Author Topic: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on (11,000 miles on)  (Read 51719 times)

freddered

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My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on (11,000 miles on)
« on: July 04, 2007, 03:52:14 PM »
18 months and 3500 miles on the clock, here are some more images of my Raven Tour (I still love it).

Quarley Church, Hampshire.  This morning on a 32 mile 'commute'.


Bournemouth on the final stretch of a 3-day mini camping tour



Proof that it can off-road a bit (should you take a wrong turn)



Thorn - Dawes - Thorn.  The natural habitat of a touring bike

« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 12:36:17 PM by freddered »
 

freddered

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 11:11:07 PM »
I just like my bike..OK?

Apart from that, when I was considering buying it, all I wanted was as many photos of other people's as possible.

Let me know if any of these photos help make up your mind one way or another.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2007, 11:12:20 PM by freddered »
 

john28july

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2007, 08:33:08 AM »
Hello,
I used to live in Poole-I am sure you know where that is! Due to family circumstance I and my wife and daughter had to move to Gloucestershire. We still have two sons in Poole area and visit regularly and hope to move back one day. In answer to your question, yes its great to look at pictures of other bikes. But on this occasion it makes me very very sad and homesick!
No offence intended of course, so keep the pictures coming.
Here are mine  www.pbase.com/john28july

John.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 09:15:09 AM by john28july »

Fred A-M

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2007, 10:44:26 AM »
I just completed a round 140 mile training trip from Basingstoke to Bournemouth incorporating the New Forest over a couple days this last w/end.  A very nice neck of the woods indeed: was pleasantly surprised though possibly a little too much traffic for liking, which is why I generally do my touring on the continent!
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 10:46:35 AM by Fred A-M »
 

freddered

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2007, 11:26:58 AM »
Hi Fred,

The New Forest can get quite busy, as can the Bournemouth area (Both tourist hotspots) however it depend on which roads you choose.

My technique is to use Digital Maps to plot a route on the very smallest lanes I can find then upload the route into GPS.  A lot of the time I don't really know where I am since I am just following an arrow but it does mean I don't meet many cars.

Most of my riding is around Andover, Hampshire near the A303 Caravan route to the SW.  Some days I can cycle for hours and meet less than 10 cars but, as I cross the A303, can see thousands of cars in huge traffic jams.

The problem with the New Forest is there aren't that many small lanes so you get to share the few roads with people who like to look at the lovely view from their cars at 50mph.

Becasue I know the area so well I would suggest sticking a pin in a map, in the centre of Andover and then drawing a 20mile radius.

You could spend a day cycling a hundred miles within that circle and not meet many cars (if you choose the small lanes).  You'd also get to see some beautiful old villages and some beautiful old pubs.
 

freddered

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2007, 11:44:43 AM »
John28July

I don't know Poole all that well but we got a good look at it on that trip as we took the Studland to Sandbanks Ferry (one of 5 ferry trips on that same day).

There's something a bit special about ferries, makes you feel like a Global Traveller for some reason.  I'd highly recommend the 5 Ferry route we took. Remember that Bicycles are not allowed on Bournemouth prom in high summer.

1 - Studland to Sandbanks
2 - Hengistbury to Christchurch
3 - Lymington to Yarmouth
4 - Cowes
5 - Fishbourne to Portsmouth

I think the whole lot cost about 15, superb day.
 

Fred A-M

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2007, 01:42:31 PM »
Hi Fred

I had a 200,000:1 map which enabled me to stay on quiet lanes most of the time, the stretch from Basingstoke to Whitchurch and the New Forest excepted which both on the Sunday and Monday were busy, though the New Forest agreeably less so on the Monday.  

I agree totally ref your comments on the area surrounding Andover.  I passed to the south of it which was very quiet with lots of picturesque thatched villages: I'd really forgotten that England could be quite so peaceful and quaint (as effectively illustrated by your pics).  I actually managed to sandwich a job interview in between the two rides and I'm hopeful that I'll be working in Ringwood as of Autumn, though wont know any outcome till early August.  If so, it will certainly represent a massive improvement in immediate cycling possibilities compared to being stuck in London.  

My comments ref traffic are general really: yes there are lots of quiet areas in the English countryside but comparitively, the volume of traffic is much less off the main roads on the continent and this becomes most apparent at school and rush hours here in England where the tranquility often is substantially diminished for an hour or two: certainly in southern England due to the density of the population.

Maybe I'm too much of an idealist, but have often managed to cycle for hours and hours in Spain without seeing a single vehicle!  The only place in the UK I've encountered the total escapist seclusion I yearn for has been on the Isle of Harris (mindblowingly stunning) in the Hebrides: but then I've pretty much neglected the UK as a destination other than for training purposes really, so any UK recommendations welcomed!  Off to northern Spain in 2 weeks time, though I'm amalgamating this particular expedition with a camping holiday with my girlfriend's family: how quiet the region will be in mid August, given much of Spain migrates there to escape the summer heat, I'm not sure, but will report back!
 

