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Re: Getting AROUND the Pyranees

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 10:30pm
I just did the route from St Jean de Pied to Burgette this week. Not bad at all. Max height 1050 metres and between 6 and 7% max climb rate. Comfortable. Pyrenees are not that tough if you take the low passes.

Re: Baggage allowance- max dimensions

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 10:16pm
BA will accept bikes up to 195cm in length within your allowance provided they"re in a "recognised bike bag" The CTC one should do.

Air NZ will accept them up to 2.5m long (tandems) but there is an excess charge.

Generally you need to look in the Sports equipment part of the luggage allowances. I think the 158cm limit is usually for standard luggage.

Baggage allowance- max dimensions

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 9:58pm
We are going flying UK- New Zealand with bikes and beginning to get a little worried! Is it just me or did the airlines radically decrease the size of a single piece of baggage in the past few years? Transcontinental airlines now have a single piece maximum dimension of c. 158 cm (L+W+D)
Is it possible to pack a bike down so small? I seem to remember it used to be about 200 cm.

Re: Lighting a bike/high vis on tour

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 9:56pm
Hey thanks for all the replies! Really useful. Bike lights seem to be a must. Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....? What do others do?

beardy wrote:When it comes to trying to look bright in daytime, it has to be big. Small bits of different colour will break up your shape and camouflage you.

This is interesting, definitely something to think about. As I don't drive I personally don't really know what's best to wear! I was thinking of sticking hi-vis stickers etc to my gear but maybe that's a bad idea....

simonhill wrote:For the tunnels in Taiwan I bought a very lightweight reflective waistcoat. Hi viz mesh with lots of reflective strips. Light and easy to carry.

I cycled for 2 days in Taiwan, through a few tunnels that were undergoing work had has absolutely no lighting. Terrifying as I only had a hand torch with me at the time. Can't get worse (or more stupid) than that...

spinners wrote: I find the use of all black cycle clothing baffling and see so many cyclists dressed like this nowadays..

My clothing isn't really cycle clothing (except the shorts). I just wear mainly black and dark clothing all the time anyway, so wearing an orange t-shirt would be totally out of my comfort zone. As I want to travel as light as possible clothes that double up as 'off cycle' clothing is better (I'll be spending time in cities, stopping frequently). I think a high vis vest or belt would suit me better - just for when it's foggy/raining.

irc wrote: Other advice - use a mirror. Most drivers are OK but you will get a few close passes and they are less frightening when you see them coming.

Yep, just bought a mirror, thanks.

AaronR wrote: Cateye Rapid 3 front and rear, seem to run forever on one AA battery available everywhere, clips can be got so that they can be put on clothing (I have a few knocking about for the price of postage), add them to a headband and you have a very capable head torch, so thats one item instead of two to carry.... 80's shell suit jacket? Pink (on a bloke)? Afro party wig on helmet? Saw an excellent lycra top once that made the rider look like a crash test dummy - anything that is going to catch a drivers eye and trigger them to look again is worth it


The cateye bike light as a head torch is a great idea. What kind of headband do you use?
And also the fancy dress style 'anything that catches the drivers eye' is a good tip!

Edwards wrote: A head torch is brilliant for looking where you are going especially road surface. However they are no good for being seen by cars (I do use a head torch) you would need at least one battery operated bike mounted lamp.

Thanks, this is good to know. I assumed lights attached to the helmet would be fine, but it makes sense that when turning your head you might not be seen. And the whole safetly regulation thing.... Problem is I have a handlebar bag (which I'm sure most people have), so where do I attach the front bike light if not to my helmet? I guess my headtorch headband might actually fit on the handlebar bag....?

Re: Thameslink to Gatwick Airport - luggage space

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 9:51pm
The luggage racks last I saw were the vertical stack type shown in https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:31 ... ternal.JPG

I'm not sure if any of the electro stars serve Gatwick but I think they have less luggage space.

Re: Vaude or carradice cape?

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 9:18pm
I keep a cape (sorry don't know what make) in the saddle bag of my shopper bike. It's good to throw on when there is a sudden shower. However despite wrist loops it's a pain to stop it billowing up every time I stop. For that reason I don't use it on my touring bikes.

