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Messages - Galloper

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General Discussion / Re: Learning a Foreign Language
« on: September 09, 2023, 01:42:49 pm »
I've used standard tourist phrase books for Dutch, French, Spanish and other languages when on tour.   They're not instructional as such but cover the basics, hotels, banks, cafes and so on.   They also have sections on breakdowns and repairs.   They work well for most situations and you can always back them up with a translation programme for mote unusual stuff.

Lots to go at here :)   My first suggestion would be to buy bikes on arrival, Decathlon are a Europe wide sports store and their own brand bikes are value for money and well recommended.   So if you bought in UK and something goes wrong in France, you can find a local Decathlon store and have a good chance of getting it sorted.   Buying used, there are quite a few bike recycle stores and any bikes they sell will, generally, be in good condition.   The chances of finding bikes suitable for touring and of the right size might not be too good.

There is a "Greenway" from London to Paris which includes taking a ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe.

I don't think I would like to cycle from Heathrow.

This is a useful planner.   I would also recommend popping in to any local Office Tourisme you see in France, they will often have useful local maps.   

Bonne Route!

General Discussion / Re: extremely new to cycle touring
« on: October 02, 2022, 02:23:10 pm »
The Camino de Santiago has many different starting points, being one of the oldest pilgrim routes.   A book called Amber, Fur and Cockleshells by Anne Mustoe gives a wonderful account of the Camino and two other routes.

Accomodation: Hostels are relatively cheap but will vary in quality, you will need a membership card for the International Hostel organisation for many, your own national organisation card will do for that and it's not expensive.   Some campsites may require a Camping Carnet but will accept a hostel card or membership card or your national cycling organisation.   I will say I've only been asked a very few times.   In France the Camping Municipal sites, run by the local town are cheaper than privately run sites and provide all the basic facilities.

Where to go:  Germany has a huge network of cycle routes, both long distance and local with, generally. an excellent supporting infrastructure, have a look at this is their national cycling organisation and has loads of routes.   France is also developing an similar network and the Belgian Ravel network is outstanding.   The Netherlands isn't as scenic but their cycle network has to be experienced although is is more utilitarian than touristic.

If you have a month you could start in Amsterdam (major airport), work your way from there up the Rhine and peel off onto the Mosel (which is one of the most enjoyable and scenic routes) then head north through Prum, into the Ardennes then pick up the Meuse cycle route into France then head north into the Aube region before finishing off back in Amsterdam.    Just a suggestion :)

Your LHT is perfect of the job.

My top tip would be to contact National and regional tourist offices well in advance, most will send you relevant information or point you to the right place on their web sites.


General Discussion / Re: The road is flat. It's what?
« on: June 25, 2022, 01:45:05 pm »
Road goes up, road goes down.   Average: flat.    Sorry, I'll get me coat  :)

General Discussion / Re: Best book you've read on bicycle travel
« on: November 02, 2021, 03:02:33 pm »
Anne Mustoe's book "12,000 miles, a bike ride around the World" is one of my favourites, a wonderful writer.   Any of Josie Dew's books and anything by Edward Enfield.

General Discussion / Re: coffee coffee
« on: November 02, 2021, 02:55:56 pm »
I recently bought a Hario 01 dripper.   It's small, lightweight and makes very good coffee.   The weight penalty is slightly increased by paper filters but well worth it.   No need for a carafe, it sits on top of a mug.   Well worth a look.

General Discussion / Re: Laundry
« on: August 16, 2021, 02:13:40 pm »
One of the things I always liked on campsites in France was finding an old fashioned scrubbing board built into the laundry sink.   Very useful.

General Discussion / Laundry
« on: July 30, 2021, 01:52:19 pm »
In John Steinbeck's book, "Travels with Charlie" he mentions doing his laundry by using a bucket, fitted with a lid, which he part filled with water and detergent before putting in his laundry.   He kept this, tied down, in the back of his truck and the movement of the truck effectively served to wash his clothes.

It occurred to me that using a well sealed drybag, or similar, could achieve the same thing on a bike.   The disadvantage, of course, is the extra weight but has anyone tried something like this or got any suggestions for laundry on the go?

General Discussion / Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: July 29, 2021, 02:08:05 pm »
One of my all time favourite touring (and, indeed, any other time) food is porridge, or oatmeal as it is usually called in the USA.   It's quick and easy to prepare and I will often add any fruit I have available to the pot.   If you have good quality cooking oats, you can use them to make up a trail mix as well.

