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Minimalist smartphone sat nav idea

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 10:50pm
Ideally, I prefer to navigate using maps, but I've recently been planning a trip which would require too many maps if you wanted them at a useful scale. So I've opted to simply write out a basic route (actually quite easy using the Belgian/Dutch bike network numbering system) and use a satnav backup when I'm paranoid I've missed a turn etc. I've trialled a satnav set-up and I think it's perfect for my needs - so I'm sharing it in case anyone else finds it useful:

1. Download the CycleStreets app. (And the offline UK map if you want.) My phone is Android, and it's free on that. I believe it's also available for iPhone.
2. Although it's a UK app, I've been able to use it to plan routes in France, Belgium and Holland. I don't know what other countries it can cover.
3. With your phone connected to wifi, plan any journeys you have to make, e.g. trips from ferry port to a railway station or from station to hotel etc.
4. These routes are automatically saved, but the naming system isn't very helpful so change them into something more recognisable, e.g. 'Paris station to hotel'
5. This way, you can build up a library of routes on your phone covering all the trips you're likely to make. Whilst on your travels, you can plan more using free wifi in cafes etc.
6. When you're on the road, if you think you're 'off-route', open the app (data and wifi can be off, but keep the GPS on.) Load the appropriate saved route.
7. Press the button in the bottom right which shows where you are on the map. If you're out of the UK, there'll be no map - just a line (route) and an arrow (you.)
8. If you've missed a turn, the line and the arrow should be enough to get you back on course. No need to start the 'live ride' navigation system - the route overview is enough.

This may sound like a primitive way to use satnav and definitely isn't for anyone who needs all the bells and whistles. The huge advantage of it is that it doesn't require any phone data usage and it uses very little battery. I trialled it yesterday and today with a couple of 50 mile NCN routes. I had the app running throughout, but kept the screen off, only switching it on when I needed to check if I'd lost the route. Yesterday, when I'd got to my destination, after 3 hours on the road and I'd guess around 30 checks on the phone (bad signage and a road diversion) I'd used 3% of the battery. My phone has amazing battery life, so I'm confident it will cope with my planned trip without the need for a plug-socket or portable charger. (However, If you've got a phone with a massive screen, or you don't know how to manage your phone so it's not fully dormant when the screen is off, your phone probably isn't the right tool - you'll burn through your battery as normal.)

Re: Long cycle tourers - you feel like you just want to go h

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 10:19pm
Maybe it's partly because you've been back home then bounced back out again, takes a while to re-adjust? A while ago I did 6 months round Europe, coming back for a fortnight in the middle for a wedding, and the first week back travelling after that I was pretty fed up. I thought it was just because it was Belgium but maybe not!
Worth persevering a bit longer, you'll find out if the feeling lasts or if you get enthused again. Good luck with it.

Re: Locking bikes & panniers during the day in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 10:01pm
looserlama wrote:Ok, that's reassuring. Thanks for your quick reply btw!

On a similar note, would you recommend a wheel lock? Like this? I've used them before when I was biking in the Netherlands and I really liked them, but I'm not sure if it's worth it for this trip? I already have a pinhead lock on the front wheel.

Those locks - they call them nurse's locks here (think Call the Midwife) are OK but are usually hard to fit to a road or touring bike that has fairly delicate rear stays.

Going back to the original question ... if the area is considered risky ... more than one person and then one stops with the bikes. The other way is for several bikes to be locked together to a fixed point with several locks - making a "cluster of bikes" with multiple locks that make it harder to either nick one or all of them. We used the heavy duty Abus combination cable locks (and we all knew each other's numbers) - no keys to lose ... simples!

The other thing we have is a plastic coated wire with a couple of loops at each end (you can get the wire and the crimp fixings at B&Q) that we used to secure helmets - wire through the vent holes of n helmets and the loops on the end of the wire on the cable of one of the combination locks. The same type of cable also for panniers passing through he usual strap handles - not a prevention but a deterrent.

And of course a bar bag with shoulder strap to take off the bike for valuables.

Possibly famous last words but touring bikes loaded with stuff aren't very desirable to most thieves .....

Rob

Re: Locking bikes & panniers during the day in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 9:56pm
Never had an issue with leaving panniers on a bike, and seriously never really considered. I have toured solo so not had the luxury of leaving someone to watch over bikes nor always been sat where the bike is always in view.
Only issue i ever had is when i left a camera on full view just looped under a bungie cord outside a shop in Bastia and it was taken.
Have left the bike(s) in all sorts of places when visiting tourist attractions and never had a problem.

