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Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 10 Sep 2015, 10:26am
by foxyrider
Last month i loosely followed the North Sea route from Europort, Rotterdam to just over the Danish border, in previous years i've based tours on the Romantic Strasse, Main Radweg and many more, sometimes using parts of several long distance routes.

I often see other people on the routes but i get the impression that most users are on day rides or perhaps a weekend as i rarely see others camping or riding loaded - this year maybe 4 riders from the thousands that i saw riding along the route. (This has been similar over the years across dozens of routes)

So two questions really, how many people really follow these routes for a real distance (over 100km)? and do people slavishly follow every signposted kilometre?

just curious really :D

Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 10 Sep 2015, 12:57pm
by Heltor Chasca
I've recently gone from Hoek van Holland up to Den Helder before heading out east. In the main I followed the relevant Knoppunten but being a rebellious explorer I took diversions and short cuts to take in other places, coffee, short cuts and find camp sites. I'm amazed I survived the experience and came out of it alive without sporting a 2 foot long beard. Someone must have been looking out for me.

As for not seeing many cycle tourists: Can you blame them? Touring by bike is a dreadful business. Coach is much nicer.

(Traditional CTC added as a caveat against the usual barrage of abuse)

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 10 Sep 2015, 1:27pm
by CyclingSi
I quite like the look of the NSCR, I have read several blogs who have ridden parts of it, I am penciling in plans to ride it in 2017 hopefully from Bergen downwards provided i can get time away from work, the section from Denmark to Holland looks very inviting assuming the wind is kind to you.

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 10 Sep 2015, 6:21pm
by psmiffy
Never - however I have ridden 100s of kilometres of most of the western european Eurovelos at one time or another - generally find out when I see the sign (assuming there is one) - a lot of the routes are just the obvious way to go - something about following other peoples routes that I find somehow against my touring ethos.

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 12 Sep 2015, 7:00pm
by DaveP
We recently followed Eurovelo 1 from Bayonne to La Rochelle. It was pleasant, peaceful and not particularly packed with interest! I think its great that long distance routes exist - they are obviously going to be useful to the inexperienced and the timid and can be helpful to others - a signposted cycle route through a major population centre is not something to be sneezed at IMO plus of course they are another option for you, which could, for example, help you manage your daily mileage.
But I think it will be a while before I set out to follow another one for any distance. The problem is that by their very nature - a new route superimposed on the man made landscape and designed to avoid this, that and the other - they tend to keep you away from whole classes of interesting stuff - pretty villages, interesting churches, boulangeries :oops: - well you see where I'm going...
We actually diverted to the Ile d'Oleron because we fancied riding over the bridge, and having regained the mainland diverted again just South of Rocheforte because we wanted to experience the Transporter Bridge. You could well ask why the official route carries on along its not very interesting reclaimed railway track and then crosses the town from East to West without having an option to go North through the lanes and visit one of the towns major attractions.
Once you start thinking like this then I feel that you might have largely outgrown most of the need for cycle routes of this kind - but they are still a good thing!

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 12 Sep 2015, 8:04pm
by simonhill
Re the original post:

Not everyone who rides long distance routes has to be riding a fully loaded bike with camping gear. If hostelling or hotels, etc you can look pretty much like a day rider. Many Continental cyclists wear casual clothes rather than lycra The only way to find out if they are doing the whole route is to ask them.

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 19 Sep 2015, 3:41pm
by slowpoke
You will rarely see people going the same direction as you are since you tend to stay the same distance apart as you move along - you pass lots of recreational cyclists because they are going more slowly than you - but distance bikers all tend to zip along around similarly and so don't see each other. People closing on you are often hard to categorize because they are closing fast or occluded by cars and stuff or you're not looking at them. So it may just be a sampling phenomenon!

That being said, it always seems that the long distance routes are about getting somewhere. And when i'm touring, i'm really in the mood to not get somewhere because - it's the journey not the destination. Plus they are often seem to be on roads i don't want to ride. Numerous times i have started off on one of them, only to get discomfited by their nature. In the desire to arrive they take a sort of B-road route which is often quite unpleasantly busy. B-roads are the worst - its how motorists do their local traveling - whoosh! We try to ride as much as possible off road or on roads that aren't even on car maps - bridle paths, towpaths etc. This means we go very slowly. On the other hand, we see and experience many things as we average our puny 8 mph that we'd miss at 14 mph on the bike path along the A3 - which is doubtless on a long distance route to somewhere. While i am tempted to do the end-to-end, for example, I will take three months to do it. Getting to John O'Groats from Penzance is completely pointless and arbitrary. But to sample the length of England and wander aimlessly around from pub to transport caff or stately home to cottage while wending northwards - that's significant.

