London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Gcoop
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London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby Gcoop » 15 Aug 2010, 1:41pm

Hi guys,

I need as much help as possible, and think this might be the best place to find it.

I am cycling from London to Vienna in October for Help the Heroes. My only experience I have is cycling from Birmingham to Paris, but this was with the aid of a support vehicle.

The time round, I want to go without. Training starts this week, and I have a few questions and hope you can help !

1) I am currently training on a racer - will this be realistic with carrying luggage on my back, or do I need a tourning bike?

2) This is a 1000 mile trip , is two weeks long enough? I have worked this on my previous trip, but wondering if double the distance may require a little less mileage per day?

3) Is sending clothes to hotels from home a good idea?

Hope you can help !

Chris

snibgo
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby snibgo » 15 Aug 2010, 4:37pm

1. I suggest you don't even think about carrying stuff on your back. Let your bike do the carrying.

2. When I was younger, I could do 50 miles day after day with camping kit, so 1000 miles would take me 20 days. Some folk do 100 miles a day. Your mileage will vary, especially if you are not camping.

3. What clothes? You don't need much.

Gcoop
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Joined: 15 Aug 2010, 1:25pm

Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby Gcoop » 15 Aug 2010, 5:21pm

Time to invest in a touring bike then ?

Clothes i guess are washed in the evenings to keep the load down ?

Please excuse my lack of knowledge!!

pal
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby pal » 15 Aug 2010, 6:05pm

Gcoop wrote:Time to invest in a touring bike then ?


A potentially inflammatory question round these parts at the moment! :D For a sample of views, you could look in on this thread: http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=40433

Gcoop wrote:`Clothes i guess are washed in the evenings to keep the load down ?


Exactly that. I usually take 2 of each 'core' thing (socks, shirt, etc): one for wearing, and one spare (in case the first one doesn't dry in time, or in case I can't face the hotel-basin-laundry one evening).

snibgo
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby snibgo » 15 Aug 2010, 6:11pm

There are probably as many ways of touring as there are tourists. There is plenty of good advice on this forum, with links to other sites.

A rucksack makes the system top-heavy, and difficult to look over you shoulder, and your back gets all sweaty, and you have to dismount and take it off before you can get at anything, and ...

You've only got a couple of months, which is no time at all for getting another bike and training.

I do three sets of underwear: wear one, the second washed overnight and drying in a string bag on the rack during the day. The third is clean and in the panniers.

If you can fit large saddle and handlebar bags, you could probably do it on a racer, provided it was comfortable enough to put the miles in, day after day after day. How many miles/day do you currently ride?

Gcoop
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby Gcoop » 15 Aug 2010, 6:52pm

Nowhere near enough at the moment, 2 months of heavy training ahead!

I did wonder whether planning certain stops, and sending some kit there - might freshen things up a bit

snibgo
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby snibgo » 15 Aug 2010, 10:05pm

You might send your Harrod's hamper and dinner jacket ahead.

I'm impressed by Igor Kovse, who does long tours with 20 kg of gear including the bike.

And some rare folk can cycle 200 miles/day for day after day.

Barrenfluffit
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby Barrenfluffit » 15 Aug 2010, 10:46pm

You probably don't need a touring bike for this trip but one with the holes in the frame by the back wheel to fit a rack to will make a big difference. Your current bike may have this. Make a frank assessment of the condition of its current components; if they're near wearing out replace them.

Doggedness is a key component of cycle touring. Once that's in your mind (i'm gonna get there even if I have to push the thing half the night) then most obstacles are a matter of time. That said ambitious daily mileages can be negated by being forced to have rest days. Mileage can be determined by on the ground factors like accomodation, repairs.

Vienna is a confusing city to enter pick up a streetmap beforehand if you can. The danube path provides a traffic free entry to the city. Its on the main backpacker trail so there are plenty of hostel beds. There is also a campsite at Klosterneuburg just outside the city.

Many things can be tested in your uk training.

Scott_in_London
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Location: London

Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby Scott_in_London » 15 Aug 2010, 11:10pm

Are you following a specified route or choosing your own? The route down the Danube from Ulm to Vienna should be comparatively easy; the hills unfortunately come in the first half of the ride. There are loads of maps and guides to cycling in Germany and Austria these days (many available at Stanfords in London), which is quite a contrast to when I did the Rhine, Black Forest and part of the Danube 20 years ago (and had a hard time working out good routes through parts of the Rhine).

Gcoop
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby Gcoop » 15 Aug 2010, 11:12pm

Thankyou very much, really appreciate it.