I'm also a big fan of garlic and olive oil and in that vein, I recently found black pepper and granulated garlic in a small pepper grinder type jar in my local supermarket.   These small spice jars are light and easy to carry, offering a lot of flavour for any meal.

General Discussion / Re: Advice on purchasing a fat bike
« on: April 25, 2021, 02:11:44 pm »
I'm a huge fan of fatbikes but I'd better start with a couple of old sayings:  horses for courses and you get what you pay for!

Fatbikes are great fun to ride, I use mine regularly as a mountain bike and also on our many local railpaths.   They soak up the terrain and provide enormous amounts of grip.   They are very popular, here in the UK, for beach riding and were, originally, developed in the USA for snow riding so versatility is the key.

I have a Surly Pugsley and think very highly of it.   It's robust and a great example of the type.   If you were to take that as a guide, it will give you an idea of the sort of price you will have to pay for a quality machine.

There is no doubt that fatbikes are a niche market and I would recommend one only if you enjoy the sort of environment where they shine, rocky trails, snowy trails, desert sand and so on.   Have a look at a YouTube channel: New Mexico outside.

If you do decide to get one, you will have a lot of fun!

General Discussion / Re: TOURING AFTER COVID
« on: February 04, 2021, 02:31:55 pm »
A further thought, a hardtail emtb, making use of bikepacking gear might be an idea, it would do very well on gravel roads and, with semi slick tires fitted would be reasonable on road.   I mention that because I have a set of semi slicks waiting to go on to an old mtb for use on gravel paths.   Might work for you.

General Discussion / Re: TOURING AFTER COVID
« on: February 04, 2021, 02:15:41 pm »
I have been touring on ebikes for some years now, first on a Kalkoff and more recently on a Cube 500 EXC.   I don't know if these are available in the USA, but they both make excellent  touring bikes.   I reckon on doing about 60 miles a day and, providing you manage your battery usage, would expect that to be achievable in most conditions.   They are both more than capable on road and will cope with gravel roads.   Both came with rear racks, suspension forks, fenders and lights.   Specialized have similar bikes in their line up but I haven't ridden one.

A few tips:  buy a bike with an easily removable battery, both of mine can be removed with a key and can then be charged away from the bike, in a motel room, for example.   Some bikes can only be charged with the battery in place.   Buy the largest capacity battery you can, mine are 500 wh and fine but a 625 gives better range.

The latest bikes have low drag motors and are much easier to pedal than earlier models.   On flat terrain if well surfaced, I rarely, if ever, find it necessary to use power.   My only, small, complaint is that, because of the battery, you may only be able to fit one bottle cage.   The suspension forks may make fitting front luggage a bit more difficult.

Prices are UK pounds sterling, Kalkoff (bought in end of season sale) £1500, Cube, £2300 and worth every penny.   I shall fear no hill or headwind, for I have an ebike.  :)

Spain has been developing a lot of Greenways in recent years, some of them may be of use in your journey.   This link may help.

General Discussion / Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« on: July 08, 2019, 02:35:09 pm »
I love Gazelle bikes, I have a town bike which is my go to shopper and general use bike but it's a more basic model than the one shown.   I've never seen the type you mentioned and can't really comment.   One point has occurred to me however, once your off on your tour, if anything goes wrong, you'll have to deal (and Pay) with a local bike shop whereas, with a Decathlon bike, there's a fair chance you can find a local Decathlon store and get if fixed under warranty.   Personally, I would go with the Decathlon bike.   They don't keep every size in stock but if you contact them in advance, will get the bike you want in and have it ready for you to look at, without commitment.

A couple of other thoughts, Hostels in Germany are very good as are those in the Netherlands (Stayok).   Hostels in France can be a bit hit and miss, some are very good and some are used as social housing!

France has a developing network of cycle routes, Tourist Information will stock local guides.   Belgium has a goodly number as well, many of them converted rail paths.   Germany has the best and largest network of long distance paths, many of them traffic free.   The Dutch network is excellent, the coastal route is well worth exploring and the area around Apeldoorn well worth visiting.

Bonne route!

General Discussion / Re: First tour in Europe- bike suggestions
« on: July 07, 2019, 02:10:32 pm »
Another vote for Decathlon, their kit is generally very good quality and well within your budget.   Have a look at the following and enjoy your journey.

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