Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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gaz
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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby gaz » 21 Apr 2017, 8:20pm

robert32asp wrote:... then route 1 to Canterbury.

Some of the off-road sections over that stretch are a little rough but not muddy, almost all have anti-motorcycle barriers.

Section through Rochester/Chatham isn't the most pleasant or scenic being either on or immediately adjacent to main roads.

As with other NCN routes there is scope to cut out some of the wiggly bits here and there, however I'd recommend route 1 as the best way into Canterbury from Faversham and in any case Whitstable is worth a visit.

Happy to suggest refreshment stops over that stretch. Independent hostel at Palace Farm, Doddington is a nice stop over although a little off your route.
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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby mjr » 21 Apr 2017, 8:41pm

http://www.Norfolkchurches.co.uk/ may be of interest. Look up pretty much any place you'll be going through and it's probably got an interesting tale.
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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby Heltor Chasca » 21 Apr 2017, 8:48pm

Plenty of Pagan sites in the South West worth doing. Great Neolithic longbarrow up on the Stoney Littleton hill just off the NCN 24. Perfect for an ethereal wild camp.

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby robert32asp » 22 Apr 2017, 2:13am

gaz wrote:
robert32asp wrote:... then route 1 to Canterbury.

Some of the off-road sections over that stretch are a little rough but not muddy, almost all have anti-motorcycle barriers.....


Thank you for the information. I do have one question as lots of folks have commented on anti-motorcycle barriers. Why is everyone telling me about anti-motorcycle barriers? It is starting to sound like they are a bicycle death trap of some sort. I can see where a bike with panniers hanging off the sides might have problems going between some vertical posts that are narrowly spaced. Or is it that you have to dismount each time you go through one and they are like every mile and a real pain to navigate?

In the states we have either concrete vertical bollards that are spaced far enough apart that a bike can roll right through them. In some places where there are animals or cattle, they have these little twisty zig-zag gates where a bicycle needs to be upended on its rear wheel to navigate the tight turn and you can't ride through them.

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby robert32asp » 22 Apr 2017, 2:16am

mjr wrote:http://www.Norfolkchurches.co.uk/ may be of interest. Look up pretty much any place you'll be going through and it's probably got an interesting tale.


Wow that is pretty interesting. Not sure I will have time to see everything, now I just need to look at them and prioritize. Thanks

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby robert32asp » 22 Apr 2017, 2:17am

Heltor Chasca wrote:Plenty of Pagan sites in the South West worth doing. Great Neolithic longbarrow up on the Stoney Littleton hill just off the NCN 24. Perfect for an ethereal wild camp.


I will pass on the camping but thanks for the suggested place to look at.

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby mjr » 22 Apr 2017, 8:51am

robert32asp wrote:
gaz wrote:
robert32asp wrote:... then route 1 to Canterbury.

Some of the off-road sections over that stretch are a little rough but not muddy, almost all have anti-motorcycle barriers.....


Thank you for the information. I do have one question as lots of folks have commented on anti-motorcycle barriers. Why is everyone telling me about anti-motorcycle barriers? It is starting to sound like they are a bicycle death trap of some sort. I can see where a bike with panniers hanging off the sides might have problems going between some vertical posts that are narrowly spaced. Or is it that you have to dismount each time you go through one and they are like every mile and a real pain to navigate?

In the states we have either concrete vertical bollards that are spaced far enough apart that a bike can roll right through them. In some places where there are animals or cattle, they have these little twisty zig-zag gates where a bicycle needs to be upended on its rear wheel to navigate the tight turn and you can't ride through them.

Posts are usually OK. The ones we have require you to dismount and scoot or lift the bike, but they look like you can ride through and you might be able to for some of them but not others. Even experienced riders have suffered injury and damaged bikes, just because some NIMBY has popped out with a spanner and narrowed the gap.

Where they occur, they are far more frequent than one a mile. At worst, I've known them average about one every hundred metres. They are futile wastes of money which could be better spent building useful cycling infrastructure... but this is a discussion we've had before. We would rather visitors weren't injured by them, though.

Previous discussion- viewtopic.php?f=1&t=105459
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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby Tinnishill » 22 Apr 2017, 10:02am

For planning information you might want to read this old thread,

viewtopic.php?t=107532

For buying an off the shelf bike, you could look at the Halfords company. There stuff isn't great but they do have a lot of stores; they sell Chinese made bikes under several brand names, "Carrera" and "Boardman" being better quality than "Apollo". Their website can tell you what is in stock at each shop.

Another thought. You might try contacting http://www.thebristolbikeproject.org/ou ... uy-a-bike/ to see if they could fix you up with a suitable used bike, and then either hand it back in at a similar project in London or sell it to a second hand dealer in London. You wouldn't get much selling to a London dealer but meeting a backstreet geezer could be looked on as another part of the tourist experience.

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby robert32asp » 22 Apr 2017, 9:46pm

mjr wrote:....The ones we have require you to dismount and scoot or lift the bike, but they look like you can ride through and you might be able to for some of them but not others. Even experienced riders have suffered injury and damaged bikes, just because some NIMBY has popped out with a spanner and narrowed the gap.

