CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago

Re: Good footwear?

20 October 2014 - 12:00am
I think the cheapest for the stelvio now is £67. A bit out of your price. Did you see if they still have stock at £59.99? I find the ones I have I can walk in them easy, probably the best shoes I have ever got. BUT they need to break in - not just the tops but the inner sole takes time to mould to your foot. The are a close fit. The left foot took more time than the right. In my case the shoe size is accurate. I think you have left it rather late to get a new pair of shoes.

I have used mine on some very rough hard stoned tracks with no problems. in fact the thick sole and inner sole puts to shame any light weight conventional shoe.

Re: Dry bags - a lightweight alternative to panniers

19 October 2014 - 11:19pm
bigjim wrote: I have toured a few times using a Carradice Overlander bag

The bag look nice but it's easy to strap any sort of bag to the top of a rack - you're not fighting gravity. I would run my setup with the roll-tops on the sides in addtion to a big one strapped to the top.

John-D wrote:I swapped my low-rider front rack and carradice front panniers for a home made rack (aluminium strip from B&Q) and halfords drybags. I've used it for a couple of tours and it works well.

That's a beautiful setup! You've got me jelous. Is squeezing the bags to the rack enough to keep them from wiggling downwards over the day?

Galloper wrote: On the subject of saving weight, I'm not sure that the difference in weight between drybags and panniers is significant, in the overall system. If you take the all up weight of rider, bike and luggage, the weight saved, as an overall percentage is quite low.

I disagree with this. Suppose you've gone to the supermarket with a friend. You are walking uphill with your shopping and say "mate, add this bottle of wine in your bag, would you?". Although that extra 1.5kg is a tiny proportion of combined body and shopping weight the extra increase does feel significant. It is wrong to treat weight increases in proportional terms. Understandably, tourers have a different set of preferences to racers but to throw all consideration of weight out of the window feels like a mistaken "all or nothing" mentality to me. If I can shave 1.5kg without serious disadvantages I'll take it. I could save a couple of hundred £ on cheaper, bulkier tent and sleeping bag instead of saving the weight if I fancied.

Advice for tyre size for touring - 32c OK for off-road?

19 October 2014 - 11:01pm
Hi there,
I'm off on a 6 month cycle tour really soon, through NZ and pacific coast highway in USA, so I will be doing some off-road cycling.

At the moment I have a 700x 35c back tyre - Specialised nimbus armadillo - which as supposed to be puncture resistant. The front wheel has a 700x 32c tyre. I was thinking of replacing the front tyre with a Schwalbe marathon tyre (or any puncture resistant tyre) as I really hate punctures (I can never get the tyre back on the wheel!). But not sure whether to get a 32c or a wider tyre?

I took my bike to Scotland recently and rode on some really bad 'roads' (paths) through the great glen way (even going 4 miles the wrong way up a path being built - lots of flint!). My bike handled fine but I was always worried I might get a puncture from the sharp stones.

So, if my bike handled fine on these pathways would it be recommended I stick with a 32c? As this would be better on roads. Or still go for a wider tyre? Does a wider tyre make it less likely to puncture? I can always put the 35c on the front wheel and get a 40c for the back. But only if this is needed - it will surely slow me down on normal roads?

Does anyone know if the Schwalbe marathon tyres are better than the specialised nimbus armadillos? Or can recommend any other makes (I am on a budget!)

Thanks for any info,
Ellen

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

19 October 2014 - 10:48pm
I can find excess weight rates, but not excess dimension rates.

Re: Touring Holland and Geramny

19 October 2014 - 10:46pm
There are countless options regarding routes Amsterdam to Szczecin, you don't say if there is anyting n particular you want to see along the way. I prefer coastal or canal side routes where I will see some shipping which might interest me, so here is a route I have taken in the past, starting at Central ralway station in Amsterdam. The ferry terminal is at the back of the station, board the free ferry to North Amsterdam and proceed to Volendam, and Den Oever where you cross the water on the Afsluitdijk towards Groningen. East of Groningen follow the canal by Hoogezand , Winschoten and cross the border into Gemany at Nieuweschans. On towards the river Ems and the bridge to Leer, Hesel, Varel to Nordenham for a ferry across the Weser to Bremerhaven. Then Bremervorde and on to Finkenwerder for ferry over the Elbe to Hamburg. From there I took a northern loop up to Rostock and Stralsund, but a more direct cross country route could have been taken.
If you look at the Crazy Guy on a Bike website you would probably get information for your route, http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/ , although I prefer to find my own route.
In the Netherlands, maps from the ANWB Fietskaart series are good for navigation, there are ANWB offices in most major towns in NL, certainly available in Amsterdam.
For Germany, there are Bikeline maps from Esterbauer.com, cycle maps from ADFC Radtourenkarte, also red covered road maps titled Die General Karte you might need 2 or 3 sheets, all readily available along the way. Szczecin is so close to the border I doubt you would need a Polish map, but a city map would be helpful.
I usually camp, but also use hostels and hotels, you should not have difficulty finding accommodation along the route, you're never far from a town or village.
If hostelling you could save a few Euros if you hold a Hostelling International card or the card of an affiliated association.