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horizon
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby horizon » 16 Aug 2010, 12:17am

Gcoop: I'm not really the best placed to answer your query but I like to get my oar in so here's my calculation:

:arrow: 1,000 miles over 14 days = 70 miles per day. You've done something like this before so no problem there.
:arrow: 70 miles per day with overnight stuff but not camping is very OK.
:arrow: Staying at hotels etc means 6 - 8kg of luggage (maximum) without any need (or the hassle) to send stuff ahead.
:arrow: Depending on the exact spec of your bike (how "racing" is it??) you should be able to get away with this weight on it.
:arrow: Around 5 - 6 hours per day cycling might be a bit uncomfortable on a racer but lots of people do it (e.g. LeJOG).
:arrow: Ideally you would have a light tourer/Audax bike for this but the racer should be OK.

So, it all appears to stack up well. My advice would be to get packing now (to make sure you have the right gear within the weight limit) and get a rack sorted for your bike. You may also want to decide on your spares/tools. The rest is route planning and hotel booking. And learning some German.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

chiwoman
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby chiwoman » 16 Aug 2010, 8:23am

14 days of 70 miles/day...

Of course it CAN be done (expecially if you are an experienced distance rider) but most touring cyclists I know take/need a rest day every 5 or so days just to let the body and mind adjust. If you are starting training only two months before you go, I would imagine you need to plan in at least one rest day/week.

velo-city
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby velo-city » 18 Aug 2010, 12:32pm

I recently cycled London to Paris on my road bike. (Bianchi C2C alu/carbon frame). I bought a Carradice camper long flap bag (20L) with the support frame. the advantage of this is it attaches to your saddle rails, so in theory is the same as your weight on the bike, and means that for racers its a way of attaching as there are no fittings on my bike at all, and it was on a carbon seatpost.

It was do-able, but I'm planning a longer trip now (a bit shorter than yours) and definitely switching bike to a tourer. I've only got 2 weeks and if I cant get one on ebay, I'll just take the plunge and get a new one.

the main reason for me is comfort, gearing, and ability to carry more for camping.

i found my road bike position was not ideal for multiple days riding, and its a hard ride when you hit any bad surfaces, although in France things were pretty good really.
my compact gearing was totally wrong with the bike loaded - i needed much lower. i could swap these over, but i like my road bike as it is for what i use it for generally
the carradice is great, but even travelling light in B&Bs I would have preferred a tiny bit more luggage. For camping there'd be no way I could do it. It also made the bike very back heavy - fine while riding, but once you're off it it sometimes popped up and did a wheely - a bit alarming next to the road, or when the chainrings scrape your legs!

one other point is that a road bike looks very desirable, and so I was always worried about leaving it. Plus, it was in perfect condition at the start of the trip, but thanks to Eurostar on the return journey has now got some bit scratches and paint removed. I would be a lot less worried about a second hand bike or a tourer as these are meant to have 'war wounds'!

As most people on here say, it's the doing it that counts, and I'm only just starting touring myself - but wanted to share my road bike touring experience.

I'm probably selling the carradice to pay for part of my panniers, if you're interested!

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horizon
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby horizon » 18 Aug 2010, 2:26pm

velo-city: that was really useful. I don't have either the experience of road bikes or very long daily loaded distances to advise other people. However, this is partly because I wouldn't even attempt such a thing on a road bike. I am used to 60 - 70 mile days on loaded tourers of various descriptions and always plead that people ignore the obvious attractions of a fast road bike and get themselves kitted out with a tourer, even if it is a second bike and even if it will be slower. In the case of the OP, he will be travelling light (hotels) and fast (1000 miles in two weeks) for charity so he comes in under the radar and knows that he has a challenge ahead. I think the general belief (fostered by the bike industry) is that a fast bike is quick through design whatever the circumstances and that there is no trade-off in terms of comfort, reliability or load carrying capacity. People are welcome of course to choose whatever they want but for new entrants to touring I think we have a responsibility to give them honest replies - your real-life evidence backs that up.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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horizon
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Re: London to Vienna - Advice Needed

Postby horizon » 18 Aug 2010, 2:29pm

chiwoman wrote:14 days of 70 miles/day...

Of course it CAN be done (expecially if you are an experienced distance rider) but most touring cyclists I know take/need a rest day every 5 or so days just to let the body and mind adjust. If you are starting training only two months before you go, I would imagine you need to plan in at least one rest day/week.


The OP is doing it as challenge so will expect it to be tough. However it is good that you remind people that a distance achieved in one day cannot necessarily be replicated day after day.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher