CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

Re: Normandy Queries

23 July 2014 - 5:24pm
Have just got back from a week's tour as previously outlined and thought I'd report back + answer my original questions for anyone's interest:

The voises verte were, as usual great. Whilst unsurfaced the fine grit surface most of the time was excellent (I was riding a lightweight tourer with 28 tyres) and, though an old railway track and well graded, they climbed to some good heights in places with wonderful sweeping views, especially the Valle de See south of Sourdeval on the Vois Vertes du Bocage Virois.

Les Pommiers campsite at Ouisteham was fine. A little on the grubby side but it is well used by lots of ferry passengers + many others, so not a surprise. However, the site can be easily accessed by anyone from the Caen canal path, so if possible try and pitch over on the western side of the site, away from the canal just to be on the safe side.

In summary, St Malo to Ouistreham using the above voises verte via Audan sur Odon and Bayeaux and the eastern end of the D-Day beaches is a very nice 1-week trip which I can highly recommend. If anyone's interested in further detail pm me.

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

23 July 2014 - 4:46pm
Thanks for those ideas.

I've done some googling About Munsterland routes and found the 100 castles route which can be split to four different loops. It looks a strong possibility.

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

23 July 2014 - 4:39pm
Some ideas for you here perhaps?

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

23 July 2014 - 2:37pm
We went 2 years ago and going again this year. Just stay B and B in Douglas , its central and where the ferries arrive, and if it rains as its bound to you have a dry facility and can wonder round the town etc .

As has been said the TT course is a good easy ride , although its a climb its very graded.

We also did the whole Island in one ride - taking the outer most road all the way its about 85 miles

You get fantastic views of the sea on most rides , that's one of the reasons I like it

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

23 July 2014 - 1:39pm
Sounds like a good route. I was thinking of Whinlatter pass to Keswick, somehow along to Penrith then follow the A689 to Nenthead down to Stanhope over the hill at Wolsignham stop at my house in Chester or Street then pick up the C2C into Sunderland. I'm riding a road bike with slicks so it's tarmac or well graded gravel only.

Re: Shipping the bike by plane

23 July 2014 - 1:04pm
jamesgilbert wrote:I don't, although I generally avoid flying. The times I have flown, i've cycled or taken the train to the airport and bagged the bike just before check-in.

Looking at your photos, I would be a bit concerned about the fork getting damaged, although it makes sense if you need to transport the packaged bike around the airport.

I wrap some bubble wrap around the forks but the front wheel also provides protection (on one side anyway) and the spacer bar keeps the forks from squeezing together (fake axle).

Re: Shipping the bike by plane

23 July 2014 - 12:58pm
I don't, although I generally avoid flying. The times I have flown, i've cycled or taken the train to the airport and bagged the bike just before check-in.

Looking at your photos, I would be a bit concerned about the fork getting damaged, although it makes sense if you need to transport the packaged bike around the airport.

Re: Getting to Whitehaven

23 July 2014 - 12:48pm
I did my c2c 2 years ago and got to Whitehaven with no problem. Changed trains at Carlisle. I reserved the bike space online but it wasn't an issue on the line to Whitehaven. I did my own route ending in Scarborough though which has good rail connections to the south. I went to Ambleside via Hardknott and Wrynose pass, then on to Hawes in the the Dales, then Swaledale, Richmond and skirted the North York moors to Scarborough.

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:
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/germany/munsterland

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.’
‘Why?’
‘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.

http://www.farawayvisions.com/flying-with-a-bicycle/

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.

http://www.georgemahood.com/lejog.htm

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

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