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Re: Mystery raised things in cycle contraflow ...

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 9:10pm
If it's a contraflow, the bike symbol is the wrong way round.

And the 'ahead only' signs are not really appropriate here, they should be using something like 960.1:http://m.tsrgd.co.uk/sign.html?id=960.1

Would these five changes actually help cyclists?

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 9:07pm
Would these five changes actually help cyclists?
look at -

Re: Acceptable overtake?

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 9:02pm
Is it ok? No it's close and into oncoming traffic. However it's not at all unusual or remarkable.

Re: Traveling by Train.

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 9:00pm
If you can you will probably get a better deal booking at a staffed ticket office. Staff often know a lot of ways to 'split' the ticket to save money and will be able to book bike and seats at the same time. Bookings usually open 12 weeks ahead. If you must book online always do it through a train operators website (East Coast is good). The independent ones (e.g. Trainline) usually charge a booking fee and can't always book the bikes. A friend of mine recently booked a ticket online for a trip to Penzance for an end-to-end but the website wouldn't book his bike. He tried to do it separately at the station but was told there were no spaces left. He then found he couldn't refund or change the ticket!

Acceptable overtake?

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 8:58pm
Just a quick question of opinion, is the overtake (at about 14 seconds) OK?


Re: Map(s) of Wales

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 8:46pm
OS do 1:175000 scale maps for North and South Wales which are good. They are called tour maps and mark the roads and many campsites. I presume it won't mark all of them, but it's a good start and I tend to use smaller ones and they're on. They don't appear to mark drovers roads and tracks.

Re: Photos from my recent ride across Wales

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 8:38pm
Fantastic photos, they brought memories back for me also. The hills above Harlech are indeed tough but they are one of the highlights for me each time I've done it. The views across to Portmeirion are one of the best I've seen.
Looks like you were blessed with the weather and had a great time. Here's to the next tour!

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

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 8:12pm
irc wrote:MartinC wrote:Why don't we have hi viz cars? Always intrerested to see the promoters of hi viz answers to this.

Less need. Cars other than junctions cars are traveling in separate lanes at similar speeds. On rural roads the closing speed of a car catching up with another car may be 5 or 10mph. Plenty of time. With bikes the closing speed could be 50mph.

Also cars are big and in the centre of lanes. Easy to see. What's the frontal area of a cyclist compared to a car? Which is most likely to be hidden by a door pillar?

Anyway isn't the use of daylight running lights in some places the car equivelent of HiViz? So it is promoted in some places.

I'd disagree in some respects, actually. Car closing speeds are faster, for one thing.
I now have (not my choice, but out of necessity) a black car. My previous one was red (again, not my choice). There is a very noticeable difference in how other cars react between the two cars. Given the choice, I'd always pick a red one. Other drivers consistently gave the red one more space. And other vehicles, lorries especially, seem regularly to drift right in their lane towards the black one as I overtake on the motorway, which is most disconcerting; it very rarely happened with the red one. It's almost like they are sucked towards me.

As a cyclist I try to be easily seen. This very evening after dark I noticed that a lot of cyclists on the 'footpath' cycle track I drove past who were wearing yellowish jackets were much less obvious than those wearing just a few small reflective strips. I think that in the dark, it's more noticable to have reflective strips than high viz, unless the high viz is also very reflective. I also noticed that several cyclists had much brighter front lights than back lights. Of course, they might need bright front lights when turning across traffic, or if part of their route was unlit, but my concern was that because of all the other lights around, some of the back lights didn't show up very well in the street/car lighting. As other lights get brighter, it starts a spiral where bike lights need to be brighter to stand out, not a good thing in my opinion, as in the end anything unlit, like pedestrians, becomes virtually invisible.

Re: Traveling by Train.

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 8:11pm
If you cannot book a bike space you could remove the wheels and put them in a bag and take them into the train with you, and leave the "frame" in the luggage van. I have seen someone do this on east coast mainline from london to york.

Map(s) of Wales

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 7:55pm
The OS Survey maps look like they'd be great, but I'd need about a dozen of them to cover the areas of Wales I will be touring.

What I'm ideally looking for is a map with all the roads and points of interest/camp site locations. Does something like this exist or do I have to get a dozen or so maps to get that sort of information?

I'm planning on leaving my laptop and GPS at home this go around, travel a little lighter because of it (will have camping gear, which is heavy enough). I do have the Sustrans NCN 8 Maps but want something a little bit better then those.

Re: Claiming compensation after being knocked off your bike

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 7:23pm
You should be able to claim from the MIB (Motor Insurance Bureau).

My son was knocked off a few years ago. The driver stopped to see if he was OK, got back in his car to say he was going to pull around the corner, then promptly drove off. We got his Reg no but the car was not registered and the driver could not be traced. We contacted the MIB and after they completed their investigations, we got a cheque for £1500.

Re: French End to End

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 7:17pm
The straight line approach was one I tried on LEJOG a couple of years back, but after 2 days of climbing ridiculous gradients in Cornwall and Devon, I vowed to be more circumspect in future. On day three it took three and a half hours to cover 15 miles before I threw the planned route away and started following roads that ran in valleys! I don't mind a few hills, but all day going up and down ramps is soul-destroying on a heavy bike.

