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'Credit Card' Touring Advice (North France > Bilbao)

gcastergcaster Posts: 152
edited May 2010 in Tour & expedition
Hi, I'm pretty new to this whole touring game but my Girlfriend and I are planning on touring from either Le Havre or Paris down to Bilbao in September.

We've not done much with regard to planning as such but our first step is to get my girlfriend a decent bike.
I'll be doing it on my alu/carbon racing bike and Carradice Super C seatpack. Considering we'll be doing around 50 miles a day (with some rest days here and there) I figure this is gonna be just fine. My girlfriends bike is goin to be part-funded by her Dad as a graduation present with a budget of around £400ish.
I was thinking of just a run of the mill entry level road bike (Dawes Giro 300 looking our best bet at the moment) and put a comfy seat and some slightly thicker tyres on it. On the other hand there's the option of a basic touring bike. This will be pushing the budget a bit and I'm not sure if it's overkill for what we're doing.
We're looking at staying in caravans, hostels and maybe a cheeky hotel here and there, taking minimal clothing, wash stuff, few bike spares and that's about it.

What would people recommend we look at?
Basically it's a case of would a road bike with seatpack be suitable for what we're doing? If we struggle for space we could always add a decent bar-bag.


(I'll keep this thread running with more questions as and when they come up!)


  • tatanabtatanab Posts: 1,283
    gcaster wrote:
    Basically it's a case of would a road bike with seatpack be suitable for what we're doing? If we struggle for space we could always add a decent bar-bag.
    Almost certainly not enough space. Can you get your change of clothes, washing kit, waterproofs, tools, spares etc in the saddle pack? Probably not. I'd use a proper old fashioned saddlebag for space and ease of packing. A bar bag is recommended as a place to carry your paperwork (passport etc), snacks, camera and map. You just take the bag with you every time you go into a cafe for example and you've all your valuables with you. Maps - unless you have adequate carrying space, I assume you will just pick up what you need along the way and bin it when you move to the next sheet.

    I rode the other way last year, camping. But I've done lots of credit crad style touring. Planning - don't bother too much because you will find all sorts of things along the way. Your only real target might be to catch the ferry on a particular date. 50 miles a day is going to give you plenty of time for bumbling around. Be warned that the last 100 miles or so, i.e. the Spanish end, is pretty hilly.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    For credit card touring, a light-touring bike is ideal. Evans own brand Pinnacle Sentinal come with long drop caliper brakes and threaded eyelets for rack. Std race chainsets are over-geared for cruising, look for triple or compact double.

    I would also carry an ultralight, unpadded backpack/stuffsac for food shopping,
  • dpiperdpiper Posts: 31
    we rode much the same last summer - details here

    get the route right and you'll be on cycle paths the whole way! Bliss
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