Author Topic: Complexities in touring  (Read 2782 times)

tyreon

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Complexities in touring
« on: January 26, 2019, 12:31:44 PM »
Age and arthritis have limited my touring abilities,alas. I'm slower and I don't have the drive I once did to cover the miles. Maybe I'm also a bit wiser.
In the old(e)days I camped or trusted to legs and fortune to find me a place to rest. This always worked out well. Now,I'm a bit more cautious...and have taken to touring on folders(to get on trains or buses if and when needed)
I wondered if anyone else out there was finding accommodation a bit more difficult theseadays(without a tent). I was travelling with wife thru Spain last year in a circuitous flexible route which sometimes I left to happenstance. My wife booked simple accommodation 24 hrs ahead,still sometimes there was none around, or it was another 15 miles on,or backtracking to a lace that wasn't in the direction we hoped to go. We were sometimes near a situation where we would be sitting up all nite in a ark(not a problem when younger,now…)

I get the feeling there are a lot more people getting around. Travellers are now Chinese,Indian...lottsa o everyone. This impacts on hotels and wotnot. Also,I wonder whether the older folk who used to run the pensions and wotnot are giving up and their younger sons and daughters don't see any future,or want to work in this biz.

As said,before I would just kick on to do the extra miles,or camp. Nowadays I just don't want it. I guess the solution to my problem is to book well in advance and do my homework,but I'm just not that sort of person(and cant be bothered to research the geography/climbs: sorry)


With our folders we managed to get about on local buses and trains and even the superspeed trains. Even so,I sometimes think theres less vacant accommodation around as the world gets busier.


In the UK I think the local Ma and Pa B+B is closing down to be replaced by outskirt-of-town cheap multi hotel chains. Theyre not really my cup of tea. Once upon a time you used to walk down High Streets and see B+Bs. Not so much theseadays. Wot are your thoughts. Are you pension age plus and still touring?

bobs

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2019, 07:20:10 PM »
I'm pension age and I'm still touring.  When looking for accommodation I use Booking. Com and have had no problems doing it that day.

tyreon

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2019, 10:42:40 AM »
Booking.com: Its what we use,but sometimes where we travel there just aren't the pensions/hotel where we want to stay! Sometimes its a 10 mile cycle ride to the next joint,other than that 90 miles! Then we sometimes like a one-horse town,out in the bush. Cos the village or town only has 1/2 places to rest these can get full up quick. For some reason these problems never arose when I was younger. Why don't hoteliers space their pensions at reasonable cycling distances!  ;)
My ideal town comes after 35 miles. It has 800 residents and one clean pension waiting for me. I cant go on after 35 miles because of the heat. Its surrounded by prairie and the flat lands and as far as you can see. There's nothing going on. We've got two separate stalk nests up on the church building and some swifts and swallows. I'll take a beer. Next day we set out and meet a town of say 10,000. After a week we enter a city,not too big mind. And all this has to happen by happenstance.

Have fallen into Heaven before. But want it again. Bloody knees. Bloody arthritis

bobs

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2019, 01:50:43 PM »
If the knees are a problem then an Ebike is the solution.  It will knock 30 years off your knees and body and you will smile all day.

jags

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2019, 02:25:05 PM »
fully agree with that ebike is your only man  ;D.
tyreon have you any photos of those places you toured in.


anto

John Saxby

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2019, 03:48:18 PM »
I'm learning about the limits created by the A-words, age & arthritis...So, yes, daily mileage shrinks, for sure, though that's OK, as you see more, have more time & space for conversations, etc.

As for accommodation, "it depends" -- On my Rhine/Danube ride a few years ago, I was surprised & delighted by the range of accommodations available, though those are two of the most heavily travelled cycle routes in Europe.  Where I live in Eastern Ontario, the number of inexpensive motels has declined dramatically since the financial crisis in 2008/09, and I've seen the same thing happening elsewhere in Ontario and in parts of the northeastern US as well. Not only motels, of course, but rural and small-town businesses more generally, cafés and the like.

I still enjoy camping (though fewer of my age-mates do!) and I've found that, because of the reduced hard accommodation in the rural areas of Ontario/Qué/Atlantic Canada, it helps greatly to scan options well in advance.  Not necessarily to make bookings, because that has its own problems--"gotta get there, gotta keep going"--but at least to give me a couple of possibilities for the night.  (Others do wild camping, but I like a shower at the end of the day, and I usually find myself riding through lake-and-river country where there's lots of water around, but also, where the access to the waterfront has been gobbled up by cottages, resorts, etc.)

