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Updated: 9 min 59 sec ago

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

24 August 2014 - 11:07am
Bulky items stay with bike, valuables come with me... no trouble with this simple system in all the years I've been doing it.

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

24 August 2014 - 10:40am
I think the pacsafe system is a bit over the top. They cost upwards of £50 each and from memory weigh something like 2kg.

I too have left panniers on. If worried about panniers being removed, then zip ties could be a quick, cheap temporary solution. Also avoid putting any desirable objects in easy to open side pockets.

Personally, I wouldn't worry.

Re: Notes from a flat country

23 August 2014 - 7:50pm
Switched it off for now mjr. Thanks.
theDaveB wrote:That was a good read (read all holland parts), fancy doing that route. Couldn't fly though as I hate it!
Thanks very much Dave. I only flew because I had free flights that included bike transport. It seems fairly accessible to get there by train or ferry from the UK.

Re: Anyone use a trailer ?

23 August 2014 - 3:38pm
This is what happens when the trailer arm pin snaps at the bottom. Just happened to me the other day, and exactly the same thing that happened to my first trailer in Scotland last year.

And this is the prepared replacement: M5 threaded rod cut to appropriate length, two nuts and washers.

Actually 'feels' a lot tighter and more sturdy.

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

23 August 2014 - 3:33pm
Yep, we travel with Brittany ferries on overnight sailings. There is a lift (priority to disabled passengers etc) but we take a tiny collapsible rucksack for afternoons and evenings when out and about from the bikes and put valuables and a wash bag in that for the overnight section, leave the rest on the bike. Most other people do that too. It depends which ferry you re on as to where the bikes go. On the Armorique there is no bike cubby hole, you are just parked at the side of the boat next to cars/lorries and that's my most common experience.

Re: Stefan Abrutat's Tour Travel Blog

23 August 2014 - 3:21pm
Could be an idea. Will post the pics on the other thread.

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

23 August 2014 - 2:36pm
Thanks for that; that takes the pressure off, if everyone does it so will we. My wife is really pleased )

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

23 August 2014 - 1:21pm

I've used the St Malo crossing many times, and others of course. I always leave the bags attached and just take away a barbag with valuables etc.

Northumberland to Spain

23 August 2014 - 12:53pm
This September I'm going to travel from Northumberland to Spain and have around 11 weeks to do this. I've only a small amount of touring experience so far and I'm deliberately trying not to plan the visit too thoroughly to avoid disappointing myself if/ when things go wrong (I'm certain they will, but that's all part of the fun!). I'm a bit vague but I've a couple of ideas or rough routes. The first would take me through the west of Britain then by ferry to Brittany and the Northwest of France. From there I would cycle down the west coast to Aquitaine and then Spain. This would be quicker and would get me to warmer regions sooner though may not be as interesting.

The second would rough route would take me through the East of France and the Alps; perhaps Germany and Switzerland before travelling to the West at the Mediterranean. I could always travel through Holland and Belgium to start with. It would be more interesting travelling through the Alps but be slower and perhaps not ideal in the cold of October. Or perhaps I should look at an other option.
Are there any classic cycle routes that anyone would recommend for me to get to Spain at that time of year? Also, perhaps for the return, so I can get back to work in December, though that seems less of a priority...

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

23 August 2014 - 12:22pm
We, and everyone else, just left the panniers on the bikes, which went in a little cubbyhole so they were out of the way of the cars. You will be first on the boat, before the cars, and Go on with the motorbikes.
This means you can get in the lifts and get on the decks upstairs well before anyone else.
I took a thermarest and sleeping bag and when everyone quietened down, about midnight, laid it in a quiet area and had a reasonable night of sleep. I did think about going up on deck to sleep but it was windy and noisy. The reserved seats are OK but you get a better sleep laid on a flat floor. Remember the car deck is all locked up during the voyage, so the panniers should be safe. You will be last off the boat in the morning, so you are not squashed by the cars. I have always left the panniers on the bike on all ferries.

