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Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

31 July 2014 - 8:05pm
Just as a footnote: my last ticket from Paris to Munich on the CNL sleeper cost me the princely sum of 59€ (plus 10€ for the bike). You can travel to/from the West Country for less than a tenner. OK there's then the eurostar fare and bike carriage charges, but probably the train is a lot cheaper than you'd expect.

Driving to Germany the easiest option? Flogging along an autobahn or reading a book, relaxing and looking out of the window (or sleeping)? I know which I'd choose. And flying is, as Usain Bolt might have said, is absolutely awesome.

It might be cheaper for a family of four but for one or two people I'm not so sure.

In my experience people who don't use trains very much tend to have an exaggerated view of how difficult/expensive it is, and then once they take the plunge and find that it really isn't as difficult as they thought, they become converts.

Re: SNCF TER trains, has anyone ever been kicked off?

31 July 2014 - 7:40pm
I did the morlaix to roscoff section yesterday. The tour de manche guide describes it as intermediate. I'd agree, it is certainly not easy, and I'd think an 8 year old would find some bits tough. Mine would have given up when that age. Also the bit close to roscoff is quite convoluted with some rough surfaces in comparison to most of the preceding 450 miles. It does avoid traffic though. The voie Verte are offroad routes which in Normandy are mainly old rail trails and an excellent long path along the river Vire.

Conversely there were loads of bikes getting off at Lannion and Morlaix stations, although I didn't check individual trains.

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

31 July 2014 - 6:39pm
The driving approach is very doable and less complicated but you may find you don't cycle as much, it's a less full on, relying on your bike, sort of experience. Horses for courses, my first check in your position would be flights from Bristol and then local trains in Germany but if you don't mind the drive not having to deal with loading bikes onto planes and trains has some advantages.

A couple of times when I was too busy at work to get my brain round complicated tours we drove down to south/ south west France and left our car at a campsite, toured for a few days in a circular route with the camping gear and them moved on to do somewhere else. Upside: I finally got to do a decent climb (Ventoux) without all my luggage and camping gear, so nice not to stop on the way up because you're actually doing a decent pace.

Of course driving from Mosel could have one huge advantage that you will no doubt want to take advantage of: filling thé boot of the car up with décent wine and that may make the drive worthwhile. If German wine isn't to your taste you can probably come back via Alsace or Burgundy/ eastern end of the Loire, eg Sancerre).

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

31 July 2014 - 6:22pm
You don't say if you are prepared to drive or fly, which may help.

As mentioned above, driving could be the easiest and cheapest option. Flying may also be a fairly cheap option. I imagine that are lots of suitable flights from Bristol.

I know its a bit further, but I recently went to visit a friend in Macedonia. I thought it would be good to take the train, but a rough estimate (using maninseat61 website) was about £400 return with many changes. I flew for £70. OK no bike that time, but that would only have been another £60 on the plane. Sad but true

If you want to take the train the website maninseat61 may be useful for route planning.

Re: Luxembourg to Brussels

31 July 2014 - 5:37pm
I don't know about downloadable routes, but this website has a good overview of the 'RV' routes in that area: http://www.randovelo.org/fr/veitin.php

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

31 July 2014 - 5:14pm
DeutscheBahn do excellent sleeper services from Paris to Berlin, Munich and Hamburg. My knowledge of the geography of Germany is fairly hopeless but I would have thought that one of these would get you to within striking distance of a suitable starting point. I've uploaded the CityNightLine network map. carte_cnl_de_grand.png

Getting there is fairly easy: cycle from Glastonbury to Castle Cary for the train to Paddington, a short hop across London to Saint Pancras. When you get to Paris you need to go from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l'Est - basically about 300 hundred yards. So not really a massive amount of faff.

I'd be the first to admit that train companies seem to make the process of booking and researching international train travel harder than it needs to be and there's some hassle involved in the changes, but once you're on the trains you can relax and put your feet up. No driving, no worrying about where to park/leave your car (or worrying about whether it will still be there when you get back) etc etc.

I can see the attraction of using the car to get you from one place to another, and then doing day-rides, but I'm not really sure that the convenience outweighs the hassle of the long initial drive and the long drive back.

