Cycling UK Forum - Touring & Expedition

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Updated: 1 year 13 weeks ago

Re: Rail: To Oban

11 May 2016 - 11:19am
tyreon, I don't think you've answered when you are travelling, sorry if I missed it. This is significant, because Advance tickets are only added to the booking engines (approx) thirteen weeks ahead of travel. So if your trip is further away, you will only see the much more expensive flexible fares.

Again depending on where you're starting from, you might want to consider the sleeper train from London to Glasgow, which you can book up to a year ahead. This has a guards van which takes (booked) bikes, and there are reasonable advance fares - if it saves you a night in a hotel, then the price comparison is quite favourable, and you get a further third off the price if you have a railcard, such as Two Togther card for yourself and Mrs tyreon. See

Re: Long touring without front panniers

11 May 2016 - 12:39am
I use a frame bag for touring off-road. It is great. It takes a load of heavy stuff like food and places it in the centre of the bike where it doesn't mess up the handling or balance of the bike on tracks and singletrack.

I would use on happily on my touring bike to gain extra capacity. You need to make sure that a frame bag fits properly, isn't too wide so it doesn't brush your calves and be aware that it can scratch paint or scuff a titanium frame. I don't think that soft bikepacking bags will replace rear panniers for me for road based touring - but of the range of bikepacking bags available it is the frame bag that is most useful and can complement panniers very well.

Re: Ridgeway - Avebury to Uffington

10 May 2016 - 11:25pm
Just did this as a 2 day bikepacking ride a few weeks ago ( and then back to Avebury on bridle ways) . Great ride but definitely mtb territory. Rutted tracks and muddy in spots. Have a great time!

Re: Has Anyone Toured With a Guitar?

10 May 2016 - 10:46pm
Yep. Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton,Pete Townsend, B. B. King - loads of people really.........

Re: Dawes Horizon?

10 May 2016 - 10:00pm
If I remember correctly and if I have my facts right, the Galaxy AL is indeed the Vantage, but the Vantage is in fact an alloy framed Horizon. When the Horizon was given back it's steel frame the Vantage was born.
Depending on where you shop, you can get fairly hefty discounts. My Vantage retailed for £599.99 when I started looking, but through Evans cycles price match scheme, I got it for £412

Re: New Route Planner

10 May 2016 - 9:04pm
Like Richard, I've been experimenting with electronic route planning too, as I've used electronic maps + hub dynamo charger for my last couple of tours. There's a great Android map called from Germany, which allows offline browsing and can import routes, but those actual tracks were the problem. I've never been too convinced with autorouting and editing downloading GPX tracks is laborious at best.

So I've come up with a different approach. A interactive tool to plot routes, but which can cope with multi-day trips matched to an accommodation database of campsites & hostels. It's taken ages to put together but still got a few rough edges, but I'd appreciate some feedback if anyone fancies a go.


Re: Hub Dynamo

10 May 2016 - 8:39pm
I've got the Shimano with Busch Muller led lights too - it is quite hefty, but you really don't notice any drag. The lighting is great - powerful enough to light up country lanes and tracks on tour. And unlike battery lights, you can mount an LED dynamo on the fork bridge, so it works with a handlebar bag. Best bit though is adding a Busch Muller USB-Werk, because I use electronic maps and it keeps my phone charged all day.

There's a short review here on my website that you might find useful along with similar ones of the charger and lights.

Re: Dawes Horizon?

10 May 2016 - 8:16pm
Winnats is a killer, kudos to anyone who completes it, but I don't think it gets close to 30%

Re: Dawes Horizon?

10 May 2016 - 7:53pm
My wife has a Horizon bought in early 2009 and it has 24 gears. It cost £500 from Spa Cycles. its not the lightest bike around and is quite a bit heavier than my Ridgeback Panorama. The frame is 501 tubing I think, whereas mine is 725. However, mine was twice the price of hers, so you get what you pay for.

We've ridden all over the Peak District on our tourers and the only hill that has defeated us is Winnats Pass which is a 30% climb. I did Via Gelia, Parwich and Crowdicote last Sunday.

