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Re: Bayonne to LaRochelle via EV1 - a report

20 August 2015 - 10:14pm
Thanks for sharing Dave. I worked in the Gastes area for 4 months. Fond memories. I had a Mongoose MTB at the time that was too big for me but I got to go fair distances on it. Till it got nicked in Essex!

Bayonne to LaRochelle via EV1 - a report

20 August 2015 - 9:57pm
You may well feel that this isn't a particularly interesting ride. You could be right - but it was mainly off road, mainly countryside / sea side and very peaceful. It was exactly what we were in the mood for. The terrain was, in places, quite a bit more rugged than we were expecting. It was also a lot warmer than expected. Once away from the Landes forest there wasn't much shade. Taking plenty of water is advised!
My main reason for writing this is that when we were planning I found it quite hard to research. I did come across several references to, and some pictures of, extremely narrow tracks. The one that sticks in mind is still to be found on Google Earth - in at least two locations. It shows about 18" of concrete with a drop off on both sides. This was of concern to me because I was planning to be riding a tandem with a trailer. As it happened the tandem didn't go but I still wanted to use a trailer. I ended up acquiring a Bob Yak to make life easy. I needn't have bothered - it never got narrow enough to make a two wheel trailer unusable although in places, usually near popular beaches, there were regular convoys of French families towing kiddie carriers or repurposed kiddie carriers full of barbeques and deck chairs. If I'd been using my CF I would have felt obliged to ease a wheel off piste. It seems more reasonable then to expect the same of someone with infants or an unstable stack of beach kit on board.
Staying on track takes a little care as much of the route is on forest trails which just aren't going to appear on the usual Michelin road maps and aren’t too visible on Google Earth although road crossings can often be viewed on Streetview. There were lots of little signs but they weren’t always very well sited and we missed more than a few turns. At these moments we were very glad to have gps to hand.
It’s worth pointing out that we followed the route depicted by the gpx files that can be downloaded from the Velodyssee site. The Openfietsmap that I used showed what I presume to be earlier versions. There was at least one occasion when the gpx route took us one way but the physical signage went off in a different direction (near the S E corner of Lac d’Hourtin ). The downloads are for travel from N to S. If you wish to travel the other way - as we did – they need to be corrected. I think it’s safer to ensure that your track goes the appropriate way at roundabouts and then there are one way systems to consider. There’s one as you leave Bayonne and at the other end Chataillon Plage has a one way promenade.
I also found that the downloaded tracks weren’t a good fit to the map features. I spent several hours dragging them into a decent correspondence. When I eventually converted the files and viewed them on Google Earth they matched the photos quite well, giving me a confidence in my work which was justified on the ground.
Nearly all the forest tracks are tarmac surfaced, but some stretches are starting to show their age. The tree roots lift and crack and weathering does the rest. The worst bit was a stretch of about 6km running south from Lacanau. When you pass the beach bar things start to improve. When it’s sunny the dappled shade from the trees makes surface damage very hard to see. There is what could be a tempting downhill (from N to S) I really wouldn’t recommend flying down it. You have been warned!
There were a couple of rather steep sections between Lac de Sanguinet and Biscarosse Plage that had me walking – luggage weight and heat played their part, otherwise probably the toughest bit was where the track emerges from the woods and runs alongside the main road past the Dune de Pyla as you approach Arcachon. Really hilly, reallyreally hot and towards the end of our stage. It was just a grind. Mind you, it’s something to see the sand piled up higher than the tree tops!
There is a section to the North of Lacanau labelled Expert. I think the reason for this is that it is hilly and there are places where there is a steep drop off at the edge of the track. It doesn’t feel exposed because of the trees but there are no guard rails. I wouldn’t take youngsters on their own bikes through that section unless they had the skill and common sense to stay behind me
We took a shortcut through Rochfort. We left the repurposed railway track at St Agnant and went North because we wanted to use the transporter bridge. Recommended! What a delight, and the chap taking the money was a proper enthusiast. I started to tell him that there was one near where I grew up but it had been demolished.” Ahh, Warrington” he said. He was right too! Wonderful. There was a boulangerie as we approached it and a cafe on the town side. A kilometre or so through the streets and you can get back on EV1 near the station.
I think that’s probably enough for now. I hope it will be helpful to anyone considering using this route or parts of it. If you want more detail just ask!

Re: CTC Bike Bag on Ryanair

20 August 2015 - 9:06pm
mben wrote:Their cost for transporting bikes is much higher than Easy Jet c£60 from memory (again all on line).

