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Updated: 49 min 27 sec ago

Re: Trip report - Faro to Porto

9 hours 55 min ago
I did it the other way round in October last year. Porto to Faro. Recommended. The worst HGV and Bus drivers I've ever come across though.

Re: Cycling holidays

10 hours 35 min ago
Wow when i can sign up.....

Re: Trip report - Faro to Porto

7 October 2015 - 7:42pm
Thanks Ivie I forgot Monsanto which considering I was there last week is a bit of an oversight! Also nearby is Idanha a Velha which although it has no accommodation is worth a quick explore especially if you are going to Monsanto. Idanha a Nova also has a couple of places to stay.

Re: Cycling holidays

7 October 2015 - 7:03pm
Now that latest set of pics are selling it a lot better! (apart from the quality of the track in the second one)

Re: Cycling holidays

7 October 2015 - 6:53pm
I had a look at some Indonesian bikes:

http://www.polygonbikes.com/id/bikes/de ... 5-5.0#spec - perhaps excessively chunky/mtby? (£275)

http://www.polygonbikes.com/id/bikes/de ... -5.05#spec - more sensible but maybe could do without the suspension fork? (£275)

http://www.polygonbikes.com/id/bikes/de ... e-i71#spec - this is going to be undergeared I think (£325)

are 29ers getting easier to find in asia and sub continent

7 October 2015 - 5:44pm
Over the past few years there has been a change from 26" to 27.5 or 29" wheels on mtb. Obviously this means an increase in the number and type of tyres, tubes and wheelsets around to choose from.

This got me thinking about what is happening in countries like Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, India etc, where 26" wheels were the rule.
Has anyone travelled over there recently to provide first hand experience on the 29" availability.

My reasoning for asking is that the traditional touring bike for non first world countries is based upon the 26" wheel size, but is there perhaps a changing of the guard going on, where buying / building a touring bike for non first world countries means you would go 29" rather than 26".
Maybe the changeover may take years. I don't know, hence the question.
My question is more about availability than the discussion of whats best for touring.

Re: Cycling holidays

7 October 2015 - 5:42pm
Yeah I wasn't anticipating on doing that distance. I agree about the climate - I see many people who get destroyed by the humidity on relatively simple hikes, though I think bicycles provide a little wind cooling, compared with walking.

The 7 day ish route I had in mind in my first post would be initially a shortish ride past rice fields
to here

Then a longer ride here:

then a hill climb up to here:


down slightly to here, via some scenic mountain roads:

down here:

over to here:

then down this switchback:

to reach here

and then winding across over to here:

The journeys to the start, and from the end point are potentially past a lot of palm oil plantations, which I'm not keen on, so I was thinking of starting and finishing the trip with car journeys, basically.

Re: Andalucia and Pico Veleta

7 October 2015 - 2:36pm
I motorcycled up the Veleta northern approach road back in 1993. You can still get onto the road on a bicycle, just dodge around the barriers. As you say, it is pretty potholed and rough further up, it was back in '93. Probably just about do-able on your tyres.

I walked up Mulhacen (3580m, not far from Veleta) in June a few years ago. It was 14C at midday and windy on top. In October it is going to be not much above zero even at the warmest time of day. At night it will be below freezing. There was also a bit of snow right at the top even in June, so depending on when the snow starts the road may be blocked at the top in October. The air is also pretty thin up there: I skied up on Veleta a few years back and walked (with my skis) from the top of the highest drag lift up to the peak. It only looked like a few hundred metres, I thought "that'll take me 10 minutes". 45 minutes later I struggled to the top, absolutely knackered.

But if you get a clear day, the views alone are worth it. Good luck!

Re: Trip report - Faro to Porto

7 October 2015 - 2:16pm
iviehoff wrote:No cycling is an obvious red sign, not a blue one. That blue one, which I've never seen, sounds similar to one they have in in Czech Rep which, I finally worked out by a process of elimination, means "this cycle route is no longer traffic free".
Thanks. That meaning also wouldn't make sense in that location, part way along an all-traffic road. Oh well, a holiday puzzle

Re: Belgium rail strike 9 oct (affects UK & France)

7 October 2015 - 2:02pm
Eurostar is informing of no modification to London-Paris timetable. I'm due to travel to Paris on Eurostar, for the first time, on that day and am somewhat relieved.
http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-in ... ice-update

