3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
bp123
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Joined: 20 Jul 2018, 11:49am

3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby bp123 » 20 Jul 2018, 11:52am

I'm in a major dilemma.

I'm doing a last minute cycle trip this August with a friend, starting off in Dubrovnik (Croatia) and then going to Montenegro and Bosnia. I'll be living in my tent and therefore the bike will carry this, along with panniers, sleeping bag, clothes, and everything else I need to live. It'll be hot and hilly and a mix of on road and off (although mainly on road). Cycling about 100km a day on average.

I've not got a bike yet and running out of time. I have 4 options:

Option 1: Buy new bike through Cycle to Work scheme

This bike: [url]https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-dacite-1-2018-touring-bike-EV318241
[/url]
My company are signed up to the Cycle to Work scheme so the cost of the bike is paid in installments over a year. So for numbers sake lets say I pay back £100 a month for 12 months. The £100 is deducted from my monthly salary at work, but the advantage of this is that I end up paying less income tax since I'll effectively be earning less for a year.

Because I am signed up to that scheme with the bike company Evans, I'll have to get a bike from Evans' website: https://www.evanscycles.com/

I've been into their shop and they recommended the bike I posted above. It's obviously expensive (£950) although I do get it a bit cheaper than the price it shows due to the Cycle to Work scheme. However my flights don't have hold luggage so I'll have to pay £150 to get it sent over (cost is for there and back) and on top of this I'll have to pay the cost of the bike.

Do you think they have another suitable bike that you'd recommend which is a bit better priced? I'm by no means an expert but perhaps: https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-lithium-3-2018-hybrid-bike-EV275573
https://www.evanscycles.com/jamis-aurora-2018-touring-bike-EV306037

Option 2: Borrow my friend's bike

Obviously this wouldn't cost me apart from the cost of sending it on the plane as i've not paid for baggage (£150). The problem with this is the bike probably wouldn't fit me. I can adjust handlebars and saddle but if the actual bike frame itself is too small it could cause me injuries, make me tire quicker and cause aches and pains on the trip.

Option 3: Bike hire/rent a bike

I could rent a bike in Dubrovnik or anywhere on my cycling route early on. In fact I could rent from anywhere in Croatia even if it's far from Dubrovnik as they can often drive the bike down to me in Dubrovnik and I pay a delivery fee. Bike hire will cost about 400-600 euros (£360-£540). Advantage is I don't need to pay shipping/aeroplane luggage fee of £150. The disadvantage is that so much could go wrong: the bike hire person may not turn up at the airport, the bike is the wrong one, it doesn't fit me, the panniers don't fit, it's a scam, etc etc (there could be a million scenarios I haven't predicted).

Option 4A: Buy second hand

If I buy second hand I'd still need to send over to Dubrovnik so would have to pay aeroplane baggage fee. Chance that it could be a faulty/dodgy bike from Ebay and I can't get my money back. Or I get the bike online, try it and decide it's not for me and I can't get a refund. But the advantage is bikes lose their value a lot when second hand meaning I could get a cheap one that's still good.

4B: Probably unrealistic but I could try buy a bike off Croatian Ebay so I don't have to pay baggage fee (and get this sent to a hotel I could stay in for one night). Once I've bought the bike I put it on Ebay immediately so I could sell it hopefully before I fly home and not pay luggage fee for way back again (or try sell it to a Croatian bike store, Facebook marketplace etc). Croatian Ebay Touring bikes: https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/Bikes/177831/i.html?MfcISAPICommand&LH_SellerWithStore=1&LH_ItemCondition=3&_nkw=touring%20hybrid%20bike&_dcat=177831&rt=nc&_trksid=p2045573.m1684

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Any advice would be great because the clock is ticking! Thanks.
Last edited by bp123 on 20 Jul 2018, 1:39pm, edited 1 time in total.

Vorpal
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby Vorpal » 20 Jul 2018, 11:57am

Welcome to the forum.

The first question is, do you currently have a bike of any sort? If so, what? If not, what else do you plan to do with a bicycle?

The second question is how much cycling have you done?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

nirakaro
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby nirakaro » 20 Jul 2018, 12:09pm

The third question is, how much cycling has your friend done? Is there a risk of a serious mismatch of fitness levels? If you don't currently own a bike, 100km a day may seem a bit ambitious.

whoof
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby whoof » 20 Jul 2018, 12:50pm

As above if you currently have a bike that could carry luggage I would use this. You may need to adapt it, change tyres or fit a rack but in the time you have got I think you are going to struggle to sort out a bike (that fits). Whilst it's nice to have a dedicated touring bike plenty of people tour on hybrids and mountain bikes. This guy does it on a light-weight racing bikes although it's a bit extreme for most people and you would have to stick to a reasonably well surfaced route.
http://ultralightcycling.blogspot.com/

bp123
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby bp123 » 20 Jul 2018, 1:36pm

Vorpal wrote:Welcome to the forum.

