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Messages - tonupgilly

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Gear Talk / Re: Need a large lightweight bag
« on: April 15, 2012, 05:50:00 pm »
When we have been motorcycle touring we used a large stuff bag which is just a pvc zippered barrel shaped bag - totally waterproof and very lightweight, with detachable shoulder strap.  It will also fold up fairly small.  The one we used is made by Hein Gericke and only cost £4.99 (about $7 I think).  I would easily get my camping pad and sleeping bag in it plus some clothing, shoes and probably a few more bits too.  There are smaller versions of the same bag (I think there are three sizes altogether to choose from) The bag used to sit across the top of my motorcycle panniers.  If we went walking in the mountains, we would stuff our leathers and boots into it and leave it on my alarmed bike - so it does hold a lot. When not in use it was rolled up and shoved in a pannier.  Have not needed to use it when cycling, but I would think it will do the job just fine.  There will be lots of motorcycle shops in Amsterdam and Hein Gericke stuff is very popular in Europe.  Also, it's not such a great expense if you threw it away.

General Discussion / Re: Student Bicycle Survey! -- Please help!
« on: April 12, 2012, 07:49:40 am »
I started to do the survey, but found it very difficult to answer the questions for the reasons already stated. -  There is no mention of "touring bike" - and as this is the last bike I purchased, none of the boxes fit. 

Gear Talk / Re: Buying a Bicycle from Europe
« on: April 09, 2012, 07:14:24 am »
Wow!  That is a lot of shipping and tax - makes it quite pricey.  Must almost be cheaper to fly over and get one.  The Nomad is a very nice bike though.

Gear Talk / Re: Cycling Shorts vs. Padded Liners?
« on: April 04, 2012, 03:53:11 pm »
Coming from a background of 30 years or more of cycle racing (I am still Secretary of our local club), I wouldn't even consider riding in anything but a decent (not necessarily expensive) pair of cycling shorts with a good synthetic chamois.  The things to look for are flush seams at the edges of the chamois - no bits of stitiching that are likely to chafe.  Most good shorts now have shaped chamois depending on whether you are male or female (I am female).  I don't recommend gel - as this tends to be too thick and can get very hot and uncomfortable on long rides - it feels like a nappy (UK) (or diaper I think you call it).  The chamois needs to have reasonable padding but not too much.  You want to avoid sore "seat" bones - hence the need for the padding - and NEVER wear underwear under chamois shorts.  Make sure too that the leg grippers are not too tight and I can recommend panelled shorts (four, six or eight) rather than tubular legs, they fit better and stretch in the right direction.  Look for a high back - the fashionable trend now is for short backs - but these always feel as if they are falling down and will irritate enormously - don't go with fashion, go with tradition.  As for washing, I would always try to wash them daily, or at least every other day if possible.  It's not necessarily the bacteria that will cause you a problem, but the build up of salt from your sweat - this can cause very nasty chafing which can then become infected by the bacteria and give you saddle boils which will leave you unable to sit for a week.  Even the friendly bacteria on your skin's surface will rejoice and happily infect a sore patch of skin that gives them access to nutrient. I am interested to read people's thoughts on shorts for touring because I am fairly new to touring myself, but have ridden very long distances in both training and racing on a daily basis for years - so perhaps it is my race-biased conditioning that is talking here.  However, I personally would be scared to death to go without proper padded shorts.

Gear Talk / Re: Buying a Bicycle from Europe
« on: April 03, 2012, 07:45:06 pm »
I live in UK and know of most of the online bike stores here.  Never heard of Koala - so it hasn't come up on a bike shop search from within the uk - beware.  Can highly recommend SJS cycles (St John St Cycles) who make Thorn bikes.  Their service is brilliant and if you buy a bike from them they give you 100 days free trial after which if you are not satisfied you can return it for a full refund.  They deal with quite a lot of USA customers and will tell you exactly what measurements to take to get the correct sized bike for you.  They do several types of bike.  I bought a Thorn Nomad and I am really pleased with it.  You can have the option of S&S couplers too which allow you to fold the frame for ease of transport.  They are worth a look and possibly a phone call - very helpful.