Re: You either have or you don't.

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 9:33pm
I got my new bike 2 weeks ago and after 3 months little exercise I just found myself blitzing two MTBers on a very steep Lakeland hill towing a heavy trailer. All that with a 50-32 chainring and 11-25 cassette. I was on the big chainring too. I was on form today, won't happen again.

PS I was wearing walking kit too. I own one pair of Lyra cycling shorts and hate them. Hiking trousers tucked into your socks.

Re: Locking bikes & panniers during the day in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 9:24pm
Ok, that's reassuring. Thanks for your quick reply btw!

On a similar note, would you recommend a wheel lock? Like this? I've used them before when I was biking in the Netherlands and I really liked them, but I'm not sure if it's worth it for this trip? I already have a pinhead lock on the front wheel.

Re: You either have or you don't.

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 9:15pm
hondated wrote:As he overtook me on the hill at some speed I was standing up on my pedals and he was sat just twiddling away on his.
With a cheery " morning " as he passed me he disappeared up the road and at one point I thought I had caught up with him but on the next hill he just twiddled away and was gone again.

E-bikes are great.

Re: Locking bikes & panniers during the day in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 8:27pm
We only use a cafe lock like that never a D lock. If there's more than one of you then shops are not going to be a problem - someone goes in, someone stays with the bikes. For cafes etc we choose one that affords good sight lines - if we can't see the bikes from the table we don't eat there. In general we leave the panniers on and just take valuables in the bar bag.

On the other hand don't get too worried about it - most people are not going to want to nick your bike!

Locking bikes & panniers during the day in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 7:57pm
Hi!

So I will be biking across Europe this summer, and one of the last things I was wondering was how you advise to best lock up my bike during the day?

For evenings I'm not too worried: if we're camping out of town we'll tie our bikes to a tree and if we're staying in a hostel or hotel we'll bring the bikes into our room. What I'm concerned with is during the day: if we stop at a café or at a grocery store in a town or city how should we lock our bikes? And what should we do with our panniers?

The reason I'm so concerned with this is because so far we've opted for lighter weight locks (these), which should be fine to deter someone from stealing our bike in a rural setting, but when we get to cities or towns I'm worried these won't cut it. Obviously if we're going to go explore a city we could potentially find a bike shop that might be willing to hold on to our bikes for the day, but when we're doing quick stops, like lunch in café for ex., what should we do? Also, should we bring all our panniers in with us? Because that would be a lot to bring into a small café for ex., but it would be very bad if someone took off with our tent or stove or gas canister (I will always have my valuables with me, but these are bulkier items I don't think I'd like to lug around a grocery store for ex.).

I don't particularly want to buy a U-lock, because they're pretty heavy, so I'm not really sure how to deal with it. So what do you think I should do? Any advice or experience with this would be amazing!

FYI: we'll be biking through Spain, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Sweden & Norway.
(I'm sorry if there's already a post about this, I've found some about locking bikes overnight, but not for these situations)

Re: Tolerance of heat and cold.

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 7:46pm
Of course if like me you have reynauds your ****** no matter how much you try to acclimatize.

Re: You either have or you don't.

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 7:42pm
I have heard a ctc ride leader around these parts regularly thrashes roadies on his folding shopping bike .

Re: University Project (Charging Rucksack Concept)

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 6:23pm
dzsteven1 wrote:Hi guys, thanks very much for all the feedback! The negative feedback is just as useful as any positive so this is exactly what we were looking for! sorry I didn't reply any sooner, I didn't expect so many responses so quickly!
We're keen here

Re: University Project (Charging Rucksack Concept)

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 5:58pm
No reason why this couldn't be done via a Pannier - which, on a rack would provide better laptop protection. Push the boat out and put rucksack straps and removable hard back and the pannier can be used a rucksack too. Or maybe make the internal padding stiffish foam so it can be used both ways and be comfortable. Would also have the advantage of providing securable short run connections, which could be used on the rucksack with an extension cord...

I think I just designed charging bike luggage...

Re: 1st tour advice

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 5:33pm
Thank you for the replies to my post, but I have had a change of plan.
It is now the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff, trains from Morlaix to Paris , then Paris to Nevers on the EV6. Follow the EV6 to Nantes, then the EV1 to Roscoff and ferry back to Plymouth. Trains booked as well from Truro to Plymouth return.

