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Messages - Mark Manley

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General Discussion / Re: helpExtended touring in Europe
« on: December 06, 2023, 03:02:40 am »
Time passed and I wonder what has changed since this post was created. What is the easiest country to get a visa from today?

Presuming you are a US passport holder and plan to come as a tourist there should be no easier or more difficult country to enter the Schengen region, you just need to satisfy the immigration officer at your port of entry.
If like the OP you want to spend more than 90 days you will need to leave the Schengen region and spend the rest of your time in non-Schengen countries such as the UK, Ireland and most of the Balkan countries for at least 90 days before returning.

On the rare occasion I am riding after dark I sometimes hear owls calling which is a great sound.

International / Re: Bike tour of Rajasthan, India
« on: October 12, 2023, 01:41:13 am »
Has anyone traveled to India recently? Is it a good idea to go there now?

November through to February would be best, after the monsoon and before it gets too hot, I rode across from Chennai to Kochin last January and the weather was good.

General Discussion / Re: Custom Made Bikes in Canada
« on: August 25, 2023, 02:47:03 am »
Fifteen years ago I had a Roberts Roughstuff which was their expedition bike made for me and it is an excellent piece of kit, at the time I did not really know enough to order a bespoke bike but they knew their stuff and I got just what I needed, it has taken me on many adventures and I still ride it regularly.
As to Framework Bikes their website does not specify what you get for your money, I am guessing just a frameset for that price and I would expect to pay a lot more for a complete bespoke build and as a fan of steel frames it would not be for me. There does not seem to be much about them on the web either, I would expect an address where you would go to be measured up, it was like having a suit fitted at Roberts they wanted to know your every detail.
As a retired CNC machinist I confirm that with small tweeks to the programme they will be able to machine the individual parts to your exact specifications and it is satisfying having something unique that was made just for you but whether it is actually better than a well fitted off the peg frame is a matter of opinion.

International / Re: Re-assemble bike at Heathrow in London?
« on: July 07, 2023, 12:48:45 am »
Just to close the loop on this - I took my bike out of its box and put it together in the arrivals hall at Heathrow Terminal 2 without incident. Everyone around was helpful - a limo driver waiting for his fare took a photo of me with my bike once it was done. Best part - I then rode into town, avoiding the tube entirely!

Good to hear, enjoy your trip.

I have just got back from a trip to the US which included a ride along the C and O canal, I rode less than 10 miles on road the whole time and encountered aggresive car drivers on three occasions and one near miss when a large SUV turned left on me in DC stopping only a few feet away from running into me. Each time I thought perhaps I am in the wrong as I was riding on the other side of the road and with different traffic regulations but after considering each incident concluded no it was just aggressive driving.
As it happens my only actual accident was on the canal itself when the last rider in a group of three coming the other way pulled out to overtake the second rider straight into the front of me throwing my bike and I into the growth next to the canal with them coming to rest on the gravel. They immediately apologised and offered me their Go-Pro footage but as no actual damage was done or injury sustained on my part I did not feel the need to make an issue of it and after a few minutes we all carried on our separate ways.

International / Re: Re-assemble bike at Heathrow in London?
« on: May 27, 2023, 08:21:26 pm »
I have deboxed and ridden off from Heathrow after asking a helpful member of staff where I could dump the box, it could have been that I was lucky and didn't get an unhelpful jobsworth but it worked well for me.

Routes / Re: Pittsburgh to Buffalo route
« on: May 02, 2023, 01:36:58 am »
I am a bit confused as to what you want.

I think you want to go from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, you can use the Underground Railroad Spur which I believe is different from the Pittsburgh-Erie Trail (though not positive).  It should be noted that ACA has not updated this route in a while so the traffic patterns may have materially changed. Also, it is only available as a digital map.  :(

Tailwinds, John

That is what I am after thank you, a lot depends on how I feel when I reach Pittsburgh but the option to carry on along a circular route is worth having.

Routes / Pittsburgh to Buffalo route
« on: May 01, 2023, 11:47:13 am »
I am off on a ride along the C and O canal and GAP trail later this month and am undecided about what to do when I get to Pittsburgh, one option is to carry on to Buffalo then along the Erie Canal to Albany and was wondering if there is a bicycle friendly route between the two cities? I have found the Erie Pittsburgh Trail website but it seems to be several disconnected lengths of trail that are still under development, would this be a good route to follow and fill in the gaps myself? All advice gratefully received.

