Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
gordy
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Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby gordy » 5 Nov 2012, 7:18pm

I've got a route planned for the summer of 2013. I did a thousand miles across Poland at Easter and have decided to go back for a better look. It is cheap and I've been learning the language a bit. I'm hopefully going to ride to the northernmost, westernmost, southernmost and easternmost corners of the country. A shortcut through the Ukraine to L'Viv is possible. 2500 miles (plus) is the target, in six weeks, including 200 to Harwich.

s poland plus ferry  map.png


I have a flight home from Kaliningrad booked, although I'd probably have avoided that if I'd known the FULL :shock: cost of a Russian visa. I'm using ferries to get there - to Esbjerg first and then from Karlskrona in Sweden to Gdynia in Poland. That's shorter than riding all the way across Germany. I hope you don't mind if I keep you posted on here about plans, packing and progress...

jdthebrit
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby jdthebrit » 6 Nov 2012, 1:57pm

Interesting Gordy. A cycle up the Hel spit above Gdynia is a must for a kick off!

slowpeddler
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby slowpeddler » 10 Nov 2012, 4:05pm

Hi

I'm interested to know how you got on for the visa application to Kaliningrad. Was it straightforward? Assuming you applied in good time was it expensive?
I'm also interested in accommodation there and how you are organising it

Best of luck, Poland is really coming on in terms of cycle facilities although I don't think they have developed long-distance paths yet.

http://www.rowery.org.pl/practicalities.html

John

gordy
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby gordy » 11 Nov 2012, 8:30am

slowpeddler wrote:Hi

I'm interested to know how you got on for the visa application to Kaliningrad. Was it straightforward? Assuming you applied in good time was it expensive?
I'm also interested in accommodation there and how you are organising it

Best of luck, Poland is really coming on in terms of cycle facilities although I don't think they have developed long-distance paths yet.

http://www.rowery.org.pl/practicalities.html

John


Visa: A tourist visa is £50. You fill out a form on line, print it out and send it to Edinburgh or London. However, there's a service charge of £26 and you have to get an invitation from an approved Russian tourist organisation (£14.) They also charge £7 if you want it posted back (you could collect it for free) and payment has to be made by Postal Order - which costs an extra tenner. If I'd known about all of that I might not have booked Kaliningrad in the first place...

There are lots of hotels available;I use www.booking.com these days. The price range is vast. The booking process is as easy as anywhere else - just a few clicks.

I'm flying back with SAS for just £107 via Copenhagen. The bike bag has been accepted on a standby basis only...

My first trip to Poland was interesting. I actually had to stop in Gdansk for three days as the weather was so cold and windy. This trip will be in the summer and I want to get further south into the mountains and also out East to see the bison. You mention long distance cycle routes - on the whole I don't follow them - I just pick minor roads on my 1:300,000 Michelin maps and follow those. The cost of small-scale cycle route maps becomes prohibitive if you need a new one every day!

lambchop
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby lambchop » 17 Nov 2012, 8:31am

Hi! Sounds like an amazing trip you have planned there.. I am also planning to cycle in the part of the world next summer.
http://lambchopeindhoven.wordpress.com/biking-2013/

Do you have any tips on routes that you have found for the trip? I found that R1 route from Bologne in France to St Petersburg very useful. There is a book available (http://www.R1-Radweginfo.de/in German) with gpx tracks, route description and highlights.. I think I am getting near to finding a nice route along the northern Polish coast. I am looking forward to when the EuroVelo routes are defined and marked (http://www.eurovelo.org).

Have a good trip!!

Matthew

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familyonabike
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby familyonabike » 21 Nov 2012, 11:26pm

This looks an interesting route. How did you find the Polish traffic? We rode in Tatras and to Krakow in 2011 and found it the worst I've come across in Europe.

The Curonioan Spit is exceptionally beautiful. We rode the Lithuanian side 2010 and was stunning but didn't have visa to cross into Kalingrad and see that bit, although maybe that saved us a fortune.

There is a ferry that goes from Klaipeda Lithuania to Kiel which also saves riding across Northern Germany. And one from Rostock to Gedser which is an alternative to Swedish route, although that looks interesting too.

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foxyrider
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby foxyrider » 21 Nov 2012, 11:53pm

familyonabike wrote: one from Rostock to Gedser which is an alternative to Swedish route, although that looks interesting too.


I had thought about suggesting that myself, i used it myself a few years back, not badly priced and not too bad a ride to / from Rostock to the east either. Not that riding across the top of Germany is difficult it being less hilly than Lincolnshire!
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

gordy
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby gordy » 22 Nov 2012, 12:28am

map poland - Copy.jpg


familyonabike wrote: How did you find the Polish traffic? We rode in Tatras and to Krakow in 2011 and found it the worst I've come across in Europe.



I rode between Goleniow and Rzeszow in April. I found the traffic to be fine - but very fast. I reckon that average rural road speeds are at least 10mph faster than in the UK. Combined with long lines of roadside trees, the carnage is predictable, with little memorials and shrines at regular intervals. Many main trunk routes are single carriageway roads, with heavy traffic. There are lots of new motorways being built. Away from the trunk routes, the roads are extremely quiet. It's easy to find unsurfaced roads too, mostly through the forests.