I know I'm going to hit some severe climbs after Perpignan into the mountains, but I should have ridden myself truly fit by then. It's the early part of the trip I'm more concerned about as the Massif central seems to extend all the way to the Belgian border and I can't see an obvious crossing point.

From the maps it looks like Dunkirk, Arras, St. Quentin, Reims is all OK, but then the easiest route looks like one that takes me east of Troyes and Dijon to Lyon. From there it should be fairly plain sailing (or even cycling) to Avignon, Nimes, Montpellier, Narbonne and Perpignan.

Now all I need is someone to tell me I have it all wrong and I've plotted the route from hell....

My incident

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 7:07pm
I was cycling along on a main road when a car came out of the side-road to my left and hit me on my left hip, pushing me out towards the centre of the road and buckling my rear wheel beyond repair. Luckily there was no traffic coming the other way, otherwise I could have been hit again. This was 4 years ago, it was Easter time and was in broad daylight, sunny and dry conditions. This is the only time a collision has resulted in me parting company with the bike.

Re: Mudguard suggestions please

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 7:07pm
I'm afraid I agree with Mick F I don't like the look of bodge jobs but that's just a personal opinion. I wouldn't buy a bike with Vee Brakes as I don't like their appearance

Re: Traveling by Train.

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 6:42pm
Thank you all for your replies, hopefully the buffet car has improved too, from the days of British Rail


Re: French End to End

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 6:40pm
We tend to plan long ones like this as a straight line. Stick as near to it as you sensibly can. Hills no problem - every up has a down and the scenery is better.
There is an excellent bike path along the Rhone which we followed this year from Givors to Valence, though you can miss a turn in some of the towns.

Re: Traveling by Train.

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 6:37pm
Joe.B wrote:Use the EastCoast website to book as it allows bike reservations.
To expand on Joe B's point, although there are many websites where you can buy train tickets, there is only a small number of different train booking software systems behind the scenes. All of the train booking websites use one of these systems with their own branding. The reason this is interesting is that only one of these systems has the facility to let you book a bicycle place at the same time as your journey and seat reservation. That one is the East Coast reservation system which is also used by RedSpottedHanky (and others?). So if your choice of journey is dependent on knowing that there is place available for your bicycle, make sure to use the right website. Or the phone

Re: French End to End

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 6:31pm
I've see the tracks you mention but they seem to end before the border. Having said that, there is a place marker on Mt. Comanegra so there must be some way of getting to it....might be a walking job, but that would count, wouldn't it?

I think the med coast alternative would be a bit of a cop-out. If I'm doing that I may as well just stop at Perpignan and call it a day there. The North East to South West idea is a good one, but I did Santander to St. Malo last year via Poitiers and Tours so I'd be covering old ground for much of the way (all be it the other way around) and besides, I fancy seeing Burgundy from the saddle.

I must admit I'm surprised this isn't a well established route. Perhaps if they had a man with a sign and a camera like at JOG it might take off? Job for someone there........

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

CTC Forum - On the road - 5 November 2014 - 6:07pm
MartinC wrote: Your rationale would also seem to predict that the chances of a car running into another is therefore very low - but we know this not to be true in practice,?

On the contrary most people can drive for years or decades without having an accident.

Re: Planning My First Tour

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 5 November 2014 - 5:46pm
My first order of planning is deciding what I want to see/visit. Do you want to take in particular museums or climb a mountain - in short, do you have a bucket list of stuff to do?

Mark these points on a large scale map then join the dots, it might not all be practical, I would suggest 100km a day as the ideal maximum, but start later at 9, most of Europe doesn't really wake up until 10, particularly galleries and museums. Consider utilising trains/coaches for bigger 'transit' sections. Certainly factoring in days off the bike is a good idea and I like to do a ratio of 3:1, tent to hotel etc nights, gives you a chance to clean/dry stuff and relax more than the tent will allow. Take a stove - I don't take pans, just a kettle - emergency food can be packet soups or pot meals but making a drink in the evening and certainly in the morning is essential for me. Keep an eye on when the local saints days etc occur, shops will be closed or have restricted opening - bakeries are usually open Sunday mornings but not usually any other consumer stores!

Don't get too bogged down with a route, whilst I know where I'm headed each day I don't always use the route I've picked out, or I might decide to catch the train or find something to visit I wasn't expecting.... 100km over 6 or 7 hours doesn't sound a lot but with stops to eat, take photos, even just using the cycle trail rather than the road - all impact on your progress. My general rule is to be on the campsite or booked in the hotel before six pm - it can be earlier but its seldom later. Time enough to get installed and fed before relaxing. Oh and remember most campsites have a siesta between 12 and 3 when you can't get in so its worth allowing for that when you plan the days ride.

Any bike can do any job - how well is the issue - if your road bike is comfortable and in good fettle, spend the dosh on a trailer and use that. I'm lucky, I've got a fleet of bikes so I can choose a steed for each trip, but I'd far rather use a bike I know than buy an unknown quantity secondhand - most used bikes are being sold because there is something wrong with them, worn transmission, quirky handling, uncomfortable - so be wary of anything that looks like a secondhand bargain!

Lastly, enjoy yourself!
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