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Re: Cycle Schemes - are they still worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 12:35pm
You can still save around £200 on a £1000 bike by using a Bike to work scheme, if you continue to rent the bike after the initial 12 months (you then make a one off payment of 7% of the original value, instead of 25% if you buy it outright). You also have the benefit of paying by monthly instalments. I've bought 3 bikes on the Bike to Work scheme (the latest about 18 months ago) and whilst the savings aren't as good as they once were, they are still worthwhile (so long as the shop doesn't charge you for the privilege of using the scheme - I don't think Evans do).

Re: Front lights that are too bright

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 12:23pm
Except that cars dont stay close behind you keeping you in this state of dazzle for long.

Unless, of course, you are in a another car yourself.

Re: Default tourer?

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 13 January 2015 - 12:11pm
I got rid of my Galaxy due to endless ankle pain (still don't know why) and bought a Surly LHT. I didn't believe you could fall in love with a bike, but after one, yes ONE, ride I just love it. I just don't bother riding anything else. I was worried about the weight and the 26" wheels of my 54cm setup, but I needn't have. I get stopped often from people wanting to look at it. Nothing is going to make those big climbs any easier, only me, but for long distance comfort with endless options for customisation I am officially a one bike man.

Re: Thailand 2015

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 13 January 2015 - 10:39am
I have stayed in the Baan Sabai tens of times and never had a problem. The good safe bike storage is fairly high up my list, but I have always found the place very clean, safe and good value. I pay 350 bhat ( £7) for a double with shared clean bath.

I have just read TripAdvisor and there are lots of negative posts.

I am old school and have been travelling in Asia for over 30 years and don't leave large sums of money in my room, I always carry my (very) valuables with me. Also, it seems that almost all the thefts are from the lockers.

These are flimsy steel lockers and I do think it possible maybe even probable that the night staff may well have stolen the stuff. However, each locker has a pair of loops for your own padlock, but it seems that most people don't use one. I think this is a bit naive, assuming the flimsy lock on the locker to be adequate security for hundreds of dollars.

Most of the reviews do say the place is clean and good value, you just need to take care, like you have to do in any hotel on your travels. It is a budget place and they don't give towels etc in the cheaper rooms. What do people expect? They do give toilet paper and soap.

Having said that, there are hundreds of cheap hotels in Bkk, I just choose to use the Baan Sabai, because I like the place and am happy with the staff and have never had a problem with them. They also take and honour email bookings.

Re routes, etc.. The pedal to Kanchi from Bkk is easy once out of the urban sprawl.

From Kanchi a good onward route is from Kanchi to the Three Pagodas Pass, folowing the route of the (so called) Death Railway. This is a 3 day ride, returning by the same route, so using the bus one way is a good idea. You can get a bus in Kanchi to Sangkhlaburi. From there you can do a half day ride to border before the 3 day ride back to Kanchi.

Edit: The Jolly Frog Backpackers is a great place to stay in Kanchi. Not really a backpackers, but good rooms around a large garden next to River Kwai.

Re: ASL and motorcyclists

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 10:17am
The only times I can recall having trouble slipping into the flow of traffic were when car drivers seemed to deliberately block my attempts to do so. While I haven't had the experiences you have, I have had drivers who I believed were aware I was there and wanting to move into a gap (eye contact, etc.), close a gap beween them and the next cars. Maybe it wasn't always a deliberate attempt to block me (people do stupid things with malice ), but it seemed so. Once you've lost a couple of those battles, usually the only safe option left is to go up to the front of the queue.

Re: ASL and motorcyclists

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 10:05am
[XAP]Bob wrote:If the queue starts to move as you are filtering then you can normally slot into a gap that is opening before the car behind has actually started.
Normally, but not always. IMO it's not always the safest thing to do, you have split attention between the car in front that's moving (and might suddenly stop) and the vehicle behind as you move into the gap. The aforementioned reduction in braking distances can potentially result in a bit of unpleasantness.

