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Re: Alternative to Bike Route Toaster for touring in UK

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 1:17pm
It depends on what you expect the site to do for you. Some of the people responding to this enquiry apparently want something akin to a motoring satnav, that will plot the optimum cycling route for them, all the way from start to finish.

Auto-routing, i.e. satnav, works very well for motoring, because public roads are now very well recorded by Google and other enterprises, and because apart from certain restrictions on large vehicles, that are also well documented, the optimum route for any car driver will good for any other car driver.

The same does not go for cycling, because there is no universal agreement or documentation on the relative suitability for cycling of different roads - never mind the variously good, bad or indifferent off-road cycling facilities - and because cyclists vary too much in their response to the trinty of cycling evils: traffic danger, poor surfaces and hills! So even assuming a system does have all the necessary data, not only on all the roads and their traffic, but also every track and path and its surface condition, and also has the capability of combining all that data with a terrain model, to really plan the best route for a cyclist from A to B, the result may nevertheless be quite a bad route for some other cyclist.

No auto-routing program or website is as good as a skilled and experienced human brain at optimising routes for cycling. That said, the computers are getting better and the main problem is poor data on off-road cycling facilities. For the traffic tolerant 'road warrior' who doesn't want to use those facilities anyway, that is not a problem and that kind of cyclist (who generally also does not mind how many hills are in the way!) is often very content with the tweaked in favour of minor roads but otherwise motoring-style satnav route he gets from the Edge-whatever GPS unit on his handlebars.

Route planning websites on the other hand, generally err too far in the other direction when tasked with planning a cycling route, sending the hapless rider down filthy bridleways or on time-wasting 'around all the houses' cycleways, and often taking little or no account of hills. That said, Cycle Travel does a not bad job (GB only) and is the one I'd use if I didn't have time to plan a route manually.

But mostly - always abroad - I do plan routes manually, referring to paper maps as well as online sources, then plot them out on Bikehike and save as GPX tracks, to be followed by eye on my Etrex.

Re: maps for the west of USA

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 1:08pm
Nigel Laverick wrote:Is there a cheap source in the UK for USA road atleses ? I buy my Europe road atlases from amazon and got some really good deals on out of date ones .You need individual state road atlases. If you look for Randy McNally in Amazon all you get is the whole country road atlas which would be an absolutely hopeless scale. The individual maps show up if you search for Delorme (which is in conjunction with McNally). http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keyw ... rmrsv6qh_b

I used these maps for a couple of driving trips from end to end of the country, but when I lived there I used local maps bought in book shops or supermarkets. I also used AAA (American Automobile Assoc) maps. These were all things that we would think of a street maps, of various scales, but some of the AAA ones were pretty good. As noted by Peter Jack, you can get OS standard maps for few square miles in the mountains, but maps of scale and detail we are used to for cycling in Europe simply do not seem to exist.

Re: so when do the shorts come out?

CTC Forum - On the road - 29 March 2015 - 12:57pm
Its still a frost before 6 am , and with reynauds its full winter kit , i will be in full finger gloves till its well into double digits too .

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

CTC Forum - MTB - 29 March 2015 - 12:55pm
Vantage wrote:Pretty please with sugar on top, explain to us 'non-serious' types what a serious rider is. I await with baited breath.

To be honest, I'd dismissed you as a serious rider once you'd quoted Thorn as some sort of world authority on modern mountain bike design.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 12:02pm
bainbridge wrote:robing wrote:Get the Caxton fx euro traveller card. It's brilliant. You transfer money from your bank account. You get a really good rate in to euros, no commission. That's it! You then can withdraw euros from any atm with no charges or you can pay by card, it's visa.

Thanks for this suggestion, Martin Lewis says it's a good card and taking into account we leave a fortnight on Monday and this card takes 5-7 days to arrive it might be the way to go.

It's better than a credit card as there's no interest to pay. Once you've set it up you can top up via the app, it's so easy. Don't use your existing uk bank debit card though as you get stung for every transaction.

