Cycling UK Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 9 weeks 1 day ago

Re: Channel Isles

22 April 2016 - 8:18pm
I live in S Essex and wanted to see a friend in Guernsey last year. I found it a bit of a challenge sorting out my transport.

Without doubt the ferry and getting there was the most expensive. Their fares are pretty expensive. Just to get from Jersey to Guernsey cost £25 each way.

I looked at flying from Gatwick direct to Guernsey which was a reasonable option.

In the end I flew Easyjet from Southend to Jersey, then took the ferry to Guernsey. The Easyjet flight was £17 one way £20 something the other. My bike was £35 each way.

I didn't have any problem booking a bike on the ferry, I think it was free. From memory you go to vehicle, it's under that menu.

I'm going back to Guernsey this summer and am taking my campervan. This won't cost that much more than train and ferry as a cyclist. Utter madness.

As for camping, there are a few sites, but the islands are that small you can just base yourself at one on each one.

Re: Advice / Touring Partner wanted for UK to Scandinavia!

22 April 2016 - 8:17pm
iviehoff wrote:...sometimes the airport also matters, for example Norwegian refuses to load bicycles at Gatwick.
Not any more - it changed a few months ago: ... equipment/

In answer to the OP yes I have a small petrol stove (Svea 123) which has travelled out and back with me on a number of occasions. I don't think I have ever eaten out in a restaurant in Norway. You are usually required to tell the airline in advance that you're taking a stove, and you have to do this and that to nullify any risk but I always think that if there are notes against my boooking it shouldn't be a problem. Touch wood.

Wild camping in the fjords can be tricky as mentioned, but after a bit you get your eye in. A good bet is often to go up one of the service tracks that lead up to telegraph poles. After a difficult push up you can usually find a clear bit, which may even be flat enough and dry enough to have a good night's sleep on.

Re: What gilet for summer?

22 April 2016 - 7:05pm
I have a Gore Windstopper gilet - does what it says on the tin - coming down from on high I find completely depends on the circumstances - sometimes it is good enough on it own - sometimes it doesnt get deployed at all in favour of a throw everything I have on approach - gets worn a lot tho - ideal for a light layer to put on over a jersey and base layer on days that are almost warm - horses for courses

Re: New Route Planner

22 April 2016 - 6:28pm
It does indeed!

I said I'd write a bit more about what's in the new version. There aren't too many visible changes, but a lot has changed under the hood which should result in better routes.

The big change is that it now studies each turn much more rigorously. Previously there was a penalty for right turns, a lesser penalty for left turns, and that was all. (Or the other way round in Europe.) Now, it takes many more factors into account when analysing each turn: what type of roads they are, whether you're turning onto/off a signposted route, and so on.

This has two effects. First, the routes are less "fussy", especially in cities: there's less unnecessary weaving around, and it won't so often suggest you dodge onto a little road only to come back onto the original road 100m later. On one London route I've been experimenting with, it's taken out seven consecutive turns to give a route which is just as good and much less hassle. Second, the turn-by-turn instructions are simpler and clearer, which should be useful for those who like to print out cue points or use a TCX file.

There's also a lot of little weighting adjustments, like the one to be more sceptical about track surfaces in Europe. The under-the-hood adjustments also set the stage for a couple more improvements I've got planned for later this year... but more of that anon.

Re: What gilet for summer?

22 April 2016 - 2:17pm
OK, under a windtop etc,

Up on the moors last weekend and have my softshell top but that's not that practical for walking as it lacks enough insulation, shell top is close not tight fit so I cannot wear any underneath.
Put my fleece only gilet over the softshell and that's fine, I did carry a waterproof as well as I always do even in high summer on or off bike.

Its always prudent to carry an extra layer as well as rations whatever the weather or climate.

Re: What gilet for summer?

22 April 2016 - 2:09pm
LollyKat wrote:I have a gilet that I've never used, as I find my arms get cold before my torso does.
Same here, that's why it still in the closet.