However it does generally happen that on a motorcycle you'll spot a decent sized gap somewhere in the queue where a particularly slow driver has taken their time to get going, quick blip of the throttle and you're in. It's not guaranteed though and obviously if the traffic is moving then it's irrelevant to this discussion since you're not going to be looking at placing yourself in the ASL.
The main reason you'd end up in a ASL is because you've overtaken a fairly long line of stationary bumper to bumper vehicles.

Re: ASL and motorcyclists

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 9:33am
kwackers wrote: In practise these days I find you simply overtake half a mile of traffic and you might get a chance to insert yourself into the stream a few tens of yards back and perhaps wait for an extra light change or more likely the only place with a gap just happens to be the front of the queue.

That's usually been my experience. Most vehicles at the very front have someone right up their rear bumper so there's no space to insert myself in the queue until they start moving.

kwackers wrote: I must admit on a bicycle on more than one occasion I've had a driver take enormous exception even to the point of partially overtaking, pulling alongside and forcing me back to the kerb whilst on the horn and gesticulating wildly!

Thankfully, I don't seem to face aggression when rejoining – I get this behaviour when I'm already in the traffic queue

kwackers wrote: So in that respect I'd disagree that as a general rule filtering into moving traffic is safer than stopping ahead of the stop line and taking primary.

I'd be wary of passing the stop line (ahead of an ASL if there is one) unless the junction is very familiar, as you could find yourself in the path of a turning HGV. One of my regular junctions (no ASL) is on a bus route where anyone over the stop line can risk a collision – I try to warn any cyclists/motorcyclists I see there. Personally, I feel the safety of ASLs is, at best, limited, and at worst, can be dangerous. There's one near me which I will never use as it conflicts with school buses turning into that road – a particularly stupid, irresponsible design .

Re: ASL and motorcyclists

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 8:45am
If the queue starts to move as you are filtering then you can normally slot into a gap that is opening before the car behind has actually started.

Re: ASL and motorcyclists

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 8:40am
Vorpal wrote:Actually, I think that the safest thing for both cyclists and motorcyclists to do is to rejoin a travel lane a bit before the junction, and take primary position in that lane to travel through the junction. It's easiest to insert oneself into the flow of traffic when it is moving slowly (at the end or beginning of movement when a light changes). That probably means waiting in the queue for one light, instead of going right up to the front.
In practise these days I find you simply overtake half a mile of traffic and you might get a chance to insert yourself into the stream a few tens of yards back and perhaps wait for an extra light change or more likely the only place with a gap just happens to be the front of the queue.

That's not to say I don't do that, depends on how things are playing out at the time but some drivers take huge exceptions to you dropping in front of them, less so with large motorcycles (they usually just quietly seeth) but I must admit on a bicycle on more than one occasion I've had a driver take enormous exception even to the point of partially overtaking, pulling alongside and forcing me back to the kerb whilst on the horn and gesticulating wildly!
Then of course you have to allow for the fact that initially you probably don't have enough braking distance in front of you and you've robbed the guy behind of his braking distance too.

So in that respect I'd disagree that as a general rule filtering into moving traffic is safer than stopping ahead of the stop line and taking primary.

Re: Cycle Schemes - are they still worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 8:40am
I bought a folder on the Cycle Scheme many years ago, and I think I paid a nominal £5 at the end of the 12 months. It was straightforward to be able to work out the financial benefit. They do seem to have trashed the original good intention, and I'm at a loss as to why people bother with it now. In the Evans blurb it says, "At the end of the salary sacrifice term there will usually be a transfer of ownership, however there is no promise or obligation that employees will own the equipment after the salary sacrifice term."

I'm sure that any cycle club discount in conjunction with a 0% credit card is far less risky, less time consuming and more flexible.

Re: Cycle Schemes - are they still worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 13 January 2015 - 8:08am
There is no reason that the company should be obliged to sell you the bike straight away.