Folders on trains and buses sounds like a pretty good setup, and one I envy.  Trains are very limited in our primitive Canajan network, and even buses are becoming more so -- Greyhound just cancelled most of its western routes :(

Andre Jute

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2019, 06:35:03 PM »
Gentlemen, maybe alongside the Rhine or the Danube or the Loire there is convenient electric bicycle touring from powerpoint to powerpoint. But I still don't see another 30 miles on an electric bike when accommodation doesn't pan out on a day when you've perhaps already used even a little of a battery for 30 miles. A battery that can carry you 60 miles will very likely weigh as much as a loaded tourer's gear. Even a battery to carry you 30 miles weighs at least 7 or 8 pounds, very likely more. And remember, the cyclist, who may already be all in, is assumed to produce most of the effort, not the battery.

We've never actually determined how far a battery of xAh will carry a cyclist and camping or cycling holiday gear, among other reasons because those of us with electric bikes are far too sensible to run the batteries totally flat, which will wreck a LiPo battery in very short order.

But I've actually taken some ebike very-mini tours, in a country, Ireland, with an abundance of high quality bed and breakfast places, complete with government supervision and a bookings book available from any tourist bureau and a lot of news agents. But I've never written about those tours here because by the standards prevailing here, they're mickey mouse efforts. I call them Andre's World Tours of his Little Patch of the Back Country of West Cork. Some of them are within a radius of 30 miles, though the tour might stretch out to three days 60 or 70 miles because we investigate all the back roads, and stay off the main and secondary roads, which in main are dangerous and unpleasant. However, the country buses will take you and your bike, so on one tour to a town 60 miles away, we rode to an intersection with the main road 15 miles away, took the bus down the main drag to almost within sight of the town where we would stay that day, then took off on a trip around a peninsula, total days's journey 40 miles and some change; the point was that we knew all these roads, and how much they draw from the battery. This isn't what Tyreon is describing at all... For a start, my luggage is a bottle of water, a block of Bourneville chocolate, a credit card, a few sheets torn out of a bed and breakfast book, and a couple of pairs of clean underpants -- everything else I just buy and, since I take a shower every evening, I don't care if the over-sensitive think I sniff or the collar of my shirt isn't pristine, because I'm never away from home more than three days. Note further that I know all these small towns, and have the phone numbers of their local taxis on my phone, and that the landladies of the B&Bs I've stayed with before in an emergency will come pick me up. I don't even carry a spare tube; my entire tool kit weighs 68gr. I'm the absolute paradigm of the credit card tourer.

In short, ebike touring is possible if you're in civilization, if you know the area because you've cycled there before, if you aren't on a budget, if you're willing and able to plan ahead, if you're not ambitious at all (or your cycling companies have to be considered), and if there are plenty of alternative solutions if your plans fall through (never happened to me, but I'm a belt and braces man). Any other circumstances short of proper bike infrastructure and I suspect ebike touring could easily become a rod for your own back. I don't fancy schlepping a flat battery around when I'm already wiped by distance or heat or mishap.

I'm sorry to say, I think your enthusiasm for ebike touring is premature. It'll happen, eventually, but the time isn't here yet.

I'll start another thread so that we can share experience about the distance an ebike battery can reasonably be expected to carry you.

tyreon

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2019, 08:23:27 PM »
E biking: To take it up is one big commitment,for me anyway. I like the concept,but once the decision is made I think I have crossed a line. I just don't think I can cross it now. Its said to be growing in Europe(and GB),but the weight factor and possible complications I envisage make it a no...for the time being.


Pics? If and when I get time or can get the know-how how to upload them. My life isn't that busy but the learning of techno stuff(and which I might only use x2)frustrates me.


My wife and I went from Alicante,Elche,Almansa,Albacete,Ceunca,Teural,Zaragoza,Gandesa,Tortosa,Valancia...back to Alicante. We cycled and train and train hopped. I cant remember exactly but some of the larger no-bike roads have a secondary road that runs alongside them. Youre detached from the traffic and often its not visible. The roads are well maintained. What draws us to some of these roads is tha they will follow routes that cross other pathways which have towns...which have pensions...which will have bus services or railways...that can take you on should your fitness fail or the weather turn nasty. Nevertheless,on the route we took pensionshostelsw aren't in abundance and it seems sometimes if you haven't booked ahead you can fall flat. No trouble when you're below 45,but somewhat older and with other 'luggage',its just not what I want these days.


I'm not selling folder touring(I'd rather go full frame),but it worked out damn fine. May I relate one of my most gifted moments when I arrived at Albacete(?)to get on the Spanish equivalent of their TGV train. Knowing the rules and regs I was worried. With no spoken communication between the ticket chap and ourselves the chap said our bikes would not be allowed on the train. I said they folded. He wanted to see them folded. I folded them. Not enough he said. I folded them completely. He said they had to be covered. I covered them with the plastic sheeting we covered them on our flight over. Not enough. He said he wanted me to put them on top of his desk at shoulder height. I did so. And with that we bought our tickets on for the next station.


