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Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 6:42pm
bainbridge wrote:This means you'll be paying a charge (in some way) on every purchase doesn't it?

You're paying a charge in some way or another anyway. For example the places that offer 0% commission on the transaction seem to have dreadful exchange rates compared to those that charge per transaction. On my debit card, the exchange rate is pretty close to spot but I pay a transaction fee. e.g. today the Visa Exchange Rate for Euro to Pounds is 0.738. The spot rate according to xe.com is 0.732. The Post Office rate is 0.758 with no commission. That means £2 less changing €100 into sterling.

The thing to beware is those chip and pin readers that offer you the option to pay in sterling. The exchange rates they offer are usually abysmal so always select the local currency and let your card company do the conversion.

Re: D&G circular

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 6:37pm
Looks perfectly OK for a touring bike to me.

To check these routes out, go to http://cycle.travel/map , set up a route that goes up the track you are interested in (drag the route onto the track if the suggested route doesn't take it), then click on the route and select "find photos" to get a selection of photos from geograph.org, among which there will generally be several showing what the track is like. The photos are closest to the click first.
For example:
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2758115
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2136145
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2136029
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3346944

There's always the possibility that the Forestry Commission will have decided to chop some tree down and churn up the track, but you'll just have to chance that.
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3345793

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

CTC Forum - MTB - 28 March 2015 - 5:25pm
Regurgatron wrote:
The 29ers are significantly faster up and down the mountain compared to my old 26" bikes,

B******s.

The good news for the 26" dinosaurs is that they can now pick up loads of high-end 26" kit cheap as chips as the serious riders move to 27.5 and 29.

Pretty please with sugar on top, explain to us 'non-serious' types what a serious rider is. I await with baited breath.

Re: Taking a bike on a train

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 March 2015 - 4:46pm
Does anyone have any experience of taking cycles on South Eastern Trains? Unlike Southern they don't seem to have doors marked for wheelchair and cycle users.

Re: Newcastle port to central station - route wanted

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 4:32pm
loafer wrote:
just use the Shields ferry instead

Nah I want to do the tunnels

Re: It me or do SUVs alway drive to close

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 March 2015 - 4:15pm
The Mechanic wrote:IHowever, I would like to point out that I am a cyclist, have 5 bikes and also drive a 4x4, and it is a BMW! What does that make me? A murdering mania one minute and a complaining cyclist the next?

Yep Especially if you ask the cyclopath lobby !

More seriously, I think this may have di to with the extra width of an SUV and people who drive them only part time, and something narrower at other times.

Even a big Merc S Class is a good foot narrower than a Range Rover, so if the driver places themselves in the same position on the road you can see the problem.

My most expensive road accident was when I pulled out of a space concentrating on the traffic, not the Saab parked in front, in a Fiat Multipla immediately after having driven a small hatchback. The overlap was about 9 inches and it cost about 7k. Never again.

Ferdinand

Re: Newcastle port to central station - route wanted

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 3:54pm
wirral_cyclist wrote: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.

just use the Shields ferry instead

Re: D&G circular

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 3:52pm
I'm not sure exactly which off road route you are intending to use near Newton Stewart but last year I rode the CTC "Big Country" ride which loops around Newton Stewart and Glentrool. It's a circular ride of 58k and is well worth riding but I would recommend not using a road or touring bike. When I rode it last year there were quite a few sections where the FC had laid down hardcore and anything other than an mtb would struggle. There are also plenty of sections of rough fire road so I would suggest that yoiu have a look at the 7 Stanes website for Glentrool and clarify if your proposed route uses the "Big Country" loop

Re: Beware Gatwick / Norwegian airline & unpacked bikes

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 2:53pm
Hi,
Slightly off topic but has anyone tried to fly Norwegian with a packed bike as hold luggage? Mine comes in at 19.5kg in a BikeBoxAlan which meets the dimensions requirements for hold luggage. However I don't know whether to book it as a bike as I don't want to get stung at the airport. Any advice appreciated?

Cheers
Simon

Re: Carrying currency on a tour in Europe

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 2:40pm
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?

I use my debit card & ATM's on tours, I pay about 3% on my Euro tours, this is not a significant cost to me and well worth paying for the convenience, not having to worry about and carry cash.

Re: It me or do SUVs alway drive to close

CTC Forum - On the road - 28 March 2015 - 2:40pm
stewartpratt wrote:I can't confidently say I notice a strong trend for any vehicle type. Confirmation bias is a very easy trap to fall into.

Me neither (after 20 years of cycle commuting)... except perhaps white vans.

Re: D&G circular

CTC Forum - Touring & Expedition - 28 March 2015 - 1:35pm
Unless they have spent loads of money (which I doubt) take as durable and comfortable tyre as you can manage, as when I was there two years ago even some of the main A roads (classed as Trunk roads) were like ploughed fields, many minor roads were almost unridable on a road bike. I contacted the council upon my return, and was told thay had had a hard winter - but this was August, so plenty of time to fix the issues if they had a mind to.

Re: Should I just stick with 26" wheels?

CTC Forum - MTB - 28 March 2015 - 1:29pm
I've got 2 29ers - a long travel full sus and a rigid singlespeed.

The 29ers are significantly faster up and down the mountain compared to my old 26" bikes, and the idea they are somehow less 'agile' or 'nimble' is just plain nonsense. I would not contemplate going back to a 26" wheeled bike.

The good news for the 26" dinosaurs is that they can now pick up loads of high-end 26" kit cheap as chips as the serious riders move to 27.5 and 29.

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
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