The good thing about Ryanair is they are such a money-grubbing little airline (IMO) that they would rather grab the £60 than turn you away.

Anyone use a prepaid currency card?

20 August 2015 - 8:45pm
I'm thinking of getting a prepaid currency card for a month long tour of Canada and the USA as I don't want to carry more than a few day's worth of money with me at any time. So I would mainly be using it to withdrawn money, my credit card (Post Office) is pretty good for card spending

I like the look of the Caxton FX

Does anyone have experience of this or similar cards? what are the good and bad points?

Re: CTC Bike Bag on Ryanair

20 August 2015 - 6:15pm
Yep. That scanner part of the trip can cause problems.
I was called out by security in Bishkek airport.
My bike had gone through the check in part and disappeared alng the conveyor belt.
Result, I thought.
But at departure I was called out of lone and taken down to the base!ent where an x-ray machine was set up to scan everything.
The bike box was too big to go through!
I had to open it and let security rummage through it.
And then of course there was no tape to reseal!it.
I did my best bit knew something would fall out.

I couldn't believe my luck when as I looked out of my window on the plane before departure, I saw a guy spend 5 mins using good quality te to reseal the box.

Moral; think x-ray machine size.

Re: Cycle across the Himalayas - tell me what I need to know

20 August 2015 - 6:08pm
Hi Anne,

I'm starting in Vancouver (the Canadian one) and then cycling down an inland route through Washington State, Oregon, Nevada and California to the Mexican Border and back up to San Diego. The route will take in lots of forests and national parks rather than the big cities. Some of the sites on the way will be Olympic National Park, Lake Tahoe, Lake Topaz, Yosemite, June Lake and a bit of Death Valley.

It's self planned and self supported, staying in hotels and motels. We have a few route options along the way, but the maximum will be around 2,500 miles and the minimum will be around 1,950 miles. My feeling is that it will be about 2,100 over 26 days.

At the moment I cant say whether I would recommend it or not as I haven't done it yet, but I'll find out soon enough - I leave in 3 weeks. I've done around a dozen tours in Europe, my favorite being a self planned end to end of Italy, so if you haven't done that then it's one I would recommend - it's a beautiful country


Re: French End to End

20 August 2015 - 4:42pm
I finished this ride last week. 903 miles from Dunkirk to Perpignan in 13 days, including one day lost through heat stroke. I didn't do the bit from Perpignan to the border in the mountains due to the heat and if there's one thing I've learned from this tour it's to avoid France, especially central France in August. Apart from a couple of days when there were thunderstorms, the mercury was over 33 degrees every day and hit 41 degrees on three consecutive days. Everywhere I looked there were touring cyclists suffering and trying to find some shade.

The roads were great until I got south of Lyon and then the conditions deteriorated as there were very few roads running south and those that were had heavy, fast-moving traffic. Apart from a few sections along canal paths, the last three days were some of the scariest cycling I've ever encountered and I don't scare easily

All in all a really good trip, but I won't be troubling the south of France again in a hurry.

NB. Apparently Nimes is twinned with Preston. When I originally saw this on the sign on the way into town, I thought this was a bit harsh on Nimes. By the time I got out of the other side, I had decided that someone had done Preston a great injustice......

Re: CTC Bike Bag on Ryanair

20 August 2015 - 4:02pm
I managed to get the bike on the plane, but had to take the wheels off in order for it to fit through the scanner at Perpignan. I'd packed the bike and taped up the bag and checked-in the panniers (with my tools in) when the rather animated luggage handler said it wouldn't fit and I'd have to take the wheels off. Had I known beforehand, I could have probably got away with just reversing the stem to reduce the overall height of the bike, but I was left with no option but to take both wheels off and hope that the frame didn't get crushed. It didn't, but the moral is: check the bike fits through the scanner before you pack it.

Re: Bought the bike!

20 August 2015 - 3:12pm
badgersarebold wrote:Hey, give the guy a chance to get settled!!


Congrats on your KoM! I'm glad I didn't let the nay sayers stop me and am looking forward to doing a lot of miles on mine.

Re: Bought the bike!

20 August 2015 - 3:07pm
maxcherry wrote:
Bah! Humbug!

Weekend is nearly over and still no pics......not that i care.......if you really loved us you would show us your pride and joy .......mother was right about you

Oh man, I'm sorry! My son has been in and out of hospital so I haven't even had a chance to ride it.