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

19 October 2014 - 10:42pm
Whilst planning a trip to Italy recently, I managed to obtain this clarification from British Airways regarding the use of CTC type transit bike bags.

"Thank you for your email regarding travelling with your bike in a clear polythene bag when you fly with British Airways.
Our airport teams are hesitant about accepting bikes within these bags as they obviously offer very little in the way of protection for your bike frame and mechanics, plus they are much more difficult to be securely tagged and handled by the baggage teams.

Because of this you will be asked to sign a document to state that if any damage does occur to your bike whilst it is being handled/transported in one of these plastic bike bags, the damage will not be the responsibility of British Airways or its agents.

Therefore, if this would not be acceptable to you or your insurance provider, we would advise you to transport your bike in a more padded/sturdy covering.

I hope this information is useful."

Regards
Ramdas
British Airways

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

19 October 2014 - 10:35pm
elioelio wrote:Hey thanks for all the replies! Really useful. Bike lights seem to be a must. Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....? What do others do?
My front bike light is mounted on what I think is called the fork crown: the front of the bolt that holds the mudguard on. It doesn't come off. I've also seen lights mounted on the front forks, sometimes removable ones.

Re: Getting AROUND the Pyranees

19 October 2014 - 10:30pm
I just did the route from St Jean de Pied to Burgette this week. Not bad at all. Max height 1050 metres and between 6 and 7% max climb rate. Comfortable. Pyrenees are not that tough if you take the low passes.

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

19 October 2014 - 10:16pm
BA will accept bikes up to 195cm in length within your allowance provided they"re in a "recognised bike bag" The CTC one should do.

Air NZ will accept them up to 2.5m long (tandems) but there is an excess charge.

Generally you need to look in the Sports equipment part of the luggage allowances. I think the 158cm limit is usually for standard luggage.

Baggage allowance- max dimensions

19 October 2014 - 9:58pm
We are going flying UK- New Zealand with bikes and beginning to get a little worried! Is it just me or did the airlines radically decrease the size of a single piece of baggage in the past few years? Transcontinental airlines now have a single piece maximum dimension of c. 158 cm (L+W+D)
Is it possible to pack a bike down so small? I seem to remember it used to be about 200 cm.

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

19 October 2014 - 9:56pm
Hey thanks for all the replies! Really useful. Bike lights seem to be a must. Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....? What do others do?

beardy wrote:When it comes to trying to look bright in daytime, it has to be big. Small bits of different colour will break up your shape and camouflage you.

This is interesting, definitely something to think about. As I don't drive I personally don't really know what's best to wear! I was thinking of sticking hi-vis stickers etc to my gear but maybe that's a bad idea....

simonhill wrote:For the tunnels in Taiwan I bought a very lightweight reflective waistcoat. Hi viz mesh with lots of reflective strips. Light and easy to carry.

I cycled for 2 days in Taiwan, through a few tunnels that were undergoing work had has absolutely no lighting. Terrifying as I only had a hand torch with me at the time. Can't get worse (or more stupid) than that...

spinners wrote: I find the use of all black cycle clothing baffling and see so many cyclists dressed like this nowadays..

My clothing isn't really cycle clothing (except the shorts). I just wear mainly black and dark clothing all the time anyway, so wearing an orange t-shirt would be totally out of my comfort zone. As I want to travel as light as possible clothes that double up as 'off cycle' clothing is better (I'll be spending time in cities, stopping frequently). I think a high vis vest or belt would suit me better - just for when it's foggy/raining.

irc wrote: Other advice - use a mirror. Most drivers are OK but you will get a few close passes and they are less frightening when you see them coming.

Yep, just bought a mirror, thanks.

AaronR wrote: Cateye Rapid 3 front and rear, seem to run forever on one AA battery available everywhere, clips can be got so that they can be put on clothing (I have a few knocking about for the price of postage), add them to a headband and you have a very capable head torch, so thats one item instead of two to carry.... 80's shell suit jacket? Pink (on a bloke)? Afro party wig on helmet? Saw an excellent lycra top once that made the rider look like a crash test dummy - anything that is going to catch a drivers eye and trigger them to look again is worth it


The cateye bike light as a head torch is a great idea. What kind of headband do you use?
And also the fancy dress style 'anything that catches the drivers eye' is a good tip!

Edwards wrote: A head torch is brilliant for looking where you are going especially road surface. However they are no good for being seen by cars (I do use a head torch) you would need at least one battery operated bike mounted lamp.

