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Updated: 2 hours 9 min ago

Re: lake district route advice please

15 August 2014 - 7:04pm
Start - Cross ferry to west side of lake. (stiff climb from ferry)
Then Hawkshead, Coniston, A593 Torver, Then Broughton Mills.
Head north - Seathwaite, Cockley Beck.
T' junction. (left for Hardnott) turn right for Wrynose and drop down to Little Langdale.(very good brakes needed).
Doing it this way I think takes the sting out of both passes as basically your on the plateau between them.
Near Skelwith Bridge chose back to Hawkshead and ferry over Lake or Ambleside then Windermere.

About 40 miles round trip but a bit lumpy and low gears required.

Just a question - When you say Windermere do actually mean the town or the just anywhere near the Lake?

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

15 August 2014 - 6:00pm
"When my wife and I came thru Germany earlier this year it WAS NOT simple. Any rural station has no staff,just a machine. To get the right ticket from the machine you have to understand the machine,then put in the prescribed money in the prescribed notes."

I sympathise and have been there myself. The machines are supposed to be multilingual but I've yet to find one that is. But if you want an international ticket, say to Hoek then you can bypass the machines and use the DBahn Info Service. Now I realise that many stations are unmanned but even smallish towns have a DBahn Information Service for international travel amongst other things, on the station. To my knowledge this covers most of western Germany say Rhineland, Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

For info, there is a new system on Dutch railways and you can get a day ticket to anywhere in Netherlands for 16.5 Euro plus 6 Euro for the bike. That is a good deal for crossing the country and you can buy the ticket on the ferry using your debit card. The new Dutch platform machines take cards but whether my UK bank card works I didn't have time to find out. You now have to check you ticket in and out each journey. I'll leave others to discuss this new system (which the Dutch appear to hate)



Re: Advice regarding fixed touring base/ support company

15 August 2014 - 5:04pm
TrevA wrote:I'd recommend the Alps. My wife and I had a fixed-based holiday, being based near Bourg d'Oisans and we did some of the famous Tour climbs...
Mmmm, I like the sound of that. You're giving me ideas...

Re: Getting to Germany with bikes

15 August 2014 - 4:57pm
greyhead wrote:Lufthansa claim that the bike needs no dismantling or packaging, just wheel it up to the check-in. Not a cheap option but apparently very straightforward and all completed in one day thus loosing less touring time. However, I'm still struggling with the idea of trusting my bike to the baggage handlers at Brum and Frankfurt, so has anyone any experience of travelling with a bike in this way on Lufthansa?
I used Lufthansa in 2013 from Manchester to Frankfurt. No problems with damage to the bikes. After booking the flights I had to ring Lufthansa to book the bikes on the flight. They wanted to know the weight of the bikes. At Manchester one of the bikes was weighed; at Frankfurt they didn't bother. I'd certainly use Lufthansa again with bikes.

Re: First Tour

15 August 2014 - 4:38pm
Try reading Cycling Home From Siberia by Rob Lilwall. Difficult to believe you could do what he did - and makes whinges about touring in UK or nearly anywhere which is temperate and close to civilisation (and by close I mean less than 50 miles away) look a trifle sad.

Yes, but... If you set out to cycle home from Siberia, I suppose you sign up for a bit more (unavoidable) discomfort than you might want to experience in a gentle tour through England? That is: cycle touring can cover a range of experiences -- some people find that battling the elements/midges/yaks brings its rewards, others want something a bit more relaxing (and some might want both, depending on their mood). Cycling doesn't have to be an endurance event to be worthwhile, does it...?

Back to the OP's adventures: +1 for the suggestion of using Streetview to help with orientation (I'm a great one for setting out in the wrong direction from train stations, car parks, etc: having a bit of foreknowledge of the landmarks and layout of streets can be very helpful). On waterproofs: I agree that nothing's ever entirely waterproof, though having something which will keep you warm is useful (neoprene shoecovers can be good for that: they don't keep your feet dry in a torrential downpour, but they stop them getting too cold).