Panniers etc on Ferries & how to have safe panniers

23 August 2014 - 12:06pm
Hi thanks Everyone for all the help so far. Had a quick scan through the forum and cannot see anything on what to do with panniers when on overnight Ferry trips. When in a car we just take up a very small overnight bag, but are the panniers safe to be left even if they are locked to the bike. Chris and I would prefer not carry them all up, especially as we try and avoid the crush at the lifts and walk up.
We are traveling Brittany Ferries to St.Malo. Would be nice if there was a little cage for the panniers on the car deck, but I have never seen one (but then I have never really looked! ) We do have shoulder straps for the panniers, but! Thanks

Re: Weight of total gear for a 4 week tour in France

23 August 2014 - 11:55am
Thanks Simoneaston; What you said about food & cooking was our first choice, and then I got cold feet:o) I think we will most probable return to it. As you say in France it is so easy. Always found supermarkets provide really good nice cheap meals also. I think you have increased our resolve, thanks. Our last long walk a few yrs ago, Via Tilman in the Dolomites, we didn't take any cooking gear just some muesli & honey, and ate when we passed a suitable place & once when they were not serving until 8pm just waited and then walked off into the hills to bivvy; woken in the morning by some early climbers:o) Have a great trip yourself as well.
Beekeeper (we had bees for several yrs) I have a jetboil pan which I always take on canoe/kayak trips (no real problem with weight) and it does work really well, but am trying to cut down this time to the bare min for two oldies! so that we really enjoy ourselves without going over the top on spending out during the trip.
I have another question which I will post now, then I think that will be all and we will just go:o) Will look in again of course because this has all been very helpful thanks. Dave

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

23 August 2014 - 9:25am
Quick report for others contemplating a similar route or tours with kids.

TER was fine Roscoff to Morlaix although there was a lot of hanging around and a certain amount of fractious behaviour from the kids. The small one nearly threw his bike into the hedge between the port and the station (2km at most) as he was so wound up by panniers, roads and hills! (He'd refused a test run before we left). The train had two bike hangers but a lot of folding seats that could be either used or make space for extra luggage and bikes.

The TGV Morlaix to Rennes (pre,booked) only had two bike spaces as far as I could see and we effectively had private 2nd class compartment at the end of first class right adjacent to the bikes. The bikes went in in regular position to be strapped to collapsed seating section. There was plenty of space for the kids bikes in bags next to our bikes and no challenge from the ticket collector.

The TER from Rennes to Redon was packed. There were 3 hanging bikes places in our carriage and we think there may have been the same further down the train. The smallest bike went in an open space luggage area again with collapsible seats. This train was totally rammed with people and luggage and we wouldn't have been able to fit on if we'd been later arriving ( it commenced at Rennes). However people were very nice about moving stuff around when it came time to get off.

It was a long day with far too much hanging around but doable.

Interestingly the buses apparently take bikes in July and August in some parts of Brittany. We saw them with bike racks on the back (the SNCF buses). We have the leaflet if anyone is interested for future years but they finish taking bikes on 24 August for this year. You need to book 24 hours in advance according to the leaflet.

On our return we didn't quite make it to Morlaix, instead we got to Carhaix and I used AB taxis in Roscoff to get us back to the ferry. That cost 130 euros which was fine for us compared to the hassle of getting the bus or very limited train service (two changes and a 6:30 am first departure) to get us into the 4pm ferry. I would highly recommend the taxi, he had a four bike rack and cut our up journey time (and hassle) down to just over an hour. We would have had to stay in a hotel and had a lot more stress to get the train or bus and make it to the ferry in time.

Return cycle through Roscoff to the ferry: junior kid now totally comfortable with roads, hills and panniers. No moaning so we have made good progress with the psychology! and we also cycled about 230km mostly along the Nantes Brest canal. This route was ideal for families and there were plenty of French families with no special kit doing the same route and camping.

Re: Notes from a flat country

23 August 2014 - 9:15am
That was a good read (read all holland parts), fancy doing that route. Couldn't fly though as I hate it!


Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

23 August 2014 - 8:50am
The Tarp is not really a tarp, didn't know how to explain it, it's a big green cover with eye holes from either Wilki or Poundshop. I got it for putting under my tent if the ground didn't look perfect. Forgot all about it and ended up just tiring it over my bike. Probably wouldn't bother taking it this time.

The air bed make is Summit only one I could get at short notice as I needed it there and then.

The Pump is same make and has no weight at all.

I fancy Spd pedals but the shoes put me off. Will look at some kind of clip if I can keep my shoes/sandals.

I didn't mention clothes as I didn't really take any apart from spare shirt. I had shorts on under my track suit bottoms and that is easy enough for a few days. I don't wear any cycling clothes at all, can't stand it. Much prefer to ride in what am wearing everyday.

The lock and cable is used more if I go off on my bike into town etc...

Edit: Thanks for every body taking the time to read and reply, really helpful advice.


Re: Weight of total gear for a 4 week tour in France

23 August 2014 - 8:10am
I've got a Jetboil stove but I don't think the standard cooking pot it comes with is big enough for two people. On my trip up the West coast of France with my brother I also carried the Jetboil saucepan which we could use for making pasta or couscous dishes. It is bulky but you can pack things inside it.

Re: Weight of total gear for a 4 week tour in France

23 August 2014 - 7:56am
Go For It, Mr & Mrs DaveTB!! I hope you have a great time - I am off to France myself on the 31st, for just a week as a Quick Break before I start a new job. I was 59 this month.
My Big Weight Saving tip is to leave the cooking gear at home. I have never taken Cooking Gear with me when I go to France and so far, I've not regretted it. Brekkers is dealt with by a coffee or a choccie at the first cafe I pass that morning and patisserie from the first bakers, midday meal is a picnic of the sort of things that are available all over the place in France - bread, cheese, charcuterie, fruit, chocolate etc. and the evening meal is either eaten in a local restaurant in the nearest town or else more of the food I buy for the midday meal. This tactic works well in France, where local shops sell local produce - in particular, you can almost guarantee that every town or village you go through will have an excellent boulangerie/patisserie and regions like Brittany and Normandy are home to lots of cheap and decent places to eat, (although ironically the best restaurant bargains are the midday menu ouvrier, which aren't much help to cycle tourists - too much food and too much drink!). I accept that this tactic wouldn't work for everyone. Probably the biggest disadvantage is not being able to cook and eat a Good Hot breakfast, but I've never been a big cooked breakfast eater so I don't miss it - in fact no cooked breakfast means a faster, cleaner start in the morning. I look forward to the day's croissant aux almonds or pain raisin
Total luggage packed for next week's trip is just under 10 Kg, inc. a tent/mat/sleeping bag combo - tools are restricted to: spare inner tube / mini puncture repair outfit, tyre levers, multi-tool and pump. I can send you the details of everything I'm taking, in a spreadsheet if you are really interested!

Re: Weight of total gear for a 4 week tour in France

23 August 2014 - 7:13am
Never weighed kit, just took the minimum, or maximum that could just about be carried in the panniers. Quite honestly kit for a longer tour is no more than for a short one, in fact possibly less. On a short tour you do not want to waste time on washing kit, whereas on a long tour kit can be washed.

Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

23 August 2014 - 12:09am
I would try the immersion route, starting close to home whilst safe isn't forcing you to get on with it. I just got back with my kids from their first tour and I made sure that we started at the far end of the route with a goal to head back to, there were a few wobbles and making it difficult to bail was helpful.

Plus choosing a gentler route does sound appealing. I have toured with camping gear up the Tourmalet etc so it is all doable but many gradients in mountainous countries are far gentler than in the UK. Not sure which air bed y now have? I bought a thermarest neoair and was very happy with it, best nights sleep camping ever.

Re: Notes from a flat country

22 August 2014 - 10:47pm
Switch the plugin off until you can get a bug fixed version, either from its maker or whoever provides your IT support.


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