Re: Holyhead to Devon

20 August 2015 - 1:21pm
If you search on here (and google) for Lon Las Cymru it will give details on the route across Wales from Holyhead to either Cardiff or Chepstow. Did Bristol (viaC hepstow)to Holyhead last year and it's a very nice ride. Lumpy in places but mostly very quiet in terms of traffic. With reference to places to stay what type of thing were you looking for? I stayed in B and B's or small hotels in Holyhead, Caernofon, Barmouth, Machynlleth, Newbridge on Wye and a hostel in Abergavenny. If that's the type of thing your after I'll dig out the details.

From Chepstow it's a short ride over the Severn Bridge and I would then suggest you head for Olverston, Pilning, Easton Compton and Halen rather than following the A403 to Avonmouth. You can get from Hallen to South of Bristol by going over the M5 bridge (on cycle path). If you use this link, just tried Hallen to Easton in Gordino it shows the way.


I've also ridden Bristol to West Cornwall via Exeter, which bit of Devon did you want to get to?

Re: Cycle across the Himalayas - tell me what I need to know

20 August 2015 - 12:34pm
Hi would love to know more about your trip to America. I am thinking of touring next year. Taking 6 months off but not sure where to go.


Re: Holyhead to Devon

20 August 2015 - 11:54am
cc1085 wrote:Hi All,
I will be travelling on the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead and then to Devon to visit my Daughter and Son-in-Law. If anyone on here has suggestions for routes and stopovers please please reply with any info. I don't have any set dates or timetable.

This is probably far too late for you but could be useful for others in future: the brochure of M.V. Balmoral , which does assorted day-trips from various ports in S.Wales to North Devon & Somerset specifically states that they will do special single fares for cyclists. Timetable: http://www.whitefunnel.co.uk/c-24-bristol-channel.aspx

Re: La Vélo Francette. Caen to La Rochelle.

20 August 2015 - 10:10am
Thanks for highlighting this, it ooks like a really attractive route for a week's B&B tour, or perhaps a relaxed fortnight with lots of exploring of things along the way.

Netherlands Tour - Rig Statistics

20 August 2015 - 8:50am
Thanks Shane. Geekiness it is indeed. I never really thought of it like that but as a gardener this is ground breaking stuff for me [emoji6]. But you are right it does take the chore out of packing and I can fine tune my kit next time round. There's room for wine, koffie milk and all sorts of other Dutch delights! By the way the table above includes all my water, fuel and 2 breakfasts and two evening meals.

I've just found a spare bag of rice and a ring of chorizo. Where's that going to go?

Re: VSF Fahrradmanufaktur

20 August 2015 - 8:06am
They have this on now - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/361367869523? ... EBIDX%3AIT . They'd probabbly accept an offer a bit under 2000.

Re: Coast to Coast and back again

20 August 2015 - 5:26am
It's a year or two since i did it but Parkhead Station is an excellent B & B with very good restaurant and it's a cruise from there to Consett. Now these things are always changing so do check they are still in business. It's best to make a reservation. Earlier the climb out of Garigill is a killer, the only place I used the 24 in gear on the whole trip. I stopped at the bike shop in Nenthead for a chat, the man told me that people have been known to have brakes overheat descending into Nenthead. It's a fabulous ride and would love to do it again. The worst part was finding there are no toilet facilities at Whitehaven station.

Interestingly the line to Parkhead survived the Beeching cuts; it was needed by the Consett Iron Works which are of course long gone by now.

Re: Maps for Hebrides tour

19 August 2015 - 10:52pm
The old Ordnance Survey Travelmaster series were good cycling maps, 1:250,000 scale topographic.
No longer available in paper form unless you can find them second hand, but available free to download the entire UK from Ordnance Survey here https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/busine ... aster.html
You can then print your own sections as you need them, Toughprint waterproof paper is a good option for cycle touring.

Re: camp site recommendations for Derbyshire

19 August 2015 - 10:50pm
thanks to everyone Shame wood farm is not open would have been perfect looks like there is plenty to choose from thanks for the reply's I'll ring round tomorrow.

Re: camp site recommendations for Derbyshire

19 August 2015 - 10:22pm
If you want simple then this is a brilliant place
http://www.lovecamping.co.uk/campsites/ ... -wood-farm

its on an organic farm, there are no electric hookups (its a campsite!!) and the owners are lovely!
highly recommend it.


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