Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

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

Postby HobbesOnTour » 7 Feb 2019, 8:58pm

Tyre Lady wrote:
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.

On cycle.travel you can pick a point on your route and hit the "Find Accommodation" button choosing hotels from different standards as well as campsites.

Also, what i will often do is save the region I'm travelling through on Google Maps and mark off useful places such as campsites etc. If it's not suitable I don't list it - it can save time on the road.

Don't forget if you're planning to use your phone data abroad that the news today is that if there's no deal at the end of March, roaming charges could well be back.

Vorpal
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby Vorpal » 8 Feb 2019, 9:01am

Here are a couple of threads about what to take.

The second one has some tips about minimising...
viewtopic.php?f=42&t=85590
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=48438

These and others are preserved in the 'too good to lose' section of the forum.
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MrsHJ
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby MrsHJ » 8 Feb 2019, 11:08am

I've now had a quick review of the cycle travel route on the laptop (couldn't zoom in effectively on the ipad). The mountain routes look good to me- you'll be following cycle routes and valleys. More than 50% of the route is on cycle ways although I don't recognise many of the names but I think that's because I've only dipped into central europe on my cycle trips.

It looks like a nce route- via Brugge, Antwerp, Bonn, Stuttgart, mostly following the Rhine. I think you then pick up the via Claudia Augusta through through the Alps to Bolzano which is well established (I've got it on my to do list). Highest point is 1500m and no climbing at all for the first 400 miles in Europe then mostly following river valleys through the mountains. It looks to me like it's taking you by road up the Fernpass at mile 665, then down on a path (see first link which explains about this pass)- but I'd check that bit and consider sticking to the road as some of the path is supposed to be rough- cycle.travel should have filtered out any unsuitable paths but you can ask locally.

Looking at a Nice route you'd add on 400 miles or so, climb an extra 1700m and have more hills early on and less cycle routes- only 30% compared to 50% (the benefit of the central europe route is that it utilises flat Flanders and some river routes). One advantage of the Nice route though is that your highest point would be 944 metres instead of 1514 metres so it should be less weather sensitive. Other big advantage to me would be that I speak French (and some Italian) and love French/Italian food!

https://italy-cycling-guide.info/intern ... a-augusta/

http://www.fietsroute.org/cycling/route/LF5

http://www.rhinecycleroute.eu/

http://www.viaclaudia.org/en/travel-the ... -tour.html

http://www.eurovelo.com/en/eurovelos/eurovelo-7

Tyre Lady
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby Tyre Lady » 8 Feb 2019, 4:00pm

Ahh thank you all. The planning phase has been reduced

Vorpal - am thinking only to take a bivy bag and no tent. The one I have has a built in mossie net. However the lists are brill as a base.
Hobbs - thinking to wild camp some - weather dependent and thank you for the accommodation button :)
MrsH - thanks again for all the useful links

Have a great weekend all :D
Low carbon, zero waste running journey

simonhill
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby simonhill » 8 Feb 2019, 4:01pm

Very briefly:

I wouldn't recommend going the Nice route. The Med coast would be a nightmare on a bike.

5°C sleeping bag? Not sure that will be warm enough.

If you get a decent bike and it is well serviced with reliable components you shouldn't need worry about lots of bike mending skills. I always reckon that the necessity of these is overstressed on this forum. Learn how to fix a puncture and practice it (usually just changing the inner tube - hole in tube repaired later). Also given the mountains, how to replace brake blocks should you hit a long descent in the wet.

Olliespilot
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby Olliespilot » 8 Feb 2019, 4:44pm

Have a look at this blog written by a couple from near Maidstone :- http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/WinterTour2018 .

You might find useful equipment ideas near the beginning; there are other blogs by the same author for other countries.

Good luck :D

Ivor Tingting
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby Ivor Tingting » 8 Feb 2019, 5:38pm

It's difficult not to be negative but I am getting the impression the OP has little if no cycle experience let alone cycle touring experience. I wouldn't say what she is planning can't be done but it is a tall order if she has little to no cycling miles in her legs. You just cannot get around this. Riding a bike day after day, a loaded bike is much harder than most think. She might well be fit from other disciplines as she says she will be running marathons but tbh unless you have ridden lots of miles you will struggle if you haven't done anything so demanding before. Putting a deadline at the end where you have to cover a fixed distance each day will make it hard. But I guess she could jump on a train if she bails out. I would also doubt riding over the Alps in April early May is going to be possible especially over the high passes as they might not have opened yet and you cannot ride through the tunnels to get over the Alps as cyclists are not allowed. She will need warm and wet weather gear to survive the cold nights in the Alps especially if high up. Don't know how many campsites will be open this early in the season. All in all I think this is an extremely tall order for some one who seems to have little or no cycle touring experience. Not saying it can't be done as I don't know this individual. She doesn't even have a bike yet! Is this endeavour coming from the fact of a new job as opposed to some one who has cycled all their life who probably has more idea of limiting their impact on the planet simply because they have ridden all their life and cycling is probably the most environmentally friendly way to travel bar walking running or swimming. Surely if she was already a cyclist or had toured she would have an idea how many miles she was capable of riding each day according to the terrain? She would also have a bike she was comfortable with, knew it's capabilities and indeed hers. Well I suppose if you are going to start then set yourself a Herculean task. Good luck she is going to need it.

