camping

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
jazzkat
Posts: 163
Joined: 21 Jun 2009, 8:51am
Location: South Lakes

camping

Postby jazzkat » 24 Oct 2010, 7:53pm

Hi,
I've yet to dip my toe into the whole cycle/camping thing.
What is your experience with camping, do you have any trouble finding a pitch if you just turn up at a site? (I'm thinking height of summer/july-august)
I've done motorcycle camping and the odd time where I've struggled to find a pitch its no great hardship to 'drive' some more miles down the road - It's not always possible or desirable to do this on a bike if you've run out of steam.

I like the idea of freedom and don't want to be tied down to - must be here/there by such a such a time and so I prefer to fly (ride) by the seat of my pants :mrgreen:

Am I too concerned? Is it an issue? any advice?

Thanks :D

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: camping

Postby meic » 24 Oct 2010, 8:13pm

You get some bolshie campsites who give you grief for not booking in advance and not arriving before tea. Or you get laid back owners who you dont meet until the morning before leaving.
Sometimes they are only bolshie owners because they are talking to Bolshie campers. :roll:

I have only had one really bad manager so far, we didnt mind as we had just passed some good bits of land and a public toilet where we thought we could get water.
However when we followed the signs to the toilet, it took us to the other entrance to the campsite and the toilet was the one we had just been escorted away from. :cry:
The next campsite was on the other side of the Pennines and we had a very dry night, sleeping next to a reservoir! Before crosssing the Pennines with no water.
Yma o Hyd

DaveyDave
Posts: 48
Joined: 13 Jul 2008, 6:40pm

Re: camping

Postby DaveyDave » 24 Oct 2010, 8:41pm

The main benefit of cycle/camping is the flexibility it provides. So in short, it seems to me that if you have to book in advance then you might as well stay at B&Bs and motels instead. I did the LEJOG just turning up at campsites without booking and I only had problem once and even on this occasion they eventually allowed me to pitch my tent. However, I did my research (http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/) and usually had a few options. It doesn't hurt to give the campsite a quick ring the night before just to test the water. There's usually no problem in the UK in my experience.

Cycle camping gives great freedom for this very reason. You have to carry the extra weight but for this you have the ability to adjust your own schedule to account for unexpected weather, injuries, mechanics or fatigue. I've had to do this on both of my long tours - if I'd booked everything in advance I would not have been able to complete the routes.

Dave

User avatar
horizon
Posts: 9562
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Cornwall

Re: camping

Postby horizon » 24 Oct 2010, 9:09pm

A couple of years ago we cycle camped across Cornwall at Bank Holiday and some sites, not unexpectedly had FULL signs. However these were big holiday sites and predictably busy. I've never been turned away from a site except once and that was a Caravan Club site. On my most recent trip (end of September):

Night 1: phoned at 9.00pm, turned up at 11.30pm. No problem.
Night 2: turned up at 8.30pm. No problem.
Night 3: turned up at 8.30pm. Campsite was closed for season but I was allowed to stay.
Night 4: turned up at 7.00pm. No problem.

(I was the only camper on all four nights.)

I agree that it is the flexibility of cycle camping that is a major plus point (and unlike a YHA, you have your own room!). The fact that given you only have a bike and a tiny tent, the chances are there will be room for you. However a couple of other points:

- There aren't campsites everywhere!
- And where they purport to exist they are sometimes closed.
- Finding a campsite in the dark and turning up unexpectedly (in the dark!) can be disconcerting for both camper and owner!
- If you are stuck, well at least you have your tent with you!
- You can often find a cheap B&B on the night but, unlike camping, you may be forced to pay £35 for a room and you can forget the £19 Travelodge - they will be £65 on the night. In July and August, in some areas, things hot up but mostly it is not a problem.

So the moral of the story is, do some pre-trip research and take a few phone numbers with you. But otherwise it's great.

Camping for CTC.JPG
Autumn cycle camping
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

User avatar
andrew_s
Posts: 4894
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 9:29pm
Location: Gloucestershire

Re: camping

Postby andrew_s » 24 Oct 2010, 9:31pm

I always just turn up, and haven't been turned away yet (usually May/June/September though). The closest was a reply of "if you can find somewhere" on a next to the beach campsite just north of Bayonne, in August. I just about squeezed my jetpacker in, but it was across a tree root.

