CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Discussion boards hosted by CTC, the national cycling charity
Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

Re: Shipping the bike by plane

23 July 2014 - 12:31pm
jamesgilbert wrote:@Farawayvisions Why remove the front wheel?

Several reasons James, but mainly so that the size fits on the belts and in the crates at the airport.
Removing the front wheel and dropping the seat means that 2 bikes can fit easily inside our car and if you need to transport the bike somewhere after your flight.
Also it's easy to lift the bike and carry it by the seat over short distances when your 160cm tall.
If using a luggage trolley at the airport, I have encountered difficulty manoevering the trolley through gaps when the bike is carried horizontally. Packed with the front wheel removed means that I can move the bike around with back wheel on the trolley and forks in the air. I can just about see over the bike and can fit in lifts, get through revolving doors and passengers ankles are safe.

I guess you don't remove the wheel?

Re: Looking for inspiration/ideas for a tour in Germany.

23 July 2014 - 12:21pm
Many years ago (1993!) I did a tour in Munsterland which is famous for its moated castles. It is so long ago I can't recommend anything specific 'cos I've forgotten it and it probably would be out-of-date. But it was nice and must have been flat otherwise my girlfriend would not have done it! I've found a Lonely Planet link here:

Re: Shipping the bike by plane

23 July 2014 - 12:08pm
@Farawayvisions Why remove the front wheel?

Re: Shipping the bike by plane

23 July 2014 - 11:07am
I've just come back from a flight with my bike to Holland from London Gatwick with Easyjet. Here's what happened at Gatwick when I arrived with bike in a CTC bag.

Easyyjet’s check in assistant at Gatwick stared at out bikes with a look of horror and confusion.
‘We cannot take bikes like this. They must be in a box.’
Calmly, I explained that I had read the policy and it says that the bikes must be in a bike box or bag.
‘This is a CTC Bike Bag. Cycle Touring Club bike bag specifically for flying.’
‘No, that’s not a bag, it’s just a piece of plastic.’
The assistant phoned her manager at the check in row opposite, telling her to lean over the counter to see the plastic bags we were insisting were bike bags.
‘Go around the corner to the luggage shop and get them wrapped in bubble wrap.’

I was hungry. Up since 5am and it was my birthday. I was beginning to feel a bit pissed off. The shrink wrap packing company refused to wrap the bikes saying they weren’t allowed, so we joined the queue where the Easyjet manager was. She was having a bad morning and decided to talk to us from behind her desk while we were still shuffling along in the queue. A young man with tattooed long socks, dressed like Jean Paul Gaultier’s ‘Le Male’ Eau de Toilette joined the queue behind us.
‘Get some bubble wrap from the luggage shop,’ the manager said
‘We tried. They refused to do it.’
‘They said they are not allowed.’

I think she saw the perfume bottle man behind us and mellowed. Those tiny navy shorts made my mouth curl into a smile.

‘Alright, but you’ll have to sign a disclaimer.’
At last the bikes were accepted and we had enough time to grab a croissant and coffee.

When we showed up in Schipol at the Easyjet counter, there were smiles, bikes weighed and put on the check in belt immediately.
There are pictures and instructions in the link below.


Re: Touring bike alternatives?

23 July 2014 - 11:07am
bikerwaser wrote:How Far Can You Go On A £10 Touring Bike? (Answer: A Surprisingly Long Way)

http://tomsbiketrip.com/how-far-can-you ... ring-bike/

Or even starting with no bikes, no clothes, and no money. The book of these guys' trip is an enjoyable read.


Re: Touring bike alternatives?

23 July 2014 - 10:36am
I lot of people have gone down the old MTB route, and if you have the inclination they world great as tourers. The only thing, is it can end up a money sink if you need to refurb it (i.e. racks, tyres, maybe back wheel, different bars, mudguards, etc, etc) but if you have the bits laying around or carefully select one that doesn't need too much doing it.

Re: Isle of Man - where's good to ride and stay?

