CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 1 hour 46 min ago

Re: Touring - worst fear?

25 July 2015 - 1:34pm
The unknown.
My last attempt was an overnighter near Hebden Bridge. Only 30 or so miles from home but having taken a wrong turn which had me climb a hill so steep that it wore me out and 5 ish miles in the opposite direction, a feeling of overwhelming loneliness took over and I couldn't wait to get home.
I do sometimes wonder if I have the brass knobs to accomplish this touring thing.

Re: Touring - worst fear?

25 July 2015 - 1:17pm
I woke up in the woods in france about 15kms from the nearest town with the left side of my face swollen and my eye swollen shut,i looked like the elephant man ,turns out a lovely abcess in my gum had decided to make its presence know(always try and fix your teeth before you go folks!!).So I cycled to the nearest town ,went to the tourist info and said 'can you help me find a dentist'(well kind of slurred it anyway),turns out finding an emergency dentist in a small French town is not so easy.Luckily they managed to find an appointment in the next town(20kms away.)
And to cap it all off the powder stuff I had to take to draw the posion out also gave me the squirts .Kind of glad it happened in a strange way,adversity makes you able to deal with things in a calmer way next time I think,well smallish things like this anyway,hopefully don't have to deal with anything really serious on tour(touch wood.)

Re: Best airline for bike travel - Lufthansa ?

25 July 2015 - 12:48pm
Baggage handling is independent of the airline and depends on the airport, the same firms that load Lufthansa will also load all the other airlines..

Re: CTC Bike Bag on Ryanair

25 July 2015 - 12:41pm
Here is a tip... only found out as Wiggle unusually failed to deliver when I ordered a CTC bike bag..

Single Mattress cover bag from http://www.safestore.co.uk/ sure the other storage places sell similar and best bit was only £4.49 plus they sell 'fragile' tape..

Few bits of pipe lagging, pedals and rear mech off, front wheel off (my bike is very big so this helps with pack size with wheel on it would be too big to go into the oversize luggage scanner at T2) and then bars turned and tweaked

Pic of bike as arrived in Iceland via Heathrow

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=1 ... hoto%2cjpg

All fine and no issues at Heathrow or coming back at Keflavik.

Kept the bag with me on tour (rolled up on rack), though binned the lagging and bought more for return trip, fragile take stayed with me on my water bottle.

Repacking not quite so neat on way back, but it is on the pavement outside the departure terminal.

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=1 ... hoto%2cjpg

Another tip, put 2x pannier in one of those tartan laundry bags to make a single bag. Again no issues. Left bottles in cages and sleeping mat bungled to rack.

Also Trangia kettle and d lock/chain lock is fine as hand luggage it seems.

Also make sure they stick the barcode tag on the side of the bag with the gear train as that way it is more likely to be kept that way up.


Re: Best airline for bike travel - Lufthansa ?

25 July 2015 - 10:22am
I found Lufthansa very good last year, Swissair are very good too.

As has been pointed out though, it's the baggage handlers that are the potential problem on any airline - i've been sat on the plane and watched as my bike case dropped 2m from a conveyer to the ground - I think that was at Berlin. Frankfurt is Lufthansa's main hub so they have more control there so there may be fewer issues there.

Re: Canal du Midi towpath

25 July 2015 - 7:47am
Yes, the bike was fine but the baguette she had on her rack didn't look good. I waded in to help her out but then the rest of her group turned up so my chivalrous act was quickly over!

Re: Antwerp to Amsterdam

25 July 2015 - 12:02am
The (Flemish) Belgian cities are all nice - Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent. Leuven is also very pretty and worth a detour IMO.

In NL would recommend Dordrecht and Delft. Dordrecht is on the confluence of many different rivers and is the oldest city in NL. It's very pretty and is small enough to explore in its entirety in a couple of hours. A particularly pleasant day of riding on last year's trip was between Leiden and Delft, following the coast path as far as The Hague (which itself is also worthy of a visit).