In your situation I would buy a new jacket, follow the care instructions religiously and accept that the main purpose of a rain jacket is to stop you getting cold not wet.

Thameslink to Gatwick Airport - luggage space

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 8:54pm
In a week I will be travelling to Gatwick airport via Euston with a full-sized touring bike in a bag plus a cabin bag. Am I right in assuming there is very little luggage space on the Thameslink line from St Pancras to Brighton that stops at Gatwick?

Plan B is to get a taxi from Euston to Victoria. I wanted to avoid crossing London in rush hour but now I'm thinking I may be better off doing that than annoying lots of commuters on the Thameslink train.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Re: Touring Map(s) Hebrides & West Coast

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 8:52pm
MLJ wrote:A quarter-inch map is fine for the outer isles and west coast, as there are not that many roads anyway. I used a page from a road book but there are several maps available for this purpose. Obviously for walking you will need the 25000 OS map for the Cuillins.

Thanks MLJ.. I may look for a travel guide to Scotland with mapping included... Have picked up a 25000 OS map for the Cuillins.. Father-in-Law had an old one..






hufty wrote:Paper maps are great - the batteries never run down and you get a great overview, so I personally wouldn't want a Garmin in the first place. I always found the OS 1:1250 000 Western Scotland and the Western Isles to be about right for road cycling. No longer available from the OS. Scottish map seller Nicolsons maps used to do their own version but didn't look so available a second ago.

The best source then is the mighty Aqua3.com for a customised, waterproof, extended width/height map.


Thanks for the great link hufty.. Didn't know you could do customized maps..Have bookmarked & may order this..Covers exactly what I'm looking for.. Thanks..

Re: Good footwear?

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 8:50pm
Thanks for that answer.

I just had a look - they look very sturdy and would last a while.
So, they could be used off the bike for a bit of light walking too, that is great!

I can find places on-line still selling them - £59.99 looks about the cheapest I can see...is that about right?

Do they size up accurately?

Re: Long Term Tour & Saddle Sore

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 8:47pm
I have suddenly started suffering from these myself and changing to a different type of saddle worked for me. It changed the pressure points and gave the painful areas a rest.

Im planning a 2500 mile trip and contemplating taking two saddles, or finding another method of moving the pressure points around - maybe a different pad would have the same affect?

Re: A (sort of familiar) tale

CTC Forum - On the road - 19 October 2014 - 8:33pm
After over a year of commuting on my bike, someone had a go at me last week for riding the primary line. I was doing 26mph in a thirty zone. I would have been doing 30 only there was a car and skip lorry in front of me. As I was cycling, I sensed this car next to me then braking as there was a car coming in the opposite direction. At the next junction, he was turning left, I was going straight on when he shouted at me to ride in the side of the road. I gave him two words in reply and they weren't "Primary Line". I do feel guilty about dropping to his level but he was a muppet.

Re: Long Term Tour & Saddle Sore

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 8:29pm
Awesome website. I know the Kenyan side of kili quite well. The roads are bound to give your backside a bruising. Try and keep the sweat levels down and as Shane says take some time out. It is an investment in the rest of the trip! Arusha will be the best place for supplies until Dar.

Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

CTC Forum - On the road - 19 October 2014 - 8:02pm
Ah, okay. If you come across it again then post the link. I don't see how it can be a critical issue for HSTs but not for all the other diesel units doing exactly the same thing. Then again I guess stopping services in provincial Britain are suitably far from the eyes and noses of government departments for them not to care a jot so I won't doubt you.

Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

CTC Forum - On the road - 19 October 2014 - 7:40pm
Bicycler wrote:I think you are misinterpreting that as meaning that they are being replaced in 2017 because of this issue.
Actually, I think I posted the wrong link there. I'm sure I read it somewhere but it doesn't seem to be in this browser's history. What I remember is that an investigation was started a while ago, the Environment Agency or some other pet bit of gov.uk claimed that it was all OK and train companies are allowed to do that, but some other bit of government decided it thought that hadn't been the case since some time in the 1990s and declared it would take the DfT or its franchising office to court to test the theory, then the 2017 replacement date was committed to and the court bit is on hold.

Anyway, once IEP arrives, the HSTs will probably go for refurbishment before being cascaded and maybe sewage tanks will be fitted then... but as you wrote, it's not like cycleways go very close to the rails anyway.

Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

CTC Forum - On the road - 19 October 2014 - 7:24pm
I must be missing a section about deadlines What it does say is:
She said InterCity 125 trains would be replaced from 2017 by new models which would solve the problem.
I think you are misinterpreting that as meaning that they are being replaced in 2017 because of this issue. The causality is the other way; she's saying that this is not long term issue (on HSTs) because the trains are going anyway. It's actually a bit of a misleading claim because there will still be HSTs running other lines for years to come. In fact there are several statements in that article that make it sound like a concerted effort is being made to remove these toilets. In truth it's very low on their list of priorities and only likely to happen as older stock gets phased out which is happening at a rather slow rate. I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that we will still be running some of these trains in 15 years time

Re: Good footwear?

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 7:24pm
I would vote Exustar Stelvio SP705 - if you can find a pair that fits as now discontinued. I bought a few pairs when they were going cheap last Feb & I have been using one pair most of the time since then cycleing or not to see how it would hold up. Thats getting on 9 months incl a hot summer. The sole is showing wear in places but most is intact. These are designed as cleat shoes so have a thick sole. I dont use them as such. They did take a bit of breaking in as they have a fibre glass insole but now are very good for walking in as well as cycling. This may be the last all- use cycling shoe at a reasonable price that can also be used in general. I have also found them good for walking on rough ground, so good for stomping around off road when cycleing too bad. The only issue is wet concrete slopes then they can be a bit slippy ( but then many shoes are also?)

Too late for your trip as they do need breaking in. The are also pu leather so semi water proof.

prob too late for any new shoes

Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

CTC Forum - On the road - 19 October 2014 - 7:08pm
Old coverage of the train deadline: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24925280

Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

CTC Forum - On the road - 19 October 2014 - 3:38pm
mjr wrote:djqster wrote:You know how you're not supposed to use a train toilet in the station? Well when you use it away from the station and the train is moving quickly, whatever you flush is blasted into an aerosol by the slipstream where it sits in a nice breathable cloud.

It's a problem for lineside workers and potential lineside cyclists until all trains are fitted with waste tanks.
How many still aren't? The HST slam-doors. What else? Most of what's seen locally are Happy Trains and the various *stars and I think they've all got waste tanks, like most trains built since 1989.

I think the UK government was given a deadline of 2017 to stop this and that's why the Intercity Express Programme trains are scheduled to start service then, so this doesn't seem a big barrier to railside cycleways any more.
I wasn't aware of any deadline. Certainly the HSTs won't all suddenly be removed from service in 2017. As for other trains well that is an awful lot of those trains built during the 1980s including all the Pacers and some of the Sprinters which comprise the majority of local stopping services in much of the country. Looking at my local operator (Northern) that is most of their fleet! There's certainly a lot of fuss about the disability regulations which will require all trains to be fully accessible by 2020 and which many had thought would lead to the withdrawal of many older trains. In many cases rising demand seems to make that unlikely and we seem likely to be using many of these already antiquated units (suitably altered for disabled access) into the next couple of decades.

I don't think the toilet situation is a big issue in all honesty. Cycle paths would have to be physically separated from trains anyway. Whilst undoubtedly unpleasant when used in stations or for workers who must work the lines. It is not something that has created any significant numbers of complaints where express trains pass through intermediate stations at speed or where footpaths run adjacent to railway lines. I think it is more of a repulsive notion than a genuine health risk. If I was that bothered about traces of pollutants in what I might breathe I would be far more worried about riding on the roads!

Re: Cycling in Ireland

CTC Forum - On the road - 19 October 2014 - 1:28pm
I live in the North East and while there are plenty of ladies cycling in this part of the world, there are nowhere near the numbers I saw in Ireland. The more girls there are cycling, the better for cycling as a whole.

Rhine route?

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 19 October 2014 - 1:19pm
One of several possibilities for next year’s trip is a ride all the way up the Rhine from Rotterdam (who’d have thought that a bit of Italy would drain into the North Sea?). I’m thinking I might cut off the huge loop it makes to Basel by following Patrick Leigh Fermor’s route up the Neckar from Heidelberg, quick look at the Danube around Ulm, and rejoin the Rhine at Lake Constance. Any advice?
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