CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition

Syndicate content
Discussion boards hosted by CTC, the national cycling charity
Updated: 15 min 43 sec ago

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

8 September 2014 - 6:46pm
Swallow wrote:I agree with the above but would suggest a bar bag if you don't already use one, not for balance but to keep valuables to hand. Quickly detached so that you can take it with you

Re: Santander to Calais - info required

8 September 2014 - 6:41pm
My family luckily dropped me off in San Sebastian so I did not have to catch the train from Santandar. It was easy catching the train from San Sebastian - I just stood on a platform until I saw a train to Hendaye - bought a ticket ($3). At Hendaye I was easily able to catch a train to Bordeau as the Aquitane region looked a bit boring. The route from Bordeaux to Le Havre was a delight. I then was able to catch a train to Newport where I live. I used an online routing website which I uploaded onton my garmin edge 800 and have a lovely 5 day ride, camping and hotelling. Happy to share my route.

Re: channel hopping

8 September 2014 - 6:33pm
I'd second the advice about the climbs out of Folkestone, in fact much of the south coast route is hilly, although the NCN2 along the cliffs are spectacular from Capel le Ferne, I live in Gosport and have done the circuit you're thinking about many times over the years although I tend to take the train to Dover these days. Don't forget the french coast you're talking about is a continuation of the South Downs so you can expect some pretty stiff climbs there as well. It does make a nice short break if you live near Portsmouth, another is Newhaven - Dieppe - Neufchatel - Rouen - Le Havre.
This year I came back through Calais for the first time for some while and found it quite scary. Approaching the port there are gangs of people trying to get on vehicles and we had to wait while the CRS tried to control a huge fight between some of the groups, one person had been killed earlier. A group of Belgian scouts I met were expecting to stay at the campsite near the port but that wasn't available to them because the campsite is now a refugee camp. While waiting in the lanes in the port area all hell broke loose behind me with dogs and security as they'd found a person hiding in the engine/wheel area of a coach which necessitated the dismantling of the engine compartment to get him out. Then a large group of people got into the port area and tried to get on to a ferry with me and a number of other cyclists legging it in the opposite direction. For several years there has been a surreal feel to the approach to the Port at Calais especially if you come around the Rue des Garennes though I never really found it threatening, but now I'm personally avoiding it preferring Dunkirk instead, I tend to use Dover to get to/from Belgium or Holland anyway so for me Dunkirk is the port of choice. One other option could be the Eurotunnel from Ashford but that's only available to cyclists twice a day I think.
If you're going soon the weather looks like it could be good and the forests will just be getting a golden autumnal feel to them with fresh mornings, good for cycling. I hope all goes well and that my recent experiences don't put you off.

Re: Two Together Rail Card

8 September 2014 - 4:54pm
Car travel is half the price with two people going to the same place. Knocking a third off the rail price keeps it competitive.

A single person is more able to find the last advance discount fares and find rail travel faster (no need for driving breaks) and more productive (can read/write/type/spod while not driving) but it's a shame there aren't more things like the network card for other areas.

Re: Two Together Rail Card

8 September 2014 - 4:15pm
Congrats on your Two Together.

What about single people. As far as I can see, unless you are under 26 or over 60 you can't get a discount card for the train. Its about time single people were recognised as a persecuted minority and given equal rights!

What is so special about two?

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

8 September 2014 - 11:33am
I think it would really help if the OP clarified what he/she was really asking. Is it, "Do you really need to take so much stuff for camping?" or is it, "Do you need front panniers or can you pile everything on the back?" I think we've all assumed it's the former but if that's the case, the answer is easy - no you don't need front panniers if you don't take much stuff and yes you do if you do. This thread really has got nothing to do with front panniers.

Re: Ditching my Hybrid for a full Spec Tourer

8 September 2014 - 10:42am
Ultimately the right bike is the one you feel happy on all day. If you stop looking for another bike then you've found your bike.
Im rather smug because I found mine with my first purchase (a dawes galaxy 2nd hand). While others dont rate it, for me its like my noble steed, it does 10,000 miles/year based on current estimates. At the end of a long day Im often grateful how comfortable it is, especially when im pushing that extra 20 miles to get to my campsite.

If you like green then go dawes galaxy, its a great colour!!!

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

8 September 2014 - 10:33am
You dont *NEED* front panniers but I find them handy for storing clothes and sleeping kit with food on top for easy access.

What I do notice is that front panniers significantly slow me down over a day. But then it pays for itself by having a comfy nights sleep.

For me it boils down to if I need to sleep or not.

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

8 September 2014 - 10:04am
Saw some people on Hadrian's Cycleway using the plastic bucket method this weekend. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=1841

I like front panniers, one big fluffy pillow in each. Do like a good nights sleep.

Re: East West C2C Spanish Pyrenees Tour.

8 September 2014 - 4:06am
Incidentally, the opencyclemap route I linked to in my first post is very much an off road MTB route.