The first question is, do you currently have a bike of any sort? If so, what? If not, what else do you plan to do with a bicycle?

The second question is how much cycling have you done?

Hi Vorpal.

Thanks, and thanks for your reply.

Yes I have a bike but it is not suitable. It's a mountain bike and probably doesn't fit me as well as it should but I have been 'making do' with it over the last few months for my training. I wouldn't take that bike with me on my trip though.

I'm cycling about 12 miles a day and about 30 miles on weekends (on top of running and gym). My fitness is very good. I run 5km in 21 minutes (I know this doesn't carry across to cycling but just as an idea) and go to the gym 5 times a week. My friend's cycling fitness is better but is aware I may lag behind a little and will go at a slower pace and will carry more of the shared items like our tent.

I was more after help with deciding on the bike as opposed to planinng my journey/trip in general.

simonhill
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby simonhill » 20 Jul 2018, 3:40pm

Buy new if you can afford it. Evans have a pretty good range of bikes.

Ditch the gym and running and put as many miles as possible on the bike so you can get it serviced before you go


I don't understand why you can't add bike to your luggage. Most airlines allow later additions and the more expensive buy at check in. Would've thought both cheaper than £150.

whoof
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby whoof » 20 Jul 2018, 4:15pm

As above see link to adding luggage from EasyJet.

http://www.easyjet.com/en/help/easyjet-holidays/baggage

bp123
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby bp123 » 20 Jul 2018, 4:29pm

simonhill wrote:Buy new if you can afford it. Evans have a pretty good range of bikes.

Ditch the gym and running and put as many miles as possible on the bike so you can get it serviced before you go


I don't understand why you can't add bike to your luggage. Most airlines allow later additions and the more expensive buy at check in. Would've thought both cheaper than £150.



It's an indirect flight so will have to pay for each airline. I can add it to luggage but not cheap since I only paid for hand luggage and its last minute. Thanks.

bp123
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby bp123 » 20 Jul 2018, 5:16pm

I've found this on Ebay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/113054903996 ... 3054903996



Would that be suitable? Seems cheaper

crazydave789
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby crazydave789 » 20 Jul 2018, 7:30pm

there's some decent bikes on ebay at the moment for around £500.

price wise I'd look at your mates bike and changing bits to suit like stems and posts if you need to. size it to suit and spend a weekend on on it. most people tour on converted MTBs which just have smaller sized frames. it depends on your riding style and preferences. I converted a marin last year and spent two weeks of ten hour days quite happily. your body tends to set though so make sure you duplicate your setup into a new bike, saddle height and reach to avoid knee and lower back problems.

I've seen people go off on brand new bikes but be prepared to do your own maintenance checks and tweaks as everything beds in or ask them for pre stretched cables and threadlock.

no idea on the renting, I know it is popular and easy in Norway where they size you up and give you a couple of panniers to boot, most rentals though are just MTBs with racks on.

fitness wise you can get bored working your way up too much beyond extending your commute in the good weather, the main thing is having a seasoned bottom IMO. there's nothing wrong with just setting off as by the end of the second week if you eat right your body will have adjusted to be as fit as you need to be after a few achy days. I used to find that a good fast muscle aching hour repeated to be a habit set me up fine to potter off all day.

the only problem with some bikes I see is feet size, too big on a small frame and you can catch the panniers with your heels.

Vorpal
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby Vorpal » 20 Jul 2018, 8:30pm

bp123 wrote:
Vorpal wrote:Welcome to the forum.

The first question is, do you currently have a bike of any sort? If so, what? If not, what else do you plan to do with a bicycle?

The second question is how much cycling have you done?


I'm cycling about 12 miles a day and about 30 miles on weekends (on top of running and gym). My fitness is very good. I run 5km in 21 minutes (I know this doesn't carry across to cycling but just as an idea) and go to the gym 5 times a week. My friend's cycling fitness is better but is aware I may lag behind a little and will go at a slower pace and will carry more of the shared items like our tent.

I was more after help with deciding on the bike as opposed to planinng my journey/trip in general.

I wasn't asking those questions to help you plan your trip. I was wondering how urgent it was, if you needed to buy a new bike immediately, and that sort of thing.

I agree with above posters about swapping some gym/running time for cycling, though I will qualify it with a recommendation not to give up upper body work.

