Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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mjr
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby mjr » 3 Feb 2019, 6:59pm

Tyre Lady wrote:- Training - so I now understand my current bike will be useless as it really does not have a lot of gears and the hills will burn. So now will seek out a second hand touring bike

Number of gears doesn't get you over hills or have a high top speed. It's gear range that does that. Number of gears usually just minimises the amount of time you're going slower or working less than you could, by having gears closer together.

I tour on a 3 speed but I'd expect to be stuck in bottom for miles over mountains. But my bike is better than a London hire bike amd they've been up the Ventoux! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HUWCeAzkc2Q
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby MrsHJ » 3 Feb 2019, 7:20pm

Some passes will be closed in April but the main routes will be open unless they’ve just had major snowfall so you may need to tweak your route. If it’s been mild many of the minor routes will be open too. Train is an easy option in Switzerland, France, Netherlands. I haven’t tried Germany but I’d imagine it’s pretty easy if you need to cover a gap by rail.

For warm showers you get hosts like me! It leans to a slightly older crowd than couch surfing but of course due diligence is worthwhile. Many hosts have comprehensive reviews from previous travellers so you get a flavour of what you’ll be getting.

For bikes I prefer a trail bike or hybrid these days to a classic tourer and there might be more of those available but get whatever works for you and feels comfortable.

thirdcrank
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Feb 2019, 8:36pm

Tyre Lady wrote: ... - Training - so I now understand my current bike will be useless ...


I don't think it's possible to overstate the importance of getting some riding done now. Whether or not your current bike is suitable for your planned ride, if it works and fits then it should be OK for starters.

... Got to find a second hand bike now. Am trying to also go zero waste and to see how much I can get preloved.....Would you have a place you look for reliable 2nd hand stuff?


There isn't an organised secondhand market for bikes in the same way that there is for cars. There are plenty of bikes on ebay gumtree etc., but it's a minefield unless you really know what you are doing. Even something that's decent quality and a reasonable price might not be suitable for carrying luggage in a hilly area. I presume that if you had an experienced cyclist in your circle of friends, you'd not be asking on here.

I'd give a bit of thought to your longer-term plans. If you go through with this you'll be quite a seasoned rider. Unless you are already planning packing it in when you get home, then money spent on the right bike now would be an investment.

SJSC is a reputable firm selling quality touring bikes. They do Rohloff hub gears which might be more suitable for somebody without the time to learn about deraileurs. They do a few secondhand ones. Prices to match some secondhand cars but this may give you an idea.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/new-used-cycles-frames/

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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby RickH » 3 Feb 2019, 9:29pm

Tyre Lady wrote:Got to find a second hand bike now. Am trying to also go zero waste and to see how much I can get preloved.....Would you have a place you look for reliable 2nd hand stuff?

If you were willing to divulge your rough location people might be able to give more specific advice on place like bike co-op that refurbish & sell "prehated" bikes. They may well do workshops to learn basic maintenance too.

On the alpine passes a further thought - where the roads are kept open don't forget they are likely to be busy around Easter (which is late this year 20th April) with ski traffic. I don't know what the most popular school holiday dates are - our local authority are off from 5th & back straight after Easter but a neighbouring one is off from the beginning of April & having a separate long weekend for Easter itself. Other countries may be different again.

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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby Tyre Lady » 3 Feb 2019, 10:16pm

Wow again thank you folk for all your quick responses and feedback.
mjr - loved the vid. So a Boris bike will do!!!! :p

Am in Egham and anything that is purchased for this journey must be second hand / preloved. Preloved because it has been looked after before being moved on rather than pre-hated (tossed aside hoping it will disappear). So certainly want preloved :)

Am going to spend some time in my local Halfords / Decathalon to understand more about bicycle repair as well as to understand about what I need to look for in a bike. A hybrid looks great......and of course can always back up on a Boris bike!!!

Will have a look at those passes again. Am expecting to hit in April. Am also thinking should leave end of March ....
I'm gonna have to work harder with my planning......
Low carbon, zero waste running journey

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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby mjr » 3 Feb 2019, 10:36pm

Tyre Lady wrote:Wow again thank you folk for all your quick responses and feedback.
mjr - loved the vid. So a Boris bike will do!!!! :p

Yes but the excess hire charge would suck!

