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Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 1:20pm
My mate uses one of those Caxton cards and swears by it. He is pretty financially savvy so I reckon it is a good bet.

However, a lot of points have been raised and here are a few of my thoughts. I always think it is worth working out your money arrangements well in advance, it can save you up to 10% of your holiday costs.

The just take cash: that will probably be got from somewhere like Post Office at bad rate. Also taking £s and changing abroad can be expensive (Although in places like Thailand it can be the cheapest).

Use current a/c bank debit card: check the charges, some are great, some are awful.

Withdrawing small amounts can be much more expensive, again, check.

There may be a local charge on top of your own bank's charges.

Its MasterCard: this is OK in Europe, but can cause problems in other countries eg Japan and Cuba. Always check which is accepted Visa or M'card.

I am sure everywhere, including hotels wil accept cash at point of sale. Obviously you will need a card if doing anything on the internet. Is the Caxton OK for that?

You dont want a credit card. Unfortunately the credit rating agencies like to see credit worthiness. No card shows no history and can result in you having problems. Martin Lewis wil tell all.

Re: D&G circular

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 1:20pm
That route from the B796 is a pretty rough track. I was thinking about it last year but decided against it when I saw it. You might be able to manage it on 32mm tyres but it definitely looks more suited to a mountain bike. However, continuing along the road to Creetown is a cracking cycle with superb views and probably much better than the track which is mainly through forest. There is a cycle path from Creetown to Newton Stewart which is reasonable quality so I would definitely go that way rather than up to Clatteringshaws.

It's a lovely area to cycle and there are loads of quiet roads so I wouldn't bother with off-road tracks. Most of the main roads are ok to cycle on too, except the a75 which is busy. I would largely ignore the Sustrans maps and make up your own route.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 1:07pm
These days i usually only take enough currency to cover a couple of days then find an ATM when i need to top up the funds, using the card to pay for accomodation etc where possible. I do take an emergency fund of 100 euros in my bike safe (stem) but i try not to carry too much cash to reduce any potential loss.

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 12:58pm
psmiffy wrote:typically I tour with enough local cash to last me (about €200) a week plus a reserve fund of about €200 which is stashed separately (ive never really worked out a decent place for the stash) and top it up from a cashpoint when I get down to half of thatI do the same. For a safe place for the reserve I have considered inside the handlebars, but I've never got around to doing it - yet. I've been looking at prepaid cards for a couple of years and have not taken one because on a debit or credit card I would probably have access to enough cash or credit to get home from anywhere, whereas if I just have a prepaid card I might not. So I'd have to have a debit/credit card anyway so why bother with a prepaid card as well?

D&G circular

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 12:55pm
No, nothing to do with a fashion house....
Thinking of planning a route in Dumfries & Galloway, and the Sustrans map shows some off-road bits of National Cycle Route near Newton Stewart, and an interesting looking route up from the B796 past Loch Grannoch to Clatteringshaws loch along the "Raiders Road".
I did find reference in this forum to the bits near Newton Stewart being forestry tracks and OK for touring bike tyres; but these references are a few years old. Any more recent experience out there?
The route past Loch Grannoch seems as if it might be more MTB than tourer. Opinions? I don't enjoy having my teeth rattled all day.
If I do go, I'll be on a Galaxy with 32mm tyres.

I'd welcome your views. (and promises of good weather)

Thidwick

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 12:43pm
The only time ive ever carried significant wads of cash was on tour in New Zealand years ago when I was warned in advance that cashpoints were a) often quite far apart b) didnt deal well with UK accounts

The only problems I had were a) having to tumble dry $750NZ $500US and £1000UK after stopping for coffee by the roadside and forgetting to put wallet back in dry place (only internaly packed that wet) b) same evening being very tired left wallet on bar top after paying for meal - out of bed before bar shut and wallet returned - but generally:

having lots of cash is not a good idea - typically I tour with enough local cash to last me (about €200) a week plus a reserve fund of about €200 which is stashed separately (ive never really worked out a decent place for the stash) and top it up from a cashpoint when I get down to half of that (depending on where you are cashpoints can be a bit fickle either compatibility or getting a connection) - depending on proximity of borders and potential different currencies.

I like the idea of the top up cards - maybe get one to stash in my shoe with the SD card with all my scans of my personnel documents and carry a smaller reserve

Re: Newcastle port to central station - route wanted

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 12:20pm
Chiz wrote:The Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnel is still closed unfortunately. The firm that was carrying out the work has gone bust, speaking to the tunnel operator (TT2 Limited), they reckon another twelve months based on getting another firm in straight away but that's not likely as the local authority have ran out of money for the refurb.

It's been an absolute farce since the start.


Oh I'm so glad you posted this!
I was planning a mini tour to include the tunnels this summer, it means I can concentrate on some of the other stuff on the 'must do' list instead.

Re: North Sea Route - Norway (Kristiansand - Bergen)

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 11:05am
Vorpal wrote:I haven't tried Stavanger, but most tourist information offices have a stock of cycle maps and information, even if the people working there are clueless.

However, I have often gotten better information from the Den Norske Turistforeningen https://www.dnt.no/ which has shops or offices in most cities. They also have camping cabins that members can use in some places. Many Norwegians consider them a good alternative. It may be easiest to contact them by email.