The modern equivalent of the Horizon is the Galaxy Cromo, which does cost £800, but bikes have gone up a lot in price over the last 5-10 years. Dawes do a cheaper Aluminium framed tourer called the Galaxy AL which sells for about £600. This one used to be called the Vantage.

Re: Dawes Horizon?

10 May 2016 - 6:44pm
Thanks for the replies, that's really helpful. I'll give Spa Cycles a call tomorrow. Funnily enough I think that's where I got my Horizon from.

I didn't realise they had renamed them Galaxy. The prices seem to be much higher than when I got mine - I'm fairly sure it was about £350-400 but Galaxy seems to start around £600. Also most seem to have 24 gears and I would really like the extra ones!

I'd looked at the ones on eBay but I'm not sure what size frame I need - guess I need to check that out first.
Thanks again.

Re: Long touring without front panniers

10 May 2016 - 6:23pm
Long tour last year with the fairly traditional panniers front and rear, rack pack and bar bag

Will second what most have said that bar bag is excellent for a quickly detachable bag for valuables, and that because I had all that luggage space I used it - and as a result probably carried more than I needed

A change of bike (which gives even more mounting options than the old one) means that in the future I can do whatever I like luggage wise, but as others have posted I will be looking at what I need to pack, and then fitting it to bike as opposed to fitting luggage to bike and then packing in to it

Re: Has Anyone Toured With a Guitar?

10 May 2016 - 6:04pm
Farawayvisions wrote:I had two young Canadians stay with me (Warmshowers). One had a ukelele and the other had a guitar (smaller size for travelling).

Here they are playing in my back garden

I have one of those guitars, Martin Backpacker, but found it very difficult to play unsupported and got a friend to make some 'wings' for it, de/attachable by Velcro. Eventually, I didn't think the smaller scale size was with the effort and went with a Soloette nylon strung guitar, which would be simple enough to travel with by bike, with some adaptions to the carrying method - although only good for practise and not performance unless you have access to an amplifier!

Re: Long touring without front panniers

10 May 2016 - 5:40pm
foxyrider wrote:Messy solution to a non existent 'problem'. Any advantages are outweighed by the disadvantages. The whole idea was to allow luggage to be carried on MTB's where traditional racks/saddlebag systems wouldn't work and for that use it works.

The key things when loading a bike are always the same - weight and bulk should be kept as low as reasonable for stability - a ratio of 40% front 60% rear weight distribution. These things might sound like repetition of old advice but there are good reasons for the advice and it's validity remains true.

the 'problem' that soft bags fix is panniers bouncing off over rough ground (including rough tarmac), they fix the problem where you only 1/2 fill a single pannier so taking two is 1kg of unused weight in the panniers alone, they fix the problem of the panniers sticking out and catching on things, they make ultralight touring much simpler, if you want to ride faster they're more aerodynamic, etc, etc.... but I guess if you tour mostly on good roads in easy surroundings then they may appear not to fix anything.

I would assume when the whole pannier idea was brand new lots of people made very similar (dogmatic) arguments about why they were the devils invention, not least that putting all that weight over the rear wheel (in addition to the rider) was sheer lunacy. But the world kept turning when panniers and racks came along. Now some people are experimenting with soft bags in the pre-pannier style, the world continues to turn. I really don't understand why people get upity/dismissive about strapping a bag onto a bike, I mean people have been doing it for's hardly a new idea.

If anything it's great that there are so many choices, and if you're prepared to ignore the magazine/marketing hype you can pick up some very inexpensive bags (in-frame, seat post, bar mounted, always on sale due to fashion) to replace or compliment any setup you can imagine. From traditional panniers, to Carradice style saddle bags to Alpkit style soft bags, it's surely never been a better time to try things out or copy designs and make your own. Mix and match, there's no law that says you must exclusively do one thing or another, or even your forthcoming trip must have the same luggage setup as the one you do after it.

Re: Long touring without front panniers

10 May 2016 - 5:14pm
simonhill wrote:Thanks for saying that bikepacking luggage makes bike handle better. That explains some of it.

