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Re: Traveling by Train.

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 12:37pm
Cycle provision varies with the type of rolling stock. Default advice is to ask the staff on the platform where you should wait; even if their wrong they'll know your getting on and should hold the train. Their no1 priority is to get the train away on time so work with them.

With some mainline services its in a car at the end of the train. If your getting off before the final destination make your way up the train to be as close to the bike as possible. Ok you can't lounge around in 1st class with the freebies but in my experience there's no objection to you being in the vestibule 5-10 minutes before arrival.

More suburban trains tend to have a section where the seats are missing or tip up so you can slot a bike in. There is often a cycle symbol on the outside but with some its painted flat so you can't see it until it passes you. This can be fun ! Where there's no explicit provision the ends of a train tend to be quieter but you may have to move it around to let people off.
You can probably look up the train class on wikipedia to see where the bike area's are.

Your not allowed to lock your bike to the train but I tend to tie it just to keep it in place as the train moves around. You might have to keep the bags separately; it depends.

At stations your interested in disabled access (which is usually a lift); there might be a bike channel at the side of stairs which is harder work. Again wiki entry on each station helps.

You never quite know how its going to work out but its usually pretty good.

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 12:34pm
MartinC wrote:Why don't we have hi viz cars? Always intrerested to see the promoters of hi viz answers to this.

From the reverse angle I have always thought that silver cars, which were all in vogue up to a couple of years ago, are more difficult to see in gloomy or foggy conditions. And for some reason, when travelling in such conditions, with most drivers using lights or at least sidelights, it seemed a disproportionate numbers of drivers in silver cars would not be using lights. Funnily I think that in such conditions black cars are usually quite visible because they stand out as a 'solid lump'.

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 10:49am
Flinders wrote:I suspect that high-viz helps good drivers who are looking out for other road users, but they'd see us anyway, because if they are in doubt, or driving into bad light etc. they slow down, and so aren't the ones who hit us (on horses or bikes or on foot).
Unfortunately, anyone can make a mistake, so it might even be beneficial to make otherwise-good drivers less certain and slow down, rather than allow them to think they've seen you and dealt with you in good time so they can maintain their speed and then whoops clunk splat when it might have been whoops screech swerve if they'd slowed down.

Re: Planning My First Tour

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 10:35am
You sound like you're in the same situation as I was a year ago. My OH and I both left our jobs in May this year and took to our bikes, riding 6000km through France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Belgium. We were keen cyclists but inexperienced touring cyclists having only done a short London-Paris tour last year.

I could write an essay as a reply but just a couple of points to start:

Route planning. We knew we wanted to cycle for 3-4 months but we didn't know where to go. So we started by buying a large map of Western Europe then chose half a dozen or so large places we wanted to visit. Other than having the first few days of the trip pre-planned that was all we did before leaving. On the road we joined up the dots using digital mapping (openfietsmap), planning 150-200km in advance. Guide books helped at the micro level when you want to know which towns are worth visiting. This approach worked well and we stuck to our high level plan although did do a few detours and loops to take in interesting places along the way.

Cooking. Definitely bring a stove. We nearly didn't but are so glad we changed our minds. Tea/coffee is not universally available at campsites and a warm drink on a cold morning (although it was summer we had some very cold starts, especially at altitude) is a godsend. Being able to cook a meal is very useful too as you may find yourself camping far away from a restaurant (and then it starts raining...) or bored of picnic food. It also means you can carry a stock of food for days where getting fresh food is difficult (e.g. Sundays in most of Europe). We brought one pot which was enough for simple meals for two.

If you want to read our crazyguy blog you can find it at http://www.fuelledbycake.co.uk

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 10:19am
Best idea I saw for a school party, at the zoo, was caps, all had bright caps on, easy for the teacher to spot. If the teacher was looking for them. Easy for the kids to take off though too I suppose.

Re: Traveling by Train.

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 10:11am
Book a bike space when you are booking your ticket and you should be ok.
I think you will have to change trains at York and Glasgow. Cross Country trains from Doncaster to York, East Coast Main Line(ECML)from York to Edinburgh/Waverley and Scotrail from Edinburgh/Waverley to Glasgow/Queen Street and Scotrail from Glasgow/Queen Street to Dumbarton East.
Three different ATOCs so three or four different types of rolling stock, just make sure you enter by the door marked with a pedal cycle symbol and all will be well, probably.

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 9:54am
Why don't we have hi viz cars? Always intrerested to see the promoters of hi viz answers to this.

Traveling by Train.

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 8:17am
Hi all, I'm in the process of planning a trip for the west coast of Scotland for next summer. Its been a long long time since I have had the need to use a train, 30 years plus in fact. My journey is Doncaster to Edinburgh / Edinburgh to Dumbarton. The information on the National Rail Enquires web site, says both these trains have a Cycle policy! Question is do these trains still have a baggage car? What are your experiences for travelling by train when on tour? These journeys will be made of peak.

