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Messages - AndrewC

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Routes / Re: Cycling in the U.K.
« on: December 04, 2012, 05:59:47 pm »
Hi Peter,

Lots of lovely cycling in the UK.  Some pictures from my tours are here

You may want to join one of the UK forums, is the equivalent of ACA.  I'm usually on Yet Another Cycling Forum , Cyclechat is another good one.

Hotels can be very expensive, but there is a good network of campsites and hostels.  Useful links below: , , Camping & Caravaning Club , is my favourite mapping & routing site, though it's a bit temperamental. The Course Creator tab gives you access to several different styles of mapping and you can plan routes and download them to a GPS

There is an extensive train network to get you from one part of the country to the other, you will need a bike reservation on some long distance routes, but they are free.  This site will give you prices & let you book tickets

Climate can be damp, tiny biting midges can be a major deterrent to outdoor activities in some parts of Scotland during the summer, stick to the West Coast, the wind keeps them away!

I'll be flying into Las Vegas from the UK in October for a 4 week tour.

I'd appreciate recommendations for somewhere to stay at the start and end of this tour.  Not after anywhere fancy, clean, safe cheap are my main concerns. A short distance from the airport would probably be a bonus.  I'd also like somewhere that will be obliging enough to look after my S&S backpack case for the duration of the trip.

I'll almost certainly be booking a hotel in Las Vegas to get over 10 hours stuck in economy class, and the jet lag!

I'll be arriving at Las Vegas for the start of a circular tour in October.  I'm hoping I'll be able to bring my bike in a CTC plastic bike bag as shown here

I've used similar bags for European flights many times, with only the occasional dent as a result.  I've no real concern about getting it on the plane in the UK, as I've always found staff at Manchester airport to be very helpful.

What is McCarran like for bike handling ?  In my experience it's the ground staff rather than the individual airlines who can cause trouble.  Are they OK ?

The bike can be a bit too big for some X-ray machines and I've had to have it manually swabbed for explosives a few times! 

I've got a backup in the form of S&S couplings and a case, but that means I can't ride away from the airport and also that I need to find somewhere to stash the case for 4 weeks.

All advice welcome.

Gear Talk / Re: Alcohol Stoves
« on: February 17, 2012, 04:35:38 pm »
You should have no difficulty finding Methylated Spirits in Wales. It's sold at hardware & DIY stores, larger supermarkets and some garages. Outdoor shops also sell it but usually at a premium.  Trangia's are very popular with Scout & youth groups due to the safety factor and their general rugged/foolproof nature.

On the same subject I'll be touring in Arizona & Utah later in the year, is stove alcohol easy to find there ?

During my last US trip I was burning Heet (yellow bottle) in Washington & Oregon, but it became hard to find in California. Is it readily available at gas stations in the south west ? If not, what alternatives are available ?

Routes / Re: Nevada, Arizona and Utah 2012 ? Advice & tips please
« on: February 13, 2012, 02:52:03 pm »
Thread resurrection  :) - I didn't make it in 2011, but now have a flight from England to Las Vegas booked for October 2012 and am planning a 4 week circular tour, hopefully similar to this one in Denis Koomen's wonderful video  

Lots of questions to ask, but plenty of time to prepare.

1) Whats Mccarran airport like for handling bikes & bike access ?

2) Can anyone recommend a cheap & clean place to stay for the first night or so, somewhere to recover from the 10 hour flight & check my bike out ?  I see there are a couple of Travelodges near the airport.

3) If I need any assistance or spares what Vegas bike shops are recommended ?

4) I use an Trangia alcohol stove when touring. On my last US trip I was burning Heet (yellow bottle) in Washington & Oregon, but it became hard to find in California. Is it readily available at gas stations in the south west ? If not, what alternatives are available ?

5) Are insects likely to be a problem in October ?  Any other wildlife to be aware of ?

6) Water - I'll be carrying a couple of large bottles on the bike, and some platypus bladders as well. Is there sufficient available surface water to make a filter worth carrying ? 

7) What's cellphone coverage like & who is the best provider ?  I make look into getting a local sim.

All advice gratefully recieved.

Hi there, I'm Andrew from England and I'm hoping to come over to the US next year for a camping tour. I've already posted about this here but thought I'd add a second post in this forum as well.

Current plan seems to favour Las Vegas as the most convenient destination from the UK, followed by a $25 shuttle bus to St George as an actual start point.   I've only toured in the USA once before when I did Seattle to San Francisco in 2009. I'm not a technical mountain biker but previous tours have included crossing Iceland's lava deserts and the Manali - Leh route  so I'm quite happy on dirt roads and jeep tracks.

I'd be hoping to see Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Canyonlands and as much beauty as I can squeeze into the trip.  All suggestions for routes welcome.

When is the best time to come for clear and dry weather ?    I'd rather avoid peak season and enjoy quiet roads and trails as well.