The DB 1st class sleepers are very cushy and if you book early the ticket prices are surprisingly reasonable. Once you get there you just take off.

For general information on the City Night Line service (and pictures of the beds etc) I'd go to seat61.com.

The DeutscheBahn site is pretty helpful, but if you want to book bike spaces you need to ring their call centre 08718 80 80 66 (in Croydon South London) so if you don't want to go through the hassle of using the website you could just ring them and get them to sort things out for you. IIRC they charge something like 6p/min but that might be money well spent if it avoids an exploding head.

I've written some articles on my website about getting to Italy by train

http://italy-cycling-guide.info/travell ... -by-train/

which are about getting to Italy by train (well duh, I hear you say), but have some information that might be useful (eg using the DB website and taking your bike on eurostar).

Luxembourg to Brussels

31 July 2014 - 5:12pm
I am looking into cycling from Luxembourg back to Brussels, preferably going via Spa and Namur. The whole system of LF routes does not go that far south as far as I can see, but I would like to find a source of downloadable routes. I have searched "voie vert" but come up with nothing. Can anyone point me in the direction of a website or websites with some downloadable long distance routes for that area? Thanks.

Re: SNCF RER trains, has anyone ever been kicked off?

31 July 2014 - 4:33pm
Glad you're sorted. Putting the kids' bikes into a bag is a good wheeze that I've never heard anyone mention before.

MrsHJ wrote:I'll mull over the voies verte, trying to keep it as simple as possible for the sprogs especially my 8 Year old who struggles with change and unexpected stuff ie I don't want to scare him off, that why I'm heading for the canal section to start from.

I mentioned it mainly as a way to avoid the main road. It's basically a fairly simple route through the country lanes with minimal traffic. There's a nice little map here:

http://www.lavelodyssee.com/troncons/roscoff-carhaix

IIRC (I did it a few years ago) it was signposted for most of the way except for the village (SaintPaul de Léon) mid-way. The VV goes right past the ferry terminal (unless they've moved it).

There's not much in the way of unexpected things (good or bad): you could play vegetable ABC but once you've done artichokes, broccoli/brussel sprouts, and cauliflower/cabbage you've pretty much exhausted the possibilities.

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

31 July 2014 - 3:22pm
Thanks everyone for the great tips , now to pick up a second hand mountain bike and make some frame bags

Spotted the highland trail website yesterday too, that looks lovely.

Now just the small issue of accepting that cycling in the UK in November will be wet

Thanks all,

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

31 July 2014 - 2:45pm
There are always canal towpaths

New European Cycling Website

31 July 2014 - 1:53pm
Between 2011 and 2013, I cycled 22,000 miles (35,500 km) around 53 countries of Europe. I've put together a site (www.UniCycle50.com) about what I learnt in the hope that it is useful for others in future. But, more importantly, I could do with your input. If you have an opinion about a particular country or route, good or bad, or a blog that contains that information, please let me know about it and I will try to absorb your information into what I have written (even, or especially, if it says the opposite of what I've written) so that the site is not just limited to what I think. That'd be wonderful.

Cheers,
Steven

Re: Hello & Help!

31 July 2014 - 1:41pm
See if you can find a copy of the AA French language holiday guide book. I got mine from Waterstones some years ago. It has sections on camping, hotels and even on bikes!

My recommendation would be the Loire. En avant!

Re: Long distance MTB routes in the UK?

31 July 2014 - 1:41pm
Have a look at the route used by the Highland Trail 550.
http://www.highlandtrail.net/

Can be done in 4 days (without sleep!) but a couple of weeks would make a decent holiday.

Alternatively, the Cape Wrath trail (Fort Bill to Cape Wrath) could keep you occupied for a while.
http://capewrathtrailguide.org/route/

Over three-four days, the Tour of the Cairngorms is another option.
Could be easily linked into the above routes - or done as a wee warmup.