Cycling in Poland stretched my comfort zone quite a bit.
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gordy
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby gordy » 22 Nov 2012, 1:24am

lambchop wrote:Hi! Sounds like an amazing trip you have planned there.. I am also planning to cycle in the part of the world next summer.
http://lambchopeindhoven.wordpress.com/biking-2013/

Do you have any tips on routes that you have found for the trip? I found that R1 route from Bologne in France to St Petersburg very useful. There is a book available (http://www.R1-Radweginfo.de/in German) with gpx tracks, route description and highlights.. I think I am getting near to finding a nice route along the northern Polish coast. I am looking forward to when the EuroVelo routes are defined and marked (http://www.eurovelo.org).

Have a good trip!!

Matthew


Lambchop - I like your plans! I wish you luck, I had a good trip in northern Norway and Finland in 2006... but recall sending a postcard home to my daughter with nothing but the word "Trees" scrawled across it a dozen times. :D

You mention "routes."

I've given up on published cycle routes in Europe. They are just too fussy - I spent too many hours mucking about down farm tracks and behind dykes on the North Sea Cycle Route. When I'm riding the roads, I see occasional cycle route numbers or colour-coded signs... but I don't follow them. Occasionally I end up in the middle lane of a three-lane carriageway (into Gdansk) or lugging the whole bike over a crash barrier somewhere in the middle of France... but that is surely part of the adventure. I'm comfortable with my map and compass navigation and have no desire to complicate my trip with GPS or dinky routes.

I'm not saying that my method is "correct" or "better" - but it suits me fine.

IMG_2451.jpg

lambchop
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby lambchop » 22 Nov 2012, 6:22am

Hi Gordy,
Thanks for your message. I quite like trees. Let's see how I like them after cycling hundreds of kilometres through them.. Did you write the word 'mosquito' on some post cards too? I heard they were pretty hellish inland in Lapland. They didn't bother me when I cycled along the Norwegian coast. The gale headwind blew them away.. :-)

As you say, everything unexpected is part of the fun. You don't know what the unexpected is going to be, but, it means you never have a dull moment. The wanting of cycle routes stems from my cycle trip in Italy. It seemed I was on main roads more than half the time in certain parts. The parts where I followed predefined routes were much more pleasant.

The town called 'Łazy' looks fun. Have you been to 'Boring' in Denmark? hehe

All the best!!

Matthew

gordy
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby gordy » 29 May 2013, 9:26am

gordy wrote:I've got a route planned for the summer of 2013. I did a thousand miles across Poland at Easter and have decided to go back for a better look. It is cheap and I've been learning the language a bit. I'm hopefully going to ride to the northernmost, westernmost, southernmost and easternmost corners of the country. A shortcut through the Ukraine to L'Viv is possible. 2500 miles (plus) is the target, in six weeks, including 200 to Harwich.

s poland plus ferry  map.png
s poland plus ferry map.png (170.14 KiB) Viewed 17588 times


I have a flight home from Kaliningrad booked, although I'd probably have avoided that if I'd known the FULL :shock: cost of a Russian visa. I'm using ferries to get there - to Esbjerg first and then from Karlskrona in Sweden to Gdynia in Poland. That's shorter than riding all the way across Germany. I hope you don't mind if I keep you posted on here about plans, packing and progress...


Well, it is six months since I booked my tickets and started this thread. There are now just are six weeks to go before I leave. I've got the bike sorted out - a new Hope hub at the rear and a SON dynohub at the front to power a B+M USB charger. I wish I was lighter, and fitter, but I'm champing at the bit and can't wait to get going. SAS changed the times of my flight home from Kaliningrad so there was no connection possible in Copenhagen. I cancelled the flight and they refunded my money. I'm now flying home with Ryanair from Gdansk, which means a 100+ mile rush across Poland on the last Friday... the flight is 10 am on Saturday. I've booked a guesthouse near the airport for the last evening and will post my bike bag and kit bag out.

Here's my kitlist. It looks long, but many of the items are tiny. It changes slightly for every trip. I'm wondering how cold it might be in the southern mountains.

kit.png

marcinski
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Joined: 9 Jul 2012, 5:34pm

Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby marcinski » 10 Jun 2013, 11:28am

Hi Gordy,

Glad to hear that you liked Poland enough to plan another tour. You may remember me as the guy whose sister looked after your bike bag last year. I live in Poland now and will be happy to help you in any way this year.

Marcin

gordy
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Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby gordy » 10 Jun 2013, 5:33pm

marcinski wrote:Hi Gordy,

Glad to hear that you liked Poland enough to plan another tour. You may remember me as the guy whose sister looked after your bike bag last year. I live in Poland now and will be happy to help you in any way this year.

Marcin


Hey Marcin! What a lovely surprise. I should be in Poland for about four weeks this time, arriving in Gdynia by ferry on the 30th July then following the border anti-clockwise until I get to Kaliningrad. I have absolutely no route planned and may have to cut the corners if I'm going too slowly. I failed to get to the eastern borders to see the bison last year, so I'm determined to manage that this time round. It'd be amazing if we could meet up sometime/somewhere. Great to hear from you!

marcinski
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Joined: 9 Jul 2012, 5:34pm

Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby marcinski » 11 Jun 2013, 7:58am

[quote="gordy" I failed to get to the eastern borders to see the bison last year, so I'm determined to manage that this time round. [/quote]

Well, you are passing through at least two places where european bisons live so I'd say you have a good chance.

Marcin (YHPM)

gordy
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Joined: 2 Feb 2008, 10:29pm

Re: Poland and Kaliningrad 2013

Postby gordy » 15 Jul 2013, 2:53pm

tourersmall.jpg


Right... I leave in three days, after work on Thursday. The bike and all the kit is ready. I did this annotated photo for some non-cyclists. Two panniers and a tent will go on the rear rack. I note that Chis Froome hasn't got a single one of my touring extras on his bike!