Silly video but serious point: it's not about number of gears. Those heavy beasts are geared low enough that an experienced rider can get them up mountains, but the trade off is that the top speed stinks.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby MrsHJ » 3 Feb 2019, 10:36pm

I’m off to the USA mid April for a major cycle trip and I’m only in the gym at the moment, not on my bike due to a couple of injuries, however my muscles have lots of cycling memories. NB I suspect that my overall fitness level is probably less than a quarter of yours atm so I have no doubt you’ll get there if committed.

I went to uni at RHC. Plenty of bikes shops in the wider area. Consider borrowing a bike if you have any friends that have a well geared one that’s sat in the garage and is comfortable for you.

I did a bike course for repairs at a UK cycling workshop but I think they’ve been discontinued now. As long as you can change a tyre I wouldn’t worry too much ( and I have seen some cycle touring blogs where the participant couldn’t change a tyre! ).

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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby simonhill » 4 Feb 2019, 3:53am

Glad you got back, I thought this may have been a PPP (post pub post).

A couple of points:

I would have a word with a local triathlon club about any problems of cross training in cycling and running. After my first proper tour (NZ), I could hardly walk up stairs, let alone run a marathon. Sitting on a bike for a few weeks sets your muscles differently.

As yours is "a worthy cause", you might get an article in a local paper to ask for a bike, although I think a local club might be a better starting point. Check out the club's of this organisation ie Cycle UK.

Edit: plenty of people tour on old style mountain bikes (no suspension). There are probably thousands of these lying around in garages in suburban Surrey. Put out the word you want one. You'll need to spend a bit on conversion (tyres, rack, mudguards,etc), but much less than a new bike.

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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby Tyre Lady » 4 Feb 2019, 7:51pm

Hey Simon and MrsH

Thanks so much for the suggestions. Am checking in with my local zero waste group and will find my local tri-club.

Went to Halford's and Decathalon today to look at bikes and see if I could be tea lady to watch the bike mechanics work. Halfords no, Decathalon yes as part of their workshop is in the public area :) So have a date to see Jordan on Thursday afternoon to begin to understand the tools that are used and repairs that are done.

So now have a bike specification from all of you
- If I get a road bike, change the tyres over to a multi-terrain type - otherwise trail or hybrid
- Cable brakes vs hydralic brakes - cable is recommended
- Normal handle bars if possible
- Hard seat
- Gears preferable
- Light is better
- Mud guards

Accessories:
- Dynamo light - hub dynamo - still need to look that up
- Panniers
- Cable lock

Have 3 potential routes:
1. By MrsH: https://cycle.travel/map/journey/88392 + https://cycle.travel/map/journey/88393
2. http://www.fahrrad-tour.de/Alpen/Index.htm - routes 16 & 21
3. There has been a suggestion to go down towards Nice to avoid the mountains and then into Trieste along the coast which would add plenty more miles
Low carbon, zero waste running journey

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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby HobbesOnTour » 4 Feb 2019, 8:54pm

Hi!
And welcome to the wonderful world of touring on a bike!

I'm going to go back to basics....
You want to
1)Cycle to Trieste for April 25 (1900 km)
2) Run 10k on April 27
3)Decamp to Geneva for May 12 (By bike? 900 km)
4) Run a marathon May 12
No information on how you get back...... are you expecting to survive? :D

Can you do it? Yes. Will you enjoy it? That's up to you.

Some negatives....
I'm going to assume your fitness is good but I wonder what a 1900 km tour would do to you physically that would negatively affect your running goals? How would you feel if your cycling meant that you couldn't complete your marathon?
As suggested above, talk to some with experience.

I would assume that a a first tour of almost 2000km across several countries (how are your languages?) on a deadline on a new to you bike could be stressful. One day of heavy rain you could sit out. But 4 or 5 in a row could seriously dent your progress. Mechanical problems could put you under pressure too.
As suggested above, you can always consider a train to catch up. :D

Budget: Have you thought how much this could cost? I'm assuming you're not camping so you'll have hefty nightly costs unless you use something like couchsurfing or warmshowers (couchsurfing for bike tourists). But these will take time to organise and I think time is something you are very short of. In any case, work out a daily cost - food, accommodation, misc to get an idea.

Some positives....
What a bloody great adventure! :D

Now some suggestions
As said above, get out on a bike... now. Any bike. Get a feel for what you can do. Aim to work up to a couple of shakedown rides that will tell you what distance you can do, what clothing works and what you need to bring with you.

