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Re: Road bike or mountain bike?

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 May 2015 - 6:52am
700 X 23 tyres on a loaded bike may not survive Sustrans trails, unless you are absolutely meticulous about keeping the air pressure up. My first tourer when I was younger was my road bike, and it was fine, but the first thing I learned was to fit fatter tyres, because I kept getting punctures.

So, I would fit the fattest tyres (25s? or maybe 28s?) that the road bike can take, then do what beardy suggested and see how you get on with each bike. To Merry_Wanderer's point, include a decent hill in both trips.

With no chance to do shake down trips, I would take the MTB over the road bike.

Enjoy your cycling, whatever you decide!

Re: Problems I never knew needed solving

CTC Forum - On the road - 29 May 2015 - 6:39am
thelawnet wrote:foxyrider wrote:So the OP's new bike is different to his other bikes but it doesn't mean they are 'problems'.

Having every road bump transmitted to my hands and backside is definitely a problem.
I expect that some wider tyres; the widest you can fit will help. I use Conti 4 seasons. Although I have Marathons on some other bikes, I find them a bit stiff in the narrower sizes. IMO the performance of the Conti 4 seasons justify the cost, but I know that not everyone agrees with me. Have a poke around on the 'tyre recommendation' threads on the forum for something a little easier riding than Marathons.

Other things you can try:
different, or double tape on the handle bars
suspension seat post
gel saddle

Other people manage to make such bikes comfortable for long distances, so it should be possible for everyone, or nearly everyone who wnats to ride one.

Re: Problems I never knew needed solving

CTC Forum - On the road - 29 May 2015 - 4:30am
The fastest average speed I ever got was on a 1960s steel touring bike with down tube shifters, I swear those bikes somehow just "go faster" over modern bikes.

I think a lot of new cyclists ride MTB's around on the road, but switching to 700c was the best thing I did. I do miss the full suspension though and wish there was some sort of FS road bike, if I dare say that. Maybe a high end (in other words carbon) FS MTB that has 29 inch wheels and has disc brakes is on a par with that.

That would be the perfect bike to me, a MTB thats full suspension, carbon, with 700c wheels and disc brakes, with 25/28 tyres with a light tread (M+ would do), with road triple chainrings and flat bars. If it had 32h or 36h wheels there isn't really anywhere you couldn't go on such a bike. You could hammer it around trails on it but it would be on a par with a road bike on the road (if you ducked right down lol). It could be made even better with a Rohloff hub on it, one day.

All I care about is reliability, durability, performance and comfort, not necessarily in that order. What I don't care about and never will is "going faster" or racing, or having lightweight stuff thats going to wear out in two years, or as some call years... "seasons".

Re: Is a cadence sensor worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 29 May 2015 - 12:22am
Fitted the computer yesterday. Haven't fitted the cadence sensor yet though.

The good news is that the LED bike light doesn't interfere with the wireless transmission. The bad news is that the heart rate monitor doesn't seem to update properly - it sometimes changes and other times will stay at the same rate despite me changing the amount of effort. Tested it whilst sat at my desk today at work and the readout will suddenly freeze. I suffer from something called ectopic beats and the display would freeze after one of these beats. I can't believe that this is the problem, but I'll keep monitoring (pardon the pun) it.

Re: London to Paris - Dieppe camping

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 May 2015 - 12:13am
Ps. This may not be relevant I'd you are doing 3 days as you'll probably want to go further but this place was a fantastic stop after the days riding off the ferry. http://www.chambres-abbaye.com

Re: London to Paris - Dieppe camping

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 May 2015 - 12:06am
I did the 4am arrival last July. The sleep on the ferry is limited but was still quite fun to be up and in the way that early. Lights definitely needed. The first few miles out of Dieppe are street lit but as soon as you turn off onto AV proper it's pretty dark until the sun comes up. I did have lights but still ended up stopping a few miles along purely as I wanted to see the countryside!

Re: Best bicycle SatNav

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 May 2015 - 12:04am
They don't exist. Best option is one that follows a gpx. Then use a pc to create your route and upload to your sat nav. My preference for onvthe bike navigation is a waterproof android mobile. Others will be along shortly to condem me as a heretic and explain that an etrex is the only path to righteousness

Re: Road bike or mountain bike?

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 11:53pm
I would have a think about gearing on the two bikes as well as comfort and the type of tour you intend doing. Will it be a hilly area? My first 3 x 3 day tours were all in hilly areas and my MTB alu framed hardtail was my choice over my alu framed road bike because of the much lower gearing (and easier riding whilst loaded) of the MTB
The MTB had 44/32/22 and 11-32 8 speed whereas the road bike had a compact double. 50/34 and 11-28 IIRC. I fitted 26 x 1.5 semi slicks to the MTB and quite happily averaged only 1 mph less on the MTB than the loaded road bike over 50 miles. Can you lock out the front suspension on the MTB too?

Re: Plans for a summer tour

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 11:25pm
From Bishops Stortford you can get to London along the (Lee and) Stort canal path - a very nice ride ( also joins with the Lee from Hertford also a nice ride. This ends up more or less at Victoria Park almost central London ( South Hackney). There is a YHA along the route. To Aldershot on the south side of London also a couple of canals that take u there ( Basingstoke Canal ) or to Guilford ( Wey Navigation ) both from Weybridge. On the Basingstoke canal I have only been as far as Aldershot but I assume it goes to ... Basing stoke? That is a nice ride.

Best bicycle SatNav

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 11:18pm

I am looking for an easy to use cycle computer where I can type in a route and receive turn by turn instructions, like a car sat nav.

The easier to use the better.

Must be able to use in Europe, too.

Thanks in advance.