Thanks, this is good to know. I assumed lights attached to the helmet would be fine, but it makes sense that when turning your head you might not be seen. And the whole safetly regulation thing.... Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....?

Re: Thameslink to Gatwick Airport - luggage space

19 October 2014 - 9:51pm
The luggage racks last I saw were the vertical stack type shown in https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:31 ... ternal.JPG

I'm not sure if any of the electro stars serve Gatwick but I think they have less luggage space.

Re: Vaude or carradice cape?

19 October 2014 - 9:18pm
I keep a cape (sorry don't know what make) in the saddle bag of my shopper bike. It's good to throw on when there is a sudden shower. However despite wrist loops it's a pain to stop it billowing up every time I stop. For that reason I don't use it on my touring bikes.

In your situation I would buy a new jacket, follow the care instructions religiously and accept that the main purpose of a rain jacket is to stop you getting cold not wet.

Thameslink to Gatwick Airport - luggage space

19 October 2014 - 8:54pm
In a week I will be travelling to Gatwick airport via Euston with a full-sized touring bike in a bag plus a cabin bag. Am I right in assuming there is very little luggage space on the Thameslink line from St Pancras to Brighton that stops at Gatwick?

Plan B is to get a taxi from Euston to Victoria. I wanted to avoid crossing London in rush hour but now I'm thinking I may be better off doing that than annoying lots of commuters on the Thameslink train.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Re: Touring Map(s) Hebrides & West Coast

19 October 2014 - 8:52pm
MLJ wrote:A quarter-inch map is fine for the outer isles and west coast, as there are not that many roads anyway. I used a page from a road book but there are several maps available for this purpose. Obviously for walking you will need the 25000 OS map for the Cuillins.

Thanks MLJ.. I may look for a travel guide to Scotland with mapping included... Have picked up a 25000 OS map for the Cuillins.. Father-in-Law had an old one..






hufty wrote:Paper maps are great - the batteries never run down and you get a great overview, so I personally wouldn't want a Garmin in the first place. I always found the OS 1:1250 000 Western Scotland and the Western Isles to be about right for road cycling. No longer available from the OS. Scottish map seller Nicolsons maps used to do their own version but didn't look so available a second ago.

The best source then is the mighty Aqua3.com for a customised, waterproof, extended width/height map.


Thanks for the great link hufty.. Didn't know you could do customized maps..Have bookmarked & may order this..Covers exactly what I'm looking for.. Thanks..

Re: Good footwear?

19 October 2014 - 8:50pm
Thanks for that answer.

I just had a look - they look very sturdy and would last a while.
So, they could be used off the bike for a bit of light walking too, that is great!

I can find places on-line still selling them - £59.99 looks about the cheapest I can see...is that about right?

Do they size up accurately?

Re: Long Term Tour & Saddle Sore

19 October 2014 - 8:47pm
I have suddenly started suffering from these myself and changing to a different type of saddle worked for me. It changed the pressure points and gave the painful areas a rest.

Im planning a 2500 mile trip and contemplating taking two saddles, or finding another method of moving the pressure points around - maybe a different pad would have the same affect?

Re: Long Term Tour & Saddle Sore

19 October 2014 - 8:29pm
Awesome website. I know the Kenyan side of kili quite well. The roads are bound to give your backside a bruising. Try and keep the sweat levels down and as Shane says take some time out. It is an investment in the rest of the trip! Arusha will be the best place for supplies until Dar.

Re: Good footwear?

19 October 2014 - 7:24pm
I would vote Exustar Stelvio SP705 - if you can find a pair that fits as now discontinued. I bought a few pairs when they were going cheap last Feb & I have been using one pair most of the time since then cycleing or not to see how it would hold up. Thats getting on 9 months incl a hot summer. The sole is showing wear in places but most is intact. These are designed as cleat shoes so have a thick sole. I dont use them as such. They did take a bit of breaking in as they have a fibre glass insole but now are very good for walking in as well as cycling. This may be the last all- use cycling shoe at a reasonable price that can also be used in general. I have also found them good for walking on rough ground, so good for stomping around off road when cycleing too bad. The only issue is wet concrete slopes then they can be a bit slippy ( but then many shoes are also?)

Too late for your trip as they do need breaking in. The are also pu leather so semi water proof.

prob too late for any new shoes

Rhine route?

19 October 2014 - 1:19pm
One of several possibilities for next year’s trip is a ride all the way up the Rhine from Rotterdam (who’d have thought that a bit of Italy would drain into the North Sea?). I’m thinking I might cut off the huge loop it makes to Basel by following Patrick Leigh Fermor’s route up the Neckar from Heidelberg, quick look at the Danube around Ulm, and rejoin the Rhine at Lake Constance. Any advice?

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