23 July 2014 - 8:30am
I've stayed at this campsite (near Ramsey), which was simple, but good, and relatively well-placed for rides round Sulby Glen (etc) -- though obviously less convenient for the south end: http://sillymooscampsite.co.uk/.

Re: Touring bike alternatives?

23 July 2014 - 7:37am
AaronR wrote:
Any suggestions for a new off the peg that might win my heart? Or should I stick to my first instinct and go cheap?

Any bike can be toured on, it simply depends on whether you want to buy a new bike. If you're competent from a mechanical point of view, I'd simply buy an old bike and ensure it's working *I.e. my recent two weeks in France and back North from the channel, was preceded by a new back wheel, two tyres, a tube, chain and cassette (The existing parts being fine for a 100 mile day ride, too worn for a 1000 miles away from the tool box and cheap online parts). I was quite pleased to experience a snapped spoke, a failed tyre and the chain slipping off a worn cassette in the two weeks prior to departure, proved my gut instinct had been right

Though if you've got the cash, a brand new bike could be the easier option.

Re: Touring bike alternatives?

22 July 2014 - 11:12pm
How Far Can You Go On A £10 Touring Bike? (Answer: A Surprisingly Long Way)

http://tomsbiketrip.com/how-far-can-you ... ring-bike/

Re: Touring bike alternatives?

22 July 2014 - 10:51pm
Back in the Spring I bought a Fuji touring bike from Evans in Bristol and love it. It cost £550 and I had £50 of free accessories as part of a promotion they were doing which allowed me to put some quality mudguards on it and buy a few tools for it too. It rides great, looks great and the bar end levers are really growing on me as I've never used them before. The down side is the weight as it's a bit of a 'boat anchor' but I'm really not bothered too much at the moment and I'm hoping to tour on it next year.

However, in recent weeks I've noticed that Evans' stock has dwindled to a few oddball sizes and now it's completely out of stock although I've read that Fuji produce them in batches and hope to see it reappear.

Re: Isle of Man - where's good to ride and stay?

22 July 2014 - 10:03pm
Been to the IOM 5 times on a bike. We always stayed in B&B's in Douglas apart from the last time, when we camped at Kirkmichael. The TT course is worth doing once, the classic 7 mile climb from Ramsey to the top of the mountain and the swooping descent back into Douglas.

There's plenty of little country lanes too. The Tholt Y Wiil climb from Sulby Glen to the top of the mountain, the ride up from Union Mills to Injebreck (these are all hilly rides). There are some nice lanes going down towards Castletown and Port Erin. The roads around Jurby in the north-west are quiet and flat. The coast road from Douglas going north round to Ramsey via Laxey is a nice ride and not too busy (most traffic goes over the mountain).

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

22 July 2014 - 9:54pm
Bicycler wrote:I will whinge to anyone who will listen about Northern rail and their antiquated junk but I have to agree that the conductors are quite amenable to cyclists on the cumbrian coast line. In some ways their flexibility is preferable to a mandatory reservation system.

Agreed on both counts

SNCF RER trains, has anyone ever been kicked off?

22 July 2014 - 9:50pm
We are travelling with the kids (8 & 10) to Brittany in August, ferry tickets are booked. We need to get the train from Roscoff to Redon in order to give us our planned route back.

A sLight glitch with our tour plans appeared on my visit to SNCF in Picadilly today. I'd already researched the train link and spoken to them by phone but when I got there today the agent said there were no bike spaces available on any of the TGV trains for the day we arrive in France. There is also no availability if we were to reverse our plans and get the train back from Redon.

The main alternative is a very long day (nearly 12 hours of hanging around train stations and 3 bits of train rides) for the kids using the TER regional train service or maybe a very expensive taxi ride. I am Researching the taxi option but before I commit to the TER option I'd be gutted to plan to use the TER train and then to be told that there were no bike spaces left as we could end up with a 15 hour day or, at worst, rushing around finding accommodation in Morlaix!

Are TER conductors likely to be accommodating on a quiet train if there are too many bikes do we think?

