Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

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

Postby MrsHJ » 5 Feb 2019, 10:39am

Tyre Lady wrote: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


You’re welcome. On tyres I’d go for as wide road/trail and fairly smooth tyres as will fit in the bike (basically not super nobbly mountain ones although they are out of fashion anyway these days). If you tell the bike shop what you are doing they’ll fix you up. swalbe are very popular with riders here- maybe the marathon plus? They have a reputation for being very puncture resistant.

I am not nearly as capable as some others here with fixing my bike and I don’t think you have time to learn how to build up a bike in the time available- obviously if you want to that’s great. Otherwise one strategy might be to spend about £450 on a decent enough new one- if not you will ideally be buying a reasonably priced one from a bike enthusiast who has maintained theirs or borrowing one. My bike is a 12 year old dr dew from kona. The local bike shop put a new drive chain etc on it last year and whilst I’ll check it before I go I’m expecting it to be fine for a couple of thousand miles in the USA.

Your early start sounds good- a bit more time to enjoy it. It may be a bit chilly in the mornings so I’d not be aiming to do really long days- with good light at that time of year I don’t think you’ll need the lights much- but they do come in useful for tunnels in the mountains.

On the map it’s Richard Fairhurst’s website- I only entered the beginning and end points! It should link in to those routes you referenced if you put a “via” for the relevant towns and it will save it onto your routes then I think if you press save. The Eurovelo Network and various national bike networks are covered in the mapping- they are the linear red dots on the map. I might lean to using those quite a lot to avoid having to do too much planNing and navigating.

In my America route I’ve tweaked it to make sure it goes through somewhere I can stay every so often but given the density of the areas you’ll be visiting places to stay should be largely covered. It’s here: https://cycle.travel/map/journey/86594 . I have an excel spreadsheet with an outline distance and place to stay for each night but that’s because I’m accountant. I’ve done plenty of tours with just a Michelin map and my Nose and I fell ill on my last tour on Eurovelo 17 so didn’t keep to my schedule anyway. Cycle touring is very much for people who can adapt their plans and don’t need a fixed schedule.

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

Postby Tyre Lady » 5 Feb 2019, 3:48pm

Oh wow MrsH - your tour also looks impressive.
If you have the time, do see if you can get into Utah. The place is amazing - Arches, Canyon Land, lots.....and then there is MOAB.

Is the cycle route planner good or me to use as is or should I suppliment with further maps? (BTW love the cycle route planner if it is good to go. It is saving so much work!)

Also should I go via Nice or just head straight for the Alps with the option of using a train to get through if the passes are closed?
- though does add on 400 miles.....hmmmm. But I guess the worst that can happen for the Alps is I walk up them....
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/88749

As for bikes how now got the choice between an Aurora Challenge mountain bike that will need additions but works and a Mojave Dawes tour bike that will need work (pedal, wheel, brake check, chain....). I'll take it to my local repair cafe and see what they think.
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MrsHJ
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby MrsHJ » 5 Feb 2019, 4:02pm

Colorado- Moab-Salt Lake Citu is phase 2 -probably in September. I’m aiming for Portland but probably in 3 trips.

I’m embarrassed to say that my maps stayed in my panniers on my last trip (France and Switzerland) and I exclusively used cycle.travel to plan my route and google maps on my phone to check where I was. My Garmin cycle computer wasn’t working but I have a new one now so I can down load cycle.travel routes into it (broken into daily segments). A smart phone with roaming is enough but It feels safe to have a high level map of the general area or jot down your cues for turns and road numbers.

I think train segments are fine. Try to avoid too many changes though (lugging bikes and luggage on and off trains isn’t much fun especially if there are steps to get to the platform). Regional trains are a lot less hassle than say a TGV as you can just hop on with your bike. My husband was convinced he would have to walk the Pyrenees when we got there on his first trip- he was fine and he is a wine and food lover with a physique to match.He subsequently cycled up mont Ventoux and various other haut category climbs.