Handles better (especially offroad), no panniers snagging on rocks or bushes when doing single track(or bouncing off the racks). More importantly in my case, the overall weight is less (baggage plus bike is around 25kg) so its easier to lift over fences, walls, fallen tree's and other obstacles when doing mtb type routes (also easier to load onto busses, trains and trucks, because all the bags stay on the frame in my case). Its also now (after much faffing around) nicely balanced when I carry it too, very convenient when the tracks become too steep, or unrideable.

IMG_2300 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

For me bike packing has opened up routes that would not be possible (or very difficult) with a standard set up. My taste in trips has changed, and this is a solution to that problem. I now couldn't imagine doing endless 1000's of miles on tar roads like many of my previous trips.

IMG_2316 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

gloomyandy wrote: In the first photo of your post there seems to be a couple of bags on the floor, where do they go on the bike?
Its a lightweight backpack.

tatanab wrote:Frame bag as shown above - It looks wide enough to me that one would have to ride with knees quite far apart.

I made it myself, so its fits perfect. The knee area is about 6cm wides and expands to about 8-10 when overfilled, which is just do-able. outside the knee area its fans out to about 15-20cm.
There's a lot of marketing going into bike packing. But, for most folks a classic 2-4 panniers will work better and probably be cheaper.

Re: Dawes Horizon?

10 May 2016 - 4:01pm
Dawes range of touring bikes were all renamed as Galaxy a year or 2 ago. The Horizon as a bike is still made, but now it's called a Galaxy something or other.

Re: Dawes Horizon?

10 May 2016 - 2:06pm
This Horizon is on ebay for £250 at the moment ... 3641.l6368

Super Galaxy currently at £70 ... SwYmZXL4z4

Galaxy with a flat spot on the rear rim £100 ... SwSclXL2YC

Re: Long touring without front panniers

10 May 2016 - 11:54am
Ridgie wrote:Many thanks to all the people who responded. It has sparked some interesting comments, debate even, and I have probably changed my mind about the bike as a result. I think I'll still want to travel with 4 panniers, but more for balance than anything. I do travel quite light, but I do seem to be really bulky. Super light shoes, but super bulky at the same time. I also like to have the room to buy some shopping including that essential bottle of wine. I cook quite a lot and need space for the stuff.
It was going to be a fairly lightweight titanium tourer with carbon forks, (hence no front panniers) and it will now definitely be a steel tourer with mountings for panniers on the front fork, albeit with Rohloff hub, so still far too expensive ..... Ah well!
Thanks to you all again - and happy touring.

I have exactly the same criteria.

Sometimes I enjoy a lighter bike with all the weight on the back, sometimes I enjoy the luxury of a load of bags only part filled, so no struggling to squeeze everything into tiny spaces and buying as much shopping as i want.

I bought a pair of 531 Club Tour forks from Thorn, which I leave fitted with headset lower seat, low rider racks and a matching front brake. I can swap them over just by undoing the topcap, stem and brake cable clamp. Rearrange spacers and refit.
When I come back from a tour I just return my CF forks and enjoy the benefits of a lightweight titanium bike again.

Re: Has anyone cycled the Camino?

10 May 2016 - 11:43am
simonhill wrote:Welcome to the confraternity.

I rode the route fro St Jean Pied de Porte about 20 years ago and had a great time. Won't bore you with details as I am sure it has changed much by now.

My point in posting is that St James' (aka Santiago) Day is 25 July, the target date for many pilgrims to reach Santiago. The wave of pilgrims that move along to make this date makes everything very busy.

Enjoy.Hi Simon, I would like to cycle Bilbao to Angeles- Gazost, via St jean Pied de Porte could you recommend a route ?

Re: Long touring without front panniers

10 May 2016 - 11:41am
Nothing new in cycling. this was 1896.

Re: South Downs Way on a touring bike ??

10 May 2016 - 11:32am
Farawayvisions wrote:I rode the SDW on a hybrid (rigid fork) minimal kit. I hadn't a clue what the route was like before I got there, just liked the sound of it and I'd barely been riding a bike, having taken a break for 20 odd years. Any difficulties, I put down to my lack of fitness and ability rather than the bike.

Some of the warnings here may be a smidge melodramatic, but this is a route where fatter tyres (eg 38mm plus) definitely help.

Oh and if you are doing it without nobbly tyres then it's best to wait until it's dry. The chalky sections in particular can be slippery.
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