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Updated: 1 hour 36 min ago

Re: Mark Beaumont is off again

16 April 2015 - 3:37pm
What he has achieved is impressive, however, his 'ethos' is the opposite of what touring cycling actually is. I also find it a bit annoying how everything he does is based on struggles and pain i.e I felt most of his docu was either him struggling to find vegetarian food and complaining or cycling in the rain. Julian Sayarer in my opinion was a much more worthy record holder of rtw and his motivations were partly driven by beating Mark Beaumont and taking the record back for the 'people' as his attempt was largely corporatised and sponsored by hotels en route.

The whole record is getting a bit ridiculous, I think its less than 100 days now. Either way hats off as I wouldn't ever attempt that

Re: Mark Beaumont is off again

16 April 2015 - 2:39pm
jamesgilbert wrote:
@BeeKeeper, I agree but I'm not sure that's really possible on this kind of route >>> http://www.shanecycles.com/category/shanes-shorts/

Fair play to Marks sporting prowess, Shame he's missing so much of Africa by being in such a hurry, and also taking some of the most dangerous roads by taking a very direct route and to save time.

Each to their own, Good luck Mark.

Re: Coast & Castles - Recommended sights & tea shops?

16 April 2015 - 2:27pm
Don't forget to check the tide times for Holy Island (Lindisfarne), 'cos you'll waste a lot of time if you misjudge it.

Going on a boat trip from Seahouses to see the puffins and seals etc is my favourite thing to do around there. Depending upon recent weather, it's possible end of April will be a smidge too early for best possible seeing of all the wildlife - it's the time of year when 2 or 3 days later can make a big difference - as the seabirds in particular are migratory, but I found them quite honest in describing what you can see on the trips. But with the present good weather you could well be lucky.

Further north in Lothian near North Berwick you'll have Bass Rock, the world's largest gannetry. Again boat trips to see. I haven't been there, but I've seen gannetries elsewhere and gannets are almost better than puffins. Trips eg http://seabird-centre.seafari-edinburgh ... and-prices

Re: Front Rack for Boardman Hybrid Team

16 April 2015 - 1:55pm
I think u can get bags that go in the frame triangle and use the top tube to support - since your brakes dont use the top tube would be be ideal? Better than trying to fit a front rack? I've seen some one here with such an arrangement. Also shown in the url u posted?

Front Rack for Boardman Hybrid Team

16 April 2015 - 1:49pm
I feel a little guilty starting a new thread about front racks so soon, but it is slightly different and I have spent days looking.

This piccie from bikeradar shows the forks:
forks.jpg

I only have the eyelet mounts at the wheel hub, the mudguard eyelet shown, and anything I create to mount to the handlebars - potentially I could drill the bars but that would be really last resort. The forks are out as they are carbon. I have disk brakes.

The purpose is to balance the bike front-back while (light) touring. Panniers would be nice, but something to support a stuffed dri-bag would probably do the job.

I'm going to get a Vavert Avancer rack to play with as it is available for £10. Potentially I could use something designed to attach to the brake bosses (Tubus Smarti?) with a little bit of home engineering.

I have also wondered about a Wildcat Mountain Lion (review by Meraid Griffin), but for a dribag attachment device it costs nearly as much as a Tubus.

Any suggestions would be welcome, particularly if anyone has done it.

Thanks

Ferdinand

Re: Touring bike choice for people with long legs

16 April 2015 - 12:27pm
531colin wrote:Vorpal wrote:There are other alternatives than just drops or straights...

I have trekking (butterfly) bars on one of my bikes. There are also the north road and bull horn type bars. A conversion fro straights to north road bars, would also have the effect of shortening the reach, and making your position on the bike more upright.

On the face of it, there is a contradiction in having a short top tube and then drops.....my reasoning is that the multiple hand positions offered by drops completely trump the disadvantages. (plural disadvantages....greater reach, and shifter/brake/gear combinations)
..........(there is perhaps more of a contradiction in having a frame specially made with a short top tube and then fitting long stem.....one wonders if a production bike and a regular stem would suffice? ).
I prefer drops for their advantages, but I have toured on the bike with trekking bars and found it generally comfortable. One of the biggest advantages to drops is the many different hand positions available. I think that trekking bars are the next best when it comes to number of available hand positions.

Re: Mosquitos/Midges be afraid be very afraid Armageddon

16 April 2015 - 12:23pm
*swaps train ticket for one to Wales*

Re: Mark Beaumont is off again

16 April 2015 - 12:00pm
pwa wrote:I think I am more interested in this sort of thing when it is something that, in my wildest dreams, I would like to have done myself. This does not fall into that category. I could imagine wanting to take on all the natural obstacles such as the heat, the distance, the mud and the wildlife, but for much of Africa the main worry is human. And that sort of challenge is not, for me, worthwhile. I hope he comes out the other end safe and well, but I'm not feeling inspired by his choice of challenge.

I agree with you. The scenery and wildlife would be amazing. And from what I've read, most of the people would be friendly and welcoming. But it's not for me. Even the previously safe countries of north Africa are now more dangerous. But I wish him well, and have read his books on his rtw trip and the Americas. He broke the record on his rtw trip that held been held since the 80s, but his record was broken less than a year later I believe.

Re: Touring bike choice for people with long legs

16 April 2015 - 11:48am
Vorpal wrote:There are other alternatives than just drops or straights...

I have trekking (butterfly) bars on one of my bikes. There are also the north road and bull horn type bars. A conversion fro straights to north road bars, would also have the effect of shortening the reach, and making your position on the bike more upright.

On the face of it, there is a contradiction in having a short top tube and then drops.....my reasoning is that the multiple hand positions offered by drops completely trump the disadvantages. (plural disadvantages....greater reach, and shifter/brake/gear combinations)
..........(there is perhaps more of a contradiction in having a frame specially made with a short top tube and then fitting long stem.....one wonders if a production bike and a regular stem would suffice? ).

Re: People who have cycled the Pamir Highway...

16 April 2015 - 8:57am
Wow - Kieran, thanks so much.

Really got me looking forward to this trip now, absolutely can't wait.

Thanks so much for your reply.

Re: Touring bike choice for people with long legs

16 April 2015 - 8:56am
There are other alternatives than just drops or straights...

I have trekking (butterfly) bars on one of my bikes. There are also the north road and bull horn type bars. A conversion fro straights to north road bars, would also have the effect of shortening the reach, and making your position on the bike more upright.

Re: Coast & Castles - Recommended sights & tea shops?

16 April 2015 - 8:37am
The Drift cafe just outside (north) of Cresswell on Northumberland coast at the southern end of Druridge Bay.

Re: Touring bike choice for people with long legs

16 April 2015 - 8:36am
Having the saddle forward (sitting on top of the pedals) with a long stem throws weight onto your hands. Its a popular position with racing cyclists because they can get down low for aero benefits, and they are pedalling hard enough for the "equal and opposite" reaction force to support their torso. Lots of people complain of sore shoulders, wrists, etc because they have too much weight on their hands, but if you can do it, its obviously OK for you. (I'm 10 years older than you .)

Traditional touring geo. with longer seat and head tubes is the other way of saying traditional touring geo. with a short top tube... ....like my old black bike pictured here http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=95724&hilit=black&start=60

Re: People who have cycled the Pamir Highway...

15 April 2015 - 10:06pm
Just a few photos to get you in the mood.

Re: Front rack Advice

15 April 2015 - 8:49pm
This site says that the Tubus Swing is for suss forks:

https://www.bikebagshop.com/tubus-front-racks-c-28.html

Other than that I think there is a Surly Nice rack that goes with suss forks, but they are quite expensive, albeit value for money.