Re: Trip report - Faro to Porto

7 October 2015 - 1:55pm
Boris gives good recommendations, though he fails to mention a particular highlight of Monsanto which is on his route. It is difficult avoiding having to go through and stay in CB, which is not a wonderful place, because of the shape of the road network and lack of alternatives within a reasonable distance. I've been over the top of S Estrela twice, it's sufficiently good, and Belmonte is a lovely place one the way. But it is also nice keeping east further north, through Sabugal, Almeida, Torre de Moncorvo (a friend once used this is a base for a multi-night stay), and then many places to explore in the NE and N more generally, it's hard to go wrong there. (Sadly Sortelha which used to be a really primitive little mediaval village has been bought up and converted to an upmarket resort or something.) Up in the NE, you can collect places with really odd names, like Figueira do Castelo Rodrigo (Roderick Castle's Figtree), Freixa da Espada a Cinta (Freixa of the Belted Sword), Alfandega da Fe (the Customs House of Faith), etc.

No cycling is an obvious red sign, not a blue one. That blue one, which I've never seen, sounds similar to one they have in in Czech Rep which, I finally worked out by a process of elimination, means "this cycle route is no longer traffic free".

Belgium rail strike 9 oct (affects UK & France)

7 October 2015 - 1:51pm
I received the following today in email:
Belgium, France, UK: Expect disruption to rail services due to strike on 9 October
Members should expect significant disruption to rail services between France, Belgium and the UK due to a planned 24-hour strike from 22.00 (local time) on 8 October by workers of Belgian national rail operator SNCB affiliated to the CGSP-Cheminots union. Further strikes are tentatively planned for 19 and 20 October.
The work stoppage is expected to severely disrupt Belgium's national rail operations on 9 October, as well as services of the international Thalys trains, which will be almost entirely suspended. Eurostar services on the Brussels route will only be able to operate to and from the Lille Europe station (France), while services between Lille Europe and London St Pancras (UK) will run to a modified schedule.
Travel Advice
• If intending to undertake rail travel between Brussels or Lille Europe and London via Eurostar, check the status of trains prior to travel and readjust itineraries if required. We do not hold information on train schedules.
• Contact Eurostar directly to amend or cancel your bookings should you make alternative travel arrangements.
• If scheduled to travel on Thalys services on 9 October, make alternative arrangements. Those with bookings on 8 or 10 October should enquire about the status of the relevant service.

I guess most people who are travelling in this period will have received noification.

Re: Sustrans routes GPS

7 October 2015 - 9:12am
simonineaston wrote: but wouldn't it be great if all the Sustrans routes were as easy to find, in gpx form, on the Sustrans website?

yes !!

I am planning to timelapse-video the length of the London Out Orbital Path and the London Inner Ring

It's a bit of a mammoth planning exercise as it is (batteries and distance!). as will be uploading all the vids, tagging etc.

anyone know where I can download SIMPLY all the various legs as I will need to do each one separately.

Re: Trip report - Faro to Porto

7 October 2015 - 9:03am
Assuming you want to head towards Porto, from Evora I would head east through the marble towns of Vila Vicosa and Borba towards Elvas, then north through the Sao Marmede mountains to Marvao, Castelo de Vide. These are wonderful towns. Continue heading north on the lanes that follow the main road through Nisa to Vila Velha de Rodao (don't stay there as its a stinky industrial town). Maybe stay in Castelo Branco. Then continue north towards Fundao and over the Serra de Estrela (2000m) or maybe by-pass it by going through Loriga. Then Seia, Viseu and back to the coast and up to Porto. It will be quite mountainous after you leave CB. The other option from VVR would be to edge towards Oleiros, Pamphilosa da Serra, Gois, Penacova and Luso/Bucaco. Either way you will encounter timeless villages, fab views, friendly locals cheap accom and food. Unless you like and can cope with the heat I'd avoid July and August. April/May is a good time to visit the Alentejo as there are lots of wild flowers, that lay in carpets under the cork oaks. The scenery changes quite dramatically as you cross the Tejo from granite to shist and gets a whole lot more mountainous so plan your daily routes accordingly. The climbs tend to be not alpine in the sense that they are not long and gently sloped but rather short and steep - when I say short I mean up to 10 miles or so in length. The exception is the climb to Torre on Serra de Estrela which is a brute. If you want anymore advice let me know.

