Tour kit planning

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
memnoch
Posts: 32
Joined: 26 May 2011, 12:02pm
Location: Cardiff

Tour kit planning

Post by memnoch »

Morning All,

I'm planning my first ever long tour, and am stuck on a couple of decisions about what kit to take. The route is London to Rome following what seems to be the imaginary Eurovelo Route 5 from the 4th July to 4th August. Now the only ever trip I've done has been a 250 mile 3 day trip round the welsh coast which is more than a little bit shorter so could use someone else's expertise here.

I'm on a little bit of a limited shopping budget, but do like to splash out on shiny equipment every so often.

Is it worth getting a gps? As it would make me a lot more confident in the route I'm following, not because I can't read maps but generally forget to and find myself happily cycling far to far along roads I should have turned off miles back :oops: . So am looking at the Garmin Vista HCX as is battery powered and can hold more course points.

Bike bags - Am planning to fly back as is the cheapest and easiet method I've found, but require the bike to be bagged. The lightest of these I've found is about 2kg nearly as much as the tent itself! Any advice on how to get around having to carry this? Could you try and buy a tarp or something at the destination? Am sure someones already come up with the best answer.

Current kit list:
Tent (3kg)
Sleeping Bag (1kg)
Roll Matt (1kg)
Multifuel stove and cooking utensils (1.5kg)
D-lock and cable (1.5kg)
Repair kit (0.5kg)
Waterproofs
Sandals
1x fleece
1x t-shirt
1x shorts
1x trousers
kindle

More that I'm sure I've forgotten
snibgo
Posts: 4604
Joined: 29 Jun 2010, 4:45am

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by snibgo »

Why not put your bike in the tent?
nmnm
Posts: 470
Joined: 14 Nov 2010, 6:03pm

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by nmnm »

No experience of bike gps, so it may be great in use (or not - maybe you lose the sense of the big picture of where you are, as I find with car gps) but it'll be a challenge keeping it charged while camping. I think you may yet master the map reading. Perhaps consider one of those plastic wallet things - a map case - which will velcro onto the handlebars - makes consulting the map much easier and more frequent.

Re the bike bag, grab a ctc bag from wiggle for £8 and post it to final destination hotel (if there is one) or post restante perhaps. Or just buy a big load of tarp material and tape from a diy / outdoor shop on last day's route (google beforehand). You could probably bookmark appropriate shop locations in your kindle using kindlemap.net!
Justin
Posts: 223
Joined: 7 Feb 2008, 8:19pm

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by Justin »

Another vote for the CTC bike bag. Doubles up as a good tent groundsheet protector.
ossie
Posts: 1193
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by ossie »

Re the GPS . Im off next week from Spain to UK and decided to get an Extrex Legend Hcx. Its taken me a few weeks to get used to it, downloading external maps etc but having used it to commute and plan my route through France its looking like a decent investment. Im learning things about it everyday, indeed as I mentioned in another thread using Open Street Map it is telling me where the nearest camp sites are to any particular location, which takes a great deal of guess work and stress out of finding somewhere suitable to stop for the night.

I dont intend to stick religiously to the route but its been great fun spending several nights planning stages and downloading them and like you say the battery issue is a real positive.

It looks like there are split opinions on using technology.
DougieB
Posts: 626
Joined: 23 Nov 2008, 6:59pm
Location: Barcelona

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by DougieB »

Hi,

I hate GPS's/technology while trying to get away from it all (ie touring). however, this trip I'm teetering on the edge of getting one. I cycled Edinburgh - Barcelona with no GPS. I cycled from Barcelona back up to Calais mostly with a GPS (attached to a companions bike). The main difference was being able to locate campsites (pre downloaded). I stayed in quite a few hotels on the way down, as I just couldn't find any sometimes. However, on the way backup it was easy to do an extra 10 or 20 km because we knew there was a site there. only a small percentage of camspites (certainly in france) seem to sign posted.

it easily pays for itself if you camp all the way, and don't have to make stops in hotels. I've been wild camping aswell, but it's good to know where campsites are to wash, etc..

the two guys i was with were using garmins, 60csx (?) and the 62s. both were perfectly fine, the 62s was faster but used more battery power.

GPS's do seem to make people do silly things though. like standing under a signpost 'Boulogne 20' and spending 5 minutes trying to work out how far it is to Boulogne. This is my main reservation about them, that you stop paying attention to the road signs, over all mapping, etc.


cheers,
DougieB
Posts: 626
Joined: 23 Nov 2008, 6:59pm
Location: Barcelona

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by DougieB »

by the way. 62s needs a pair of double-a's every 3 days, and the 60csx needed new batteries every 4 or 5 days. the guys had two pairs of rechargables each, which gave at least a week of GPS life. easy to find charging in campsites, or cafes. but they also had a solar charger, which recharged 4 batteries in a few hours (it was A4 sized).

cheers
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al_yrpal
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Location: Think Cheddar and Cider
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Re: Tour kit planning

Post by al_yrpal »

On my recent ride from Cherbourg to le Havre I used maps, backed up by an Android smartphone. You could instantly find out where you actually were by consulting MM Tracker or Google maps if you were unsure. This saved much backtracking.

Before I left I used Google maps to highlight all campsites with a Google starred location. Then, when you want a campsite just zoom into where you are, click on the gold star and see all details of nearby sites. It highlights the phone number, lists full details, click on the number and ring them - dead simples!