We didn't have trouble again. The bikes went on trains unfolded or folded and it the backs of mini buses. In fact,the Spanish authorities seemed to be pretty relaxed about carrying bikes on public transport...and which,thru experience,most times can stress me out.


I expect I did longer bike distances back when. Now slower,I aim to get somewhere between 25 - 40 miles in a Spanish day depending upon terrain and heat(we don't cycle past 1pm). In the past I knew I could get to some place. Now,I'm not too sure and don't want to stress the marriage :)

FWIW I think there's more people on the road,by bike and car. More people have the time and $ to gad about...and want to. It puts strain on available accommodation.

By way of justifying my comments ;) was down in Devon/Cornwall some 4 years back. By car. Come 7pm looked for accommodation. All places completely booked for over 150 miles.Chose to sleep in the small car overnight. I guess there mitta bin a place for 200 GBP,but that's too much for me for 8hrs zzzzzzs. 

Mike Ayling

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2019, 11:31:17 PM »
Has anyone mentioned Air BnB?

I have never used one but this may be another avenue to explore.

The Australian Tax Office is taking a good look at these atm as some operators may be forgetting to include the net income therefrom in their tax returns!

Mike

John Saxby

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2019, 12:25:51 AM »
Quote
Has anyone mentioned Air BnB?

Depends... we use it when visiting big & small cities, e.g., Toronto or Stratford, but I've not used it in cycle-touring.  Our daughter used it extensively when she lived in Europe betw 201 and 2015, but mainly for short stays of 3-4 days rather than overnights.

There's also the Warm Showers network--I know number of people who use that in North America & Europe, but I don't know much about it.

bobs

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 12:46:30 AM »
My touring partner has just bought himself an Ebike after having a loan of mine. He's just a youngster who turns 50 this year. He cycles a round trip of 30 miles most days to work so can easly  manage without assistance.  Since getting his Ebike commuting has become a joy.
At the end of April we are off on a tour. We will be taking the overnight ferry Newcastle to Ijmuiden in Netherlands. Flying is not an option with an Ebike,  we have taken the ferry many times before so it's not an issue.  We then intend to take the overnight train from Dusseldorf to Innsbruck.  It is our intention then to tour the Tyrol for a week .
Ebike touring will be new to both of us and I'm sure we will have to adapt. We will staying in B&B or hostels so we will always be able to charge the batteries.  We will book our accommodation as we go but will try and not leave it until everything is booked. When we are travelling and stop for lunch the opportunity will be taken  to top the batteries up, all it needs is an electric socket and an understanding host.
I would be very surprised if we were " done in" at the end of the day give the assistance given during the day.
We both have a get out of jail card which is free travel on trains courtesy of past employment.
The journey home will be the same as the outward. I will let you know how it goes.


Andre Jute

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2019, 04:42:23 AM »
Looking forward to your report, Bob.

tyreon

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2019, 01:52:18 PM »
Bob gets free rail travel! Where's the green emoji for envy? The old BR staff had it,but hasn't that gone with the break up of our rail system?

My wife is chief techno officer in this house. I follow. When I last asked her about airB+B she said you had to submit Passport details and photos. Another friends said airB+B asked for a video of them. As old uns it might be step too far for us. I have seen some interesting posts and set ups on their site tho. Still prevaricating.


I still use paper maps for getting about. I read posts and see folk using these sat nav gizmos. They appear to work well detailing hidden paths and wotnot that guide you thru terrain that might not be clear on a map. I guess they can also guide you out of a city. I'm kinda okay with going into a big city,but coming out tend to opt for a train to a suburb than get off to start from there. Getting out from conurbations can be quite complex and dangerous if you don't know the way(s)

I love to see other peoples journeys and wanderings.

bobs

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2019, 02:20:41 PM »
Regarding free rail travel,  those who who worked for British Rail before  privatisation  kept their free travel both in the UK and most of Europe.  Since retirement it reduced to only certain countries but is still very useful.

geocycle

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Re: Complexities in touring
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2019, 03:10:26 PM »
E-bike touring would be fun.  I expect that it will be most useful for the sort of credit card trip Andre describes.  For longer tours in more remote regions they are still untested.  Most of us have tried to simplify our touring kit so it is easily fixed, or very unlikely to go wrong as in the rohloff.  The e-bike adds serious complexity and could be a real pain to fix while on tour with bail-outs made more difficult by the weight.  I also can't imagine flying with an e-bike would be easy.  But, this is exciting new technology at the stage where lots of rival approaches are emerging.  Eventually a standard will provide a focus and reliability will increase.  That's the point Thorn will step in...