Re: maps for the west of USA

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 12:01pm
Thanks for all the advice. I like the idea of cutting pages out of road atlases , I've done that for cycling in Europe. The problem with the ACA maps is as one person put it they give 'tunnel vision' but they do have a lot of useful advice on them.
Is there a cheap source in the UK for USA road atleses ? I buy my Europe road atlases from amazon and got some really good deals on out of date ones .

Ta NL

Re: Bordeaux to Narbonne

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 11:33am
bohrsatom wrote:Last year we rode a stretch from Bordeaux to the med - although we avoided Narbonne we got as far as Lezignan-Corbieres which is quite close by.

If you're interested we covered it on days 1-11 of our Crazyguyblog: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=14010

The region is great for cycling and you'll have a fantastic time. The camping municipal at Carcassonne is definitely worth a visit!
I followed this blog with great pleasure, good photos and fun comments all along, Bravo.

I live 10kms out of Bordeaux on the start of the dedicated cycle path Roger Lapébie Bordeaux to Sauveterre ; its the link path from Bordeaux to the start of the Garonne canal.
If anyone wants a pitch in the garden and hot shower on their way down (or up) on this path, send me private message

Re: GPS or maps

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 10:54am
22camels wrote:I've been looking at getting an eTrex for a while too. However, I am really not very interested in using it to plan a route in advance (either on the device itself or on the computer). I would just like to know where I am and look at the map to figure out where to go next on the fly. Same way as I use the maps.me or pocket earth apps at the moment. Do you think a garmin like an etrex is still useful to someone like me or is it mainly intended for people who want to follow routes? The long battery life and AA batteries is the main attraction I see in it..

(*) does the etrex have a good zoom out capability to be able to see your route for the next 20 or even 100km, not just the small scale? Guess it depends on the map you load into it?I tried an Etrex20 last year. Like you I do not preplan routes and I have a phobia of running out of batteries an so wanted AA. I took it on a month tour last year, with my normal paper maps. On the Etrex I had openvlietsmap. I found the Etrex did not do what I wanted. The screen was too small to see much unless zoomed well in, and it did not show enough for me to judge a route for more than a mile perhaps. Scrolling around with the little button was very tedious when trying to look at an area 50km away from present location, and I wanted to be able to find POI at that remote location which I could not make it do. I know that it is a fine instrument for hill walking where you can do everything by grid co-ordinates for example, and I am sure it works well if you want to follow a preset cycling route, but for my purposes it just did not do what I want. I sold that and bought an Edge 800. I can see much more (larger screen), scrolling is easier, and I can find remote POI. I have yet to use it on tour. Whatever GPS is used (on tour) a map is useful for the big picture. Indeed I mush prefer decent cycling scale maps to looking at a little screen. On my tour this year I intend to use my normal 1:100,000 maps and use the 800 to show me that I am correct in thinking that I am on the wrong forest track for example, or to show me POI even if that is only the nearest supermarket. I want to try to train myself to use larger scale maps like 1:200,000 and use the Garmin to fill in the detail but I am sure that will need a bit of route planning which I prefer not to do. I seem to have overcome my need for AA batteries having carried an e-reader last year and having no problems with recharging.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 10:18am
I split my cash up around the bike. Some in my toolkit, deep in a pannier or saddlebag. I wear lycra shorts on tour as I find them comfortable and easy to wash. Some of my cash and a CC goes in one of those small plastic envelopes the bank give you for change. Makes it waterproof. The bag then tucks up inside the leg of my shorts on the outside of my thigh. The elastication keeps it all secure and it's readily available.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 10:06am
Any thoughts on how the cash is carried?
On my last tour I had paper money in a body belt.
I found the money damp at the end of a week. Not from rain either!
Guess I could have wrapped the notes in plastic?

Also, where else to carry a reserve?
On/ in the bike? Inside handle bars and seat tube?
A back up stash in case luggage / gear is stolen.

Quite understand if folks don't want to share their secrets but a few hints would be handy.
I set off in late May for 60 days through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Plan to take dollars and a few Euros.