You dont need a gps, camera, torch, netbook or laptop on tour just a decent phone, and for a tour up to 5 days like mine, a small high capacity battery to charge it. On longer tours I will take a short caravan lead and socket to charge it. Most pitches now have an electric socket where you can plug in. Put a plasic bag over it and you are in business.

For a kit list, make your best shot, and refine it next time. If its a long one, mail unwanted items back.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...
soton
Posts: 99
Joined: 17 Oct 2009, 4:39am

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by soton »

There have been other discussions on bike bags, including my note on a homemade one weighing about 200gm: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=47878.
As to GPS: I used one where the signposts are in English but I don't share a language with the locals to ask directions/distance etc, and it made travelling a relaxing joy - just follow the purple line on the screen, or leave the purple line and come back to it when you're ready. If you're touring without it mattering exactly which way you go or when you get there - perhaps an encumbrance as it gets in the way of spontaneity.
Used that way, I pre-plotted a route. Some devices, and some maps, will also allow you to look at the screen and say 'show me how to get to (location X) from here', and it will plot a course using or not using main roads, bike paths etc. Choosing bike paths, I once found myself on a bridge with a narrow staircase once.
Used to simply display a map, I'd say the screen's way too small and a paper map much better; but the GPS tells you were you are, and it can hold a lot of maps.
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andymiller
Posts: 1716
Joined: 8 Dec 2007, 10:26am

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by andymiller »

memnoch wrote:Is it worth getting a gps? As it would make me a lot more confident in the route I'm following, not because I can't read maps but generally forget to and find myself happily cycling far to far along roads I should have turned off miles back :oops: . So am looking at the Garmin Vista HCX as is battery powered and can hold more course points.

Bike bags - Am planning to fly back as is the cheapest and easiet method I've found, but require the bike to be bagged. The lightest of these I've found is about 2kg nearly as much as the tent itself! Any advice on how to get around having to carry this? Could you try and buy a tarp or something at the destination? Am sure someones already come up with the best answer.


I got a GPS for exactly that reason. I'd consider getting the Legend HCx which will also give you accurate altitude readings (unless you are riding a road carved out of a sheer cliff). The Vista will show you an altitude profile - which you may or may not consider worth the money. Make sure you get an HCx not an HC (the latter don't have a slot for a memory card).

Buy decent paper maps as well. A GPS is fine for telling you where you are but a PITA for working out where to go - paper maps win hands down in that respect.

I wouldn't rely on the base mapping. You can download a garmin-compatible version of OpenCycleMap for France but I don't know about Italy. You could use a smartphone but you need to consider the charges for downloading the maps - data roaming ain't cheap.

If you have time you could also copy maps to your Kindle - there's a thread on CrazyGuyOnABike about this.

As far as gettin the bike home the options are basically:

- clear CTC bag. Could you send it to a hotel/hostel/friend in Rome?
- scrounge a box from a bike shop;
- buy a bag from a bike shop or Decathlon.
Italy Cycling Guide - a resource for cycle touring in Italy.
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CREPELLO
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Joined: 29 Nov 2008, 12:55am

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by CREPELLO »

Bike bag...just buy a thick polythene sheet and tape the bike up with parcel tape.
jmrees
Posts: 15
Joined: 22 Sep 2010, 9:54pm

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by jmrees »

Hi al-yrpal, could you explain what you mean by a small battery for charging your smartphone. I'm going to be camping this summer and I'm on despair about. how to keep it charged. Carrying a caravan hookup seems heavy and paying a nightly charge for an electric hook up seems over the top as well. Thanks.
martin113
Posts: 135
Joined: 19 May 2011, 5:35pm

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by martin113 »

Memnoch, I'm in the process of getting together some kit for cycle camping. Could you tell me what sleeping bag you use at 1kg? And the tent? Although it seems quite a load at 3kg. Have you looked at any others to bring the weight of the tent down? Thanks for the help.
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BeeKeeper
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Joined: 29 Apr 2011, 6:45am
Location: South Devon

Re: Tour kit planning

Post by BeeKeeper »

At 3kg the tent does seem heavy. My 2 person tent is about 1.5kg but it is a budget-busting Hilleberg. However, I bought a Gelert X-Treme lite 800 sleeping bag for £35.00 at a local store and it weighs only 800g and with a strangling silk liner it should be OK down to almost freezing if I wear some thermals. But cheaper still Tesco are doing a light weight bag for about £15.00 which at that price is worth considering although this exception apart lightweight stuff does in general come at a price.
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al_yrpal
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Joined: 25 Jul 2007, 9:47pm
Location: Think Cheddar and Cider
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Re: Tour kit planning

Post by al_yrpal »

jmrees wrote:Hi al-yrpal, could you explain what you mean by a small battery for charging your smartphone. I'm going to be camping this summer and I'm on despair about. how to keep it charged. Carrying a caravan hookup seems heavy and paying a nightly charge for an electric hook up seems over the top as well. Thanks.


I am driven to keeping things at low cost. Having my front wheel rebuilt with a hub dynamo, and getting an E Werk or similar isn't an option for me.

Here is the battery device, £21 or so on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000 ... ss_product . It kept my HTC Desire Android smartphone going for a full 5 night 6 day tour. It will work on any phone within reason I think and comes with an array of handy adaptors.

For longer tours......On most of the camp site pitches there was an electrical hook up point so one could carry one of these as well - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silverline-3410 ... -3-catcorr which would give one a chance to recharge the battery overnight with greater security than leaving it charging in the toilets. I plan to take a plastic bag and rubber band to enclose the lead and battery from moisture and charge it up every few days because some sites charge for the electricity.

Dont panic - it works!

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...
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