Good luck with he bike choice- I’m not sufficiently into the techie stuff to advice more than generally.
Last edited by MrsHJ on 6 Feb 2019, 10:42am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby John1054 » 5 Feb 2019, 10:04pm

(G) is to differentiate between this thread, which has been pruned from the original, that's been removed. Yes, Graham has had a hand in maintaining Forum etiquette, as well as myself. Good luck with your trip :D

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

Postby HobbesOnTour » 6 Feb 2019, 11:41am

Tyre Lady wrote:
As for bikes how now got the choice between an Aurora Challenge mountain bike that will need additions but works and a Mojave Dawes tour bike that will need work (pedal, wheel, brake check, chain....). I'll take it to my local repair cafe and see what they think.


A quick Google reveals nothing on the Aurora Challenge and the Mojave specs (at least on the most recent model) looks perfectly fine for what you want to do.

I can't stress enough the importance of 2 things for your decision - Comfort and Mechanically sound.
It doesn't matter how good the bike is if it doesn't fit you well or you are uncomfortable, especially given that you want to run a 10k then a marathon afterwards before cycling back!
Given you're on a deadline and this is a whole new adventure for you, an unsound bike has the potential to have a big impact on the enjoyment & success of your trip. Of course, maybe you're the "thrive on adversity" type so it will be an advantage! :D

Make sure whoever is helping you with your choice knows exactly what you want to do and knows what they are doing!

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

Postby Vorpal » 6 Feb 2019, 12:22pm

There are many answers here about lots of things, but if it was me....

The first thing I would do is get a bike, and have it set up professionally by a local (preferably independent) bike shop. Be a little careful with that, because while most have knowledgeable staff, you may come across some who don't, or cater mainly to road cyclists, and are not as knowledgeable about touring cyclists & their needs. It may help if you have a go on your own, or at least read this by member 531colin http://wheel-easy.org.uk/wp-content/upl ... -2017a.pdf

As regards saddle, there are many, many threads on here, but the main thing is that it is personal. I don't get on with hard saddles, though many (most?) experienced cyclists prefer them. My favourite saddle is a Serfas Rx, which has some padding and a central cutout. I wear cycling shorts, but the main reason is that underwear and seams chafe. I don't like big pads, and my most comfortable shorts just have a couple extra layers of cloth, and a soft lining.

The biggest and first contributor to saddle comfort is getting the set-up right. The second is that the shape of the saddle suits you. The third is breaking in one's backside to riding for hours at a time.

IMO, the main thing about clothing is to wear clothes that suit the task; nothing with heavy seams, light weight, fast drying materials, worn in layers, if needed for cold weather.

As for how far can you ride in a day? That also is rather personal. IMO, 50 miles per day is pretty conservative. I suggest that you get out & get riding. Ride your bike everywhere that you can. Commuting, shopping, etc. Gradually extend your mileage, by taking longer rides on days that you have the time, like a weekend. Add 5 or 10 miles each ride, depending on how feel. When you are comforatble doing 50 miles, do it 2 days in row. If that goes okay, try 60 miles two days in a row. Keep at that until you figure out what you are happy with, and pick a daily distance that is 10% or so less, allow at least one rest day and one extra day (in case something goes wrong, or you need to get a bike repaired, etc.) I would also plan to get there at least several days in advance, so I could rest and prepare for the running event.

The dyno would be useful, but many people manage okay without. I have been stuck charging stuff at a supermarket a couple of times.

Going over the alps is a challenge, but you should be fit for it by the time you get there :)

As for locks... I always carry a good D lock, and am careful about where I leave my bike. Other people have a different philosophy.

Just one other thing... if you need to gain confidence using the roads as a cyclist, look for a Bikeability course or trainer in your area.

Good luck and enjoy the cycling!
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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

Postby mjr » 6 Feb 2019, 12:47pm

Vorpal wrote:As for how far can you ride in a day? That also is rather personal. IMO, 50 miles per day is pretty conservative.