Some campsites have separate pitches marked off with bits of hedge or something. These can be full.
Camping and Caravan Club sites have a 10m between tents rule (anti fire)
Caravan Club sites (different club) may have no toilet block, or indeed have no grass, and thus be caravan only

psmiffy
Posts: 610
Joined: 1 May 2009, 1:32pm

Re: camping

Postby psmiffy » 24 Oct 2010, 10:37pm

The only country in Europe that I have trouble getting into campsites as a cycle tourer is England - I have been turned away a couple of times because I have "not booked" and a few other times been reluctently let in having faithfully promised "to book next time" - everywhere else even if they are jammed packed they will go out of their way to find a small place to put a tent - sometime not that great but a place to sleep for the night

Bowland Rider
Posts: 146
Joined: 23 Aug 2010, 11:11pm

Re: camping

Postby Bowland Rider » 25 Oct 2010, 12:07am

Has anyone got experience of wild camping by bike? I've wild camped by hiking before, but not on a bike. Any comments?

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: camping

Postby meic » 25 Oct 2010, 12:48am

I do a fair bit of wild or stealth camping.
I suppose it isnt real wild camping as I like to be close to a tap if possible and there are taps around if you are in rural areas.
I have some favourite spots now and I am very careful to leave no trace of my stay as I would like to be able to use the places again.

I think that it could be easier by bike as if you are walking then people know that you can not be going much further that night and could wonder what you are up to. On a bike you are passing through.
Also on a bike you could cover 30 miles between starting to look for places and finding a place, walking means that you are more desperate to find somewhere closer.
Yma o Hyd

james01
Posts: 2034
Joined: 6 Aug 2007, 4:48am

Re: camping

Postby james01 » 25 Oct 2010, 8:56am

horizon wrote: do some pre-trip research and take a few phone numbers with you.


An hour spent on the internet before a trip can save many hours on your tour blundering around looking for a site. Prior to touring an area print a list of all suitable sites with phone numbers & OS location reference. Cycle camping is great. Enjoy!

snibgo
Posts: 4604
Joined: 29 Jun 2010, 4:45am

Re: camping

Postby snibgo » 25 Oct 2010, 10:50am

I've done wild camping by bike, as distant from urban areas as I can get. No one sees me arrive, or leave, or would ever know I was there (short of forensic examination).

For me, it's less hassle than finding sites, especially that are open out of season. There are obvious downsides, of course.

jazzkat
Posts: 163
Joined: 21 Jun 2009, 8:51am
Location: South Lakes

Re: camping

Postby jazzkat » 25 Oct 2010, 5:59pm

james01 wrote:An hour spent on the internet before a trip can save many hours on your tour blundering around looking for a site.

I would always do plenty of research and would have a good idea of where and what the options were if I was turned away. I remember two years ago being turned away at a site near Berwick upon tweed and it was miles to the next one (when I eventually found it) No probs on a motorbike though -I suppose on a cycle tour its a case of ringing ahead.

Do you think sites let you on sometimes because you'll take up very little space, will be away early doors and not likely to be rowdy (too tired) :wink:

Mattie
Posts: 421
Joined: 23 Feb 2009, 9:19pm

Re: camping

Postby Mattie » 25 Oct 2010, 6:11pm

No experience of UK campsites, but rather French ones.

As a cycle tourist I was about to be turned away by the young girl at the reception of a campsite in South of France. They did not have a place but the Patron came over and said sure they could fit me in, next to an unoccupied static caravan, for one night.

He was smart enough to realise that it is a short season and you have to make the money in those few months, so sure he could cram one more in. Perhaps other campsite managers need to be reminded of that fact.

Just thought I have a picture somewhere, here it is !

[url]Image[/url]

User avatar
Les Reay
Posts: 210
Joined: 13 Jan 2008, 8:46pm
Location: Geordieland

Re: camping

Postby Les Reay » 25 Oct 2010, 8:05pm

For me, the joy of touring is the spontaneity of going where your fancy (or the wind) takes you, so booking in advance goes against the grain.
Generally, sites in the UK are OK but I'm always ready to wild camp if need be. Two years ago, after a long hard day doing the North Sea Cycle Route, the site at Culloden, Inverness, refused me a place as I hadn't booked.
It's also wise not to rely on the accuracy of maps, which may indicate sites which closed many years ago, as I found when I stopped at Bonchester Bridge, near Hawick recently.

The camping highlight of this summer's Scottish tour was on the Isle of Arran and cost 4 pounds.
Isle of Arran.JPG
Camping on the Isle of Arran
Image Attachments
Isle of Arran 2.JPG

User avatar
[XAP]Bob
Posts: 16896
Joined: 26 Sep 2008, 4:12pm

Re: camping

Postby [XAP]Bob » 25 Oct 2010, 8:15pm

Would have pitched a couple of feet to the left ;)
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

User avatar
horizon
Posts: 9562
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Cornwall

Re: camping

Postby horizon » 25 Oct 2010, 8:33pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Would have pitched a couple of feet to the left ;)


:D Had to laugh, but great pictures - just like it ought to be!
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)