Here's a good thread discussing problems fitting the Tara to a suss fork:

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=80050.0

And others seem to be suggesting a Blackburn Low Rider rack as an alternative.

I hope you find what you're looking for - good luck!

Re: Front rack Advice

15 April 2015 - 8:39pm
RobinS wrote:The Tubus Tara in the link above looks good - and the right colour! Can anyone confirm it will fit with disc brakes?

I can't confirm if it will work but I think there is a Tubus for suspension. Hmmm? I did find a good priced front rack the other day but it was only really for suspension forks:

Zefal Raider

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zefal-Raider-Front-Rack-Black/dp/B006518BZO/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t/276-2412507-2958427

I can't confirm if this is any good but the reviewers seem pleased with it. This one is in black but maybe you can find it online in silver?

Re: People who have cycled the Pamir Highway...

15 April 2015 - 7:59pm
Hi Rogo,

Cycled the Pamir last summer as part of a 12 month tour from Turkey to India and it was without doubt one of the highlights.

The Pamir has 3 commonly cycled routes, the classic M41, the Wakhan & M41 and finally the M41 & Bartang Valley.
The M41 from Kalaikhum towards Khorog is fairly well populated in places, with Kalaikhum being a good places to stock up on essentials such as food and petrol. They are fair sized villages all the way through this bit of the valley with Rushan being the biggest town. The road is fairly busy with local traffic and tourists 4 x 4 between Dushanbe and Khorog and trucks doing trade runs between Tajik& China. There is a strong army presence in the area and you may find them turning up at your camp site to move you on or insist on having an armed guard stay with you over night for your "protection". It is one of the most stunning area of the whole trip.

The M41 is most remote after Murghab, and toward At Baital pass and then from Karakul to the Tajik/Kyrgyz border. Karakul is the last place with home stays and shops, although the shops were pretty barren when we were there, we purchased the last few snickers. Murghab is the most reliable town to stock up in the Eastern Pamir, be aware that food is limited and relatively expensive and not of the highest quality. Khorog is the best place to stock up on food supplies. Having said that we purchased most of our food in Dushnabe on the upper part of Rudaki Avenue there are a number of decent supermarket stocking western/ turkish food stuffs such as pasta, oats and tinned fish and meats, although expensive worth it in my opinion. We had some boil in the bag food shipped over to us to supplement food purchased in Dushanbe. We rolled heavy with all the food but we were fully self sufficient and apart from the coke and snickers bar we did want for much.
Food in the Pamirs is generally of low quality and hard to come by if not staying in home stays on route.

The Wakhan Valley was a real highlight with great views of the Hindu Kush & Afghanistan. The valley is well populated all the way to Langar and has numerous home stays and basic shops. The most remote part is from Langar back to the M41, which is around 90km and nothing else apart from an army checkpoint, so make sure you have enough supplies don't rely on the shops in Langar or the villages before to stock up in. Ishkashim has a small bazaar and few okay shops but nothing special. Water in the valley is plentiful in the right months and mountain fresh, we had a MSR pump but hardly used it as the water drinkable straight from the source, they are more than a few natural springs so keep your eyes peeled.

The Bartang Valley is the most remote part of the Pamir which can be cycled, although we didn't do it our self we met others we did, it takes around 8-9 days over rough tracks and there is very limited provisions on route, you have to be fully self sufficient for the duration. There are some issues with flooding of the road during the summer months.

Regarding distance, this is very much a personal choice of preference depending upon the individual and is therefore hard to judge. I would say the biggest challenges of the some sections of the route, certainly from Kalaikhum to Khorog and parts of the Wakhan were the road conditions, partly gravel, rocks of assorted sizes and sometimes sand which invariable impacted upon the distance achieved. Certain days in the Wakhan we cycled a mere 20kms one day then 35km the next due to the road and the potential for damage to the bike we made slow progress. We did Kalaikhum to Osh in 19 days. On the M41the conditions are better and bigger distances are possible, certainly after becoming acclimatised ( a day in Khorog was good for than standing at around 2500m) check out breaking boundaries website to see how quickly the Pamir can be cycled. The wind is also something to factor in, certainly after Murghab were we faced a constant ripping wind all the way to Osh, the wind was so strong in places it was easier to get off the bike and push. Overall the cycling isn't that tuff on the M41 but road, wind and altitude due play there role.