Routes / Re: Just one more thing to worry about while riding
« on: April 29, 2023, 02:44:13 am »
I recently completed a ride across India and came across this sign in a national park which I know was for real as on a previous ride through the area I had stopped to ask a stunned looking local who was sat on his motorcycle in the middle of the road if he was alright and he said "did you see the elephant?" he went on to say it had run across the road in front of him and he had missed it by a meter.

Another sign from the same national park.

Routes / Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« on: February 06, 2023, 09:15:54 pm »
Some people have wild camped along the Erie. Although I do not recall seeing any designated sites, aside from the locks, I do not recall seeing too many posted "no camping" areas. Potable water may be an issue since the area is fairly developed and there are no "mountain streams" to source water from and the canal water is not something you would want to drink, even if you boiled it for a week :D. Some towns have water spigots along the trail so you could pack water in to camp. We rode during COVID so a lot of services were closed and some public water was turned off.

You can camp at many of the locks. I think stealth camping would work fine if you setup late and packed up early and camped on weekdays versus weekends. We camped mostly in private campgrounds and opted for a few hotel nights to get out of the 90 degree heat in August and the afternoon and evening thunder showers. Bring bug repellant. The mosquitos were horrible, the worst that we have even encountered on any bike trip.

As far as downhill to DC goes, that works on the C&O but the GAP is a steady climb (very gradual) all the way from Pittsburgh to past Meyersdale when you cross the Eastern Continental divide. Once you reach that point you have about a 24 mile downhill run into Cumberland where the GAP and the C&O meet. Once on the C&O the grade is hardly noticeable in most areas. This will help in planning for the Erie and Hudson Valley

Good information thank you, it looks like plenty of water bottles are the order of the day, I see there are quite a few locks along it's length so if most or all have camping areas that should not be a problem.

Routes / Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« on: February 05, 2023, 07:12:53 pm »
Thank you to those who have taken time to reply there is some helpful advice there, I did not know about schools starting their holiday so early and am thinking the second half of May and the first half of June would be the best time to do this ride.

Out of interest how is wild camping looked upon along the Erie Canal, is it legal or illegal but tolerated if done discreetly or absolutely no?

How is The Hudson River Valley Greenway? It looks like a nice route up to Albany to start the Erie Canal, I am considering doing this route anti-clockwise so I finish with what I believe is a steady downhill into Washington, is there any reason not to do in that direction?

The heat is not too much of a problem for me, I have just finished cycling sea to sea across Southern India and it is pretty warm here.

Routes / Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« on: February 04, 2023, 01:39:23 am »
I am heading to Baltimore in the spring to visit a friend and make a trip down the GAP and C and O canal and am considering making it a longer circular route taking in part of the Atlantic Coast route, Northern Tier and Underground Railroad route to get me to Pittsburgh.
I estimate that this would be around 1,800 miles and I would allow at least a month to complete the trip and my first question is what would be the best month in terms of both weather and availability of campsites to do it? My options are May or June.
Second question do the ACA maps show campsites along the route? It sounds like the GAP and C and O canal where I would finish my trip will be the easy part with plenty of drop in first come first serve sites along the way, is this the case?
Any other thoughts or pearls of wisdom about this trip would be welcome, I am an experienced cycle tourist with a suitable bike and kit and plenty of experience of travelling in the US but usually by motorcycle so this would be something of a first in a way.

General Discussion / Re: Shifting gears: I have 27 and use 4
« on: October 07, 2022, 02:23:08 am »
Depending on what range the OP uses I would suggest they consider a hub gear which can be more simple and reliable than derailleur, it does not have to be anything expensive like a Rohloff if they are within a limited range a 4 or 5 speed would suffice.

A few years ago I did a four month, 2,500 mile tour of Southeast Asia, I am 5'8" and started at about 140lbs going down to around 130lbs and I felt pretty bad at the end of it. The problem was the lack of quality nutritious food in rural Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos with several days between bigger towns with more choice, good food was not such a problem in Thailand, I am not sure how cyclists get on crossing developing continents such as Africa but I would imagine nutrition would be a problem.

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