Matt

Re: It me or do SUVs alway drive to close

CTC Forum - On the road - 29 March 2015 - 9:45am
I wish I could agree,it would let the bad SUV drivers off the hook to an extent.
However,the difference of 76mm on either side between a Focus,one of if not the most popular car on the road and an X5(pretty standard width SUV) isn't enough for a 'get out clause'.If people can't judge the width of the vehicle they're driving then they shouldn't be driving them,end of.
I rarely get close overtakes from people carriers Galaxies(2154mm),Espace(2104mm) Multipla(2152mm) or Ford Cmax(2067mm)sized vehicles which are as numerous as SUV's if not more,and not that much smaller.
I'm inclined to think that there's 'baggage' attached to some SUV drivers and mostly German prestige vehicles,IME that small percentage is higher than other classes of vehicle.

To be clear I consider anything less than a metre to be a close pass,though at that distance won't get a reaction from me unless the speed differential is high.I start getting vocal at about 600mm,if the speed differential is low the car gets a slap,if the speed differential is high the pass close ad I'm ready for it, I'll dive into my safety zone/buffer which is usually the 0.8 to 1m distance I ride from the curb.

On a slightly different tack though related I feel, when on the content,Italy,France,Spain,I'm immediately struck by the lack of SUV's,they're usually utility or forestry vehicles,the prestige/unnecessary/large SUV's are almost completely absent,yet the roads are less crowded than here generally.
There also tends to be more 'vanity' reg plates on prestige SUV's/German cars,in the UK,just an observation,perhaps another ego indicator? .

All that said I had a close encounter with Toyota Aygo on Friday,blind summit narrow road,following a blind S bend seemed to be the perfect place for Mr Aygo to overtake despite me being in primary and another vehicle coming the other way,which he couldn't see,and who had to brake hard to avoid a collision,I dived into buffer zone Mr Aygo carried on regardless

Edited to make clear

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 8:48am
bigjim wrote:My expereince in Germany and Austria is that the small hotels, Zimmer, etc, is they will not accept a card. They have a heart attack when you show a credit card. France or Portugal no problem.
Wny their extreme aversion to cards?

I do know there is a certain preference for cash in italy - you don't have to think too hard to figure out why.

Re: It me or do SUVs alway drive to close

CTC Forum - On the road - 29 March 2015 - 3:22am
reohn2 wrote:BMW X5 width overall inc wing mirrors = 2197mm
Range Rover width overall inc wing mirrors = 2191mm
Merc S class width overall inc wing mirrors = 2130mm
Ford Focus width overall inc wing mirrors = 2045mm

76mm(3inch) on either side, between the widest SUV and an average family car is not a huge difference,I think you'll agree.

Yes, but no.

I'll concede that my difference was too large, because my S Class figure was without wing mirrors, but I also note that large SUVs are around 2220mm in width, which was my Range Rover number. See, for example:

http://www.parkers.co.uk/cars/reviews/f ... imensions/

And drivers sit on the right so have a greater awareness of closeness on that side, which will tend to make them drift left.

And that in the variations in passing distances noted in the research of Dr Ian Walker in 2006 differences of around 100mm are significant. So if the close passing by SUVs hypothesis is accurate and widespread, the width could be why.

http://drianwalker.com/overtaking/

Howevwer, Dr Walker failed to detect any difference in passing proximity distances between SUVs and Cars in his research, so perhaps it is all a red herring anyway .

Ferdinand

Re: GPS or maps

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 2:15am
22camels wrote:I've been looking at getting an eTrex for a while too. However, I am really not very interested in using it to plan a route in advance (either on the device itself or on the computer). I would just like to know where I am and look at the map to figure out where to go next on the fly. Same way as I use the maps.me or pocket earth apps at the moment. Do you think a garmin like an etrex is still useful to someone like me or is it mainly intended for people who want to follow routes? The long battery life and AA batteries is the main attraction I see in it..

(*) does the etrex have a good zoom out capability to be able to see your route for the next 20 or even 100km, not just the small scale? Guess it depends on the map you load into it?

