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Updated: 1 year 17 weeks ago

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

17 May 2016 - 4:30pm
I've not had time to read the whole thread, so excuse me if I say something already mentioned.

Lack of front panniers is not a deal breaker. You only put light stuff in them anyway. The tent can stay outside, probably on top of the rack. Keep everything to a minimum. Don't take a big Trangia style cooking set-up if you don't need to. Select clothing on the basis of how small it packs and how quickly it dries. Wash clothing at the end of each day and dry it partly by rolling it up with a super-absorbent travel towel, kneeling on it, wringing it and so on, so that the clothing is almost dry before you leave it out in the air. That way you can minimise the clothing you need to take. Practice that drying technique at home if you are not sure. It works. I use padded cycle shorts and only need one pair on tour because I can wash them in the shower each evening and get them dry(ish) for the next morning even in damp weather. That saves a lot of space.

Re: iPhone GPS Navigation in Holland

17 May 2016 - 4:03pm
I use MapOut (a few quid on the Apple AppStore

You download the free OpenStreet/Cycle Maps (so it's just the cost of the App) normally over WiFi from home (or wherever), then it works completely offline (no GSM coverage needed, in Airplane mode, whatever).

It is a very Cycle/Hiking orientated mapping app. You can enable cycle network "overlay" which then highlights the various cycle routes. It is very strong on giving altitude plots (e.g. tap a cycle route and you get an attitude plot for so many miles either side of your tap; tap/hold two fingers at the same time and you get an altitude plot for the line between those two points. Also shows map altitude contours.

Technically it uses vector mapping which means maps do not take up much space, can be fabulously detailed if you zoom right in and are very quick to display and very clear when displayed (it has the best map rendering of the mapping apps I've tried).

You can send it gpx files through several means (including just e-mailing it to a special e-mail address) and can display the route clearly on the maps (nice feature of selecting the route and jumping to the map scales to fill the display with the route. You can also record your track as you ride and send it off through all sorts of means.

I've tried a few different ones and I find MapOut the clearest map display without all the "Tweet your position", "Update your Facebook page", rubbish getting in your way. It's been around for some time so no major issues - just works.


Re: iPhone GPS Navigation in Holland

17 May 2016 - 3:29pm
I don't know why, but the Edit button seems to have disappeared. Apologies for the typos - chubby thumb syndrome.

Re: iPhone GPS Navigation in Holland

17 May 2016 - 3:25pm
I'm assuming you want offline maps.

Try Pocket Earth or Outdoor GPS. From what I vould see from having a look at them, PE is simpler to use as you can email the file to yourself and then open in PE while with Outdoor GPS you have to upload the file to their site. But Outdoor GPS lets you download the free Open Street Map mapping while with PE you need to buy the maps. I've only had a quick look so that could be wrong.

Re: Cycling from Lourdes to Perpignan

17 May 2016 - 2:29pm
Thanks so much - have just tracked down the V81 which looks helpful!

iPhone GPS Navigation in Holland

17 May 2016 - 1:43pm
I need some help as I will be riding around Holland and Belgium for 4 days over the forth-coming bank holiday weekend.

The planned route is from Rotterdam to Antwerp - Antwerp to Eindhoven - Eindhoven to Utrecht - Utrecht to Rotterdam. I have managed to plan the routes online using the Fietserbond route planner and it gives me the option to download as GPX file - this is where I start to struggle.

What I need to know is how do I download the GPX and then export it into a mapping app that I can use on the bike for navigation when cycling in Holland and Belgium?

Hopefully someone can help me get these routes onto my iPhone and advise a mapping app so I can use it in much the same way as a Garmin?

Re: Rhine route (EV15) - is it worth it?

17 May 2016 - 5:23am
Myself and three other riders will be touring the Euro Velo 15, Rhine Route from Andermatt to Rotterdam for three weeks starting in late July. If you have done this route and can recommend some of your not to be missed experiences, it would be appreciated. The hidden gems of your trip, items not in the guide books is what we are looking for. Sightseeing spots, restaurants, best campsites or any not to miss experiences you found and really enjoyed would be nice to hear about.

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

16 May 2016 - 10:23pm
Quilt is polite one and packs to the size of a can of coke but only 690g. The 1kg sleeping bag packs down into less than 10 litres probably a lot less than that. Oh and they're extra long too because I'm 6'5" tall. The sleeping bag is a bit heavy but it packs down ok. It's also a fusion bag from marmot. That is it's down inner layer and primaloft outer layer. This might sound strange but I got it for a song when short of cash and it's actually great for bivvy use or single skin tent use which was what I used when I got it.

Pack volume more than weight I think is the issue. Both these bags pack small enough to fit in probably 12-15 litres. Small enough to fit into a dry bag stashed to the bars I think.

I get the bit about the trailer. It's just a real drag in the way I think panniers aren't. Whenever I use it I'm stuck in the small chainring and lowest gears. I'd run out of low gears I think on steeper hills. I suspect use of trailers would mean I'd need to change the gearing drastically. A change to long drop rear derailleur, change in cassette to include granny gear and possibly change the chainset too. 50-34T chainrings and 11-25 cassette. Great commuter but with a trailer It's sometimes hard work.

Mind you the trailer is great with toys and a huge cuddly toy that he can fall asleep against. Great when it's very wet and windy.

