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Messages - Galloper

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General Discussion / Re: Fighting off boredom?
« on: July 04, 2014, 09:50:35 am »
I love, love, love my ebook reader.   It means that I can carry in a light and small package, enough books to keep me happy for months.   

I did a couple of weeks touring last October on my BMC hardtail and thought it made a very good tourer.   Interestingly, it weighs about the same as my Dawes Karakum and the larger tyres and suspension fork make for a comfortable ride.   I was quite surprised at how harsh my LHT felt when I got back on it some weeks later.

International / Re: Looking for partners for York-Edinburgh tour
« on: April 25, 2014, 08:47:09 am »
Not too sure of your route in the early stages but there is an excellent hostel in Helmsley.   If you stop there (or even if you don't) the best route north is to come out of Helmsley and take the B1257 north.   After passing the signs for Rievaulx Abbey take the next left to Hawnby and then follow the road north to Osmotherley.   This is a lovely (but hilly) ride.   There is a hostel in Osmotherley.  I would advise missing out Teeside (Middlesbrough and Stockton) if you can but NCN 1 does cut through them.   If you have the time, I would recommend heading west through Northallerton, Bedale and Richmond and then head north to Durham. (Hostel in Durham)

You can then cut back east and pick up NCN 1which becomes Coast and Castles.   There's a very nice hostel in Alnwick.   As you head north, if time and tides permit, make a sidetrip to Holy Island.  North then to Berwick upon Tweed where there is another excellent hostel.   Not familiar with your route thereafter as I normally head off up the Tweed.

General Discussion / Re: newbie planning Belgium tour
« on: April 24, 2014, 08:23:43 am »
As an alternative, if you decide to buy locally have a look at:

Their bikes are inexpensive and well equipped.   

International / Re: Land End to John O'Groats
« on: February 24, 2014, 09:46:35 am »
I'd suggest flying into London and then train to Penzance.   For the return, cycle along the coast to Thurso (or cycle back down the LEJOG route to Wick), train to Aberdeen and then flight back to London.

If you have time, cycle down the West coast of Scotland (which is absolutely stunning) and fly from Glasgow.

International / Re: Land End to John O'Groats
« on: January 10, 2014, 09:07:23 am »
CTC Cycling Holidays have 2 LEJOGs this year.   17 May - 4 June and 6 - 24 Sep.

Have a look at this:


Don't expect much in the way of internet availability outside the main towns in the Highlands.   In my experience quite a few B&Bs and Youth Hostels have wifi.

Lots of information/discussion here:

No reason why you shouldn't start from Thurso, in my opinion the west coast is truly beautiful and well worth exploring.   The more usual eastern route is pleasant but nowhere near as spectacular.   Heading down the west coast and then through Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway is a cracking ride, avoid Glasgow by using the Hunters Quay or Dunoon Ferry.   Once you cross the border into England you can explore the Lake district which again is stunning.   Gets a bit messy after that but once you get past Liverpool you can head into the Welsh Mountains and have some great riding through Wales before crossing back into England and enjoying the delights of the West Country.

Of course this option is more oriented to leisurely touring rather than the normal LEJOG route but imho it will be far more enjoyable.

General Discussion / Re: hybrid7.2 trek for touring bike?
« on: November 14, 2013, 08:57:57 am »
I carry two panniers and a couple of bottle cages, so enough space for overnight stuff and plenty of space for waterproofs.   In day to day use I just put a small rack bag on the back which is plenty big for snacks and a light jacket.   

General Discussion / Re: hybrid7.2 trek for touring bike?
« on: November 13, 2013, 10:57:24 am »
I have toured happily on a Trek 7200 albeit only on short mini tours, up to 3 days.   I see no reason why your 7.2 wouldn't make an enjoyable tourer.   I did find that the original Bontrager tyres on mine were puncture prone so swapped to Panarace Pasela tourguard and haven't had a problem since.

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.

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