Gear Talk / Re: Collapsible water carriers
« on: April 03, 2012, 07:30:23 pm »
Thank you everyone for your replies.  I will be investigating both the Platypus and Dromedary.  They sound as though they are just what I am looking for and it's nice to know that people are satisfied with them.  The bucket looks interesting too.  Thanks again.

Gear Talk / Collapsible water carriers
« on: April 01, 2012, 05:14:40 pm »
Has anyone any experience of collapsible water carriers.  I was thinking of using one (around 5 litres) for the convenience of having water to hand when on a camp site (European).  I don't intend carrying water in it on the bike, although if it was suitable it might be considered, but this is not really necessary in Europe. Have read some reviews - some good, some awful.  Bad points seem to be leaky taps and seals, plastic tasting water, hard to inflate.  Not sure I'm going to buy one yet - just thought I'd ask for your experiences/advice and hear any recommendations about particular brands.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling in Switzerland
« on: August 05, 2011, 07:37:42 pm »
I have spent many a holiday over the last twenty five years camping in switzerland with my husband and kids (it's only a ten hour drive from UK).   You'll absolutely love it.  You can buy a visitors public transport pass valid for the length of your stay which entitles you to half price fares on nearly all public transport - that includes buses, trains, lake boats and the majority of cable cars and rack railways.   The Swiss don't have it for themselves - only the visitors get it.  You can buy it at any train, boat or bus station.  As far as I'm aware, you can take bikes on all forms of transport.    I have done much cycling there too - some really tough climbs, but the scenery is gorgeous.  The Swiss are rightly very proud of their country, which is spotlessly clean.  Are you camping or staying in accomodation?  I can highly recommend a beautiful campsite on Lake Thun at a small place called Gwatt (south side of lake)with stunning views along the lake towards Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.  If you fancy a day off the bike a good day out is to take a bus from Gwatt to Thun - look around Thun (don't miss the castle), then take a lake boat to Interlaken (lunch on board), look around Interlaken and then get a train back to Thun - a lovely round trip.  Anywhere in Switzerland is beautiful - you won't be disappointed.  If you want a nice hotel on Lake Thun, look for the Niesenblick on the North shore at Oberhofen.  It is the cheapest hotel on the lakeside with a nice restaurant too.  Rooms look straight onto the lake. Sorry to go on - but this area is in the Bernese Oberland and is spectacularly beautiful with nice riding too.  Some of the high passes may get a bit of snow in September - we have been turned back in august because a pass was closed due to a heavy snow fall - but it probably wouldn't last long.  We may be there ourselves in September - in a box on four wheels though.

General Discussion / Re: Cycle greeting etiquette mystery?
« on: July 26, 2011, 07:42:35 am »
Fred's right - a wannabe racer.  Here in the UK there are very many cycling clubs, both racing and otherwise.  I used to train with my club, just me and about forty lycra clad male racers (bliss) and we would see members of other clubs on the road all the time, always a nice greeting or a bit of friendly teasing of the rivals.  Occasionally I would be training alone and would invariably come across these wannabe racers, who do not belong to a club (they don't want to be inferior) and who would nearly always make some scathing comment or try to tell me how to set up my bike, at which point I would up the pace and drop them.  The sad fact is that if you were male, it probably wouldn't happen. 
Keep waving, or calling "Hi" - real cyclists appreciate others.

General Discussion / Re: Best seat for your butt
« on: July 26, 2011, 07:19:44 am »
Hi Lexicalie.

A good and properly fitting saddle is really important for women.  I spent years racing on saddles designed for men because, other than huge bulky padded saddles, nobody made a racing saddle designed for women.  I have to say the discomfort at times was near intolerable.  It was with huge delight that on my return to cycling after a lay-off I discovered "female specific" saddles designed for racing, touring, mountain biking and any other bike you care to ride.  Female saddles do not have as long a nose as those for men, and they do need to be a little wider in the butt.  There are two important factors:  Make sure you get one with a cut away (i.e. not rounded on top), either with a hole straight through the saddle, or a deep depression.  Secondly you need to measure the width between your sit bones (forgive me if you already know this).  These are the two bones you can feel in your butt - the easiest way is to sit on a foam filled chair seat or something similar like memory foam, note where the depressions are when you stand up again - then measure the distance between them. This gives you the size of saddle you need - the bones sitting on the side pads of the saddle.  I use a 155cm saddle.  My racing bike has a lightweight female Selle with hole in middle, my mountain bike has a Bontrager standard female saddle (with depression but no hole) which I could ride on all day, and my Thorn tourer has a standard Thorn female specific saddle with depression, which I can and do ride on all day with absolutely no discomfort.  Saddles with too much bulk and too wide cause your hips to rock side to side when you pedal, which will eventually give you saddle sores and sore hips - so avoid too much padding.   If your saddle is right, your position on the bike, any bike, i.e. on the drops, upright etc will all be accomodated.
Hope this helps  Good luck.