To put it in context we have had mixed experiences travelling with SNCF and bikes before. My husband did the pack it up small approach on a no bike TGV and got a lot of grief from the conductor ( he didn't get chucked off but is still a bit sensitive on the subject all these years later). I lost my bike for 3 days once using the send ahead system for bikes ( don't do this on a weekend). Having said that I have had a couple of good experiences with the bike including an amazing ride through the Cevennes down to Ales in the guards car and on another quiet TER type service but some years ago.

Ps I have tried the old threads and read the SNCF velo site.
PPS can anyone else get the maps to work on the SNCF velo site?

Re: Alaska to Argentinia

22 July 2014 - 9:35pm
Mick F wrote:Just be careful.
This is a sad story from only recently.

This is a sad story but I'm sure it also applies to the uk so don't let it out you off.

Isle of Man - where's good to ride and stay?

22 July 2014 - 9:03pm
I'm going to the Isle of Man for about 3-4 days on 3rd Aug - I'd be really grateful if anyone has recommendations for good rides there. Prob gonna camp or b+b (anybody stayed in some good ones?) in one place so circular routes would be good. Hoping to miss the motorbikes as the Grand Prix doesn't start until the 16th.

Looking for inspiration/ideas for a tour in Germany.

22 July 2014 - 8:41pm
I'd like to take my trike to Germany and do a tour of approx 10 days.

Main requirements are;

Pretty countryside.

Flattish, my trike is quite heavy and is harder work than a normal bike uphill.

Ideally a circular route but if not then ends somewhere I can get a train back to the beginning. I'm assuming I can get my trike on a train. Its a folding recumbent Ice Trike. So should be doable but likely to be a pita as I'd have to shove trike, the seat, panniers onto a train.


22 July 2014 - 8:31pm
I love the Eurovelo scheme and have been dreaming about the Iron Curtain Trail for a few years. It looks like there has been some progress lately, but does anyone know how well all the sections meet up or how much is signed? I guess I should buy the guides if I really want to know.

Re: Touring bike alternatives?

22 July 2014 - 7:13pm
Yeah, I'm a tight git too and the decent second hand bike is always my first choice.

I pulled a '94 Univega hybrid style bike from a skip the other day and that will make a perfectly nice 'tourer' for the reasons you point out above (I posted pics in the mtb section if interested)

However, most of these cheap bikes I find have 'issues' and need a little bit spent on them etc.

I really do hope one day to have some money and I would definitely go for a new bike (albeit, the previous years model or whatever to get the best price etc)
I think the luxury of a new one that doesn't need tinkering with too much, and maybe even has a warranty would be such a glorious option.

Sorry, not much help with your question, but I do get where your question is coming from, and see both sides of the dilemma.

Touring bike alternatives?

22 July 2014 - 6:32pm
Looking to undertake a long ride next year over 10/12 days - won't mention it by name as I know there's a section just for that particular end to end trip

I'm selling my current ride to purchase something more suitable, I could go new as its a few years since I have used the works scheme to get a new bike, but it needs to be something that can then be used for a daily commuter and weekend trails for a few years to justify that sort of expenditure

Looking at all the current off the peg tourers there appears to be very little between them - long stable wheelbase, steel or heavy gauge aluminium, most 700c, with disk brakes just pushing the price up over tried and tested canti/V brakes

As an alternative I've been looking at mid 90's mountain bikes - similar geometry, nearly all have rack mounts, bottle mounts, guard mounts, QR wheels, wide range gearing

Am I just being tight? For £150-200 I can probably find a well specced, clean Raleigh/Specialized/Peugot, service it, new tyres, tubes, racks etc and until you got close it would look like a new Thorn/Kona Sutra/Surly Long Haul/etc etc....

Any suggestions for a new off the peg that might win my heart? Or should I stick to my first instinct and go cheap?

Re: Alaska to Argentinia

22 July 2014 - 6:08pm
If you want a fairly up to date, current trip report etc, inc lots of great pictures and some route info go take a look at http://www.whileoutriding.com/blog
Cass is happy to answer questions too, a lot of comments to posts are enquiries of one kind or another.


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