Andy

Re: Claiming compensation after being knocked off your bike

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 7:56am
As above, you need to pursue the driver, if the police never caught the individual you probably do not have much chance... looking at those injuries the police should have pursued this as it is a crime to not report an accident as a driver of a vehicle involved.
Looks pretty nasty.
You can claim for clothes on your household insurance, but this affects your no-claims on the policy, so might just be cheaper to buy and keep receipts against the chance that the driver is ever found.
Best to talk to the legal dept of the CTC.

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 7:38am
Distant visibility isn't an issue with cars...

most (all?) of the "hit from behind" collisions we hear about (possible bias) have the cyclist in plain view for a long while, and a driver not paying attention.

A basic level of visibility is achieved by not wearing camouflage and by using lights/reflectors at night, beyond that we are (vainly imho) hoping to recover the motorist's attention from the stove in the cab, the pornography they are watching or, even more uselessly, from the 'sun in their eyes'.

high viz is useful:
- on railways (huge stopping distances and no directional control)
- on motorways (pedestrians not expected, significant turbulance)
- on school trips (easy to spot 'your' kids, only works if you're the only school trip)

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 7:36am
I suspect that high-viz helps good drivers who are looking out for other road users, but they'd see us anyway, because if they are in doubt, or driving into bad light etc. they slow down, and so aren't the ones who hit us (on horses or bikes or on foot).
Bad drivers can hit a horse and rider kitted out in high viz and carrying lights, so there isn't much hope for cyclists there.

The exception to this would be in the dark, where wearing black and not carrying lights makes it difficult for even the best driver to see you on an unlit road.

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 7:08am
I'm a bit dubious about the 3 seconds thing too. You couldn't test this on a winding road or with traffic obstructing the view as they would be the limiting factors on visibility. If tested on a long straight road then three seconds sounds very plausible but not very helpful. Needless to say you need the extra seconds when a car is coming towards you round a blind bend, not when you are a quarter of a mile down the road.

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 6:44am
I wouldn't be surprised if horses with hi-viz are visible from further away. When I'm cycling in hilly areas I marvel at how I can spot a hi-viz cyclist on the other side of the valley, a mile or more away. I'm totally convinced that hi-viz (flourescence + retro-reflective) normally increases visibility. The main exception would be in sunshine with a rape field background.

But I need to be seen by every motorist who might drive into me, and I need them to take the appropriate action. That's a harder nut to crack.

Re: South Coast Path - First Tour

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 6:42am
Enjoy the ride I live in Hastings and have done Hastings to Portsmouth and Hastings to Folkestone so know most of the route. It's pretty good and easy most of the way and pretty well signed. Mostly flat up to Brighton. Gets more hilly after that but nothing really bad. Couple of off road sections. One near Polegate which will be quite muddy after this weeks rain. It's not very long but there may be a short section you might need to walk for 100 yards at one point. It does improve though. That is if you follow route ncn2 out of Brighton. Also part of the route East of polegate (Rickney marsh section) is due to be closed from today for next five months for road works. To avoid this look on a map and at Polegate head for the road through stone cross and Pevensey. Region route 2 at roundabout East of Pevensey.



Enjoy!

Re: Planning My First Tour

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 6:25am
Sounds fabulous. I want to do the trans America when I am 50 with a 3 month extended leave. Travelling by yourself should mean that there isn't much of a problem getting camping spots even in peak season in July etc. I'd start South in May. Don't forget to take some days off rather than pushing yourself the whole time. In terms of distance I allow about 50 miles a day but you may wish to extend that but think about what you are trying to achieve- if it is to see places you will need to arrive somewhere by early afternoon in order to pitch tent, have a shower then go for a look round I reckon. Don't take too much stuff, you can always buy it. Cycle camping with a stove is how many here would do it, keeps costs down. I'm thinking of not taking a stove for the trans America but in Europe I generally like to have a stove- it's a personal choice, figure out what works best for you and how much cash you will have per day. Flash bike not required, decent gearing and braze on for panniers is fine. Make sure it's comfortable though.

Now routes ( this is personal preference as there is an infinite choice). Look at the eurovelo route map for ideas. Obviously it's perfectly possible to cycle across europe without touching on a cycle route and you may prefer keeping away from organised routes as they can be slower and busier with bikes taking away the feeling you are doing your own thing. However they may give you some inspiration. I guess you will be aiming to cycle abat 3500 - 4000 miles in your trip ( depending on numbers of days off and distance per day). This could take you from Cadiz to Athens or from the North Cape to the med. You prefer the core of Europe from the sounds or it so you could cycle around the borders of your chosen countries ( downside is you won't see the Middle). Or you could join up some of the rives routes and do the Loire, Rhine, Rhone etc. Crazy guy on a bike website will have inspiration for you, plenty of people have just gone for a ride in Europe and let it take them 3 months.

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 6:03am
The other though is where do we stop pandering to bad driving?

There was an item on the TV a while back where a woman had hit a tree.... it was some ten feet back from the road, and on the opposite side of a verge and footpabth

However the problem of course was the tree. She was now complaining about the fact that trees existed along the side of the road , how dangerous these trees were and how they should all be removed!