A few years ago I went with friends who were "fit" from other sporting disciplines to Wales. They trained in gyms weights, cross what ever and cross that. They were fit to look at but to cycle ......... no. I ride regularly pretty much every day ride 30-40 miles to and from work and also cycle tour. After the end of the second day riding into the Elan Valley they had had enough they wanted to quit at the end of the day as they found cycle touring far too hard. They were shattered. We had only ridden about 26 miles each of the 2 days and been in the saddle for full days. It was hilly but nothing too hard. It was Wales and the Cambrian mountains. We were planning to take about 7-10 days to ride into North Wales and back. It was a shame as had they continued I am sure they would have survived and been grateful they did, but they didn't.

Once the OP has begun she is going to go through all these emotions whether she can complete her ride. She will be shattered after the first day and by the end of the 2nd or 3rd days will want to quit. She will have taken too much and things she didn't need. Her legs will be burning, she will have no energy and grind along at a snail's pace. She will have some sort of discomfort with her new bike that she has ridden little and she will feel that climbing the Alps is insurmountable. She will want to quit. Even for a seasoned cyclist climbing the Alps is a seriously hard ride and then carrying all your luggage. Also I would want to be sleeping in a tent not a bivvy bag on this route at this time of year.

Anyway aside from being too negative the OP could check out the Eurovelo Routes http://www.eurovelo.com/en/eurovelos.

Route 5 from London and then route 8 the Mediterranean might be a possibility as they tend to avoid the steepest climbs many are on old train routes or canal paths or follow rivers so gradients are more gentle so mileage covered each day would be higher. The ones in mainland Europe have pretty good surfaces and signage for the most part. I guess she could wild camp along the route, being lower down i.e. not high in the mountains it would be warmer but this might not be possible in more populated areas.
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nirakaro
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby nirakaro » 8 Feb 2019, 7:20pm

Ivor makes some valid points, but just as a counterbalance:
First long tour I did (and I'm certainly no marathon runner), I'd scarcely ridden a bike in the past four years. I did forty miles the first day, forty-five the second, and expected to be knackered on the third. I wasn't, and carried on doing three hundred miles a week for the next two months. That included crossing the Alps (1300m climb up the Simplon), and I didn't find that day more tiring than the others, as the five-hour climb was followed by virtually freewheeling twenty or thirty miles. Horses for courses I guess.
The passes from Austria to Italy (Brenner, Reschen) are quite low (~1500m), and virtually never close. I rode up to the Tauern rail tunnel at ~1200m on the 9th April last year and saw no snow at all. Or from France, the Lautaret and the Montgenevre, though higher, are major routes that are kept open except in the worst weather.
Continental hills are a lot gentler than English – and I suspect Welsh – hills. The slope is usually no more than 5-6%, and the amount you climb is pretty much the height you gain – you're not forever upping and downing like in British hills.
I agree that I'd want a tent, but we're all different; crossing the Alps only takes a day, so there's no need to camp at altitude, and I think the issue, given a good sleeping bag, will be rain rather than cold. And you can pretty much always find a room if necessary.
BTW I believe wild camping is prohibited in Germany and possibly Austria. You'd need to stay very much out of sight.

HobbesOnTour
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby HobbesOnTour » 8 Feb 2019, 7:39pm

Ivor Tingting wrote:It's difficult not to be negative but I am getting the impression the OP has little if no cycle experience let alone cycle touring experience. I wouldn't say what she is planning can't be done but it is a tall order if she has little to no cycling miles in her legs. You just cannot get around this.


Nothing wrong with a bit of reality, but in fairness to the OP she has camping gear which would suggest at least some outdoor experience. I wouldn't be a fan of bivvying in March, but then again, it's only an emergency situation.
Also in her favour is the fact that the first part of the route is relatively flat and gives her the option to build up her cycling strength. You're right that it will take time to get used to the bike, especially the saddle and she has been advised a few times to get started as soon as possible. By the time she hits the mountains she'll be well able to make the decision whether to go over them under her own steam or not.


Ivor Tingting wrote:Once the OP has begun she is going to go through all these emotions whether she can complete her ride. She will be shattered after the first day and by the end of the 2nd or 3rd days will want to quit. She will have taken too much and things she didn't need. Her legs will be burning, she will have no energy and grind along at a snail's pace. She will have some sort of discomfort with her new bike that she has ridden little and she will feel that climbing the Alps is insurmountable. She will want to quit.