My experience of the LF routes is that they are scenic but not especially direct. You may want to take a few shortcuts to towns en-route - extremely easy given how well places are signposted in Holland.

Re: Touring - worst fear?

24 July 2015 - 9:41pm

robing wrote:Another one: You meet another cycle tourist who then says they are following the same route as you and then wants to tag along for the next week.


Not being fast enough to get away from them

Re: Touring - worst fear?

24 July 2015 - 9:36pm
robing wrote:Another one: You meet another cycle tourist who then says they are following the same route as you and then wants to tag along for the next week.

Re: Best airline for bike travel - Lufthansa ?

24 July 2015 - 8:53pm
+1 for Lufthansa.
But beware of flights advertised on Lufthansa website that are operated by German Wings. This airline requires bikes to be boxed.

Re: Touring - worst fear?

24 July 2015 - 8:47pm
Another one: You meet another cycle tourist who then says they are following the same route as you and then wants to tag along for the next week.

Re: CTC Bike Bag on Ryanair

24 July 2015 - 2:59pm
It's not the question asked but I'd rethink the front-wheel-off plan, which sounds like it'd make the lot more fragile and prone to damage.

Put the bits of the tent that won't get past carry-on security tests (poles, pegs) into wee bag strapped to rack. Take rest into cabin, reducing bike weight, handling risks, security quibbles.

Re: DIY European hols w'out extras but WITH a good hired bik

24 July 2015 - 1:58pm
I have also used Max Hurzeler in Majorca, these are mainly racing bikes, mountain bikes or a 'sports' (hybrid) bike.

You can hire such bikes widely in the French Alps and then stay a few days at one location do some day rides in the area before returning the bike and moving somewhere else.
http://www.freewheelingfrance.com/bike- ... alpes.html

There is a however downside, the cost of a day's hire in the Alps (42 - 87 Euros)


is getting close to the rent for a week in Majorca (75 - 90 Euro).


Re: DIY European hols w'out extras but WITH a good hired bik

24 July 2015 - 12:52pm
What is a 'good' bike? I think reasonable hire bikes are available in most countries, though, I expect you'd be hard pressed to find a place to hire a bike in many rural villages.

Hotels that I've stayed at in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands all had bikes, either for hire for a minimal fee, or completely free for the use of their guests. They were mostly town bike type things, upright, 3 speed and a bit heavy, but they were absolutely fine for days out. Touring bike hire is usually only possible in cities, though I've also seen it sometimes on popular cycling routes.

Some friends of mine from the USA hired bikes from http://www.icycleholland.com/ a few weeks ago. If you want to go somewhere else, others on here might have specific recommendations. Otherwise, google 'rent touring bicycle' with your destination country / city. Or substitute your preferred type of bicycle.

Re: Antwerp to Amsterdam

24 July 2015 - 12:30pm
I've been able to follow routes I've done in the Netherlands using a map and signposts. I've found my way into city centres well enough without looking at a map at all, as they are usually well-signposted.

Map + signposts have sent me slightly wrong a couple of times when the recommended route to someplace and my desired route weren't the same, and I didn't identify it immediately from the map. I've also taken the occasional wrong turn. I won't say the signposting is perfect, but it's generally pretty good, especially outside cities. I'd have no hesitation about touring NL with a decent map, even on a moderately complicated route.

Also, when I have gotten muddled up, I've had no problems finding someone who understood English and knew the area well enough to put me right.

Re: Antwerp to Amsterdam

24 July 2015 - 12:19pm
Many thanks for all the suggestions. I had considered taking the North Sea route but having in the past started my continental trips from one of the ferry ports, I thought that this time I would try Eurostar and start inland - hence Antwerp (chosen to avoid the urban sprawl around Brussels). I may well, however, take in the coastal route on my way back to Hoek, perhaps after a round trip to Texel (any thoughts on that??) Have already been to Bruges, by the way and have visited some of the coastal areas on sailing trips.