Think about what you want to bring and how much space that will need. If you really want to, staying in hotels/B&Bs you could get away with a small bag, washing your clothes every night. More comfort means more gear.

Now think about the bike. Is this a one off or will you want to do more? If you plan to do more then it is worth it to choose carefully. In any case, I think the 2 most important things for you are that it has to be comfortable and it has to be mechanically sound.
Excellent advice above to pick up an old Mountainbike and have it converted. (Rack, mudguards, dynamo etc) Cheap & solid. (I have done that).
Again, budget is important. And don't forget things like panniers to carry your gear and some decent clothes to cycle in. I don't necessarily mean cycling clothing.
If you don't know anyone who is good with bikes, check out your local shops (when they are not busy) and seek advice. The problem with some bike shops is that they don't listen. If they don't listen... walk.
Worst case, you'll be travelling in a civilised area and lots of help will be available if you do have any technical problems.
One of the great advantages of travelling by bike is that people become very helpful! :D

Think about navigation. How will you do that? Maps? GPS? Phone or dedicated device?

Great that you're looking to get experience in Decathlon.... but be warned that some mechanics in these places are good - others not so.
And you don't really need off-road tyres. Most of your route will be on good surfaces.

Now, I'm going to turn things on their head... literally.
How about doing your tour.... in reverse?
Get you bike and gear and fly there? Then load up and cycle home.
I've two reasons for my suggestion.
The first is that the pressure is off.
The second is that you will be cycling through some prime touring real estate and it seems like such a shame to rush through it. People travel from all over to cycle along the Rhine or to cycle in the Alps. You'll be rushing through.....
If you fancy camping you could save a bit of money.
And snow will have less of an impact! :D

In any case, the very best of luck with your investigations!

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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby Tyre Lady » 4 Feb 2019, 9:25pm

Thanks so much Hobbes

The aim is to cycle there and back to highlight this as a low carbon, zero waste journey as have been given the title "Sustainability Development Ambassador" at these 2 events. So thought that it would be best to make this a low carbon, zero waste journey to the events. On the way back from Geneva I can relax & do some Parkruns.

I am toying with the idea of leaving on 26th March due to the possibility of a No Brexit deal causing chaos at the borders. So am thinking if am in the EU side on the 28th March, then I can probably relax about the mad rush over and start with less mileage. Have just told work am not going to be there last week of March!
Low carbon, zero waste running journey

HobbesOnTour
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby HobbesOnTour » 4 Feb 2019, 9:38pm

Tyre Lady wrote:Thanks so much Hobbes

The aim is to cycle there and back to highlight this as a low carbon, zero waste journey as have been given the title "Sustainability Development Ambassador" at these 2 events. So thought that it would be best to make this a low carbon, zero waste journey to the events. On the way back from Geneva I can relax & do some Parkruns.

I am toying with the idea of leaving on 26th March due to the possibility of a No Brexit deal causing chaos at the borders. So am thinking if am in the EU side on the 28th March, then I can probably relax about the mad rush over and start with less mileage. Have just told work am not going to be there last week of March!


Whoah!
That's one serious endeavour!
The very best of luck!

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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby thelawnet » 5 Feb 2019, 1:58am

Tyre Lady wrote:Went to Halford's and Decathalon today to look at bikes and see if I could be tea lady to watch the bike mechanics work. Halfords no, Decathalon yes as part of their workshop is in the public area :) So have a date to see Jordan on Thursday afternoon to begin to understand the tools that are used and repairs that are done.


Buying a worn bike & fixing it up is a good way to learn.

You need:

derailleur cables (*2) https://www.decathlon.co.uk/anti-fricti ... 51524.html
derailleur housing https://www.decathlon.co.uk/universal-g ... 17167.html
cable cutters https://www.decathlon.co.uk/cable-cutti ... 52340.html
brake cables (*2) https://www.decathlon.co.uk/road-mtb-pt ... 52559.html (assuming cable rather than hydraulic brakes)
brake housing https://www.decathlon.co.uk/bike-brake- ... 04803.html (ditto)
brake housing tips https://www.decathlon.co.uk/brake-housi ... 04799.html (ditto)
brake/derailleur cable ends https://www.decathlon.co.uk/brake-derai ... 04134.html
lube https://www.decathlon.co.uk/920-teflon- ... 99115.html
chain checker https://www.decathlon.co.uk/chain-wear- ... 51086.html
multitool with chaintool https://www.decathlon.co.uk/900-compact ... 85878.html
allen keys - https://www.decathlon.co.uk/set-of-6-al ... 02083.html (you certainly won't want to bring ALL of these with you but possibly you could bring one or two, though the multitool has them, they aren't as nice to use)