Other info that may be useful; if you can get your GBAO permit before arriving in Dushanbe then do it, when we were there they had been some fighting between the Pamirers & the Tajik police and number of deaths occurred and the OVIR office in Khorog was torched. Meaning the govt stopped issuing permits and we have to wait two weeks at the Adventures Inn with other frustrated wannabe Pamir cyclists. We finally managed to get the permits through Shargaff at Pamir Silk Travels for $35 per person, even though the permits weren't officially being issued. If they are issuing them to individual travellers then they cost $4 and can be sourced from the OVIR office in Dushnabe, but you would have to check the current situation on the ground to see what is currently happening.
Stock up on Somoni's in Dushanbe as they are no banking facilities (ATMs) from Dushnabe to Osh, have US as back up.
If you are in Tajikistan for more than 30 days you need to official registered at an OVIR office somewhere like Murghab would do, but is a pain and best avoided if possible.
Petrol for multi fuel stoves is available in Kalaikhum, Rushan, Khorog, Ishkashim and Murghab for sure and other places for less favourable prices if you ask around at at village, if I need.
Lastly, the FCO currently advises against all but essential travel to the GBAO, therefore voiding any UK based travel insurance, just something to keep in mind if that is something that would impact upon your travels there.
One last thing, make sure you keep hold of your exit form which you are given upon arrival in Tajikistan, the border guards were not the friendly people we came across and this had caused some issues for others we had met.

Have a wicked time and feel free to contact me if you need anything else answered.

Happy pedalling,

Kieran

Re: Coast & Castles - Recommended sights & tea shops?

15 April 2015 - 7:53pm
ikenbikeit wrote:The barn at Beal is a great place for at least four reasons.


Very useful, thanks. I camped at beachcomer which is on the route but doesn't do camping anymore and I was looking for something else in the area.

Re: Touring bike choice for people with long legs

15 April 2015 - 7:51pm
531colin wrote:buying the wrong bike is costly all right.....which is why its preferable to get the position sorted on an existing bike, with a steerer extender, etc.
Why is a sloping top tube counter-intuitive? If you have a short torso for your height, (the other way of saying long legs for your height) you are liable to want the bars high....which is why sloping tubes are popular anyway.
Sitting on top of the pedals with a long stem....OK if you can manage it...I could, 30 years ago.
Do you have any dimensions of your custom frame? Just off the cuff i would guess short, sloping top tube, from the frame sizes you mention toe overlap shouldn't be a problem.
I don't have a problem with "variations" in riding style, but if somebody is uncomfortable on their existing bike, a conventional riding position is the first thing to try, isn't it? Nobody can guarantee to find an off-the-peg bike which will give instant comfort for a rider who insists on a position way outside the normal range.

Sloping top tube is counter-intuitive (counter to my intuition anyway ) as I would expect a fame to have a longer seat-tube to fit longer legs - but I take your point. I always thought sloping top-tubes were to increase standover height which is not an issue for me. As for riding position - why is "sitting on top of te pedals with a long stem" likely to be problematic? I am averagley fit and 57 and it seems to suit me that way. Maybe I should start worrying?! Could life be easier if I changed position?!! The custom bike was traditional touring geometry but with slightly longer seat- and head-tubes. Haven't got the exact measurements.

Re: Front rack Advice

15 April 2015 - 7:29pm
The Tubus Tara in the link above looks good - and the right colour! Can anyone confirm it will fit with disc brakes?

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