Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Spadger
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Joined: 1 Feb 2017, 4:22pm

Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby Spadger » 1 Feb 2017, 5:21pm

Hi, I'm new to the forum and bicycle touring.
I've been on a couple of trips through Belgium and holland, which are both lovely flat countries. For my next adventure this spring I'm tripling the distance and taking the Newhaven - Dieppe ferry, then along the coast of France to meet up with the euro velo 1 and follow it down Spain.

What I want to know is:

How realisticic is it to cover a thousand miles in a month?
Is that just an insane idea?

What can I do to reduce the costs? -
Will I get in massive trouble for rough camping?

And last is my bike,
I have a trek 7.0 FX, his name is Jeremy farcycle. He's had his fair share of abuse - his wheels are something like a Quentin Blake drawing of wheels. I'm thinking about either giving him a revamp or buying a second hand touring bike. I asked a friend about the strongest all round wheels I could get for touring and he suggested cyclo-cross wheels. Which are expensive, but seem worth the investment. I'm also interested in butterfly handlebars, as the flat bars I have at the moment tend to strain the old wrists on longer rides.

So I would be looking at spending maybe £200-300 on either a second hand touring bike or kitting out poor old Jeremy with some fancy new bits, what do ya reckon?

mercalia
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby mercalia » 1 Feb 2017, 7:53pm

1000 miles in a month is under 35 a day every day. not much. I would have thought 50-60 a day would be a relaxed ride and give you 10 days off? More a matter of if you want to cycle that much for so many days Me I would probably get bored. The best strong wheels would be ones based on Sputnik rims

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meic
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby meic » 1 Feb 2017, 8:01pm

How realisticic is it to cover a thousand miles in a month?

Totally realistic, I did 1100 miles in two weeks in that country and there are plenty who would consider me a dawdler.
An average of 35 miles a day is very achievable. Four hours cycling a day at a quite relaxed pace.

I mostly rough camp, nobody has ever hassled me on public land and those who have caught me on the likes of private club property have not been upset. So long as you LEAVE NO TRACE.
The municipal campsites are very cheap and good places to rough camp when they are closed out of season.
France is especially good for wild camping, especially as you get further South and the population density drops. Consider cooking with a Trangia as meths is sold in most supermarkets at around 1.50 Euros per litre.

I am a great fan of butterfly bars, though I much prefer the less usual style of positioning brakes and gear levers on the outside part of the bars, rather than the bottom section. It requires carefully prising the clamps a bit to get around the curves. Converting straight to butterfly should be quite straightforward requiring new (longer) cables inner and outer and a length of bar sponge handgrip tubing foam. You may find less suitable space available for accessories like speedometers and lights on the bars.

The bit of your bike to get right is the rear wheel, that is the most vulnerable part of it.
All of the rest is comparatively robust, simple or cheap to replace.
Yma o Hyd

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby Barrenfluffit » 1 Feb 2017, 8:43pm

The main expense when your moving is food and drink so supermarkets and self catering is your friend.

Buying a good second hand touring bike can be tricky; you have to know a fair bit about what your looking at and even then its a bit of a punt re comfort/fit. Usually its better to look at what you have, stuff like regreasing bearings, new chain, making sure everything lines up and runs smoothly and that the fit is good.
You can get often get drinking water in town squares and graveyards.

While its not essential your level of fitness makes a big difference to your enjoyment (at least initially). A physically a bike tour is about nibbling away and time in the saddle. You should have largely recovered from the riding by the next day. Overdoing it one day and having to take a day off tends to be counter-productive.

700c
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby 700c » 1 Feb 2017, 10:02pm

Spadger wrote:How realisticic is it to cover a thousand miles in a month?


1000 miles in a month is a leisurely ride, including a number of days resting.

What can I do to reduce the costs? -
Will I get in massive trouble for rough camping?


Rough camping is not at all problematic on EV1, just move away from the piste by 100 meters and you'll have a whole forest to yourself.

Municipal campsites are not plentiful so if you stumble across one and they have a space,grab it. It's usually 5 euros or thereabouts.
Private campsites (ie those run as a business) are usually far more expensive - we paid 35 Euros one time!

700c
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby 700c » 1 Feb 2017, 10:23pm

I forgot to mention a good read, search Amazon for "Hungry for Miles: Cycling across Europe on One Pound a Day" by Stephen Primrose-Smith (a member of this forum). He and a few acquaintances rode from I think Liverpool to Gibraltar on £1 a day, documented in a light-hearted way in this (e)book.

I'd say that £1 is not enough to adequately give your body the food it needs on such a trip, but these chaps did it.

Ayway, it's a good read for 99p (assuming you have a kindle or such).

irc
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby irc » 1 Feb 2017, 11:13pm

Another way to look at it is that you would be buying food if you were at home. So aside from plane/ferry fares if you have a reliable bike the only cost is accommodation. The more camping the better. The less you pay to camp the cheaper it is.

Anywhere you are out of sight of the road and not too close to houses will do if you are camping at dusk and leaving at dawn. Like anything else practice makes perfect. After a while you scan the countryside for likely spots without even thinking about it. Or in small towns ask the locals.