As they all have a zip (gilets & packaways) I find that I play a tune on the zip as you go up hill then down the other side.
I think the gilet is more fashion than practical but each to his own

Re: New Route Planner

22 April 2016 - 2:06pm
SA_SA_SA wrote:I think is very good but as I use its routes as a initial starting point, an undo feature for the last drag or 3 would be useful: is that very difficult?
Isn't that what the curly back arrow near the Save and Elevation buttons does?

Re: Channel Isles

22 April 2016 - 1:55pm
Flybe might be another option for going to the channel isles. We use them but they won't book the bikes in advance. My advice for general ferry crossings is that they will be busy in the school hols, especially at the beginning of the summer holidays ie late July and early August.

Re: New Route Planner

22 April 2016 - 1:20pm
Richard Fairhurst wrote:....

I think is very good but as I use its routes as a initial starting point, an undo feature for the last drag or 3 would be useful: is that very difficult?

Re: New Route Planner

22 April 2016 - 1:00pm
Richard Fairhurst wrote:...
I'd very much like to do something along these lines, but without falling into any of those traps. I'm tending towards logging the issues externally (i.e. on rather than directly on OSM), but unlike what Mapbox do, making the list public so any OSMers can view it and fix the issues. Lots to think about...
Maybe (and I can see it being a lot of work), a list of summarised "ratings" and/or "changes" and/or "additions" that presents an "average" of your own user input, as a list with a check box so some OSM person can go down the list checking checkboxes for changes they wist to use then at the end click a "Do It" button which moves the selected changes across to OSM dataset.

Each proposed change could be summarised with a new/old (where available) as well as number of users and range of new data input (e.g. "Un-passable x2, "Bad x3") - giving indication of consistency.

Unselected changes could remain (e.g. until more users have confirmed the input). Maybe even have a threshold number of users needed to use a change (both within your own routing and for OSM to be presented with the change) to improve "reliability.

Such a scheme would probably need to operate on fixed sections of route (i.e. user clicks on track/road and section selected between e.g. junctions or OSM points of some type either side of clicked point and user cannot adjust those points).

Of course one could go on adding functionality forever without any consideration that you/somebody has to sit down and design/implement/test/document/etc. it all.

Richard Fairhurst wrote:...
(Incidentally, if you're not aware, you can now log an issue directly on without having to edit the data or indeed register; use the little speech bubble icon on the right. It helps if you do register, because then you've clicked the agreement that basically says "I'm not copying from Google Maps" - we can't guarantee that for unregistered users, so can't always take the reports on trust.)

I would have thought that the "I'm not copying from Google Maps" could have been handled by a check box on the submission (at bit like the "I've read the terms and conditions" that is used so often).

I was aware of online editing but not that you could do it without registering.


Re: New Route Planner

22 April 2016 - 12:44pm
It's an interesting area - full of promise but difficult to get right!

A few car navigation apps are now letting their users report issues directly to OSM - Navmii, for example - but there's often a signal-to-noise problem: issues get logged on OSM which aren't actually a problem with the OSM data, but with the navigation app not parsing it correctly.

Or you can do what Mapbox do, which is log the issues internally (rather than on OSM) and then get your squadron of paid editors to make the corrections, but that can result in remote editors stomping on correct local data.

And then there's the new version of, which lets you edit a few things in OSM (mostly POIs) directly from the app. Pro: thousands more people are contributing to OSM overnight, which has to be good. Con: we've had people using it to persistently add Chinese translations to (say) Italian restaurants in Vienna which don't actually have Chinese names.

I'd very much like to do something along these lines, but without falling into any of those traps. I'm tending towards logging the issues externally (i.e. on rather than directly on OSM), but unlike what Mapbox do, making the list public so any OSMers can view it and fix the issues. Lots to think about...

