Bristol to Rome

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
mxmswm
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Bristol to Rome

Postby mxmswm » 8 Jan 2013, 10:12pm

I am planning on cycling from Bristol to Rome to raise money for a local charity and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or knowledge about potential routes and advice on carrying out such a tour.

I was hoping to cycle the route in August 2013 as this is the only time I will be able to get leave from work. I have seen route info on the Via Francigena which seems pretty direct and a very good option but unsure of the terrain. Does anyone have any info on this route or on other routes or sections?

I completed JOGLE in 2011 as part of a two man team so would consider myself reasonably experienced and capable of cycling the distance. We carried out JOGLE in 15 days and covered a total of 1027 miles.

During the the Rome tour this year, I would like to cover around 60-70 miles a day. I was planning on doing it on my Carrera TDF which may not be ideal but it got me through JOGLE and I’m now hoping it will see me down to Rome. I’m unsure how many of us will be doing this tour yet, it could just be myself but there could be three of us. The tour would be unsupported and would ideally be hostelling along the way as we would not be carrying camping gear.

I imagine there’s some great advice out there and I look forward to hearing from you. I would love as much info as possible and stories that you may have of your own experiences. Many Thanks.

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Sweep
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby Sweep » 9 Jan 2013, 9:04am

Sounds like a great trip.

Never done it though so can't offer any on-the-ground advice

There is a guide book from Cicerone for the first part of the Via Francigena up to the alpine pass. The second part covering the leg to Rome is due later this year I think but that will be too late for you.

Stanfords in London sell a map on the Via Francigena in Tuscany 1:50.000 scale. An Italian company branded Globalmap.

There's also a yahoo group with contributions from folk walking it or cycling it - may prove handy - I trust you can find it.

A potentially interesting thread. I'd like to do it though I get the feeling that camping free/camping might be a problem (tho others will know better).

I know you can get accommdation from religious outfits but as an atheist I'd personally feel a bit of a fraud using these - doesn't bother folks using that outfit's 5 star tax efficient hotel in Rome though.
Sweep

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apsykes
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby apsykes » 11 Jan 2013, 10:15pm

Have you read my book? It may be of interest? (see link below to my website which has links to Amazon / Waterstones etc...)
Good luck!
Andrew
Andrew P. Sykes
0(044)7970278569
apsykes@hotmail.com
http://CyclingEurope.org
Author of 'Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie'
"A wonderful, witty account of a cycle tour across Europe" (CTC)

andymiller
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby andymiller » 14 Jan 2013, 8:04pm

It depends a bit on which way you go, especially once you've crossed the Appenines. You could stick fairly close to the coast through Toscana and Lazio before heading for Roma. Flatter, but the flat bits of Italy can be dull and overdeveloped - especially on the coast. Or you could head inland towards Siena etc. This is a lot more interesting, but hillier.

The bicitalia website is a useful resource. The prepackaged routes are useful in getting across the more built-up areas or northern Italy, and in choosing suitable crossing points over the Appennines, but beyond that you can easily improvise a route with a map - I would recomend the Touring Club Italiano 1:200k maps.
Italy Cycling Guide - a resource for cycle touring in Italy.

mxmswm
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby mxmswm » 21 Jan 2013, 11:01pm

Thanks for all the replies so far...

Portland - Thanks, I've put an order in for the Cicerone book, if anyone else is interested then the ISBN is - 9781852844875. I ended up buying an AA western Europe map to put on the wall and draw out a route, but at 1:2,000,000 its not very detailed and I don't fancy cycling on motorways for the entire journey! Will probably order the map you suggest.

apsykes - Nice plug for your book. Will definitely give it a read, just what I need. Thanks :)

andymiller - Thanks for the route info, I'm going to try and draw out a few different route over the weekend to get an idea of different routes and distances. I'm keener to visit the more interesting destinations as this is a one in a lifetime expedition for me.

Cheers all :) will keep posting updates as I progress with route planning. Keep the replies coming. All information or suggestions are very much welcome.

nirakaro
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby nirakaro » 22 Jan 2013, 12:30am

I did an approximation of the Via Francigena a few years ago, and it’s certainly direct, being designed for walking, and I found it a pleasant ride. I mostly stuck to the nearest main-ish roads, for ease of navigation, and don’t recall any of them having horrendous levels of traffic. My actual route was:
Calais – Bruay - Bapaume - Peronne - La Fere - Guignicourt - Chalons-en-Champagne - Dienville - Clairvaux – Langres - Lac de Liez - Champlitte – Besancon - Pontarlier - Orbe - Vevey - Martigny - Brig - Mergozzo - Orta - Vigevano - Fidenza - Berceto - Sarzana - Pisa - Montopoli - Siena - Lago di Bolsena - Vetralla – Roma.
Twenty-nine days averaging around 45 miles a day. From what I recollect, the hardest day terrain-wise was the first day out of Calais: choppy landscape with a lot of short sharp hills. (No, it wasn’t because I was unfit, I started in Leeds!). By the time you’ve got to the Alps, you’re fit enough to take them in your stride. I had to take the Simplon pass because it was too early (end of May) for the Great St Bernard - which incidentally has some very unpleasant stretches climbing from the north.
Can’t advise on accommodation as I mostly camped.
Have fun!