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 6:00am
Animals are an interesting one....

On the Gower Peninsula in Wales there were cattle and sheep in HiViz, and in teh NEw Forest there are continual campaigns for the ponies to have HiViz

Planning My First Tour

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 2:30am
Hello all,

This is my first post on this forum but I have been reading with interest for a while now.

Following almost ten years in solid employment I have decided to take some much-needed time off from the rat race. I anticipate that in around May 2015, I will take approximately three months off. This will be unpaid although I will have very little outgoings during this time (no rent, bills etc.). This time scale can be adjusted to suit. I have no real ties or responsibilities at this time. I have strategically timed this based on the European summer, more to follow on this.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of long distance cycling, and in recent years have had friends that have started to get quite into it. Hearing stories of their amazing trips has inspired me to do something similar. Whether it’s the C2C, LEJOG or a world tour, I always listen in awe. With no real desire to throw on a backpack and head to South East Asia (at the moment), this could be a viable alternative to scratch my itch.

I am from Europe, but have lived away for some time. I have a real hankering to see the ‘real Europe’ and not just the main cities. I have done plenty of this in previous years. My tour would therefore be Europe-based. I would assume either starting in my home country of UK or from one of the main ferry ports in Western Europe.

So I plan to take off on my bike and tour Europe. I have spent many hours pondering possible routes, but haven’t put pen to paper as such yet. Countries I am particularly interested in are France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and perhaps Spain (not in any particular order of preference). I would like to cover some ground but at the same time not exhaust myself in the process. I would ideally like relatively easy going cycling through scenic locations (a paradox perhaps?) with interesting things along the way. Absolute preference is to stick to minor roads or traffic-free roads as I do not like (and haven’t much experience with) cycling in heavy traffic. Cycling 8am until 3pm with an hour or so for lunch feels about right to me.

My plan is to operate on a relatively low budget as I feel that this will be enhance the experience and also because I will not be earning a wage during this time. I am also quite conservative by nature. So camping will be the basis of my accommodation with the odd B&B / hotel thrown in when required (when in a large town or when I need to recoup for example). I am undecided whether I would take cooking gear, although I would assume not as the food in Europe is generally good (bread, cheese, meats etc.) and I would prefer this option. I am not strapped for cash so would still have some comforts, but would be budget-conscious.

I am a keen recreational cyclist and ride my road bike three times per week, rides ranging from 20km up to 100km+, and the occasional overnight trip. I really enjoy being out on the bike and seeing the world from this perspective.

Choice of bike is to be confirmed. Again, due to budget I would like to conserve what I have. My current road bike isn’t practical (and not worth enough to ship back to Europe) but my virtually unused mid-range mountain bike in UK may be, with some modification (rack, panniers, slick tires, rigid fork). I need to run a few tests in the way of multi-day mini-tours in UK but if all else fails; I’ll purchase a pre-owned touring bike.

So just thought I would put that out there and introduce myself to the community here. Hopefully this forum will be of further help in my planning of the tour. I am quite overwhelmed by the planning and execution of the trip, but very excited by the liberation at the same time.

Any thoughts, comments or general advice would be warmly welcomed.

Re: Visibility: why are do so many riders in black

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 1:50am
Ann Kennedy wrote:Yes every driver should drive at a speed that allows them to stop when they see a hazard ahead ... but sadly we don't live in that utopian world and there are stupid or just tired drivers on the roads. So why would you not increase your chances of being seen by wearing hi-viz when on your bike?? To me it is an issue of self-preservation rather than a question of whether drivers should drive better ...

I am also a horse rider and always wear hi viz and a helmet when on horseback or on bike ... research shows that cars see horseriders with hi-viz 3 seconds earlier than those without ... not much but it's quite a bit of braking distance.

And i am also a driver and last winter had a very nasty close shave whilst driving - I was stationary in the road, waiting to turn right on a dark and wet night - I just did not see the idiot on a bike in black and with no lights until the very last minute ... we missed each other but it was a matter of inches and i got quite a scare!
Do you have a link for this 'research'?
As my ex is a horse rider of many years I had a discussion with her about it and I searched for this 'data'. 99.9% of the horse forums mention this ' 3 extra seconds' that hi vis 'can' give you, yet can't produce any evidence to support it?
There is an oft made statement that a helicopter could see horse riders with hi-vis from an extra 1/2 mile away, unfortunately for both horse riders and cyclists we don't get struck/killed/maimed by helicopters hovvering above the ground.
Hi vis is unproven at all levels of road use and it's a dangerous fallacy to fall into thinking it will help...it doesn't.

Re: Claiming compensation after being knocked off your bike

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 12:19am
Unless you got the registration plate the police are completely useless in my personal expereince of hit and run.
The only route you might be able to go down is if you have cycling insurance as part of british cycling/CTC etc, use the legal dept. Another way is to contact the MIB
https://www.gov.uk/compensation-victim-uninsured-driver
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