(Incidentally, if you're not aware, you can now log an issue directly on without having to edit the data or indeed register; use the little speech bubble icon on the right. It helps if you do register, because then you've clicked the agreement that basically says "I'm not copying from Google Maps" - we can't guarantee that for unregistered users, so can't always take the reports on trust.)

Re: Channel Isles

22 April 2016 - 12:00pm
Condor have a good website, check your dates aren't close to the Tour de France etc when a whole load of people ride over. Book a day or two in advance and avoid disappointment. Poole and Purbeck are pretty good places for day rides anyway if you have to wait a little.

Re: New Route Planner

22 April 2016 - 11:56am
Richard Fairhurst wrote:meic wrote:However it did take me on some dire paths that had me spitting fury and venom and cursing everything from my GPS to the entire French nation.
Sometimes it was due to obvious recent developments, road closures or new builds. Other times, I was exactly following the GPS track and it was an established footpath or farm track but so bad that I could not cycle on it.
One farm track in Flanders left me looking like some of the British visitors to the region 100 years before and I spent a couple of hours hosing myself, panniers and bike down with a graveyard tap.

I appreciate from looking at maps that I was caught in bottle necks between motorways, airports, rivers and canals. So at that time it appears to sink to accepting "anything passable" rather than decent tracks.

Eek - sorry!

Yes, that's mostly the reason - when there's a bottleneck and it can't find its favoured options (minor roads or cycleways). It's almost always because someone has just mapped it in OpenStreetMap as a "track" without any surface information, so has to guess what the surface might be.

Coincidentally I'd actually noticed this problem the other week, and have tweaked the weightings accordingly. So I've just (yesterday) uploaded a new version of the routing database which is much more sceptical about tracks in Europe without any surface information - it now only gives them 40% of the score that it used to give them (basically, it assumes they're dirt rather than gravel). I'd be intrigued to hear what it does if you now try and plan a similar route - hopefully it should be less keen to take you along such a track. But sorry again.

If it helps, when you're planning a route, the blue highlight becomes green for unpaved sections - so you can zoom in on the route, look at Street View pics if there are any (or Geograph in Britain), and drag it away.

(Lots more changes in the new version - the biggest changes in the routing algorithm since the first version. I'll write more about it in a day or two!)
Interesting aspect to routing (not just for cycling but maybe particularly relevant to cycling) is the state of routes. Strikes me that editing the OSM data is something somewhat too complex for many to get into, particularly to just "report" or note a particular issue or inappropriate selected link.

So idea would be for a web page/site to display a zoomable/scrollable map and allow a user to click on a road/track (click on it and maybe highlight start to end of road/track (i.e. between two neighbouring junctions and allow start and end points to be dragged maybe/maybe too complex). Then display a pop-up with a few data entry controls, maybe "Suitability to road bikes" (unsuitable, passable with difficulty, ok, good, excellent), "Suitability for off-road" (same options), maybe include traffic options (e.g. for busy fast roads), etc. and maybe a "Surface" dropdown and an "obstacles" dropdown. Ideally no registration (although requiring an email would be ok) and ideally feeding back into OSM (where possible and options might need adjusting to fit with OSM recorded info). Feeding back into OSM where possible would to me seem better than just using as a local routing site information, though I don't know how OSM get on with input from unregistered users (but it's just "clarification" and "suitability" details rather than significant mapping.

Just a thought - and I appreciate that would involve a fair amount of work.


Re: New Route Planner

22 April 2016 - 11:44am
mjr wrote:That's great although I've spotted one oddity already: step 8 of is labelled gravel and described as "Continue on St James' Car Park" when I think it's a left turn into a highway=unclassified (and so paved) called Clough Lane. I've looked at OSM and can't see why: can you, please?

It looks like it calculated it as St James' Car Park when you originally planned the route, I think - older versions of OSRM were sometimes a bit funny when roads were shared with the edges of parking areas. stores the instructions with your saved journey so it doesn't have to regenerate them every time you look at it (and so your route doesn't suddenly change if I change the weightings!).