Otherwise, if you think you will ride it afterwards, buy a bike for more than just the trip. Buy one for commuting and leisure rides. If you think you might tour again, get one that is also suitable for touring. On that basis, I'd recommend the Jamis over the Pinnacle.

Also don't forget that you need to get anything else you don't already have, such as panniers, lights, tent, etc. The Pinnacle will need mudguards and a rack, while those won't add up to £200, there won't be as much difference in price as it currently looks like.

The Jamis also has the benefit of more hand positions. Flat bars basically have one hand position which can become tiring. I've toured on a hybrid, but I added bar ends, which helped.

I'm not sure about hiring, or the place(s) you might hire from. It seems like it could be a good possibility, but I have to admit that every time I have borrowed or hired a bike, I've been uncomfortable on it. I imagine that I could get used to them, but touring, I always take my own bike with.

Lastly, I recommend going and trying some bikes, and seeing what you think for yourself.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

MrsHJ
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby MrsHJ » 20 Jul 2018, 8:49pm

1. I’d also lean to adapting what I had already- mountain bikes are tourable with slick tyres, bike packing set up and minimal suspension.
2. My husbands trail bike has been on far more tours than husband has- borrowing is ok unless you are a very unusual size. A lot of Baloney is talked about fitting bikes- it makes a difference for sure but many people have coped fine with a mid size trail bike on tour- main thing is to get leg reach right and to test that arm reach is sensible - both can be tweaked/
3. Hiring is supposed to be doable with a good quality bike shop- I’ve not managed it myself but it’s a few years since I plodded round the massif çentral on a beaten up mountain bike rental.
4 i’d not Rush into a new bike unless you’re sure it’s what you want but if you know what you want be absolutely sure you're getting size right- set up can be tweaked later

Ps just back from Sainsbury’s which is doing a lightweight camping offer week. Got a towel and tongs -Tents were cheap and cheerful. £25 for a 2 person one that looked ok for touring if you put it on the rack.

eileithyia
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby eileithyia » 21 Jul 2018, 10:21am

If you already have a bike, whatever option you decide on Make Sure You Use the Saddle you already have....saddle comfort is utmost important.
The other thing to be aware of; 10 miles a day is great, 30 miles at weekend also great. You can probably do 40-50 miles in a day comfortably, but what about back to back 40-50 miles.... loaded up with and with a tender undercarriage.... If you can get a bike asap and have a practise 2-3 days away, with all the kit you will carry on the trip, practise packing and unpacking.....
It all sounds idyllic but how will you feel with lack of experience, tiredness and pouring rain as you reach your night's destination..... A few years back I had a tent (I had only put twice before) up within 3 mins as pouring rain began to descend at the end of a ride.

Also might be best to get a bike here; a new bike needs a service a couple of weeks after purchase, odd nuts and bolts can work loose, slack in the cables may need to be taken up as they stretch with that first early use.... a post sale service is usually part of the purchase price (or should be).
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

HobbesOnTour
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby HobbesOnTour » 21 Jul 2018, 12:11pm

bp123 wrote:I'm in a major dilemma......


Well, to start off, I wouldn't buy a new bike for a 3 week trip unless I already wanted that bike and had a use for it after the trip.

I'd also bear in mind the maxim about buying in haste and repenting at leisure.

I tour on a rigid MTB. Are you sure that yours is not suitable? Saddle height and handlebar height can be changed easily if it doesn't fit well. Is it worth bringing to a bike shop and asking what they say? If it works out, you've got a usable bike for minimal outlay. Forget what I've just written if it's a no-brand, heavy bike with lots of suspension.

I've another suggestion based on direct experience, which works best if you're doing a round trip, but can also work one-way.
Buy a bike there in a bike shop on the understanding that they buy it back off you at the end. (Offer a cash payment as opposed to card)

It could well work out cheaper than renting. More expensive than Ebay, but you're counting on the bike shop selling you a bike that is in full working order.

A Warmshowers guest of mine did that a few years ago. Cheap Ryanair flight to NL, bought a bike at a local bike store, cycled around the country, back to shop, got some money back & cheap flight home. I thought it was a great way to see a country on the cheap!

Personally, I wouldn't like to be taking a new, relatively untested bike on a plane to a foreign country. so many things could go wrong.
Similarly, I'd be reluctant to borrow a bike for the same reasons. Will the friendship survive a bike that gets mashed up in transit?

Good luck!

durhambiker
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Re: 3 week cycle trip - Buy bike, rent or borrow friend's bike

Postby durhambiker » 22 Jul 2018, 10:37am

Roads around Dubrovnik were v hilly and really busy.Temp in August probably well into 30s....On a bike you know nothing of...etc....Good luck