The etrex range will certainly give you your position to help with planning on a map, but I can't help but feel that if it's for this reason alone, it is maybe overkill. A smartphone with a gps app (Googlemaps and so on) could do the same job but without the additional expense of buying an extra gizmo. The easy availability of AA batteries is a plus in any gizmo though imo.
There are plenty of other feature about the etrex though that might be useful to you. POI's (points of interest) are handy in some situations. It can show you the location of atm's, toilets, shops, parks, cafes and just about anything else you can think of. It can double as a cycle computer showing speed, trip distance and so on.
Zooming, whilst it does work, can be iffy depending on the level of zoom and detail in the onscreen map. Just like googlemaps, the further out you zoom, minor roads start disappearing, then main roads and eventually all roads the further you go. On my 20 and using openfietsmap at its highest detail setting, I can zoom out enough to cover 1 mile of area from top to bottom of the screen whilst still maintaining the view of minor roads. I'd say you've no chance of seeing 20km worth of route in any kind of detail. There is the option of scrolling the map up, down or side to side to see that detail at closer zooms but I'm not sure if that's what you want.

Re: Best saddle for touring

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 1:53am
Yes it's a really personal thing, not reflected by price. Best for me have been SDG Bel Air and some cheapo Tioga effort. I've never given my Brooks flyer enough time/miles to break in, keep meaning to get around to it, I got too irritated by the creaking of the damn thing, could not stop it despite oiling springs/bolts/metal frame to leather interfaces etc. I have a Charge Spoon but don't get on with it.

Re: GPS or maps

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 1:38am
22camels wrote:
(*) does the etrex have a good zoom out capability to be able to see your route for the next 20 or even 100km, not just the small scale? Guess it depends on the map you load into it?

No

Re: GPS or maps

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 1:37am
Its gota be maps if like me you only do global planning beforehand - macro planning is done the night before or at the cafe stop - micro planning doesnt happen

Ive owned a GPS with mapping for about 15yrs - sits on the handle bars turned on every moment the wheels are turning on tour - nice for comparing landmarks - road shapes, junctions etc for pinpointing where I am on the map and ensuring the spider senses are not letting me down exiting large cities - good for determining how many vertical metres I have left on a col - great for identifying afterwards exactly which way I went- however, no good for picking a route "on the fly" zoomed out you might just a well be looking at the bottom of a beer map - at 150k to 200k on a map I can just pick the route for the day, the morning, the afternoon or the next hour with a quick look - its easy to pick out the likely interesting towns and villages by the shape of roads, where the bridges are et.al - a convenient fold, a handle bar map holder and a clear plastic bag to keep it dry - jobs a good one

Re: It me or do SUVs alway drive to close

CTC Forum - On the road - 29 March 2015 - 1:34am
BMW X5 width overall inc wing mirrors = 2197mm
Range Rover width overall inc wing mirrors = 2191mm
Merc S class width overall inc wing mirrors = 2130mm
Ford Focus width overall inc wing mirrors = 2045mm

76mm(3inch) on either side, between the widest SUV and an average family car is not a huge difference,I think you'll agree.

Re: maps for the west of USA

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 29 March 2015 - 1:27am
robgul wrote:Flippant perhaps but in my view there are no "good" maps of the US.

You might look at http://www.adventurecycling.org/ which has some resources to point you in the right direction.

Rob I've lived here 40 years and second that. The only thing with the detail of OS maps are USGS maps and you would need so many a sag wagon would be required to haul them, if you could figure out which ones you need. There are excellent 1" or so scale maps for the popular hiking areas, these are known as Green Trail maps for off road stuff these would be just dandy but not much use for a road tour, again because you'd need so many of them. Be aware there is no Right to Roam in the US and you can land in trouble wandering across people's land without getting permission.

Spendy as they may appear ACA maps are a great investment for the Pacific Coast or the Sierra Cascades if mountains are your thing. These routes are well thought out and you can make a rod for your back trying to outsmart them. I added about 100 miles to a tour because a pass was snowed in and I detoured round it a few years ago.

State maps are worth having in addition to ACA maps. With ACA maps you end up with a sort of tunnel vision, when I did the TransAm it was only by looking at a state map I realized I was only 15 miles from a big city, Wichita Kansas. But in general if a route on a state map looks better than the ACA version it isn't, like the time I took the quick (hah) way from near Boggle Hole to Whitby: horrendous climbs and Brands Hatch roads. You get the same sort of thing over here.
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