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Planning my first tour!

zoglugzoglug Posts: 212
edited July 2012 in Tour & expedition
Hey everyone!

I am after some advice from you tour experts, but first a bit of background. I have been cycling now for the past 5 years. I began in order to shed some weight (22 stone when i started) and now, after a little lapse the last couple of months i sit at 17 stone. I commute each way to work (6 miles each way) and cycle most weekends. I also do the Mcr - Blackpool and the Mcr 100 mile ride each year. I absolutely love cycling, however, i hanker for something more!

I have always dreamt of doing LEJoG, however, the cost of getting to the start and home again is extortionate and i simply can not afford the trip, so with my mind in overdrive, i have started looking to head a little further afield, but make it a round trip starting and finishing in Manchester. Things are in the very early stages at the moment, before i start buying equipment i want a solid plan in place and i am looking to pick the brains of some of the more experienced tourers, as if i enjoy this, im hoping to make it a yearly thing, somewhere different each time. At the minute, there are two of us considering this, but i would quite happily consider doing it solo too.

So far the plan is along the lines of:- Beginning in May 2013 (i need time to train/purchase lightweight gear & bike/& train some more!!!)

Manchester - Dover (3 days)
Hop on the ferry to Calais
Calais - Paris (2 days)
Spend an extra day in and around Pairs exploring and recharging my batteries
Paris - Brugge (2/3 days)
Spend an extra day in Brugge exploring/recharging etc
Brugge - Rotterdam (2 days)
Hop on the overnight ferry to Hull
Hull - Manchester (1 day)

Firstly, with regards to the actual locations, is there anywhere in particular you would look to visit, or indeed look to avoid? Im worried about the potential thefts in the major cities, but i guess that is a threat most places.

Im looking to do this as lightweight and self sufficient as possible, ive been reading various websites and blogs (ultra lightweight bicycle touring is fantastic) is there any particular sites or books which you would recommend for advice?

With regards to a bike, what do you currently use? Would you go for a new bike, or second hand? Im currently considering buying a RIbble Audax or Surosa Audax Toledo, but it could be quite costing to leave chained to a post whilst i camp somewhere.

Finally, is there anything else i should bear in mind/consider? This is the first time i have tried to plan anything like this, so any advice would be fantastic and greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Zog
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Posts

  • jalapenojalapeno Posts: 1,009
    counterintuitive perhaps but try not to get bogged down in planning and worrying. I've made expeditions all over the world and rarely plan beyond having a start point, an end point and just an idea about the bits between. There comes a point where you just need to take a leap.. things always work out, and you're in a civilised area so if things do go pear shaped for whatever reason you'll always find a bed, transport, spare parts etc. The thing about travelling by bike too is you get to see the places in between, very often it's worth not paying much attention to the guidebook and just picking a small road on the map and seeing what it's like.

    Painted Roads.. colourful cycling adventures
    http://www.paintedroads.com
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    jalapeno wrote:
    counterintuitive perhaps but try not to get bogged down in planning and worrying. I've made expeditions all over the world and rarely plan beyond having a start point, an end point and just an idea about the bits between. There comes a point where you just need to take a leap.. things always work out, and you're in a civilised area so if things do go pear shaped for whatever reason you'll always find a bed, transport, spare parts etc. The thing about travelling by bike too is you get to see the places in between, very often it's worth not paying much attention to the guidebook and just picking a small road on the map and seeing what it's like.
    Totally agree with this. I too have toured all over the world and, like Jalpeno rarely do any planning beyond start and finish. As he says, and I can vouch for, thing usually work out very well, often better in fact, and in different ways, than you could imagine. The open road is a friendly pace, by an large, and never more so than on a bicycle.
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