Yes, it is, but it comes from having done those days where 55 miles became 62 somehow and then a headwind on a false flat uphill with many miles of the final roads being gravel unexpectedly (in the days before cycle.travel and friends) and then the last two "paved" roads turn out to be cobbled... :lol:

I guess to an extent it depends if this is a cycle tour (as the title suggests) where having time to look at things if the ride's going/gone well is a benefit, or if it's really a cycle trip where the priority is getting to B as quickly as possible. I think you can push the mileages on a trip, if you accept that maybe you won't see as much, you might have some long days in adverse conditions or dealing with mechanical trouble and/or you might have to replan/rebook some sections if one day falls short of how far you hoped.
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 (G)

Postby Tyre Lady » 6 Feb 2019, 6:05pm

Thank you all once again for your time and knowledge sharing. It truely is appreciated. Hadn't realised there was a difference between trip and tour......so yes I guess it is a trip to the event and a tour from the Geneva event when I can truely relax. The running should be fine as using different muscles and it is only to do it + am dragging a car tyre. The more important part is to encourage the runners to BYOR cup/bottle/hydration so that the events can go cupless next year as well as understand how the events are run so I can advise them better how to reduce waste as well as to encourage greener travelling by participants to the events.

Vorpal - this is an ace document: http://wheel-easy.org.uk/wp-content/upl ... -2017a.pdf

Had to rewire the brake cable for the Challenger as it was rubbing on the tyre and was helped by Mr.
Took the Challenger for a 1.5 hour cycle ride around the roads of Windsor/Windsor Park. Completed @ 15 miles. Am always so impressed how kind drivers are and the wide berth they gave me. Also have just reminded myself how wonderful it is to cycle. I stopped cycling 25 years ago cos I break my ankle in 3 places at a touch rugby game and my bike was stolen from the grounds when I went into hospital. Rehab was about a year to get it all fully functional and stable to play sport again. By then I learned to take public transport and life got in my way.

Which ever bike I take, will give it a full service before it goes out with me as well as after to who ever I return it too
AS for route thank you for the encouragement - let's do the Alps. The worst that happens is that I walk up :D

Tomorrow after work, Decathalon bike mechanic says he is happy for me to watch him repair stuff and ask questions.
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby nirakaro » 7 Feb 2019, 8:47am

Tyre Lady wrote:Hadn't realised there was a difference between trip and tour......so yes I guess it is a trip to the event and a tour.

That's a new distinction for me too. It's quite a shock to discover that the thousands of miles I've ridden in the last fifteen years weren't tours at all, but merely trips. :shock:

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

Postby Vorpal » 7 Feb 2019, 9:56am

Tyre Lady wrote:
Tomorrow after work, Decathalon bike mechanic says he is happy for me to watch him repair stuff and ask questions.


There are various things like bike kitchens, bike hubs, and other community organisations where you can take your bike to repair it yourself with help from professionals, or take mechanics' courses, etc.

If you say where you are (area, not specific), I'm sure someone on here can make a recommendation.

Edited to add: you made reference earlier to a 'repair cafe'. Maybe that's a better option?
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby HobbesOnTour » 7 Feb 2019, 10:32am

nirakaro wrote:
Tyre Lady wrote:Hadn't realised there was a difference between trip and tour......so yes I guess it is a trip to the event and a tour.

That's a new distinction for me too. It's quite a shock to discover that the thousands of miles I've ridden in the last fifteen years weren't tours at all, but merely trips. :shock:


I think I may have opened that particular can of worms - my apologies. :oops:
Tyre Lady, terminology should be the last thing on your mind. :)
Nirkaro, I meant no disrespect.

I often use a term other than touring because I have found that some people become strangely attached to the words "Tour" and "Touring" and associate lots of rules with that terminology whether that has to do with bikes, gear, distances etc. A "trip" can seem less intimidating. Personally, I prefer "jaunt", but non-native speakers fall over that one! :)


[quote="Tyre Lady"
AS for route thank you for the encouragement - let's do the Alps. The worst that happens is that I walk up :D
[/quote]

Not sure which route you're talking about here -can't really see a way to do your ...trip / tour :) without hitting the Alps!
The original route posted heading for Germany and down the Rhine has the advantage that it covers well travelled bike routes so that navigation is more straightforward, has lots of facilities for bikes and lots of accommodation options. That might be a better option for the outward leg, then return via France when you'll have clocked up significant experience.