For your next tour: how about the Lancashire cycleway? Not too far from you (I think?), very well signposted (in case of further GPS disasters, and/or for help with paper map-reading), and with lots of good rail links on the way round, in case things turn miserable and you need to beat a tactical retreat. Some info here (the Cicerone guidebook is very good, too): http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/web/?siteid=3732&pageid=42247&e=e

Re: Devon C2C

15 August 2014 - 3:43pm
Wow, never anticipated quite such a full and detailed response - thank you all. For info, we're heading by train from Newton Abbot to Barnstaple on Sunday morning (first train from St. Davids, hoping and praying the 6 minutes connection time will be sufficient...), leaving Barnstaple about 11:00 or so. My bike's a steel tourer with 700x32 and my son's is a hybrid with fairly chunky 26x1 and a big bit, or 2 and a small bit, I think, so don't have any worries about the surfaces/terrain. Couple of panniers on the rear of each. 40 miles or so on Sunday afternoon along the Tarka Trail to Meeth then the main road to Hatherleigh and lanes to Okehampton, followed by Granite Way to Sourton Down to camp for the night. Down to Plymouth during Monday, assuming we can successfully negotiate Tavistock! Gonna be fun, although my son has just done a week at scout camp, so he could be utterly useless...
Thanks again.

Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

15 August 2014 - 3:22pm
We're staying for a week near Coimbra next month. I get a day's pass (and a hired MTB of unknown quality) to go off for a day's riding

I'm more of a road rider really, so that's what I'll do. Any suggestions? Am I likely to find that maps are a problem? Are the Portuguese open source maps any good? I could load those onto my GPS...

Re: Advice regarding fixed touring base/ support company

15 August 2014 - 1:41pm
Lightning wrote:Hello, First posting on this site for me.
I'm looking for some advice from those more experienced in cyling abroad. I'm a pretty fit 55 year old and have in recent years been on 3/4 day trips with my extremely fit 27 year old son and most recently did the C2C classic and this year the Hadrians Wall route. We both ride road bikes and because i do not enjoy being loaded down with panniers etc have used a support company to move our gear daily, my son Matt spent a few days in Provence this summer carrying kit on a seatpost mount but he is less attached to creature comforts than me!
We are looking for a 4/5/6 day trip somewhere in Europe which we are considering either as a fixed base trip or with a support company to move kit etc, we will be taking our own bikes with us. We both enjoy hills and interesting terrain so wouldn't want anywhere too flat. So these are the questions:
Can anyone recommend somewhere for a fixed base with enough routes to give us interesting rides up to 70ish miles daily?
Does anyone know of any companies that provide logistical support regarding daily kit moves etc
Where to go - best countries for a trip this sort of length?
Thanks in advance for any advice.

I'd recommend the Alps. My wife and I had a fixed-based holiday, being based near Bourg d'Oisans and we did some of the famous Tour climbs including the Galibier, Alpe d'Huez, Col de la Croix de Fer as well as some less famous (and less arduous) climbs such as the Col d'Ornon. Thoroughly enjoyable, especially if you like hills. There's a booklet that you can get from Tourist information that shows 30 different rides in the Oisans valley.

Re: Dealing with mosquitos

15 August 2014 - 1:30pm
Very good. Don't think it works for everyone but it certainly works for me.

Re: Carradry front pannier prob

15 August 2014 - 12:34pm
Second fault - the rivets holding the top clips on hadn't been finished properly and two went missing. Could be a disaster if you drop a bag at speed but luckily the clips stayed more or less in place.

Re: First Tour

15 August 2014 - 12:07pm
If it's a question of map reading, OS publish quite a lot of guides on how to map read (and use maps) on their web site.

If it's a sense of direction, then I guess such info would not be much help.


Re: First Tour

15 August 2014 - 12:01pm
bogmyrtle wrote:I would suggest that learning to read a map would be useful. No batteries required.
Also if you pre plan your route and use Streetview, you can see what key junctions look like so you will recognise them when you get there. If you do this you will develop a sense of direction.
Not everyone can develop a sense of direction. Some people seem to have a natural sense of direction while others simply can't tell without a compass. But a compass is a handy thing to know how to use.