I've just received the DeLorme atlas for Utah and the Utah and Colorado edition of Bicycling Americas National Parks to keep me happy during the winter  :)

Routes / Re: Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« on: November 23, 2010, 06:45:48 pm »
Thanks, St George looks a good start point, I've just found a regular shuttle service  from the airport at Las Vegas . Hopefully I can book a hotel room to get over the flight from England and put the bike back together.  Leave the bike bag there and pick it up on the way back.

Routes / Nevada and Utah 2011 ? Advice & tips please
« on: November 23, 2010, 04:33:14 pm »
Inspired by this and this I'm now contemplating a trip over there sometime next year.   

I'm thinking a 4 week camping tour , probably flying to Las Vegas from Heathrow with BA (if they are still taking bikes free) hoping to include Zion, Grand Canyon, Canyonlands and as much else as I can squeeze in. Return either via looping back to Vegas or possibly from Phoenix.

It's very early days yet, so I'm just asking here for initial tips, what to see, where to go etc.

When to go ? I'm thinking spring (Apr/May) or autumn (Sept onwards ?) Ideally I'd like to avoid the hottest part of the year.

What are the best maps / guidebooks to use ?

Is it possible / practical to use a bus to get from Las Vegas to a closer start/finish point ?

What are the campsites like ? Do they need to be booked in advance ?

All advice welcome, I've only toured in the USA once before when I did Seattle to San Francisco in 2009. I'm not a technical mountain biker but am quite happy on dirt roads and jeep tracks. Previous tours have included crossing Iceland's lava deserts and the Manali - Leh route (with Cass from the 1st link)



Routes / Seattle to San Francisco in May
« on: January 09, 2009, 02:27:48 pm »
Hi There,

I'm going to be flying into Seattle from the UK at the end of April with my bike and camping gear.  I've then got until 30th May to enjoy myself riding down to San Francisco  :)    I'm hoping to be able to take in some sights along the way and spend a few days wandering around San Francisco at the end.

I'm a fairly experienced cycle tourist but this will be my first time in the USA , all advice on things to do & see on the route would be welcome.

I've got the Spring / KirKendal guidebook and will be ordering the Adventure Cycling maps.  What else should I be reading before I go ?  What weather can I expect (I'm guessing everything bar snow!)

Can anyone recommend a nice, friendly hostel/hotel for the day I arrive in Seattle ?

Thanks in advance.


Routes / Seattle to San Francisco
« on: June 30, 2008, 05:26:55 am »
Thanks Sean,  re the India trip

Here's what I posted at another site, I still haven't done a full write up!
Manali to Leh - brief trip report & photos«

Last Saturday I got back to the UK after riding between Manali & Leh in the Indian Himlalya. This was an organised trip led by Cass Gilbert & Cara Coolbaugh of Out There Biking

I'll do a full report when I get my diary typed up but in the meantime here are a few pictures:

I'd told Cass when discussing the trip that I was a slow rider, and would probably be at the back all the time. This was prophetic, everyone else seemed to be wearing T shirts proclaiming their participation in various mountain marathons or MTB races (2nd place in the Trans-Scotland team category!)

Cass & Cara are both wonderful people and worked very hard to make sure everyone had a good time. The support team of 2 drivers, cook and assisant were also first rate. Nobody went hungry on this trip!!

The trip was on "roads". This word covers everything from smooth tarmac to rutted, potholed jeeptracks that some people described as "technical". There was a river crossing or two as well....

Highest altitude was measured at approx 5300M on the Khardung La pass, our highest campsite was just below this at 4800M.

I was on my new Thorn Nomad which had Magura sus forks fitted for the trip. The bike performed very well and I had no mechanicals to speak of. Most of the others were riding front-sus MTB's although one chap was on a rigid 700C alloy tourer and Cass was riding an On-One 29er with Rohloff.

We had good weather for most of the route, althought the descent off Taglang La was a bit cool, there was a build-up of snow & ice on my mitts!

All in all it was a wonderful trip although quite the hardest riding I've ever done. They sent a jeep out to pick me up on the Wari La as I was so late, telling the driver I was determined to finish the days ride took quite a bit of willpower!

In total we did 700Km of riding and 12000M of climbing in 14 days riding.

There were 11 riders in total, 9 "guests" plus Cass & Cara.  Phunchok, Tsering, Norbu and another guy on the jeeps.

Ages from late 20's to mid 40's on this trip. Apparently their oldest rider has been 68....

They were originally planning to do this as a "self supported" tour, i.e. no jeeps  :-o  I'm very, very glad they changed their minds!

Routes / Seattle to San Francisco
« on: June 29, 2008, 07:10:45 pm »
Hi there, my first post on this site so please be gentle.

I've been touring for the last 10 years in the UK & Europe, last year I did Manali to Leh in India but have never been to the US.

I'm thinking about having a go at a portion of the Pacific Coast route, Seattle to San Francisco. This may happen later this year or sometime next year.

If this year what is the latest month I'd have a chance of reasonable weather ? September or October ?

Is there any period when the campsites close ?

Would approx 3 weeks be a reasonable time to complete it, hopefully allowing for rests & some sightseeing ?



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