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 19 Sep 2015, 5:54pm
by nirakaro
I think most people are drawn to a small number of well-publicised routes. On my tour this spring, I spent a couple of days on the Danube cycle path, and a couple of days on the Loire; they were both hoaching with cyclists, many of them laden and looking like they were going a fair way. Other than that, in seven weeks and 1800 miles, I could have counted obvious touring cyclists on my thumbs.

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 19 Sep 2015, 6:34pm
by foxyrider
simonhill wrote:Re the original post:

Not everyone who rides long distance routes has to be riding a fully loaded bike with camping gear. If hostelling or hotels, etc you can look pretty much like a day rider. Many Continental cyclists wear casual clothes rather than lycra The only way to find out if they are doing the whole route is to ask them.

I'm well aware of that, i'm not always clad in lycra and fully loaded up either! On any of the routes you might reasonably expect to see others going the opposite direction or staying at the same hotel or campsite.

FME the distance riders will usually give you a nod or wave whilst the day riders are too wrapped up in turning the pedals to even notice you. Sometimes i've had a wave and knowing smile from someone who knows a distance rider when they see one, maybe because they are too.

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 22 Sep 2015, 3:59pm
by tyreon
Slowpoke: That's the way I should try to do it!

One: I can't travel fast anyways: don't like it. Two: more disabled by age,my body wont allow it. Three: A moderate speed,the more you see. Having said all that: for some crazi reason I still feel impelled to want to ride 50mpd,when 30 is just fine,and probably better for me. Maybe it's the rat-life of England or something :rusharound type living.
Nowadays,as evening begins to set,I feel impelled to do a little more(rush)cos my days are getting shorter. In youth I had more time

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 22 Sep 2015, 4:07pm
by tyreon
Whoops! No tow paths or bridleways for me,thanks. Unclassified or B roads. That's 6mph stuff. With bumps,thorns,mud slush,dead ends and such.

At Last! Found someone who goes slower than myself. Gold!!

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 22 Sep 2015, 7:03pm
by bikepacker
Last week we rode Eurovelo 6 from Montbaliard to Dole and it was excellent meeting many on route.. This week we intended to use ViRhona south from Vienne but gave after about 30 miles as it was difficult to follow and did a lot of backtracking.

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 22 Sep 2015, 7:47pm
by Tangled Metal
I live in an area where we see loads of long distance cyclists. It's on one of the main north-south routes so you see a lot of people doing LEJOG or JOGLE.

One such guy was a truly laden tourer with a decent straggly beard, seriously worn clothing look, badges or the like showing they've far and the Saltyre showing that he's on his way back home to Scotland. Don't know who he was or where he'd been but it was obvious he was going home and needing a long rest from cycling!

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 27 Sep 2015, 5:37pm
by ossie
Ive just cycled Eurovelo 15 from the Hook of Holland to Basel, then turned right and did Eurovelo 6 up to Angers (1300 miles)..this was after 4 days of touring in the UK to get to Harwich. Saw no fellow tourers on my NCN routes to Harwich and only a small number of long haul travellers on my trip overall,some days none, others one or two. Only on two camp sites did I see fellow cyclists. The vast majority I spoke with were doing short sections of both routes, staying in hotels / B&B etc and taking the train home. Lets be honest you can usually tell the difference between those doing long trips / camping etc and those with a couple of panniers cycling short sections - state of the bike / personal appearance / clothing etc.

Although out of season I was expecting EV6 to be busier. I didnt stick religiously to the routes as had a rough pre planned route on my Garmin but some of the signage was just plain odd and the cynic in me realised that at times you were infact being directed through irrelevant villages, conveniently by certain shops who may happen to prosper from cyclists passing by (and popping in).

Re: Long Distance Cycle Routes

Posted: 4 Sep 2018, 11:22pm
by jamier1987
Does anyone know any good route planning resources, even themselves? I'm planning a charity ride from London, to Brighton, ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe (France), then from Dieppe to Antibes (south cost next to Nice). Any tips, advice or guidance on the French let of the route would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.