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

31 July 2014 - 1:35pm
For several years now I've used my car to tour. Like you, I found it quite difficult to get where I wanted to go without massive amounts of faff! What I do now is drive to my selected area, camp or hostel and spend 4 or 5 days exploring the area and then move on to somewhere new. In this way I get to see and explore new areas in more depth than I would otherwise have done and also extend the scope of my holiday with minimum fuss. The other advantage is that it becomes easier to carry some home comforts as you're not limited to the capacity of your panniers.

I highly recommend the Mosel. I have stayed in the hostel in Bernkastel Kues on two occasions, it's a great base to explore the region. There are also other hostels up and down stream as well as plenty of campsites and B&Bs. Umm, better warn you though, the hostel in BK is at the top of a very big hill. Great views but a killer hill at the end of the day! If you wanted to extend your exploration of the area there is an excellent hostel in Prum, in the Eifel/Ardennes with a very good network of local cycle paths. It is also not too far to somewhere like St Goar or Bingen which you can use to explore some of the prettier parts of the Rhine cycle route.

Getting to Germany with bikes

31 July 2014 - 1:13pm
After a great 2 week cycle tour of Brittany we want to do another and, being well into our 50s, thought an east tour along the Mosel sounds good.

We live in Glastonbury, Somerset and after spending what seemed like hours trying to figure a reasonable way to get us and our bikes to Germany (or Luxembourg) in the vicinity of the Mosel my head exploded.
How complicated can it be ? I've just given up trying to knit together where to cross the channel, find out which trains in France / Germany will take bikes without having to dismantle them (one Audax tourer and one hybrid) and get us where we want to go. There are just so many variations, cycle bans or permitted routes etc.

Have you managed to get to the Mosel with your bike ? If so, how did you do it ?
I'm almost thinking of stashing the bikes in the car and driving over (and then having to park up for 10 days or so) but that's counter to our wish to cycle rather than drive.

Thanks

Re: First EVER Tour! (and I'm going RTW)

31 July 2014 - 11:32am
Woah dude, pony news on the Iran Visa.

So you gotta go round then. To the north is the way that I've seen most people do it, Kazakhstan & China. Can you even go round to the south? Greece, Crete, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE & a ferry to Pakistan, is that even doable?

All the best finding another route!

Re: Bridge out on Lon Las Cmyru at Portmadog - options?

31 July 2014 - 10:04am
I agree, the lost bridge is a tragedy but I'd still stick to the coast route, perhaps timing it to avoid rush-hour.
I also agree the above comment about the hill route above Harlech. The views really are stunning enough to help you forget about the pain in your legs from all that climbing

Re: Gijon to Poole Ferry

31 July 2014 - 9:26am
So I called LD Lines, got through after being on hold for 20 minutes a very unhelpful lady who couldn't get me off the phone fast enough informined me they don't accept bicycles because of 'licensing'. I wonder if a CTC campaign might be able to change these license rules?

Re: Hello & Help!

31 July 2014 - 8:25am
quote="Audax67"] Supermarkets too, but then there's the bike-theft problem.

I see your'e in France . Whats the bike theft problem ? In my experience fully laden tourers arent exactly an attractive proposition to thieves in the bike theft capital of the world ( UK) . Ive always done supermarkets in France and have never even seen anyone look at my bike. Obviously I always lock it but it would take some balls to even approach, let alone attempt to nick something laden down with crap in front of a supermarket.


I'm usually happy to leave my bike locked outside a supermarket. I think the exceptions may be large towns with rundown areas.
Calais has something of a reputation in this respect - someone tried to steal a pump from my bike which was on my car's roof rack - fortunately I spotted him in time.
Other people I know have had bikes stolen - but I would agree that generally you are unlikely to have a bike or equipment stolen in France.

Re: coming back from germany by train

30 July 2014 - 11:17pm
seehttp://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/home/contact/contact-in-the-uk.shtml

which gives phone number for DB in UK, they will happily sell you a bike ticket over phone.

Best to look up train you want on line.

http://www.bahn.de/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml

chose "further search options" and tick bicycle and it will only show you trains that carry bikes.

This websitehttp://www.seat61.com/ has all the info about which trains take bikes in each country including Eurostar from Brussells or Paris.

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