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honesty
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby honesty » 22 Jan 2013, 9:57am

I've had this planned on my computer for a while, it's just never got past the planning stage as I doubt I'd be given permission by SWMBO to do it. I've family in Italy and we used to drive over there as a family when I was a kid. My parents did a number of routes aimed at staying off the toll roads in France, and came up with pretty much the Via Francigena route independently. Anyway, from Taunton (where I am) this is what I'd do:

Taunton to Winchester then the South Downs Way to Newhaven. Ferry over to Dieppe. Avenue Verte to Pont-Sainte-Maxence. Cross country to Reims. Down to Vitry-le-Francois. Theres a cycle path (don't know the name of it) along the river that goes from here to Saint-Dizier, then Chaumont and on to Langres. Across country to Gray, then Besancon, then Pontarlier and on tp Yverdon-les-Bains. Take the Mittelland Route cycle path to Lausanne then the Rhone Route cyclepath to Martigny. Over the Saint Bernard Pass.

Once in Italy my route had me sight seeing across Tuscany and Piemonte but probably for you you want to head from Aosta to Asti, down to Genova, hug the coast to Pisa then on to Rome.

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Sweep
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby Sweep » 22 Jan 2013, 5:04pm

In case folks find it hard to find, this is the map I mentioned above.

http://www.stanfords.co.uk/Cities/Lucca ... 145022.htm

You'll see that you can click to see the detail - I've got a copy as I hopefully intend to do it someday. It looks very good though as it's a form of stripmap I'd also take the TCI maps mentioned by andmiller.

Let us know how you get on with your plans/ride mxmswm.
Sweep

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Sweep
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby Sweep » 22 Jan 2013, 5:31pm

If you are interested in visiting stuff along the way as you say mxmswm, you may possibly be interested in this:

http://www.montepulciano.net/la_foce_iris_origo.htm

though openings maybe restricted.

As the webpage says, it's very close to/pretty much on the Via Francigena.

In case it looks a tad boring/National Trustish and the Brits who I think throng that area get to you, I'd recommend reading

"War in Val d'Orcia" by Iris Origo - a remarkable book.
Sweep

AndrewS
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby AndrewS » 30 Jan 2013, 4:01pm

We rode a version of the Via Francigena in May/June 2012. Following a similar route to nirakaro through France we used canal towpaths on sections between Reims - Chalons en Ch., Vitry le Francois- St Dizier (both good) and Joinville -Chaumont (sections of which were badly worn).

In late May the Gnd St Bernard from Martigny was still closed so we cheated and took a bus over to Aosta (ahem...). From there we cycled via St Vincent, Lago Viverone, Pavia, Piacenza, Salsomaggiore Terme, Berceto, Marina di Massa, Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena, Abbadia San Salvatore and Lagos di Bolsena and Bracchiano.

We were carrying camping gear and averaged about 45 miles a day. I had bad problems with mosquitos around Lago Viverone and Pavia although they only seemed to have me in their sights and left my wife alone.

By mid June it was very hot by midday so I can only assume in August that temperatures will be higher still.

It was a great trip full of interesting places and very friendly people. Italian ice cream really is that good.

Have a good trip!

Andrew

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Sweep
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby Sweep » 31 Jan 2013, 10:00am

Andrew S.

Did you camp on sites/freecamp every night?

If so how hard was it to manage this?

I'd like to do the route (well picking it up near Pontremoli and then down to Rome) camping but have had the impression that this might be a problem.
Sweep

AndrewS
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby AndrewS » 31 Jan 2013, 2:53pm

Portland,

We used commercial campsites all the way through Italy. There were two areas where this proved difficult, around Pavia /Piacenza and the stretch between Siena and Lago de Bolsena. There may be sites around these areas but we either didn't find them or they weren't in quite the right place for our planned mileage/itinerary.

I used http://www.camping.it/ as my main resource for finding sites. The sites along or near the seafront on the Arcipelago Toscana are expensive and can be noisy and scruffy. It's better to find one set back from the main road (as we discovered too late).

Cheers,

Andrew

shotaway
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby shotaway » 7 Feb 2013, 3:57pm

I did it in 2010 check my blog with good maps and gpx files..
altho i lived in Bristol at the time i didn't start cycling till hitting France using the euro tunnel bike service well worth looking in to..
loosely following the Via Francigena

http://hoopdriver.blogspot.com

Smudge
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby Smudge » 7 Feb 2013, 7:23pm

apsykes wrote:Have you read my book? It may be of interest? (see link below to my website which has links to Amazon / Waterstones etc...)
Good luck!
Andrew


How strange ... i started reading your book this week

Simon
"It never gets easier ~ You just go faster"

casbar
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Re: Bristol to Rome

Postby casbar » 12 Apr 2013, 1:59pm

nirakaro wrote:I did an approximation of the Via Francigena a few years ago, and it’s certainly direct, being designed for walking, and I found it a pleasant ride. I mostly stuck to the nearest main-ish roads, for ease of navigation, and don’t recall any of them having horrendous levels of traffic. My actual route was:
Calais – Bruay - Bapaume - Peronne - La Fere - Guignicourt - Chalons-en-Champagne - Dienville - Clairvaux – Langres - Lac de Liez - Champlitte – Besancon - Pontarlier - Orbe - Vevey - Martigny - Brig - Mergozzo - Orta - Vigevano - Fidenza - Berceto - Sarzana - Pisa - Montopoli - Siena - Lago di Bolsena - Vetralla – Roma.
Twenty-nine days averaging around 45 miles a day. From what I recollect, the hardest day terrain-wise was the first day out of Calais: choppy landscape with a lot of short sharp hills. (No, it wasn’t because I was unfit, I started in Leeds!). By the time you’ve got to the Alps, you’re fit enough to take them in your stride. I had to take the Simplon pass because it was too early (end of May) for the Great St Bernard - which incidentally has some very unpleasant stretches climbing from the north.
Can’t advise on accommodation as I mostly camped.
Have fun!


@nirakaro Im will take a very similar route to your in August from London- Piacenza. Im also planning to go over the Simplon ( as a choice ) and was wondering if you coudl maybe share the xact rouet or gpx file of your ride from Orta - Fidenza
Thx