than extension of daily winter commutes or club runs.

I think the worst bit is wet shoes, I hate putting cold wet shoes back on the following day..... as the hostel drying room was usually not up to the job, it was always important for me to have warm dry socks to at least buffer that moment when the damp started to seep in towards my feet.... plastic shopping bags also helped as a buffer.

I confess I miss those dark evenings of self reliance and the challenge of finding the obscure YH after dark, of being out and using all my senses to find my way and enjoy my surroundings. Though often solo non calendar audax rides through the night does employ all that self reliance.

Frankly I wouldnt (up until now) even consider cycling in those conditions and certainly not every month. I hate wet feet (and wet legs) but have learned to live with them. But you could at least have chosen small hotels where drying stuff is much easier. Hostels arent user friendly I find. You'll forgive me if I suggest there's a hint of masochism in this thread.

Re: How to carry a guitar on your bicycle

14 October 2014 - 10:05am
When I was in high school, I carried a cello a few times. I had shoulder straps to carry it on my back. It was a school cello. I wouldn't have carried my own that way.

Now, I use a trailer, but I don't tour with it. I just use the bike to get to go places where I will play the cello.

And then there's

http://www.cellojoe.com/p/videos_22.html

and

http://bicyclemusicfestival.com/about_bmf/

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 10:01am
shane wrote:Many good tips already, but here goes

(in my opinion!!)

5 degree's to -5 : usually wet and miserable......and quite a pain to keep your gear dry and warm. Long live hostels and B+B's to dry out as most campsites are closed.
-5 degrees to -20 (do it..): With the right gear and know how its lovely. Wild camping camping in snow that is no deeper than 50cm is a joy, spike tyres rock, don't forget your bread will be frozen (as will just about every thing else)
IMG_0182 by shanecycles.com, on Flickr

P1010341 by shanecycles.com, on Flickr

-20 to -35 : also do-able with the right gear and experience but now you have lost your margin for error, a flat tyre is almost impossible to fix, your hands are painful after being exposed to the air for 1 minute. Any plastic bits on your panniers or gear are so brittle they WILL break. You're now running in expedition mode rather than chilling with that extra cup of tea in the morning. You have the constant struggle between being too hot or too cold, your hands and feet being numb, cold or painful. And of course constantly steamed up goggles mean you can't even enjoy the view. Campfires though pretty are more effort than they're worth. Worst of all, you have to sleep in a plastic bag to keep your down dry. Moisture(sweat) management is your main concern.

campfire by shanecycles.com, on Flickr

Winterproof Shane by shanecycles.com, on Flickr

-35 below : Welcome to a cold kind of hell, this is the bit when you often can't even light your stove to melt snow for your drinking water because the fuel doesn't evaporate because its so cold. The sweat in the foam of your goggles freezes to your face and any tea you spill out of your flask instantly freezes to anything it falls on because you;re too damn clumsy with your thick gloves And your biggest worry of the day is how you're going to remove and install all those layers while having a crap without getting frostbite Any blunders now are life threatening . . . . . . . . . .

Trans lab (18) by shanecycles.com, on Flickr

And thats that

Further reading here >>>> http://www.shanecycles.com/category/win ... e-touring/

And for the record, the long dark nights are great, eat at 6, chill for an hour, sleep for 12 hours, spend 3 hours getting ready (everything takes for ever in the morning anyway when its so cold), on the road just before first light

Plus points, beautiful scenery, awesome wild camping. silence

P1010713 by shanecycles.com, on Flickr

Haven't decided if Im going to Scotland, The Lakes or Spain for my trip this winter....Im done with that really cold stuff, its too much like hard work Luckily Helen loves it and will paint a totally different picture


Hang on I'm gobsmacked. Where was all that?

Re: Has anyone ever toured in the winter?

14 October 2014 - 9:57am
Flinders wrote:I don't tour, but prefer cycling in the winter. It's cooler (I run hot) the hedgerows are leafless so I see more, and there's much less traffic.
Though I am a wuss about ice.

You dont tour??

Archive

  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541

 

Terms and Conditions