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Updated: 7 min 6 sec ago

Re: Tour for the spring

26 November 2015 - 2:34pm
I think you could be surprised how cold it is. I've been surprised how cold it is in April in the Mediterranean - and quite far south like Sardinia and southern Greece - let alone north of the Alps. Up in the Alps, like Andermatt, it still snows quite a lot in April - climate chart here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andermatt

The Swiss Franc was managed to a close band against the Euro until recently. But they stopped that and it appreciated by about a quarter in a few days. So Switzerland will be about 25% more expensive than it was before that happened... It is now the most expensive country (putting aside small tax havens) in Europe, because the weakness of oil has hit the Norwegian krona somewhat. So I think you'll find it a notch more expensive than just 10% for supermarket food, camping and transport than Germany. And if you go into a restaurant, it will be quite astonishingly expensive.

Re: Tour for the spring

26 November 2015 - 2:02pm
Switzerland - maybe 10% more expensive for food and camping than Germany - honeypot destinations higher still but self catering needn't be too bad. You should be early enough in the year to just turn up at sites but areas such as Interlaken/Luzern can get to the 'no room' stage quickly once the better weather comes along.

German Rhein - regular campsites, well signposted route - again prices can be higher in popular areas but i've had as little as €6 camp fees but average @ €14 - with current exchange rates its still a bargin!

Re: Pyrenees

26 November 2015 - 1:01pm
The raid route is great and takes you across some great cols and even on a fully loaded tourer just take your time. I went west to east, Atlantic to Med, and one thing I noticed was that the western sides of the cols tended to be more sheltered with trees which is great for climbing in the heat, then the descents on the eastern sides of the cols tended to be more open, perhaps an over simplification but it seemed that way. As said above the weather is changeable and I was there in June in both years, one it was roasting on the Tourmalet and on the second it was closed with deep snow and the lower villages damaged with flood water. Both times it was wet and cloudy in the Basque region hills so I’ve still not seen them yet despite cycling across twice now. But one of the best parts of the trip is going from the green/wetter Atlantic coast into an increasingly hot and arid Mediterranean climate with the changing architecture and plants.
I went to the Alps last summer for the Raid alpine, great route, but somehow not as much character as the Pyrenees. One advantage of the Alps was the greater availability of food particularly higher up, whereas in the Pyrenees you need to be careful as they are less populated higher up and shops are more infrequent. Also it's true what was said above that the Pyrenees are steeper than the Alps where the roads tend to switchback up the hills more, but don’t let that put you off its fine with the right gears and after a while 5% will seem flat.
Have fun

Re: Pyrenees

26 November 2015 - 12:08pm
I've been to the Pyrenees on a number of occasions in June with a fully loaded tourer with camping gear and ridden the whole route but not in one go.
The temperature has varied from 30c+ to down to 1c as stated above some of the higher passes can be shut even in late June it changes from year to year. The roads were on the whole pretty quiet ( I avoided Andorra) and I had no problems with the road surface.
How hard it is is entirely personal. Low gearing, take your time and look at the scenery and it's pretty easy going. If you want to ride 'fast' or 'far' and want to push yourself it can be extremely challenging.

It's a lovely place to ride with great scenery plenty of campsites. I think the weather is the big thing as to how enjoyable a trip will be. A couple of years ago I was torn between the Pyrenees and the Alps and opted for the Alps. It was a good choice as it rained most days for over month in the Pyrenees but we have pretty good weather, other than the Col Du Galiber being shut in the Alps on another year it could be the other way around. .

Re: Pyrenees

26 November 2015 - 11:50am
I did Barcelona to Bordeaux last year using the Raid Route, 22 cols. The raid route is tough, but it's supposed to be. Google Raid Pyrenees for details

Re: Pyrenees

26 November 2015 - 11:32am
I have not done it as a one off tour but have ridden much of the Pyrenees mainly on the French side with excursions into Spain and Andorra. In my opinion the scenery is more interesting than the Alps but the climbs can be tougher. In June expect the weather to be wet and cold. Two years ago part of the Tourmalet was washed away in June and a week before I could not get to the top because of snow.

A good contact for any information about this area is Ian Turner he can be found on this website: http://www.pleinairpyrenees.com


26 November 2015 - 9:56am
I was thinking about cycling through the Pyrenees from Atlantic coast to med coast or vice versa. Anyone done this and how difficult was it? What will the temperatures and roads be like in may / June? Will be on fully loaded tourer.

Re: Touring luxuries

26 November 2015 - 9:34am
I really like the look of that water filter stu.

Where did you get yours?

Rough price?

Re: Touring Japan from Tokyo to Fukuoka in October

25 November 2015 - 8:30pm
This looks amazing, would love to do this, how far is it?

Re: Touring Japan from Tokyo to Fukuoka in October

25 November 2015 - 7:22pm
Nice video - thanks.

Re: Touring luxuries

25 November 2015 - 4:07pm
Arabic and Swahili phrasebooks, youll need them as soon as youre off the ferry in france, cant be too careful with all these funny people around, it wasnt like that in my day

Touring Tyre Test (Posted on Tech Branch)

25 November 2015 - 2:31pm
I'm on tour at the moment and don't tend to browse too much. Luckily I spotted this on the technical branch.