PH

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2007, 01:14:53 AM »
Nice photos, there's something about 26" wheeled tourers, they look better loaded than not...
How does it handle with all the weight at the back?  You look like you're carrying about as much as I do when camping, except I use four small panniers and nothing on top of the rack. My Raven rides better like that than unloaded.

freddered

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2007, 08:28:59 PM »
PH, I noticed the weight on the first day (I've never used 1st and 2nd gear before), less on the second and not at all on the third.  I had to remember not to 'honk' out of the saddle though.

The only problem I had carrying all the gear at the back was up very steep hills in 1st and 2nd gear.  It had a tendancy to wheelie which lo-riders at the front would, I suspect, cure.

Overall though it didn't handle much differently and I had no issues with fast descents.  I was carrying about 12 kilos.  Small tent, sleeping bag, sleep mat, stove, pans, clothing, shoes, wash gear and so on.  It was only a 3 days tour but I doubt if I'd need much more to do a longer tour  The Ortlieb panniers are superb, really pleased with them.  note, my buddy on the Blue Raven (pictures) has 'upgraded' to ortlieb since he saw them in use on the tour.
 

freddered

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2007, 08:31:35 PM »
Fred AM

Next year I have persuaded a few work colleagues to come with us on a 3 day Tour-de-France.

St Malo to Caen (using Portsmouth ferries).

I am looking specifically for traffic-free lanes thru small French villages (and camp-sites).

I would appreciate any info/routes.
 

DomT

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2007, 10:57:01 PM »
Don't worry about the roads in France, where possible simply avoid the Route Nationals (and of course, the motorways!), they're all good over there!

There is an off road cycle path linking the ferry terminal at Ouistreham to the center of Caen. It follows the canal and passes Pegasus Bridge (and cafe).

It is possible to go cross country from Le Mont-Saint Michel, but you have to make it up as you go along (jump over a fence on the D75 and head east). I had a good time doing that a few years back, but heading in the opposite direction:

 

Fred A-M

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2007, 11:32:33 AM »
Dom T has hit the nail on the head with the picture of the Mont St Michel which is pretty much going to be your first goal if you only have 3 days starting from St Malo.  Unfortunately it was a sight that I never got to see on my intended tour of Brittany/Normandy.  Did a loop SW of St Malo to the west coast but never made it east into Normandy due to the inclement weather, hopping back onto the ferry at St Malo instead of continuing eastwards.  

Assuming you don't want to fork out on the mapping software for a 3 day trip: Michelin Local series (200,000:1) is sufficient detail to keep away from the main roads, though as Dom states, unless you're prepared to improvise a bit to get off the D75, the coastline between St Malo and the MSM is liable to be busy.  

Not sure what kind of mileages you intend clocking up in 3 days, but my first suggestion would be not to head directly eastwards, but to catch a ferry from St Malo across the water to Dinard and cycle down to Dinan, a stunning medieval town.  But you may feel that heading directly southwards leaves you too much to do in 3 days.

My other suggestions are that approx 50 miles south of Caen is an area called Swiss Normandy (Suisse Normande) which from my research looked pretty attractive, heading NE towards Caen I think up a what looks like a pretty hilly river valley; which I would definitely have covered had I made it to Normandy.   Alternatively, there's also an area called the Bocages Normandes located in the southern half of the Cherbourg Peninsula: hundreds of presumably quiet country lanes going through villages & orchards and not too hilly juding from the map.

Personally, I'd try and persuade your mates to go for a day or two longer: I think you'd manage to get much more reward from the trip.  Hope this helps!
 

freddered

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2007, 10:01:43 PM »
It needs to be 3 days from St Malo to Caen at no more than 45 miles a day.  That means a fairly straight line route.

I may buy Digital Maps so I can use a GPS to follow small lanes though.

Re. Dinan, I love the town and have camped there many times but it's in the wrong place to fit in with mileage plans.

Hopefully I can find a quiet route
 

Fred A-M

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2007, 10:46:18 PM »
Bocages Normandes it is then, as based on the above, you won't really have any other choice!  Probably not worth buying the digital maps for the info that you'll get from 2 x 5 Michelin maps!
 

freddered

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Re: My Raven Tour. 3500 miles on
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2007, 01:23:27 PM »
A few more photos for anyone wanting to drool over Thorn ravens (as I did)

Newbury Downs (Walbury Hill)


St Peter's Church, Linkenholt, Hants.