Other than in Stavanger and Bergen, we've found the tourist offices to be useful - I think it is just a problem in the big busy cities. Bergen had no cycle maps or info last August (they claimed to have run out).
The DNT (in Oslo at least) is very helpful. We use their cabins in the mountain areas - but they don't have cabins near the coastal cycle route so his would only be an option if you head inland, and many/most of their cabins are far from any tarmac.

Re: North Sea Route - Norway (Kristiansand - Bergen)

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 10:57am
FarOeuf wrote:find someone in Stavanger who many be able to help you out with finding times, etc. I ended up cycling inland via a ferry to Tau, and then round to Bergen.

No need for that - there are currently 3 direct ferries a day from Stavanger to Nedstrand midweek (fewer at weekends).
From Nedstrand it is only 2 hours pleasant and easy cycling to rejoin the North Sea coastal route.
You can see the ferries here:
http://reiseplanlegger.kolumbus.no/scripts/TravelMagic/travelmagicwe.dll/svar?referrer=forum.ctc.org.uk&lang=en&dep1=&theme=&from=Stavanger+%28B%C3%A5tterminal%29&to=Nedstrand+b%C3%A5tkai+%28Tysv%C3%A6r%29&Time=08%3A22&Date=02.04.2015&direction=1&search=Search&GetTR0=1&GetTR1=1&GetTR2=1&GetTR3=1&GetTR4=1&GetTR5=1&GetTR6=1&through=&throughpause=&changepenalty=1&changepause=0&linjer=&destinations=

Just use the travel planner web site, or go to the tourist office or the ferry terminal for info.

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

CTC Forum - MTB - 28 March 2015 - 10:56am
I rode 26" all my mtb-ing life and will choose that size again when I hopefully get another mtb.
29er is a fad and nothing more. Thorn (I think it was them) did a test to see if there was any difference in ride quality between 26" and 700c and found very little between them. So they stuck to 26" as it's easier to find tyres in that size, anywhere, not just in Tibet.
Mountain bikes are supposed to be nimble, light, strong and have decent mud clearances. Bigger wheels require bigger frames reducing the nimbleness for certain sized cyclists. The extra material used to make bigger rims and tyres adds weight (although little). It's easier to bend and break a longer stick than a short one so in my mind, the same applies to longer spokes and clearances between frame and tyre will be smaller unless the frames get bigger, again, bad news for shorties like me.
With any luck, the idea of 29ers will go the same way as URT suspension frames and Cannondales famous but amazingly more stupid one legged suspension fork (if there was a facepalm smiley I'd use it here).

Re: It me or do SUVs alway drive to close

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 March 2015 - 10:56am
Of course SUVs drive too close. They are too big for our roads.

Re: so when do the shorts come out?

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 March 2015 - 10:55am
Not till the daytime temperature is in double digits every single day for at least a fortnight!

Re: Police stop 4yo pavement cyclist

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 March 2015 - 10:54am
I respect the law.
I am increasingly contemptuous of some of those who choose to enforce it.

Re: 3 ladies from Belgium travelling from London to Dover

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 10:37am
IMO you are unlikely to find a better route into Canterbury than NCN1 from Whitstable, aka the Crab and Winkle Way.

A number of barriers similar to this: https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=whitst ... 180,,1,7.5

Re: Are mtb tyres changing?

CTC Forum - MTB - 28 March 2015 - 10:32am
Si wrote:It wasn't a snow specific tyre - meant for claggy mud more than anything, and very good at it it was.

Agreed.
I had a pair for a while and used them a couple times through snow covered moors and mudbaths and they were fantastic. Absolutely terrifying on hardpack trails or tarmac though!

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 10:15am
bainbridge wrote:Vorpal wrote:I use my debit card, as well. I only carry enough cash for a taxi in an emergency, or to pick up a few things at a rural stop, if I can.

I think cash is riskier than a card. If you don't want to use your normal debit card, get a prepaid one.

This means you'll be paying a charge (in some way) on every purchase doesn't it?
The fees vary from one card to another. http://www.moneysupermarket.com/prepaid-cards/ has comparisons.

Re: Reducing pannier weight

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 9:57am
yep that was similar to me the thigh muscles expanded to fill the gap, did you know they start around the waistline

Re: 3 ladies from Belgium travelling from London to Dover

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 9:54am
First of all... many thanks to all of you who have given us a mine of information. I hadn't checked the forum until today and frankly am overwhelmed by the response and help.

I have cycled parts of the NCN routes and yes, have found them very nice for short discovery routes but very convoluted for longer rides so... we shall plot our own route following your collective advice. I shall now print off everything and see how we can best do this. If you're in the London (NEw Cross to Bromley) to Canterbury area sometime between 13th May and 15th May you may catch sight of us as we sail by waving Belgian Uk and Italian flags!

Many thanks. Theresa

Re: Reducing pannier weight

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 9:46am
DarkNewt wrote:I found the easiest way to lose weight off my bike was to lose it off me... but often the hardest to do... when I did a JOGLE i weighed more at the end....

I think this might be the case with me too. Training in earnest for this ride began in January and rather than losing weight as I expected it's remained the same, though the waistband has gone down 2 buckle-holes
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