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first cycling/touring trip, sweden on a hardtail mtb!

colandecolande Posts: 536
edited September 2008 in Tour & expedition
hi there
never posted in this section before,

right a frined and I are planning a trip to sweden ,
ferry from harwich to esbjerg in denmark then up to sweden,
esbjerg to final destination is roughly 400-500 miles,

we shall be doing the trip on XC hardtail mtb, with front suspension,

so a couple of questions,

i think rear panniers will fit on but there arent any mounts on the front,
do you think that will be enough luggage space (2 rear panniers and bag on top)?

does anyone have any recommendations on 26in tyres, cheapish of course?

what food stuffs would you take, plan to camp?

is it mad doing it on mtb's?????

touring is a complete unknown to me
so any advice and help would be greatly received,


  • kmahonykmahony Posts: 380
    MtB with slicks should be fine. Pannier space will depend on how big your sleeping bag and tent are. I started with the same ferry (which works out well) and did Oslo to Stockholm last year with a medium sized rucsac (wasn't camping).

    Couple of things to be aware of.
    - Bikes are not allowed on trains in Sweden. (that said, everyone follows the rules and they've no idea what to do if you don't)
    - Plan a good route. Sweden was great for cycling in towns, but not so good on the longer routes.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    You may not need front panniers If you travel very light and split the tent and cooking gear. it depends a lot on where you are going; out in the wilds you may well need to carry food for several days and you need the extra capacity.

    If you do decide to go for front panniers then the cheapest option would be to look at the Axiom panniers at they are low-rider panniers but these should be fine on roads. There are more expensive options from Old Man Mountain and Tubus.

    Cheap tyres are a false economy - get tyres with kevlar protection. Schwalbe Marathons? Continental Top Touring?
  • colandecolande Posts: 536
    thanks guys for the replies

    well we're gonna carry one of these tents each i think, ... _tent.html

    currently have a set of flet bars, as my bike is set up for XC mtb riding
    would it be wise to swap for some risers? was planning on putting some barends on aswell

    other than the obvious spare inner tubes and bike tools what other spares would be advisable to take?
  • Hi there, I've also just started touring / bikamping and I'm using the Gelert Solo. Excellent little tent for the money - if you're sure you want one order now as I found it very difficult to get hold of one. I've been on numerous wildcamping trips with it and it has held up in poor windy conditions very well. Although tiny with no headroom inside, when you're in your sleeping bag it doesn't matter. Also, I found I was able to stow a small bag in with me, and a big 65l rucsac between the inner and outer flysheet to keep it dry. Packed, the tent is smaller than my Vango Ultralite sleeping bag. I also use an MTB (Cannondale hardtail) - I'd mount a Blackburn EX-1 or EX-2 rack on the back and get some waterproof panniers. Wouldn't know what size to recommend - depends how you pack. For a 1week trip I've got everything (hopefully) into some Deuter rear panniers (32l per pair), various small seat/frame bags and a 32l backpack. Tent and other stuff strapped to top of rack in a kayak bag.
    I take a mountain bike as it is all I have plus I'm not interested in 'on-road' touring. If much of your trip will be on-road - look at some dual tread pattern tyres (by Continental and others). They're slick in the centre but have beads on the outside so you can still have grip off-road.

    Lastly, best advice I can pass on is try it all out before you go, and weigh everything (use kitchen scales if nothing else!). You'll be surprised how much it adds up to before you start ruthlessly getting rid of luxury items. Backpacks/panniers are often one of the heaviest of your items.
  • kmahony wrote:
    MtB with slicks should be fine. Pannier space will depend on how big your sleeping bag and tent are. I started with the same ferry (which works out well) and did Oslo to Stockholm last year with a medium sized rucsac (wasn't camping).