I met some guys who were doing it in a week with a support vehicle a day before they finished. About 3000 mtrs of climbing a day. They were all absolutely exhausted and I have absolutely no idea why anyone would want to put such a challenging time pressure on a trip like that. The Pyrenees are beautiful and deserve to be enjoyed. Anyway...

Re: Ditching my Hybrid for a full Spec Tourer

7 September 2014 - 10:44pm
I have a koga miyata randonneur.the cheaper version of what mark Beaumont went round the world on.I have had it about 5*years now.done lots of touring.camping and I love it.was much better than the dawes ultra galaxy then.and the new ultra I saw yesterday has gone downhill.excuse the pun.pedals were awful.no lights.cheap looking taped handlebars.look into it.good luck.

Re: Two Together Rail Card

7 September 2014 - 10:00pm
stu1102 wrote:just got my Two Together Rail Card as my wife and I are fed up with driving everywhere with bikes in the car

Excellent. I just did a five train one way journey using my Senior rail card. All went well. It really wouldn't take much to make bike facilities on trains very good indeed (measuring a bike might help for starters!).

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

7 September 2014 - 4:19pm
Thorn Club Tour on day 1 of Way of The Roses, 4th Aug 2014

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

7 September 2014 - 2:11pm
My Condor Heritage tourer.

Re: Overnight sleep possible in Barcelona airport?

7 September 2014 - 10:26am
I flew from El Prat last month - there is a sign on the door (when coming from the train) that doors are closed between 11 pm and 4 am - there were no flights leaving after my flight - 10.40 pm.

Re: East West C2C Spanish Pyrenees Tour.

7 September 2014 - 9:55am
I finished my tour of the Pyrenees and cycled up through France and got a ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven. It was by far the most rewarding thing I have done in my life. I thought it might satiate my desire to cycle tour but I can't help but think of the next time I can cycle through a mountainous area and find myself daydreaming about it constantly.

A highlight was cycling between Ochagavia and St Jean Peid a Port which was gruelling but wonderful.

Here's some pics to help inspire anyone else to do something similar. DO IT!


Re: My first tour (I didn't make it)

7 September 2014 - 1:52am
Sounds like a successful trip - over the mountain and the best-tasting coffee ever!

You'll no doubt be intrigued to try the route again but with some packing ammendments, maybe one bottle of diluting juice rather than all the lucozade.

I agree with others, the pushing on foot will have given your legs an extra battering. You could do worse than taking stairs rather than escalators in everyday life, in training for your next lucozade-vs-mountain challenge!

Re: Do I need front panniers for touring?

6 September 2014 - 8:42pm
My Tuppence:

To the OP, no you don't need front panniers, in fact there is very little you actually need to go bike touring... others have mentioned a particular phase many times before . ....it depends..... Location, weather, season, money, experiences .. etc.. etc...

There is only one way to find out, make an educated guess and go, then adapt your kit and load to your requirements based on your experiences and destination(s)...

Kit lists are good as an aid to formulate your own ... But make sure your list is tailored to yourself...

To me weight is not a big issue. I wild camp in comfort with no real time restrictions - I have a stool, 3 changes of cycling clothing and one set for the pub, trangia etc.. My kit is reasonably low tech therefore big and heavy except the mattress... The tent is a supposedly 3 man @ 2.9kg. I’ve not ridden a hill yet where I needed to walk (although I’m sure I will find one soon and to me walking is okay..) and I go 6'4", 110kg with around 25kg total luggage and have had far too many birthdays. Okay I was slow winching up many an incline in the highlands recently but I was grand about it. I prefer 4 panniers, a bar bag and a small waterproof roll up bag on the back and certainly I have no stability or wobble issues winching up hills in the granny.. but then everyones rig is differrent...

I’ve met and chatted to many cycling tourists in all combinations of gear from 4 panniers and a trailer to just a bag on the back.... Some students had stuff over their back wheel piled as high as themselves and a rucksack to boot with nothing on the front of their not high tech old front suspension MTB’s ... And guess what, all were enjoying themselves touring... Okay I sure many after looking at other peoples kit would change a bit or so but that’s the same for almost everyone...

Re: Trans Penine Trail

6 September 2014 - 8:33pm
I recently rode from home in Halifax to my parents house on the Wirral, and used the trans Pennine trail from manchester onwards.
I have a cheap and cheerful btwin triban3 and I have to admit that I was shaken to bits in some places due to the terrain of the trail.

However, I absolutely loved it. Terrific fun, although i was completely exhausted after the 90 miles, mainly due to the terrain on a cheap aluminium bike.

My upgrade from 23mm tyres to 25mm marathon pluses proved to be a good choice.

Re: Touring Bike For Tall Person...

6 September 2014 - 7:50pm
how about one of these http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEU-VSF-Fahrr ... ahrrad_Anhänger&hash=item58b4b25df9 if you dont want to buy direct from germany (i got my tx400 from these and they where very good )then chrisbikes do them but not sure of the prices


  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541


Terms and Conditions