Re: Crane River Parks Hounslow & other London rides

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 May 2015 - 10:45pm
Here is a pdf file that shows quite clearly the west edge of the "circuit" that PRL refers to - the well looked after section and also the way to get to the Hounslow Heath section via the Cavalry tunnel - the path on the right near the "Feltham Circles" north west of the crematorium gardens.


click to enlarge pictures

The nice gravel path on the south side of the Circuit of the looked after section.JPG

a fellow traveller that hitched a ride.JPG

Re: Is a cadence sensor worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 May 2015 - 10:45pm
Only slightly off topic but before the days of cycle computers checking cadence involved a watch and counting.

On an 84" fixed 25mph is 100rpm. Riding a 25 mile time trial with an Ingersoll stopwatch on the handlebars I used to count the revs, aiming to reach 100 before the second hand got back to 12 o'clock. This gave an immediate indication of whether I was inside or outside the magic hour at every point in the ride. Sadly it was usually bad news but occasionally exhilarating.

Re: Altura Ultralight Panniers

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 10:44pm
I bought some from wiggle, and sent them back without using them.

The first pannier fits securely, but the 2nd one clips into the first, and doesn't seem secure. The first is strapped to the rack. Neither is locked to the side of the pannier, there is just a small hook for the bottom. I didn't like the fitting

It had no pockets, so no quick and easy access to camera, phone, waterproof or wallet

I didn't use them to comment on whether they are waterproof or robust

In the end I decided to stick with what I have, the extra features are worth a bit of weight

Re: Plans for a summer tour

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 10:36pm
About 10 years ago I cycled along the towpath from west London to Birmingham. Very variable surface as you would expect from a towpath: lumpy grass, compact earth, hard surface. Apart from one section that was very muddy (sorry, can't remember exactly where, but it was towards the Birmingham end of the ride) it was OK on a mountain bike with front suspension. I used a publication from Wilde's Leisure Guides "Cycling & Walking Guide: Grand Union, Oxford and Kennet & Avon Canals" which included maps and information on tunnels etc. It also suggests road alternatives for some sections. If possible avoid weekends for the urban sections - it gets busy with walkers and anglers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_nos ... rand+union

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

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 9:10pm
Kieran2663 wrote:Hi there,

Nothing that is isn't common sense really,

- ideally camp where you are out of sight (for piece of mind and to stop folks turning up)
- near a water supply
- covered from the elements
- ask local land owners if it is okay to pitch if on someone's land (this would possibly happen on the first bit of the M41 between Kalaikhum and Khorog and the Wakhan, as they are fairly populated in places, and it shouldn't be an issue)
- try to camp lower at attitudes, where possible. Climb High Sleep Low mantra - a general rule of thumb would be to try and only ascend 500m in altitude per day to be on the safe side, this is not always possible and practical, but the lower you sleep the better chance you have of not becoming effected by AMS and altitude related issues, and you will get a better nights sleep certainly as it shouldn't be as cold or exposed to as much of the weather elements.
- try to bury human waste
- leave nothing but foot prints.

Overall The Pamir provides a wealth of amazing secluded & isolated camping opportunities.


Hi Kieran,

thanks for your reply, especially the trick of camping at lower altitude. Should I bring with me a like the following: http://www.mosquitohammock.com/images/p ... adNet1.jpg?

Re: Is a cadence sensor worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 May 2015 - 7:44pm
I've no idea Mark. Probably to allow non cycling fit people to achieve it easily?

Re: Is a cadence sensor worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 May 2015 - 7:39pm
It's not quite true though, a cadence of 400 wouldn't be high power.

There is an optimum range, and it will be a bit different for each of us. MickF's range is lower than some others, but that's fine.

Personally I work best at 90-100 rpm, so what - we're not clones...

Re: Brittany - Voies Vertes

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 6:58pm
I have only used the St Malo to Dinard path in Brittany which was very good. However, I have used the Voies Vertes extensively in neighbouring Normandy and written up some of my experiences here if you're interested: https://roundthebendpart1.wordpress.com ... june-2011/

As you'll see my conclusion is similar to others; whilst well surfaced and very good to cycle on they can often miss interesting places, don't go by shops etc for food and, being old railway tracks the sides can often lined with trees that obscure attractive scenery. The solution is to use them in combination with smaller roads - I use the Michelin 1: 150,000 (yellow) maps which also clearly show the voises vertes.

Re: Brittany - Voies Vertes

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 6:28pm
simonineaston wrote:al_yrpal wrote:Voies Vertes are all marked on the Michelin Local 1-200000 maps which to me are the best maps to navigate with in France. Personally I found the Voies Vertes often surrounded by trees rather boring as is the canal after a bit. The best bits of Brittany are mostly in small villages.Al
+ 1 for the above. I'm fast coming to the conclusion that their best use is as part of a mixNmatch approach to touring in Brittany, forming a minor variation on a theme rather than the bulk of your itinerary.

Couldn't agree more. We often get people wanting to do the whole Nantes-Brest or all cyclepaths and I do steer them away from it generally - they are lovely for a break or for younger children, but as the canal tends not to go through villages you miss out on so much. For example the section west of Gouarec has about 70 kms where there is not one single bar/shop etc in sight and nothing resembling a village. When the roads are so quiet and the villages so wonderful you've got to have a really good reason not to make them a major part of any ride.

Re: Road bike or mountain bike?

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 May 2015 - 6:26pm
gsix14 wrote: but with some use of Sustrans bike trails?
Sustrans trails vary widely; some are good ashphalt (and smoother-surfaced than many minor roads); others are rocky or muddy and you'll find yourself walking if you use the road bike. But that may not matter if you can make up the time/distance on the smoother bits. One of the online cycle route planners (I forget which, sorry) has links to photos of some parts of these trails so you may be able to have a look before you go.
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