Re: Sri Lanka

16 May 2016 - 9:23pm
Envy here- I've been twice and have in laws there but haven't been north or east yet (it was the civil war last time I visited). I'd love to visit Jafna and Trincomalee.

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

16 May 2016 - 5:35pm
Duplicate removed

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

16 May 2016 - 5:35pm
IME most European families doing cycle camping use a trailer. Child, toys, and the bulky stuff are then off the bike, other issues disappear. You have the trailer already so use it!

You seem to have a lot of sleeping gear there - quilt and bag 1.6kg! I'm guessing there's a lot of bulk there too - this would be where i'd put some effort in to reducing this. You shouldn't need a 4 season mountain bag, 2/3 season with a silk liner will reduce bulk and weight and needn't cost a lot - take a look in Decathlon.

Whatever, i'd say your biggest challenge is keeping junior occupied!

Re: Cycling from Lourdes to Perpignan

16 May 2016 - 2:06pm
Forgot to say there is a cycle route, the V81 between St Girons and Foix that runs parallel to the D117 ... tainbiking

Re: Cycling from Lourdes to Perpignan

16 May 2016 - 2:01pm
Rather off-topic but I remember visiting Lourdes years ago and was shocked that all those desperate sick people buying their candles were not allowed to actually light them to make them better. Instead they paid for them, left the candle in a "special plays" and officials burnt them later.
And that is the way they burnt them (they lit them with a sort of blow torch/flame thrower thing). Not quite what those desperate believers probably had in mind to carry their prayers to God.


Re: Cycling from Lourdes to Perpignan

16 May 2016 - 1:53pm
Most routes you look at will probably go over the mountains as this is why people go to the Pyrenees. I've just tried this with Lourdes to Perpignan and the route looks like it takes you North of the main mountains. I've used it quite a few times for various routes and is does avoid main roads.

Cycling from Lourdes to Perpignan

16 May 2016 - 11:18am
Hi. I am biking for 10 days in June in the pyrenees and am trying to work out the best route. I'm not keen on cols but just want nice scenery and a bit of a challenge to prepare for RideLondon. Any suggestions on which route tool to use? I have tried but checked it by doing its suggested route to alexandra palace from camberwell yesterday and it just took me along main roads. Also the times given for different routes are very different from google maps timings. I'm going on my own so keen to get it planned in advance. Any help much appreciated!! Also does anyone know if the main road D117 is ok for cyclists or full of lorries???

Re: Sri Lanka

16 May 2016 - 10:02am
I was there Jan/Feb for a month. I then went back a week later, but had to abandon due to death of a friend. It was my 4th trip since 1980.

The Jan/Feb trip was to North and East.

Happy to answer any questions.

Sri Lanka

16 May 2016 - 8:32am
I'm off for a month touring around the north and east of the island.

Anyone going to be there during July?
Anyone been there? Tips?
Any contacts on the island?

I've doing plenty of planning and blog reading.
B&B/ hostels. No camping!

Fly out June 26. Back July 23.

Thanks folks

Re: New Route Planner

16 May 2016 - 12:26am
gloomyandy wrote:with my routes all have the same name "" when I download them to a Garmin 520 using .tcx format. Is there a way to set the name of a route? Do I need to be logged in to do this? I really like what I've seen so far and will be testing the actual routes generated on the bike over the next few days.
If you save the route in (you'll need to be registered) - go into "my [bicycle symbol]" > Journeys & make it private if you don't want the world to see it (it would be nice to have that as a save option ) - then the GPX/TCX you download will have that name.


Re: New Route Planner

16 May 2016 - 12:09am
with my routes all have the same name "" when I download them to a Garmin 520 using .tcx format. Is there a way to set the name of a route? Do I need to be logged in to do this? I really like what I've seen so far and will be testing the actual routes generated on the bike over the next few days.

Re: First cycle tour - kit advice

15 May 2016 - 9:40pm
Do you know I never really thought of comparing things to rucksack sizes. We both have a pair of ortlieb panniers which IIRC make up 40 litres. Add in perhaps 7 litre bar bag and drg sacks on top of the rack in my case and you could easily end up with up to 120 litres between the two of us. Now In backpacking I got down to 20 litres on my own, 32 litres for about 3 or 4 days or 50 litres with 15 litre overload but only if I was doing over 7 days in Scotland in didgy weather without coming down from the hills at all. More often than not those 7 day plus trips never even filled the 5 litre sack.

So this makes me think even using a big tent (3 man with extended porch) instead of a micro tarp and bivvy we can easily ce with the load in terms of packing it in. I was talking with my partner about this and she told me to not be so silly, panniers and the top of the rack will be good enough and I'll have no problem with handling. She only ever used panniers, top of rack and bar bag. I just need a bar bag now but the ortleib ones are too expensive. I was wondering whether to get an Alpkit Stingray or possum frame bag and possible one of their bar bag bikepacking thingies instead of a bar bag. I could stash the sleeping bag and other stuff in that but would it affect handling much? My quilt is 690g but I could stash my sleeping bag in there as well which weights about 1kg. My bag and quilt combined are lighter than our other sleeping bags plus pack a lot smaller too.

I wanted to try a loaded ride today but coudn't get out. Only a 17 mile ride over local roads but some hills so a good test. WIll try another weekend. It'll be July when we go away I think so enough time for a trial.

Trailer is probably sensible but since we intend to take trains at some point I think it would be easier to leave the trailer at home if at all possible
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