touring newbie

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by FuzzyDuck, May 7, 2006.

  1. FuzzyDuck

    FuzzyDuck New Member

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    hey there, first post from a 19 year old who wants to cycle to his girlfriend in Bonn, Germany from Nottingham in the UK. Now my problems arent so much with fitness or my bike, but with my experience. I have no idea how to prepare for such an event. I've searched around for places to stay on the way, but I also toyed with the idea of taking a tent and camping out.

    Basically, what would you guys do before planning your route?
    How do you then prepare your route and find places to rest?
    How do you carry your equipment?
    How much would you expect a tour of this short length to cost, both financially and physically?

    I'm fine with cycling long distances, I can easily keep up a week of 40 - 45 miles per day around my home area, but I was wondering if this has any translation in cycling in a completely different country/environment.

    Anyway, thanks for your time and help.

    Nate.
     
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  2. xilios

    xilios New Member

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    Hi
    When I went of my first tour last year I started out with an old Auto Route Express, Europe 98. Got a rough idea on the km's (milage), divided it up in +/-100km sections, got my first Michalin map (+/- 1:200,000 scale) and set out.
    I bought the second map when I ran out of the first, any tourist office or mainly book stores had them.
    I also had in the attic an old (+/-20yo) tent that my dad gave me, and it worked out well.
    Camping averaged about 10/15€ a night, food and water another 7/12€, I mostly ate at fast foods.
    A lot of information could also be found here.
    Hope it helps out some cheers :)
     
  3. philso

    philso New Member

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    how you tour depends on your own personality. staying at hostels, etc. allows you to travel more lightly, but of course costs rather more. all you'll need are a couple of changes of clothes, some rain gear, and some basic tools for emergency repairs.

    if you want to travel inexpensively, it's usually possible to find someplace secluded to camp for free, and you can buy your food at supermarkets and eat outside. if you have lightweight gear, you can probably fit everything in 2 large panniers, with the tent and sleeping pad on top of the rack, and a handlebar bag.

    here's another forum: http://www.bikeforums.net/

    you can do a search and find plenty of info there.

    best of luck ;)
     
  4. HowardSteele

    HowardSteele New Member

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    In planning my trip last year i planned out the daily rote, we carried and slept in tents, but as it was off-season you didn’t need to pre book. However the sites, dictated the days ride so some days the ride was shorter than we would have liked and on one incident we hit a terrible head wind slowing down our progress and had to find accommodation about half way along. Most of the sites have facilities to purchase a basic meal and on a couple of occasions we ate our main meal midday when passing an enticing looking fast food outlet.
     
  5. blackbird05

    blackbird05 New Member

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    Hey Nate, don't know if this is too late, but here's acouple of brief pointers.

    I also toyed with the idea of taking a tent and camping out.
    Taking a tent and camping out is, I found, one of the best ways to go, if you're looking for cheaper accomodations/an alternative way to sleep if you find yourself caught by darkness on your tour. Make sure you're you're familiar with camping though. If you haven't yet done a camping weekend, do one with your tent and your girlfriend, and study up on the subject of waterproofing your tent, bringing foam sleep mats etc. The devil's in bringing necessary camping equipment without overpacking for it. Remember, you're paying for convienience by hauling that extra weight of equipment around.

    How do you then prepare your route and find places to rest?
    Depends on where I am: big city or countryside? Big cities generally mean you'll be travelling through suburbian hell trying to get out. I don't enjoy it, and if I have to enter or exit a city I take a local train to just beyond city limits. Make sure you ask a local where the countryside really begins. In the country, you can often obtain local maps of surrounding roads. These are super-useful, and often free at campgrounds or hostels. Ask tourist offices in the little towns or campgrounds about biking routes. They can be extensive even where they're not widely advertised. Give yourself at LEAST an hour before sunset to get wehre you want to be and set up camp. It's nicer find a place to eat and sleep while it's still light out.

    How do you carry your equipment?
    Equipment is usually carried in panniers or trailers. Do a search through these forums for info on each, and the pro's and cons etc.

    How much would you expect a tour of this short length to cost, both financially and physically?

    I'm fine with cycling long distances, I can easily keep up a week of 40 - 45 miles per day around my home area, but I was wondering if this has any translation in cycling in a completely different country/environment.
    You should be fine physically. Keep in mind that you're just starting out, depending on your legs to get you where you need to go. Give yourself rest days where you don't even look at the bike, listen to your body, respond when it complains about water, food, aches and pains.

    best of luck, and let us know how it turns out!
     
  6. FuzzyDuck

    FuzzyDuck New Member

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    well I set off tomorrow, so I'll let all of you guys know how I got on once I get there :D
     
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