Sorry, this is just too negative.
Op is an athlete capable of running a marathon. I'm sure she's well used to listening to her body and reacting accordingly.
I don't think it's particularly helpful to tell someone you don't know how they will feel and react..... unless, of course, you're just using some reverse psychology :wink:

MrsHJ
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby MrsHJ » 8 Feb 2019, 10:34pm

Everyone has to start somewhere. I had absolutely no experience, had never tested the panniers on my bike, had to buy a new bike to do the trip- flew down to nice with a couple of friends to join another friend and cycled home. The first hill really hurt! But I was inspired and engaged by the experience- it was transformative for me and gave me a lot of confidence

That’s one reason I find this sort of plan fun and inspiring and am happy to offer my twopenneth. I guess there are quite a lot of us who haven’t come up through the club route. I also find the energy efficient travel interesting- your average Dutch person would just cycle their regular bike to do this sort of thing and it’s good to spread the word on this type of travel.

Tyre Lady
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby Tyre Lady » 8 Feb 2019, 11:03pm

Thanks Ivor for the concerns.

"They say that I'm a dreamer.....but am not the only one...."

I did come on this forum to get some realistic view points :) And so from thinking I will do 90 miles a day, will be doing as Nirakaro has done.... Having easy days to start with. Hopefully Hobbs is right and I know my body :p .... though sometimes a little too damn ass stubborn. Just sitting on a bicycle seat after work at the mo.....and wondering how I can make the bicycle seat my work seat.....

Really appreciate all your pennies MrsH. Have even found a cycle group near me, that will check out in 2 weeks time to see if I can join them at least on Aurora. Am gonna look at rebuilding Mo(jave) and am eyeing a nice dynamo wheel https://www.decathlon.co.uk/28-front-hybrid-dynamo-wheel-id_8133890.html since it needs a new wheel (I think). Thought it would be a nice project and give me options. Would prefer a lighter bicycle.

This weekend is cross country running .....and hopefully some cycling thrown in for good measure on Aurora.

In the mean time here's a crazy event that you might like to read about - one person's view of fat biking at Arrowhead 135 http://ben.personal.zvan.net/201902081248.html?fbclid=IwAR0pS1AppwQKWrwsoQ1bwavCALuVjoO0zlwMb6-dsdGmZVpbexTo3Q-08yM

I would have failed this. I froze my toes 2 days ago cycling in 5 degs C for 1.5 hours. At home saw it was a little nipped!!! Now have over shoe thingies :D
Low carbon, zero waste running journey

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

Postby nirakaro » 8 Feb 2019, 11:36pm

Tyre Lady wrote:Thank you all once again for your time and knowledge sharing. It truely is appreciated.

You're very welcome. You could show your appreciation by coming back after the ride and telling us how it went!
Just for interest, all the alpine passes that have been mentioned are, according to viaMichelin, open today, so I think you can relax a bit about how they're likely to be in six or seven weeks.

MrsHJ
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby MrsHJ » 8 Feb 2019, 11:36pm

Me too. If this is the race I am thinking of they had more drop outs than usual because it was extra extra cold. Your ride will be a lot easier than this (although no doubt it will have its Moments).

I was going to suggest you consider getting the train to Dover so you get to start on the easy stuff from Calais. It’s fine to cycle of course- when I take the kids I tend to focus on an easy start to avoid tantrums so I may have got into the habit of it.

PS have you considered a crazy guy journal? Other other hosted journal. It would help you share which seems part of your purpose? I have my crazy guy journal set up and I’m going to use the first few days to write it but not post it to make sure I’m going to stick to it.
Last edited by MrsHJ on 9 Feb 2019, 7:39am, edited 1 time in total.

Ivor Tingting
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby Ivor Tingting » 8 Feb 2019, 11:36pm

Well I said it wasn't impossible but I do think you maybe underestimate what it is like to ride a bike all day, day after day, especially if it is your first long distance ride and your intention to ride 90 miles each day of your route. I ride regularly about 35-40 miles each day and run as well, so could ride 90 miles a day depending on the terrain and conditions, but it would leave me knackered and frankly exhausted and miserable. Some days I do ride long distances but these are days when the conditions are favourable. I tend not to make a habit of it. When I'm touring I generally ride 50-60 miles a day which is good going with a loaded touring bike and less if riding in mountains. There is no substitute for having cycling miles in your legs even if you run marathons you will not be used to long distance cycling. The main reason people abandon tours is they set totally unrealistically distances to ride each day, get the wrong type of bike and carry too much stuff or the wrong gear for what they really need. I would be a little more confident for you if it was apparent you were already a regular cyclist and had a touring bike and some experience before embarking on a such a demanding ride. Are you planning any mini cycle tours before hand to get used to your bike and how it handles loaded up with your gear?
"Zat is ze reel prowoking qwestion Mr Paxman." - Peer Steinbruck, German Finance Minister 31/03/2009.

nirakaro
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Re: Rookie Cycle Tour from London to Trieste

Postby nirakaro » 8 Feb 2019, 11:42pm

You might easily do ninety miles a day – but it wouldn't be wise to count on it!
Be very sure to take gloves – you may not need them, and if you do it may only be for half an hour, but it could be snowing, and you're sure going to need your brakes coming down that pass, and cold numb hands are a very bad idea!