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

Postby mjr » 7 Feb 2019, 11:15am

Saw this and thought of you https://www.adventure-journal.com/2018/ ... ready-own/

Also sorry for opening the trip v tour thing but if someone asks me what's a good daily distance for a tour, I'll say something lower than for a trip because to me, a tour implies wanting to have time for looking at stuff you see along the way, while a trip implies it's primarily about getting somewhere.
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste (G)

Postby nirakaro » 7 Feb 2019, 2:47pm

I was very tickled by the chap on this forum who suggested a few years ago that Helen Lloyd's solo UK to South Africa ride didn't – for reasons I can't recall – count as 'proper' touring. Have to admire his nerve! IIRC she put him in his place very neatly.

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

Postby Tyre Lady » 7 Feb 2019, 5:54pm

Thank mjr. That is a great blog post.
Hobbes - thanks for the route backing and reassurance. A cyclist friend fears the mighty Alps would be too cold and too high. Him and a phd geologist suggested I go to the South of France and then cycle on the coast to have a flatter ride. But this adds on many more miles to get to Trieste.

Am going to try MrsH approach with a spreadsheet to see if I can sort my mileage out per day and see what accommodation I can sort out. Otherwise am planning to bivy if can't find anything as it will be lighter than a tent, just as long as there isn't too much wet stuff falling from the sky.

Just looking at my gear and thankfully it is looking about 10kg - maybe 13kg.
- Bivy bag
- Sleeping bag rated to 5 degs C
- Fleece bag
- Thermo rest
- then the rest is a couple of clothes - running sandals
- plate/cutlery/ stove and gas (for emergency)/mug pot
- Water bottle with filter
- Small back pack for food and water bladder
- A couple of bags to pick up bread + fruit/veg + what ever else I can find without packaging

Hahaha and I haven't yet sorted out a bike. Jordan (from Decathalon) says bring the wreck bike (Mojave) in and will see what it needs.
Repair cafe is on the 17th Feb :)

What do people think about taking the Auto Repair inner tubbings?
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby MrsHJ » 7 Feb 2019, 8:02pm

There are plenty of lists knocking around about what to take, this seems a sensible outline to me. Don’t take more than absolutely necessary- you can build up on future trips. Don’t forget that campsites won’t all be open on the way out- it will be better on the way back but I think that some may still be closed. I’m assuming ill stay at motels and warm showers for my first two/three weeks in the USA and I’ll do some camping after that- but I’m getting a bit old and creaky- others would camp fine in April.

Doing the spreadsheet might identify sections of the route you don’t like so could be helpful. I would want to check out the alpine section to make sure that I liked the balancing of climbing to roads and that those passes are likely to be open in April. If in doubt pick one of those red dotted routes on the map. The longer routes (that the red dots represent) will usually have thought through the getting across the mountains and you can google the name of the route and see what other riders thought.

Alpine climbs are up far gentler inclines than the average British hill. They take some time (for me) and I find they require a mental detachment (maybe like running)- I’m pretty zen when cycling up stuff and if it’s tough I’ll choose a spot some way ahead and promise myself a short break and a square of chocolate when I get to it. Many of the well known climbs have kilometre and angle markers you can use to pace yourself eg for a 12 km climb you could have 12 stops- or you may find you need none. Many of them also have online profiles so you can see how tough they are. Make sure you have a proper granny gear when you talk to the mechanic.

For me walking/pushing a bike up a mountain hurts far more than cycling up- the climbing problem is rarely lack of legs but steepness making the bike tend to slip around. I’ve cycled in this country my unloaded bike up some 1 in 3s (allegedly 1 in 3s) but they are generally short. In the mountains I tend to avoid the very minor roads in order not to have any very steep surprises but generally find that I can cycle up climbs of up to about 20% with a loaded bike. Over that angle the bike tends to lose traction on the road for me (maybe because I only have rear panniers). It's rare that you’ll find an alpine pass with any segments over about 10%. Many of the USA passes are even milder.

I have taken someone’s advice from further up the thread and booked an audax for early March from Exeter. Here is the audax calendar- the BP ones are the ones where the average speed is lower and aimed at those who are less experienced. I’ll aim to do probably 3 before I leave, I haven’t done any in ages so no doubt I’ll be really slow! https://www.aukweb.net/events/
Last edited by MrsHJ on 7 Feb 2019, 10:25pm, edited 5 times in total.