The Fietersbond route planner looks very interesting. I was rather concerned that some of the recommended Dutch cycle routes (good as they are) would involve a cycle path along a busy highway so the option to select a scenic route is particulary useful. This leads to the next question - some of these look quite complicated so I'm now wondering how best to follow them. So far I've tended to avoid a dedicated GPS device prefering to use paper maps on top of my bar bag although I still use my smart phone GPS (with pre-loaded Google Maps to avoid roaming costs) as a back up if I get lost! In that case I need to find suitably detailed maps. I understand the Dutch use a complicated(?) numbering system that covers the country's cycle routes. Maybe OK if following something like LF2 but would it work with the recommended scenic route? Your comments would again be appreciated.

Oh, and yes, I am particularly partial to mussels and a good glass of beer to finish the day, after having pottered around museums and old churches!

DIY European hols w'out extras but WITH a good hired bike?

24 July 2015 - 12:03pm
Does anyone know of European places where one can hire a reasonable or even a good bike ? Have used Max Hurtzler in both Majorca and Mayerhofen Austria. Have read of bike hols all inclusive for £800-900 a week; and I know the coy has to make a profit but those prices are often without flight or crucially a bike. Although we are not serious enough to take own bikes, neither are we 'soft' enough to want luggage moved from place to place. ( In Greece -what luggage I ask ?.) Day use - as for the split locations of Max H. in Majorca - failing touring, would suffice..

Re: Antwerp to Amsterdam

24 July 2015 - 10:10am
Just to add.... If you haven't been there, Brugge (Bruges) and Ghent are worth visiting. Brugge is a lovely canal city, with a well-preserved medieval centre, but it is a bit touristic. Gent was the capitol of Flanders, and also has nice medieval architecture. If you take the North Sea Cycle route, you can pick it up the other side of Brugge, though it is, of course rather longer that way than going north from Antwerp.

It also somewhat depends on your interests. The mussels and beer are good, and there are many museums, Dutch masters' paintings hanging in churches and belfries with tiny stairs to climb, but if your interests take you to the Netherlands, go north from Antwerp instead

Re: Antwerp to Amsterdam

24 July 2015 - 10:00am
greyhead wrote:For my annual tour this autumn I have been considering taking the Eurostar to Brussels followed by a local train to Antwerp, this last leg being included in the Eurostar price (except 5 Euro for the bike). From there I would cycle leisurely (note username) up to Amsterdam, perhaps via Utrecht, staying overnight in B&Bs.
Any suggestions as to the itinerary would be appreciated, also some idea of the scenery in the Belgian part of the trip.

The Fietsersbond has an excellent routeplanner. Just play with all the options (short route-scenic route etc) till you find something you like.


and some more tips on cycletouring in nl: http://www.m-gineering.nl/touringg.htm

Re: Antwerp to Amsterdam

24 July 2015 - 9:36am
There are a number of alternatives... There is the above mentioned North Sea Cycle Route (Euro Velo 12). If you do take that, there is a nice cross-country (not roadside) path from Haarlem to Amsterdam.

There are also numerous other routes through the Netherlands. You can pick almost any place that you want to visit or museum that you want to see, and go via that place.

There is a nice route going north from Antwerp to Amsterdam, LF 2. http://en.nederlandfietsland.nl/en has information about the long distance routes in the Netherlands, including a map with camping sites and online route planner. It's not the most user friendly site, but the information is very good.

http://www.fietsroute.org/Long-Distanceroutes-LF.php is the Belgian version. The information is a little easier to find on there, but it doesn't have the route planner.

It's quite flat in that part of Belgium and the Netherlands. There are many canals and dykes, with both farmland and towns. There are some postcard picturesque areas (flowers and windmills, etc.) and a mixture of old houses and villages and new developments that you could put in practically any place in Europe without looking out of place.

Belgium and the Netherlands both are very pleasant places to cycle.

Have a good trip


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