Some of you might be interested if you haven't already seen it.


My brain aches after reading it all. Coming up for 2500kms on my 26x1.5 M greenguards, fitted for the tour. Still not sure what I think about them so have held off posting till the fog clears.

Re: Touring luxuries

25 November 2015 - 2:16pm
I think we're redefining luxury here ...

But that's a good thing IMV.

Re: Touring luxuries

25 November 2015 - 1:02pm
We like to take a small game or two - Yahtzee is good as it only requires 5 dice, but some other small games pack pretty small - we like San Juan, Mapominoes, and have taken Carcassonne too. A bit more sociable than a book when you're touring as a family.

Tour for the spring

25 November 2015 - 12:17pm
It's now looking almost certain that I will be made redundant in the new year, so myself and MrsS are looking at taking the opportunity for a tour longer than can be done in a normal holiday.

We are thinking of starting in April, from Roscoff, following La Velodyssee as far as Lacanau, cutting cross to Bordeaux to join the Canal des duex mers, following the Gironde and Canal du Midi to Sete on the Mediterranean coast (I know some parts of this may not be rideable - taking road alternatives is no problem). From there, roughly follow the route of the partially completed Via Rhona to Geneva, followed by the Swiss Rhone Route to Andermatt. That connects with the EV15 Rhine route that leads all the way back to Hook of Holland and home.

As far as I can ascertain this is something over 4000km and would occupy us for a couple of months or so (MrsS is not keen on high daily mileages). We would be camping - aside from the first bit through Brittany where many sites will be closed there should be no problems.

So - a few questions - any comments on the proposed route generally? Anyone done anything similar?
The Switzerland bit - anyone toured there recently? How expensive will it be? (We will have nearly 800km there)
What are the German and Dutch parts of the Rhine like? Plenty of campsites?
Any other advice or suggestions?


Re: Rain Jacket

25 November 2015 - 11:37am
Over the years, I have used any number of jackets for touring. I loved my Greenspot Nomad which was state of the art in the seventies and there have been some others that were really good. But, there's no doubt that today's jackets are very much better than what we had before. Recently, I started using a Showers Pass Refuge jacket and it's been first class - by far the best I have ever used. It combines 3-layer Elite material with exceptional venting which results in a very high standard of breathability, waterproofness and venting. Another plus for me is that it is not designed for a tight 'race fit' so it's much more comfortable when on the bike for a long period.



Re: Touring luxuries

25 November 2015 - 11:24am
andrew_s wrote:horizon wrote:By definition though, if it's a luxury it doesn't get taken
Not at all.
Any "nice to have" item that you know isn't essential and that you could do without if necessary is a luxury.
I'd argue that Chat Noir's smartphone falls into that category, though I don't suppose he'd agree, especially if he's one of the 50% of the population that suffer from Nomophobia.

I'll concede on this - I still can't get my head round it though . It may of course be that something like cycle touring (mainy camping but even staying in a hotel after a long ride) accentuates all of life's experiences: what is normal and taken for granted suddenly becomes an utmost luxury. Maybe poorer people have these experiences all the time. But maybe also the searching for luxuries in today's world is a pointless exercise - first of all you have to go without and then you realise that even a simple thing can be a luxury.

Re: Route planning app?

25 November 2015 - 9:56am
MrsHJ wrote:On route planning I have some routes already generated but what does everyone download the Gpx Files it produces too. I have an iPhone and iPad that aren't interested in Gpx or is it GPs downloads. The laptop can see them and download them to save but can't open them.

How do I get the route from saved on my lap top to open in something like my iPhone on a suitable app (and which apps do you use?).
On your laptop depends what applications you have installed that will open .gpx files. On my Mac I tend to use GoogleEarth (hate it but can't find anything better yet). I would assume GoogleEarth on windows would have similar functionality.

As to getting it onto your iPhone, it depends on what app you use as different apps support different methods (normally several different methods). On my iPhone I use MapOut http://mapoutapp.com/en/ (payed for but pretty cheap). And it is excellent. You download OpenStreet Map mapping for offline use (and it uses vector mapping so has massive resolution and much lower storage that the other tile based apps). It includes cycle paths layers and is very good at showing altitude plots. To get your .gpx laptop to iPhone using MapOut on iPhone, easiest way is to free register with MapOut choosing a name and then you e-mail your .gpx to <chosen_name>@mapout.me and it will appear on your iPhone in the mapping app (showing as a route line over the map). Or you can send the .gpx using AirDrop or DropBox or iCloud Drive, etc. (though not OneDrive - Microsoft!).


Re: Riding with or without technology

25 November 2015 - 9:53am
I agree about a compass.
I have one on a pinger and is has helped in small towns in Holland and Belgium.
Using a paper map I know whether to exit the town N,S,E or W.
I also write a route plan and have it visible on the bar bag.

Re: Route planning app?

25 November 2015 - 9:24am
MrsHJ wrote:.....How do I get the route from saved on my lap top to open in something like my iPhone on a suitable app (and which apps do you use?).

I'm not an iPad/iPhone user so I can't help you on specifics, but in general terms you could email the gpx file on your laptop to yourself and then download it from your iPhone email app couldn't you?

Is Bluetooth file transfer possible between the iPad/iPhone?




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