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Messages - Galloper

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Gear Talk / Re: Bike purchasing advice needed
« on: November 08, 2013, 09:57:44 am »
May I make a somewhat different suggestion.   I have just returned from a couple of weeks in Ireland where I enjoyed some of the best cycle touring I have ever had.   Rather than bring my LHT I decided to take my BMC hardtail mtb, in the hope that as well as the luscious coast roads of Donegal, Clare and Waterford, I might find an interesting trail or two.   I fitted a set of Conti Race KIngs mtb tyres, being light and fairly fast rolling and I found it all worked very well.

The larger volume tyres and suspension fork made for a comfortable ride, the seating position is more upright than most tourers and can cheaply be made even more so by adding an inexpensive stem and riser bars.   The bike in question will also take road tyres, which will allow the bike to roll a little better should I decide to take that route.   With a set of Crudcatcher fenders and a neoprene section between fork bridge and crown I stayed clean and dry even on wet roads.   

The bike new, with all fittings cost about 550 UKP several years ago, so easily in budget.   When I got back on my elderly steel framed Claud Butler tourer when I returned home, I was struck that a bike I have always thought of as very comfortable, suddenly seemed quite harsh.   

The only downside is that, like any mtb, it will be distinctly slower than a more road focussed tourer.   On the plus side, it has plenty of low gears for those big Donegal hills. Interestingly, when scientifically measured (on my bathroom scales) the BMC weighs about the same as my LHT.

Oh! Forgot to mention, the Tour de France Grand Depart is in North Yorkshire along with the first two stages next year :)   Bonne Route!

If you're cycling in the UK, the North of England is probably better than the South.   There are some very good long(ish) distance routes.   The C2C and Rievers Route are very good and can be done back to back.   Other routes are the Hadrian  which follows Hadrian's Wall and there's lots of great cycling on quiet roads in North Yorkshire and Co. Durham.   Going further north, the Tweed Valley and Dumfries and Galloway have great cycling and are developing lots of cycle routes.   The Scottish Highlands are magnificent.

For Germany, contact the National Tourist Board.   They produce and excellent booklet with information on many delightful cycle routes.   I'd recommend the Moselle, the Rhine Gorge and the Main-Tauber-Altmuhl in particular but there are many more.

In France there's plenty of good cycling.   The Loire a Velo is a cycle route which follows the River Loire and is well worth trying.   I'd also recommend the Dorgogne/Vezere area and (when you've got your climbing legs) the Massif Centrale.

General Discussion / Re: Assistance with cycling tourism thesis
« on: January 31, 2013, 09:11:59 am »
I'd suggest the first bit of infrastructure that needs to be sorted out is the cost of ferries.   They seem to be priced to deter people from visiting Ireland.   £160 to Ireland or £70 TO France (less with discounts)?   Hmm.

En avant mes amis! :)

Routes / Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« on: December 02, 2012, 04:29:38 pm »
A useful site is   You can download an excellent app for cycle routes.

The CTC website has a lot of useful information for anyone interested in touring in the UK.

International / Re: where next?
« on: October 01, 2012, 06:06:08 am »
How much riding have you done in Germany?   The German Tourism Board produces an excellent guide called Germany by bike which details all the major bike radwegs.  I can heartily recommend the Rhon radweg and the Main-Tauber-Altmuhl.

International / Re: Suggested Routes or Tours in the Netherlands?
« on: October 01, 2012, 06:01:19 am »
The North Sea Coastal route is very pleasant with lots of tempting side excursions. Just watch out for the infamous Dutch hills (aka strong headwinds common on the coast!).

Gear Talk / Re: Surly and Jeff Jones H-Bars
« on: October 01, 2012, 05:53:54 am »
I replaced the original drop bars on my LHT with trekking bars which I find far more comfortable.   You can easily adjust the angle of the bars to find the most suitable position.  The other advantage of trekking bars is the wide variety of hand positions available.

Routes / Re: Santiago de Compastela
« on: August 24, 2012, 05:37:12 am »
PS. Most of Anne's books are available from Amazon and on Kindle.

Routes / Re: Santiago de Compastela
« on: August 24, 2012, 05:28:36 am »
Anne Mustoe, one of the great cycling authors, wrote a book called "Amber, Fur and Cockleshells".  This is really three tour accounts in one.  The amber is about her ride down the old amber trading route from the Baltic.  The fur is about a trip along part of the old fur trappers route in the USA and the cockleshell is about her ride along the Pilgrims route to Santiago de Compestella.

Higly recommended as are all her books.

There is also a book called "Following the Sun" by John Hanson Mitchell which touches briefly on the route as part of a longer trip.

General Discussion / Re: Essential Kit for Trans AM
« on: July 26, 2012, 08:47:43 am »
A sense of humour and a liking for meeting people.

If you're starting from Dublin, make your way south through the Wicklow Mountains (which are more hills than mountains), have a gentle potter through Wexford and on into Waterford.   Curl up into Tipparary and enjoy the Comeraghs and make sure you visit Clonmel.   Then head back towards Dungarven on the coast and on into County Cork.   Kerry is nice but the Ring can be a little touristy.  Clare is lovely and if time permits, wander gently through Limerick and up the Shannon before a gentle ride into Galway.

I think what I'm saying is it doesn't really matter where you go, it's all good and the small country roads are generally pretty quiet.

General Discussion / Re: What do you use for sunscreen?
« on: July 19, 2012, 08:33:30 am »
I think I'm going to sulk!   We've just had the wettest April, May and June since records began and July isn't turning out much better.   Come to the UK, you won't need any sunscreen just lots of waterproofs :)

General Discussion / Re: Arm, Leg or Bike?
« on: June 29, 2012, 08:17:08 am »
And another idea just popped up.   Decathlon have a store in Belfast from which they will deliver to anywhere in Ireland.   I have never ridden one of their touring bikes but their road and mountain bikes always do well/very well in comparative tests.

Have a look at their B'Twin Riverside 7.   At £600 it looks pretty good.

General Discussion / Re: Arm, Leg or Bike?
« on: June 29, 2012, 08:09:25 am »
I'm not sure if Edinburgh Cycle Co-Op will deliver to Ireland but they have some great touring bikes which are very well priced.   Their own brand Revolution Country Premier is well worth a look, £850 for a steel framed, disk brake equipped bike with mudguards and a rear rack. 

Even if they don't deliver to Ireland, if you have a friend in the 6 counties, I'm pretty sure you could get it delivered there.   Have a look at their website:

Anoher of their bikes worth a look is their Revolution Cross at £450.   It's a crosser but has all the fittings you need for touring such as rack and mudguard mounts.   In fact, it uses the same frame as one of their tourers.   For £600 you could have a pretty good tourer, I know, I have one myself and the oe cross tyres work very well on the road.

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