probably:

chain https://www.decathlon.co.uk/9-speed-bik ... 03903.html (must match the number of rear speeds on the bike)
chain quick links https://www.decathlon.co.uk/9-speed-cha ... 09073.html (ditto)

maybe:

cassette https://www.decathlon.co.uk/shimano-9s- ... 22001.html - (ditto, and the number of teeth on the largest cog as a starting presumption would be the same as the existing cassette, but you can possibly change that, and you might want to)
cassette tool https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SILVERLINE-C ... 0803604959 (and a 1/2 inch socket wrench)
chain whip https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Bike-Chain-W ... 2990745183?

A bike service tends to consists of replacing all the cables (derailleur & brake). The lube is handy for rubbing on the cables when you replace them. Cable housing doesn't need replacing every time you change cables, so you don't necessarily need to replace it. If it looks new & undamaged then you don't need to buy new housing etc., but changing them does help with the process of getting to understand things. Housing may be in sections, so check your existing housing - it may be several short sections of 40cm or so.

When you buy a bike, even new from a bike shop it's best to assume it has NOT been setup properly.

The rear derailleur has three main adjustments - the two limit screws, and the cable tension. If you set the limit screws correctly, once, then they should not need further adjustment. Cable tension adjustment, however, might need to be fiddled with on the road. If

Park Tool have the best guides https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-he ... adjustment

Front derailleur is similar https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-he ... adjustment

Doing the adjustment of both from scratch, several times, will mean you are more likely to be able to fix problems on the road.

The chain checker is essential for checking if you need a new chain. If your chain is new then you shouldn't need a new one before Trieste, though you could bring a chain checker to see how it's wearing if you like, and then get a new chain on the road. The cassette wears with the chain, but if you don't let the chain get too worn, it will last a few chains. When you replace the chain then if the cassette is jumping, then it means the cassette also needs replacing, so you would buy one, with the tools at that point. If you have a new chain and an old cassette and things are smooth then you should be ok.

Chain replacement is not difficult https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-he ... leur-bikes The main thing is making sure it's threaded the right way round the derailleur tab and cutting it the same way as the old one. Having a chain tool in your multi tool and spare chain links should mean that you can cope with a broken chain on the road.

You will need a pump for on the road. Possibly one that is designed to attach to your bike. A foot one for home is nice too https://www.decathlon.co.uk/900-floor-p ... 85190.html

You need to practice changing tyres. Do it several times until you can do it quickly. You may need tyre levers for this https://www.decathlon.co.uk/tyre-lever- ... 47839.html You will want to carry both a spare tube AND a puncture repair kit. Road pumps are a bit of a tricky conundrum as they tend to be either small or actually effective at pumping up tyres, pick one. So you will probably want a bigger one.

https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-he ... stallation

Brake servicing is not all that difficult but there are lots of kinds of brakes so you need to find a bike first. You will want to learn how to change pads, and to bring spare ones.

If you get a new/newly serviced bike then you probably won't need to do more than adjust cables a bit all the way to Trieste. But fixing up a bike that's in need of TLC will give you more experience/confidence.

Most parts just need cleaning & lubing sometimes. In particular, the chain and rear derailleur.

Hubs on a newly purchased bike may need lubing and/or adjusting but you can inspect these by spinning them and feeling for play, along with the bottom bracket.

In terms of power, dynamos have been mentioned - essentially obviously you need lights, you need phone power, and you may also have a GPS (though this is not essential). Lights in any case should come in twos - two different front & two different rear. Rear lights can be powered by disposable AA/AAA batteries, rechargeable USB or dynamo, and front lights by rechargeable USB or dynamo. Rear lights can last quite a long time with the same batteries, but fronts may not last that long at all. If you have a dynamo system then the secondary lights are less critical as they're just there in case the dynamo stops working.

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mjr
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby mjr » 5 Feb 2019, 9:21am

What's the "(G)" in the title mean? Trieste is not in Germany.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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thirdcrank
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Feb 2019, 9:42am

Graham?