Re: Tour de Manche

7 October 2015 - 8:54am
IanCh wrote:OK - I have now plotted a route between St Malo and Cherbourg using the limited information from the Le Tour de Manche website. I would feel a lot happier if a member could confirm that the route is well signposted.

The signage is good. I got slightly lost coming out of Cherbourg but the rest was fine. I downloaded the route from the web site http://en.tourdemanche.com/practical-in ... gps-tracks and plotted it on memory map. I then printed out the sheets as well as using the gps. But if you zoom in to the segments on the website you can get very detailed maps eg. http://en.tourdemanche.com/troncons/cherbourg-carentan even if you don't use gps.

Re: Cycling holidays

7 October 2015 - 8:13am
110 miles is too far in a day for most cyclists, especially in Sumatran climate. They'd have to be really fit cyclists on light road bikes with a good road surface, and acclimatised.

You do need to think about the climate. If your clientele are coming from places with cool climates, it takes them quite a while to acclimatise to the climate. If they get straight off the plane to riding full days on the bike, they'll get heat exhaustion and you'll soon have a group of rather ill clients expelling material copiously from both ends. You have to warm them up with short rides, at most half a day, for a few days first until they can ride all day in that heat and humidity. Moreover, they need to be careful to take things very easily when off the bike too, those first few days, and drink very copiously.

You describe the tour as travelling between points of interest by bike. Is the ride not very scenic? That may make it difficult to sell, unless the points of interest are frequent. Most cyclists expect scenery on the way too, though frequent interesting villages count as scenery. I found riding in Malaysia quite boring a lot of the time because I couldn't see further than the trees lining the roadsides, and when we went through large oil-palm and rubber plantations that was tedious in the extreme. But I thought Lake Toba etc was supposed to be quite scenic.

Re: Vrienden op de Fiets

7 October 2015 - 8:03am
Ah, that's interesting - and concerning! I'll start contacting people soon. Camping not really an alternative and can't afford ordinary B&B rates. YHA's possible but not enough of them where I want to go!

Re: Tour de Manche

6 October 2015 - 10:43pm
I recall little if any specific signposts related to the Tour de Manche, hence the comments that this is more of a branding exercise than something of substance. However, don't be put off. It's a nice ride and armed with the maps I list in my blog you should be OK - certainly the Voies Vertes sections are well marked on the maps and navigation is easy.

Re: In an heavy raining day

6 October 2015 - 10:30pm
TBH I was quite surprised at the OP. Cycling in the rain in the UK or anywhere warm is (for me at any rate) very pleasant: the rain reduces fumes and dust and clears the air. It's also refreshing and, as most people will attest, vastly better than cycling into a headwind. Modern clothing is pretty amazing so you should be able to keep warm and dry on your body area. The real problem IMV is getting cold. If that has come about as the consequence of rain, then yes, it might be time to find place to warm up and/or dry out or put on an extra layer (panniers anyone?).

I'm just wondering if, as time goes by, an entire generation of children having spent their time in the back of cars will have grown up not having learnt the pleasures of being out in the rain.

PS The OP mentioned heavy rain and that might make cycling impractical (flooding etc) but otherwise is also OK. The other point to make is that rain usually comes with a warm front or tropical clouds. So warm and rain usually go together (not always I accept).

Re: Cycling holidays

6 October 2015 - 10:15pm
Well I found an existing itinerary, albeit one that is no longer run


The daily distances they are talking about there are:

1st day - arrival
2nd day - 60 miles, largely flat, then sightseeing
3rd day - 75 miles, climb to 1300 metres
4th day - sightseeing
5th day - 70 miles, downhill
6th-8th day - sightseeing
9th day - 110 miles, with hills
10th day - 110 miles
11th day - 80 miles
12th day - 35 miles
13th day - 35 miles
14th day - 60 miles

From what I can see on their other pages, they supply Trek FX hybrid bikes with 700x32 tyres, but one of their videos shows everyone on drop-barred road bikes - I guess if you are doing a 'casual' cycling trip, of around 30 miles per day, then that's about right, but the people doing the 100+ mile/day trips would tend to pack their own bikes.

It looks like the thing to do is to emphasise the 'sag wagon', so anyone who doesn't fancy cycling from 0 up to 2500 metres above sea-level can always give up and get driven.


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