Re: First Tour

15 August 2014 - 10:55am
mercalia wrote:well I wont cycle in the rain. or start a ride if I think it will. I cant see any fun in it. I dont mind camping in the rain as long as it stops when I want to start riding again. I also dont want to ride the road of bones, I think it called in Siberia like some lady is doing, or camp in 10 foot of snow.

Try reading Cycling Home From Siberia by Rob Lilwall. Difficult to believe you could do what he did - and makes whinges about touring in UK or nearly anywhere which is temperate and close to civilisation (and by close I mean less than 50 miles away) look a trifle sad.

Re: Dealing with mosquitos

15 August 2014 - 10:47am
Furkuk wrote:This is going to sound strange but try taking antihistamines. It won't stop them biting you but it will stop you coming out in big red bite marks
Funny you mention this as for the first time this year I took them (for a runny nose BTW) and the mozzy bites are fewer and much much less severe.

Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

15 August 2014 - 10:39am
We'll be on day 2 of our Portugal trip in 2 weeks time and the whole thing was routed using Mapometer without any problems what so ever.

Re: First Tour

15 August 2014 - 10:31am
I'll go along with what others are saying about waterproofs, it's a misnomer. I regard them a bit like a wetsuit: they keep you warm by trapping a layer of warm water. I don't understand the idea that there's no fun in going out in the rain, once you grasp the nettle and get out there's a great deal of fun in it. Perhaps it helps if you've accepted that waterproofs aren't waterproof, but I don't see how you avoid it unless you can ring up God and book your weather at the same time you book your accommodation. I remember being laughed at by motorists the day I rode from Exeter to Dartington in torrential rain, but it was one of the best rides I've done.

Re navigation, a Mk1 map doesn't crash. I have a walkers GPS, which I'll use to locate a position, but I don't use it to navigate a route, it just isn't worth the palava. I have a map holder made from a Tupperware CD case which is shower proof, if it chucks it down I put the map in a sandwich bag.

Re: Whats wrong with Portugal?

15 August 2014 - 10:13am
Another expat Brit in Portugal told me that when GPS came to Portugal, maps were so bad that they had to pay for cars to drive along every road to get a GPS map of them, and in so doing discovered that only 40% of roads were shown on maps, even national mapping agency maps. Portuguese maps are, sadly, that bad, and since I'm not a GPS user I have found my Portuguese tours something of an adventure in navigation. It also doesn't help that in the cities there aren't many street name signs, and I've been in the outskirts of Porto and had absolutely no idea where I was, and eventually located myself about 5km from where I thought I was, because despite having a street atlas I just couldn't find a (current) street name.

I think the general shortage of cycling resources in Portugal is related to the shortage of cyclists in Portugal. I've encountered only a few on my tours there. I once asked a rare cyclist on a posh racing bike I encountered in a town I was trying to leave for some routing information to get out of it, and he recommended to me precisely the main road which I was keen to avoid. As I proceeded along that main road, I could see other roads, but the road was fenced and the other roads crossed on bridges and I couldn't escape. Sometimes I have climbed over road barriers to get (briefly onto when I couldn't see another way and) off main roads onto unmapped parallel minor roads, whcih often seem to exist, but these barriers were too high. Many parts of Portugal are so hilly, and so many roads in towns cobbled, that cycling just isn't going to be popular with a general population in such areas.

Re: lake district route advice please

15 August 2014 - 9:58am
531colin wrote:Walna scar "road" from Coniston, if you don't mind a challenge. Years since I have been over there.

A bit (very) rough in places.
O.K., or was on a mountain bike but not so sure on a tourer.

Re: First Tour

15 August 2014 - 9:24am
I agree with those who say you should learn how to read a map. You can go on navigation courses and I bet a day on such a course would cost less than many of the GPS devices out there. Of course a map in the extreme wet can be difficult to use but you can get those outdoor versions which are either laminated or on some type of plasticised material.

Re: lake district route advice please

15 August 2014 - 8:51am
Walna scar "road" from Coniston, if you don't mind a challenge. Years since I have been over there.


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