    Couple of things to be aware of.
    - Bikes are not allowed on trains in Sweden. (that said, everyone follows the rules and they've no idea what to do if you don't)
    - Plan a good route. Sweden was great for cycling in towns, but not so good on the longer routes.
    I have just come back from Sweden (rode there from Holland through Germany and Denmark, then back down through Denmark for the flight home)
    Bikes ARE allowed on trains in Sweden. It all depends on the type of train, of course, as in other countries, and it is also entirely at the discretion of the guard.
    Sweden has marked cycle itineraries that are sometimes on separate cycle lanes, but usually on the road outside of town.
    With regard to the ferries, the Esbjerg one is frighteningly expensive, but the one from Frederikshavn to Goteborg is a good price. When booking the Fred-Got ferry, do it online or by phone. There is a hefty surcharge if you turn up and do it over the counter.
    Your first campsite will sell you a camping card . YOU WILL NEED THIS IN CAMPSITES IN BOTH COUNTRIES, so don't lose it. Also suggest taking out a Youth Hostels membership.
    When leaving Esbjerg, head west along the Hjerting road to see the giant statues (a must-see). You have a choice of route here (assuming you are going North). One takes you up through Oksebol (nice campsite) and on up the cioast on the North Sea cycle route past Ringkobing Fjord. This is usually atrociously windy, and the cycle route alongside the Fjord is utter dross. Use the road. You end up riding a long, long sweep of dunes up to Grenen and Skagen, the very tip of Denmark.
    If you go inland, you can cut through Holstebro (nice campsite at Mejdal) and Viborg, which is gorgeous (campsite by the lake and YH). Cut across through Mariager to Hadsund on a network of quiet lanes. Campsite at Hadsund combined with YH; very amenable warden.
    There is a cycle path through Wilde Mose nature reserve, which is on a nice old railway path to start with but then turns into utter, utter censored for several miles. Then there are seriously good cycle paths/backroads up to Frederikshavn. Cheap YH in Saeby and in Fred'n.
    Good network of dedicated cycle paths in G'borg get you out of town quickly. Remember that the campsites offer huts, often at a reasonable price, and Sweden has "every man's right" where you can camp wild for free as long as you satisfy a few rules.
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored ... =3244&v=5K
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    How about a 2 person tent, one carries that, the other the sleeping bags, there should be some weight saving (and maby mney saving at camp sites). Of course you will have to be a little more intimate...may not be a problem. I recommend the Coleman Avior X2 or X3, superb design and cheap (£70 to £90). I also use a Vango Ultralight sleeping bag.

    I have toured on an mtb, I fitted 26x1.5 Schwalbe Marathons rather than full slicks, a good compromise I think.

    I have managed cycle touring and camping with rear panniers and the tent or sleeping bags on top of the rack. I wasn't short of any gear or clothing, the load was quite heavy though. I think the bike handling may have improved with front panniers, though it is likely to add 2 to 2.5 kgs just for the rack and bags alone. With weight only on the back the bike feels twitchy initially, but I get used to it after half a day.

    I use a DHB Marsden waterproof bar bag (from Wiggle) with integrated waterproof map pocket. Great for valuables and stuff you want close to hand. Takes around 2kg happily.

    I use a Selle An-Atomica saddle - the comfiest thing I have ever sat on (on a bike).

    I use a Fenix L2D CE Q5 as a front light with a Twofish Lockblock bike mount, it weighs about 100g and is very small but is almost the most powerful 2 AA torch available, and with the accessory diffuser it works great as a tent light, and with a headband makes a great head torch. It takes 2 AA batteries - I take about 10 rechargeables, but can easily buy alkalines on tour should I run out. I don't plan to tour at night but quite often ride from cam site to restaurant or pub after dark, and some afternoons it will get pretty gloomy and on flashing mode it makes you very very visible.

    For food I take basic instant noodles (NOT pot noodles) for emergencies when we mess up finding somewhere to eat (they are light, maybe 50g for a "meal" and take up little space, and cook quickly, saving gas), plus some boil in the bag Paneer curry and rice (I'm a vegetarian so limited choice), heavier but yummy, also pre-cooked so just need heating for 5 minutes. Also Ready Brek, put into zip-lock bags, pre mixed with dried milk and sugar - just add hot water. Normally I don't like this sort of thing but it is great to have a hot oaty breakfast before a ride on tour.

    I use a Jetboil - very fast and compact (about 90 seconds to boil up the water), and the gas lasts ages as it cooks so efficiently, previously I used a Trangia copy bought from Lidl for £5 - this was fine, just slower and more bulky.
  • BodhbhBodhbh Posts: 117
    Like one of the other posters I'm pretty new to bike touring, but also have a MTB and really like the fact you can take it off-road if needed. Just come back from a tour of Germany and some of the best parts of the trip where when I ended up doing some long off-road riding down forest trails etc (often inadvertently with the naviation skills it has to be said). Use a tubus swing rack with front panniers in addition with the rear racks, as I'm not a particularly light traveller, but i guess you could do without em with a bit of rationalisation.
  • colandecolande Posts: 536
    thanks for all replies,
    the trip is all booked up,
    and leaving next week,

    still lots to iron out,
    but got most things covered i think,

    tyres have been a big issue,
    been looking for a touring/trekking tyre but with quite aggressive side knobbles to cut into loose trails, for off road stuff,
    on a 26in rim of course

    bike shops dont really stock these as i've found and time is running out,
    any suggestions,
    been looking at;
    schwalbe marathon cross 1.75
    bontrager comfort 1.5
    continental travel contact 1.75
    specialized crossroads 1.9
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