General Discussion / Re: Your top 5 things to take on tour
« on: July 20, 2011, 04:27:02 am »
Thanks for your info again LexieCali.

I have the same budget problem when considering tours in USA.  At least living in the UK, the rest of Europe is just across the Channel.  Although having said that, I'm finding that the Dover ferries (I live near Dover) have now decided they won't carry bicycles - a decision that dumbfounds me. There are other ways, but it can get messy and a bit costly.  Never mind - these things are sent to try us.  Let me know if you do think of coming to Europe - perhaps I can be of some assistance.  It's pretty hard to get totally lost in Europe - things are on a much smaller scale than USA and you are never very far from a town, no bears to worry about.

Happy cycling and have fun.

General Discussion / Re: Your top 5 things to take on tour
« on: July 18, 2011, 04:16:01 pm »
About the charger, something that I use is Spinpower S1 device

Hi Lexiecali.  The charger sounds a great idea - I didn't know such things existed.  As my Garmin is only a small device and can be charged via USB, it would be ideal and I'm sure I could find a USB attachment to do my phone too (only a basic model).  I will look into it - thank you.  My next trip will probably be in September - to Germany, starting in or near Koblenz to cycle the Moselle valley and returning alongside the Rhine.
I think there's a string running at the moment about spirit stoves - might be worth a look.

Enjoy your trip!

General Discussion / Re: Your top 5 things to take on tour
« on: July 15, 2011, 10:40:52 am »
Just back from my first mini-tour (with my hubby).  For what they are worth - these are my observations. Today was the fourth day of riding - definitely much harder than the previous three.  Didn't use most of the spare clothing I took - but then it was only four days and three nights. Could have done with a collapsible water carrier for the campsites -  we just had to walk across fields to the taps to get water in the kettle every time we wanted a cuppa.  Not a major issue, but a water carrier would have been nice.  Took two stoves to test  - most impressed with the trangia.  Other was a camping gaz, which works just fine, but obviously does not have integral pans, so will leave behind next time.  Had a cheap, lightweight kettle, but with trangia probably don't need that either.  Need at least one other drinks bottle - I only had one - not enough when it's hot and hilly.  Took a "FreeLoader" solar energy unit to recharge phone and Garmin. Had it strapped to top of luggage all day, but I found it only partially charged one of the items, so by the middle of today, the Garmin packed up altogether (it was off every night) and my phone was nearly dead, having been off most of the last two days to preserve charge.  Won't use a Garmin again, but will get a bike computer.  The FreeLoader might be ok where there is more intensity of sun than here in the UK.  As a touring newbie (but not to cycling) - need more energy snacks.  Had a good time though.  Hope you enjoy your trip LexieCali. Keep me posted how you get on - I'd be interested to know how you find a longer tour.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« on: July 09, 2011, 06:46:45 am »
Don't get a Trek Fuel Ex 8 - it won't take any sort of trailer or panniers.  (ref:  What trailer? June 2010).  Brilliant bike for trails, but no good for carrying luggage.

General Discussion / Re: Your top 5 things to take on tour
« on: July 09, 2011, 06:03:04 am »
I purchased all the stuff I thought I would need to start bike touring some time ago, but due to unforeseen circumstances was unable to start touring straight away.  I am now planning a European tour (I live in UK) in September.  Having never done this before I too am wondering what I should take, so I have decided to do a mini-tour close to home to test it.    I intend riding around my home county of Kent, starting next Tuesday and taking three nights and four days.  I will never be more than 60 miles from home and have plenty of shops around if I've forgotten some major item.  Hopefully it will give me a good insight into what it will be like.  So if anyone has ideas on really useful items, I too would be grateful for your tips.

When are you off Lexiecali?

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