And of course they can give you the bike (although you'd be taxed on final value)

Alternatively they can retain nominal ownership and you can carry on riding it, right up until it's value is truly negligible according to your company accountants...

Re: Cycle Schemes - are they still worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 12 January 2015 - 11:48pm
Isn't there some work round for the final valuation that satisfies the tax people? haven't they changed the date that the bike transfers ownership to a couple of years later so the value is a lot lower?
If I was going to but a bike I think I'd use it if offered, but I wouldn't be tempted to get another bike because of it.

Re: Cycle Schemes - are they still worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 12 January 2015 - 11:25pm
Ru88ell wrote:My wife's workplace is now offering the Evans Cycle to Work Scheme. Are these things actually worth doing these days, or has the government killed it off by introducing the final valuation payment?

I'd be dubious with the new rules. Given the shop will (have to) charge you extra (either explicitly as did mine, or by not giving a discount, or by having to pay a middle man), and the final payment is now more like a realistic value, the saving isn't that great - perhaps little more than just getting it interest free - and if you can't afford to buy a bike cash, you're presumably not on 40% tax, hence saving are very marginal indeed, so it's a lot of forms and hassle to save not very much. You are at least somewhat limited in who to buy from, hence what models, can't spend more than a grand, and are rather in limbo if you leave the company before the 2 years are up. 2nd hand isn't allowed either, nor is a major re-fit / upgrade of an existing bike.

Though I did OK from the deal a few years back, don't think I'd bother now

Cycle Schemes - are they still worth it?

CTC Forum - On the road - 12 January 2015 - 11:17pm
My wife's workplace is now offering the Evans Cycle to Work Scheme. Are these things actually worth doing these days, or has the government killed it off by introducing the final valuation payment?

Re: Thailand 2015

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 12 January 2015 - 10:58pm
I quite enjoyed the " Mae Hong son loop" . A bit steep in places but pretty, it will be all paved by now too.

If coming from the south you'll get a little taste a toerist free zone. By the time you're about ready for fatty food and 7/11 again you'll arrive in Mae hong son

>Poorly written trip report...<

Re: Show your touring bikes !!!!

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 12 January 2015 - 10:54pm
My Dawes 1-Down

Dawes 1-Down.JPG

May look an ugly duckling but a) the gears 46/36/26 8 speed chainset and 26" wheel size give me performance that suits my limits b) the frame is neither too big or small to carry under my arm and with the small wheels am able to carry over country stiles or through those gated curved ones. The only blot is that the rims brakes dont like muddy tracks as it tends to get onto the side walls and rims c) luggage is kept very low and feels very stable loaded. I bought this bike with 20% off in 1999 (I think) from the YHA Adventure Shop in Covent Garden London ( now gone ) Then it was £649 full price, more than the Galaxy at £599 and was one of the first Dawes bikes I think to have Reynolds 631 main tubes? This was the largest 57cm frame

Re: TOURING 2015

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 12 January 2015 - 10:48pm
I'm not usually an advocate for jumping on a new bike for a tour, but.

In 2 weeks I''m off to text my new bike on the Southern half of the Trans Andalusia mtb trail in Spain . Its going to be a toughy, 1500km or so in 3 weeks. Then parking my bike up in Alacante so I can use in on weekends while on a course there from march

Now to get back to sewing some new bags together...no pressure

Re: Belgium fixed base recommendations please

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 12 January 2015 - 8:40pm
Thanks Dudley & Vorpal, some great advice there. I'll update after the trip as to what we get up to etc. thanks again

Re: Canal towpath closures

CTC Forum - On the road - 12 January 2015 - 8:28pm
Still tempting to drain and pave them all though.

Re: Thailand 2015

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 12 January 2015 - 8:26pm
Thanks for the info, will definitely look at the taxi option. We have read some bad reviews about Baan Sabai and numerous thefts of money, has this changed.

At 49 years old, flat is good to start with

Cheers
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