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Morzedec
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby Morzedec » 2 Feb 2017, 9:29am

Hello, some comments on Eurovelo One: whilst in places nothing more than a Tourist Board dream, the route is possible to follow - but be prepared to vary your route rather than slavishly following what at times can be a meandering, wandering journey. Similar to many designated cycling 'routes' in all countries across the World, EV1 has been designed to take the cyclist away from traffic at all times if possible, even if it means disappearing up a muddy track or heading along an urban footpath (in Souce-sur-Erdre, for example). Many rural roads in France are a joy to cycle along, traffic free, for dozens of kilometres on end - you will only encounter traffic when you head into a town to search for supplies.
Wild camp if you wish, but there are also Municipal campsites in many villages that charge next to nothing, so why not support the local economy and leave a few Euros behind you?
If you must wild camp then I'll suggest that you head for the remote countryside and pitch there, rather than being tempted by one of the many aires de picnic that can be found at the edge of villages. Quiet and peaceful places during the daytime, they will get busy later on when the dog walkers come out to let their pet have its nightly crap - and in France, no-one ever picks it up.
To summarise: use EV1 as a guide, but never be afraid to deviate away from it when the 'wanderings' start.
1600 kilometres in a month? - of course you can!
have fun!
This really is part of Eurovelo 1 in Souce-sur-Erdre! - Copy.jpg
This really is part of Eurovelo 1 in Souce-sur-Erdre! - Copy.jpg (17.98 KiB) Viewed 1230 times

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meic
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby meic » 2 Feb 2017, 9:40am

when the dog walkers come out to let their pet have its nightly crap

One of the things which quite surprised me in France was the pre-dawn dog walkers.
I was often enough found by dogs an hour before daylight, none of the owners ever considered me to be "their problem" and took their dogs away quickly enough but it did mean starting the day earlier than I planned and it is a failure of the general code of leaving no trace.
I still find such places as the best option available on many nights.
Yma o Hyd

hamster
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby hamster » 2 Feb 2017, 12:17pm

All good advice.
As to your bike, if I only had £200 to spend then I would sort out the wheels (Spa Cycles have a good reputation). Fit a new chain, cassette (and chainrings if necessary) plus brake and gear cables and you are good to go.

What matters most is that the bike is comfortable for you, its exact type is of secondary importance seeming as it's a sensible non-extreme machine.

whoof
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby whoof » 2 Feb 2017, 12:27pm

One simple way to make touring cost less is do it with someone else. It's cheaper per person for two rather than one to stay in a campsite or room.
Food can also work out cheaper. For instance milk is sold in one litre containers. That's plenty for two people to have an evening cupa plus cereal and a milky coffee in the morning. For one you can end up glugging milk in the morning just to use it up. Also ice creams, multipack magnum style ones are good value from places like Lidl but on your own eating three or more at a single sitting can be a bit excessive.

thornie1543
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby thornie1543 » 2 Feb 2017, 1:18pm

I've done all of eurovelo 1 through france,the second half seemed nothing but forests,think I could have built a house without being found let alone wild camping(may be a slight exaggeration,but not much :D ),have a wander off the route sometimes aswell,needs a bit of variation

psmiffy
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby psmiffy » 2 Feb 2017, 4:45pm

meic wrote:One of the things which quite surprised me in France was the pre-dawn dog walkers.



One of the things I surprised in France was a dawn dog walker


Sitting in my socks getting togged up for the day having packed up a wild camp :)

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Morzedec
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby Morzedec » 2 Feb 2017, 5:37pm

I was having a ponder, and remembered once camping in a French scrapyard.

The owner did not appear to mind, and even offered beer.

Luxury, and all free!

Wild camping yep,  in a scrapyard!.JPG
Wild camping yep, in a scrapyard!.JPG (24.74 KiB) Viewed 1100 times

Spadger
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Re: Any tips for touring on the cheap?

Postby Spadger » 3 Feb 2017, 4:20pm

meic wrote:
How realisticic is it to cover a thousand miles in a month?

Totally realistic, I did 1100 miles in two weeks in that country and there are plenty who would consider me a dawdler.
An average of 35 miles a day is very achievable. Four hours cycling a day at a quite relaxed pace.

I mostly rough camp, nobody has ever hassled me on public land and those who have caught me on the likes of private club property have not been upset. So long as you LEAVE NO TRACE.
The municipal campsites are very cheap and good places to rough camp when they are closed out of season.
France is especially good for wild camping, especially as you get further South and the population density drops. Consider cooking with a Trangia as meths is sold in most supermarkets at around 1.50 Euros per litre.

I am a great fan of butterfly bars, though I much prefer the less usual style of positioning brakes and gear levers on the outside part of the bars, rather than the bottom section. It requires carefully prising the clamps a bit to get around the curves. Converting straight to butterfly should be quite straightforward requiring new (longer) cables inner and outer and a length of bar sponge handgrip tubing foam. You may find less suitable space available for accessories like speedometers and lights on the bars.

The bit of your bike to get right is the rear wheel, that is the most vulnerable part of it.
All of the rest is comparatively robust, simple or cheap to replace.


it's good to hear that it's all achievable given the time frame, It's hard gauging how long it will all take without very much experience -
google says it'll all 4 days ... I don't trust google.
The municipal campsites sound like a good deal,
is there a website with the locations marked on a map or will they just pop up anywhere and everywhere?

I haven't yet used butterfly handlebars, but they look very comfortable :)