Where they occur, they are far more frequent than one a mile. At worst, I've known them average about one every hundred metres. They are futile wastes of money which could be better spent building useful cycling infrastructure... but this is a discussion we've had before. We would rather visitors weren't injured by them, though.

Previous discussion- viewtopic.php?f=1&t=105459


Wow :(

What an unpleasant trail modification. I shall keep my eyes peeled for them and approach with extreme caution. Haven't seen anything like this in my other rides. I hope they never catch on in the States.

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby robert32asp » 22 Apr 2017, 10:00pm

Tinnishill wrote:For planning information you might want to read this old thread,

viewtopic.php?t=107532

For buying an off the shelf bike, you could look at the Halfords company. There stuff isn't great but they do have a lot of stores; they sell Chinese made bikes under several brand names, "Carrera" and "Boardman" being better quality than "Apollo". Their website can tell you what is in stock at each shop.

Another thought. You might try contacting http://www.thebristolbikeproject.org/ou ... uy-a-bike/ to see if they could fix you up with a suitable used bike, and then either hand it back in at a similar project in London or sell it to a second hand dealer in London. You wouldn't get much selling to a London dealer but meeting a backstreet geezer could be looked on as another part of the tourist experience.


Thanks so much that is a great planning article/thread.

It is interesting how cycle oriented Bristol seems to be. They have a huge number of cycle shops.

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby robert32asp » 6 Sep 2017, 7:09pm

Just to let everyone know. I did my trip across England as planned.......sort of. I had an absolutely wonderful time. For the most part the weather was great. Toward the end of my trip the rain started to interfere with things, especially the last day from Rochester to Canterbury. I took the train a couple days either because of injury or heavy rain. I logged about 400 miles of saddle time.

I want to thank everyone for their comments and suggestions. It really helped to plan things out. What I did was used TravelAdvisor for the most part to compare accommodations both in advance and on-the-fly. I got a Senior Rail card that allowed me discounts to get from Heathrow airport to Bristol, to reduce the cost of train travel from Norwich to Ipswich, and from about 5 miles past Rochester to Canterbury and then from Canterbury to meet my wife in Oxford.

The cathedrals and churches were great and added a lot to the experience. The best cathedrals for me were Bristol, Ely (a complete surprise), Norwich,and Canterbury. The Avebury stone circle was impressive. People along the way were very helpful when I got lost. I would not do something like this without cell phone mapping and a dedicated GPS.

While I am impressed by the vast National Bike routes, I do think that one needs to have a paper map of the bike routes and ended up buying several. The "marking" of the bike routes is not very consistent and it is very easy to get lost when they don't put up many route markers. I would also say that the maintenance of the national bike routes is kind of hit or miss. Some were well maintained and others I was constantly worried about my safety from being ripped apart by bramble sticker bushes extending out into the trail and/or low hanging branches. I got bonked in the helmet several times by branches as I went down the paths.

I couldn't find a suitable bicycle rental (hire) company. All the ones I contacted required me to pick up and drop off the bike at the same location. When I did the Camino in Spain, there were lots of choices and the rental companies would ship the bike to your starting hotel and then have it picked up at your ending hotel. Ultimately, I purchased a 29er MTB hardtail disk brake bike from Cycle Republic in Bristol that was on a super sale. It worked perfectly. Some of the rental companies advised against an MTB and suggested a hybrid or even a road bike. That would have been a mistake. Several of the paths were very muddy or soft rutted dirt. An MTB was the right choice. Even selling the bike at the end of the ride for just 40 pounds resulted in a net cost that was just a little over the cost of a rental and had I included shipping of the bike back to the pick-up point, buying it was a better deal.

The two worst experiences were: (1) a trail through the fens north of Ely, where I had to lift my bike with loaded panniers up a bunch of stairs to go over a bridge to cross a river. (2) Riding from Rochester toward Canterbury in a rain down pour parallel to an A-Road with bus and trucks spraying water across the sidewalk, trail and onto me.

I think the best experiences were Evensong at the Norwich and Canterbury Cathedrals. The tree covered railroad paths were beautiful and the open roads in various farm country were great. Also the Tilbury ferry was kind of fun.
Last edited by robert32asp on 7 Sep 2017, 2:33am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby gaz » 6 Sep 2017, 7:17pm

:D
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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby Vorpal » 6 Sep 2017, 7:54pm

Thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip.
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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby sabrutat » 8 Sep 2017, 6:16pm

robert32asp wrote:The cathedrals and churches were great and added a lot to the experience. The best cathedrals for me were Bristol, Ely (a complete surprise), Norwich,and Canterbury. The Avebury stone circle was impressive. People along the way were very helpful when I got lost. I would not do something like this without cell phone mapping and a dedicated GPS.


I had exactly the same surprise in Ely! Loved the town and cathedral.

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Re: Bristol,Bath,Oxford,Hunstanton,Norwich,Ispwich,Tilbury,Caterbury July 2017

Postby mjr » 8 Sep 2017, 6:47pm

sabrutat wrote:I had exactly the same surprise in Ely! Loved the town and cathedral.

City ;-) Ely is lovely. The main problem is that the cycle routes (both on-carriageway and off) to it are fairly poor and made all the more jarring by the proximity of Cambridge which is so much above average.
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