I am going to use the 2 bank holiday weekends as 3 day 2 night camping weekends to sort out the kit.
At the moment I am cycling about 100 - 120 miles a week which includes a 50 - 60 miler at the weekend. Hopefully this will be enough to enjoy the tour.

Thanks

Ian

Re: Non standard fitment!

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 4:25pm
Oh and my ape index is 1.027 with a span of 190cm over a height of 185cm.

Re: Non standard fitment!

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 4:22pm
Well I have a few reservations which included the above and a few others.

Handlebar width felt better on the larger frame (440vs420).

Hit my toe with the front wheel when making a tight turn when riding.

Re: A few photos from China

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 26 April 2015 - 3:06pm
vinyl_theif wrote:mercalia wrote:very nice and u are just wandering around China with out any hindrance?

Sure, it was no different to cycling around any European country, just once we were pestered by the police for ID in one of the Xing Xang cities, apart from that we were left to our own. (I rode the Kashgar to Lanzhou with two Manchester lads)

Sooper8 wrote:Great photo's and I love the way they are presented. What did you take them with and what is that frame technique/software/app?
ps. did you tweak the colours?

I use PhotoScape on my Windows XP Asus (a free download) for the border - styles, width, colour, etc can all be customised, it’s a doddle, personally I dislike 90’ sharp edges (so un-natural!) and feel the curves make them more presentable…a bit like a lady! I also reduce the file size from ~ 4.5 MByte to about 500 Kbyte.
I never tweak any colours, I’m a bit of a purist in that sense although I do use a polarising lens, just occasionally I’d lighten a photo up if too dark using Google’s Picasa.

simonhill wrote:Nice photos. I loved touring in China, a wonderful place to ride.

A few labels on where the photos are would be useful, China is a large country.

I agree but I take so many pictures and as writing a blog-post takes about two days I can’t really warrant any more time at the P.C., so they’re kind-of summarised where they are from what section I’ve wrote about...albeit big sections they may be!!

I’ve recently wrote about Laos with plenty of good photos…at least I hope you’ll agree!

Tomorrow is a big day of my tour…I cross the bridge to SINGAPORE!!

Welcome to SINGAPORE , as one of them suggested go to the Zoo and the river safari just next door to it . As for local food you can go to our local "coffee shop" and "hawker centre " . Try the chick rice and satay

Re: Non standard fitment!

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 2:32pm
bcc212 wrote:Sounds pretty normal until you realise that I'm 6ft 1 with a 33" inseam. Obviously everywhere 'guide wise' illustrates a 58 would be ideal for me. However, i feel like I can't get onto the hoods correctly on the 58. What is your Ape Index?
Just coz you're tall it doesn't mean you have long legs, and you may also have short arms.

As a matter of interest, my span is 4" longer than my height of 5ft 9ins. I have an inside leg of 32ins.
Remember, I'm (only) 5ft 9ins ............... and I ride a 60cm frame.

Frame size is only a small part of the bike fit system.

Re: You either have or you don't.

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 2:19pm
I remember when I was in my early twenties I used to do a twenty five mile charity bike ride on the east side of Carlisle. Some people used to treat it as a ride, some as a race. I fell into the latter category - racing against time (and occasionally my younger brother). I used to set off from the back of the field and the organisers would set people off in groups of about fifty at twenty to thirty second intervals - this meant that I was about seven or eight minutes behind the leaders. I'd usually finish in the top ten though.

Anyway, was whizzing along one year on my road bike with all the gear on when this fella on a sit up and beg bike passed me. He was wearing a flat cap, a Barbour jacket, baggy trousers and wellies. He was probably the same age as me. Now it could be that he was just cycling along a 100 yard section of road but I was still amazed at how effortless he made it look.

Re: Non standard fitment!

CTC Forum - On the road - 26 April 2015 - 2:02pm
It's not always advisable to follow the standard fitting formula without certain reservations. For example, we all have a body-format in which we feel most relaxed. I've learned over the years that I dislike being fully extended and prefer to ride comparatively scrunched up (OK, I don't look very stylish ). Therefore I go for shorter top-tubes as long as I don't get into trouble with toe-clearance, and I can always put on a longer stem if I change my mind.
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