If you tweak the route slightly by moving one of the via points, then it'll regenerate it with the latest data and routing code. It looks like the new weightings come up with a different route through the town centre so you may want to tweak it anyway.

That said, it shouldn't be showing as unpaved - that looks like a mismatch in mapping the old route codes to the new ones, and I'll take a look.

ossie wrote:I used this brilliant site for a 1500 mile tour through England, down through Holland, Germany to Switzerland on the EV15, and up through France on the EV6. I managed to get over 200 miles from Dorset to Harwich without really hitting a main road which I thought was nigh on impossible...but no!

Of course there was the odd occasion I ended up in a field but that was down to my GPS only able to download 250 trackpoints per route and me being slightly dim when that straight line went between A and C and I really needed B but on the whole it was a fabulous resource..actually better in many places than the officially signposted EV6 route.

5 sets of lithiums, an Etrex Legend and this great little planner....thankyou Richard !

Excellent - really glad to hear it!

Re: Channel Isles

22 April 2016 - 11:09am
Trouble is, we're coming do from Scotland, and it's hard to be definite about a date for a there any way over to France where you can pretty sure of getting on it ha bike, without having booked?

Re: Channel Isles

22 April 2016 - 9:53am
I've used Condor for the Channel Islands as trips in themselves and also to France via the Channel Islands.
Definitely book! However even if you cannot get a bike space, phone them up - their ops people can look at the scheduled load and make a judgment.

Condor are incredibly helpful: when checking-in at Poole it was raining hard (and the port has no shelter) so they loaded us 30 minutes early to get us out of the rain.

Re: What gilet for summer?

22 April 2016 - 9:28am
bikes4two wrote:A couple of years back during a summer tour of the French Alps, I found myself getting very cold on some of the long descents (temperature at the top of some cols about 4degC but 35degC at the bottom).

This year it's the Alps again and I'm looking for a light, small-in-bulk gilet to help fend off the cold and have so far seen the Rohan Icepack vest and the Paramo Torres gilet.

Both should do the trick, I'd try them on for fit because a lot of thermal performance will be a reasonably snug fit. Neither are cycling specific so if you have a stretched-out riding position they may be a bit short at the back.

From Rohan, also see which is a sort of gilet with arms... (makes more sense if you look at it). Also the Spark Vest which is much less insulating than the Icepack but incredibly light and low-bulk.

Down ones... microbaffles are super-trendy at the moment, but all the stitching means a lot of heat-bleed so they're not actually as effective as you might think/hope. For example, ME's Dewline and Arete jackets weigh about the same, but the less-trendy Dewline with bigger baffles is significantly warmer, but a Dewline may be quite a lot warmer than you'd actually want. When you go to microbaffles you lose a lot of the thermal efficiency of down but do buy in to the PITA washing and care aspects. I don't really see the point compared to a light synthetic, however much I love my big downie to sit around in the snow.


Re: What gilet for summer?

22 April 2016 - 9:07am
As the goal poster have now moved considerably you may wish to consider one of these light down gilets that folds very small.

Mrs Whoof uses the full jacket very for touring in the UK.

Channel Isles

22 April 2016 - 8:52am
Any tips about cycletouring camping on the channel isles?
We are wondering about going there for a day or two as past of a longer trip down south.
Information about bikes on ferries, need to book, or can just turn up especially welcome, as seems to be missing from Condor website.
Recommended campsite?

Re: What gilet for summer?

21 April 2016 - 9:52pm
Interesting thoughts . I always find the problem when touring is space limits so I try to make sure my clothes do several jobs. My choice has always been shell jacket then thickish fleece, micofleece, cycle top. I aim not to have to wear them all together but I find that combination gives good flexibility and the right potential warmth levels for all eventualities.
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