Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

Can I make it to Rome for the price of a one way flight?

rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
edited October 2016 in Tour & expedition
Here's the idea - buy an old bike, do it up, ride it from London to Rome. All for less than it would cost me to get there on a Ryanair flight! Think I can do it? If you do, I'd love to have your confidence... ;-)

You can follow my progress here -

https://threadbare2016.wordpress.com/

The ride starts in August and the preparations are underway!

Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,816
    rodgers73 wrote:
    Here's the idea - buy an old bike, do it up, ride it from London to Rome. All for less than it would cost me to get there on a Ryanair flight! Think I can do it? If you do, I'd love to have your confidence... ;-)

    You can follow my progress here -

    https://threadbare2016.wordpress.com/

    The ride starts in August and the preparations are underway!

    Flights in August are expensive, so you have an advantage there. It depends what you count in the budget, if you include the bike and the camping equipment, then no chance... if it's only the food/accomodation costs, then it is possible... not sure if it is enjoyable though... sleeping rough, eating bread and tinned beans, possibly shoplifting for extras... :wink:
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    I'm including the cost of the bike, the ferry and all food and accommodation on the way. Flight was costed a few weeks ago at £148.99 so that's what I have available for this...
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,816
    rodgers73 wrote:
    I'm including the cost of the bike, the ferry and all food and accommodation on the way. Flight was costed a few weeks ago at £148.99 so that's what I have available for this...

    Impossible and frankly totally pointless... I am not sure what you are trying to prove. If you want to cycle to Rome cheaply, then do so, but setting an unrealistic budget is not the way to go.

    As a matter of fact, you can play it even more smartly and decide to do it at zero cost, relying solely on people's generosity: a bike, hospitality, maybe a free pass on the ferry if you sell it well to P&O... but no cash... that's probably a more interesting challenge than sleeping rough, attempting to live off stale bread and tinned beans for two weeks... what exactly would that prove? That food in the western world is cheap? We know that already...
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    According to Google that's 1160 miles.

    An old bike with a load lets say 60 miles a day
    = 20 days.

    No idea how much your up front costs are, lets say you buy everything for 48.99, you've got £100 for 20 days.

    Can you get all the calories you need on £5 / day?
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    rodgers73 wrote:
    I'm including the cost of the bike, the ferry and all food and accommodation on the way. Flight was costed a few weeks ago at £148.99 so that's what I have available for this...

    Impossible and frankly totally pointless... I am not sure what you are trying to prove. If you want to cycle to Rome cheaply, then do so, but setting an unrealistic budget is not the way to go.

    As a matter of fact, you can play it even more smartly and decide to do it at zero cost, relying solely on people's generosity: a bike, hospitality, maybe a free pass on the ferry if you sell it well to P&O... but no cash... that's probably a more interesting challenge than sleeping rough, attempting to live off stale bread and tinned beans for two weeks... what exactly would that prove? That food in the western world is cheap? We know that already...

    The great missery preaches again ...

    Can't you say anthing positive at all?

    Impossible - that's to be tested ...
    and totally pointless? Riding your bike is totally pointless for everyone else - you can ride it if you want - but it makes no difference to me ... so your comment is ... totally pointless ...

    what's he trying to prove? Nothing - it's a jolly ... set yourself a target and see if you can achieve it ... it's no more than trying to prove you can ride around on a CX bike overtaking loads of "roadies" ... what does that prove?
    He's set himself a budget - it could've been £100 or £200 - or even £500 if he wanted ... but why? Matching the price of a "normal" flight is a nice way to do it - but totally arbitory ..

    If you want to do it on zero cash then go ahead - nobody stopping you ...
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    As I said in another place - go for it! Great project.

    In the spirit of the endeavor, if you need a bed and a meal the night before you leave, I am in TW1 and you'd be more than welcome (so long as you're not allergic to 2 idiot cats!). I owe you for me being rude and in a hurry in Chateuneuf-en-Thymerais!
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,816
    craker wrote:
    According to Google that's 1160 miles.

    An old bike with a load lets say 60 miles a day
    = 20 days.

    No idea how much your up front costs are, lets say you buy everything for 48.99, you've got £100 for 20 days.

    Can you get all the calories you need on £5 / day?

    Probably £ 4 a day.... the ferry is 20 quid.

    I would like to think the OP plans to do it in less than 20 days... the shorter the trip, the more the budget makes sense (if at all). 100 miles a day is more like it. I can't see an alternative to sleeping rough or relying on hospitality... even the cheapest pitch for a tent in France will cost close to 10 euros... and let's not forget the lovely french habit of charging a local tax per night of stay... it's only 1 Euro 50 or so, but it dents the budget like a stone.

    I also think the OP deliberately makes the task harder for himself: how much would it cost him to go to the Airport and from the Airport in Rome head somewhere meaningful? I find that the airfare these days is 50% of the real cost of a trip from A to B, but I understand he is trying to make a point, no matter how flawed I think the point is.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    I'm not looking to "prove" anything by doing the ride - it's just a fun challenge.

    If I run out of cash I'll declare the effort a failure and draw some cash out of an ATM. Or if the bike breaks then, given that I'll have spent very little up to that point anyway, I'll either a buy a cheapo one from a local Decathlon (or similar) to complete the ride on, or just get on the train to Rome and enjoy a holiday in the Eternal City.

    I picked up the bike I'll do the ride on last night - it cost £2.20 off Ebay. I've separately scrounged up a "donor" bike from which I can strip replacement parts and a friend of a friend found a brand new Panaracer tyre in his shed. I expect to have a fully functioning bike with new/newish slick tyres for less than £20.

    I don't usually do rides for charity but if I do for this one then that increases the likelihood of me getting a free ferry ticket. I've founds the ideal charity to raise funds for and if they like what I'm doing they may give me some bike bits for nothing (fingers crossed...).

    Which leaves me around £120 for food and not much else. I did a 4 day ride last year where I slept rough each night and coped easily doing 120-130 miles a day. For this one I'm targeting 80-90 miles a day (given the poorer quality bike) and have up to 16 days to do it in. So my food budget is potentially £7.50-9.00 a day. I should be able to get by on that.

    So, I'm optimistic but quite open to the possibility of it all totally failing just outside Calais. If I make it then it will give me a buzz and will be a fun thing to tell people about as I suspect it'll lead me into some adventures!

    And if it goes wrong I'll still do the journey but slightly differently than planned...
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    It does sound like fun - would love to just ride distances for a holiday ... but family commitments etc etc ... it's not an excuse - just a reason :)
  • I think very possible if you Couchsurf will get you free bedding and sometimes food plus less weight to carry




    rodgers73 wrote:
    I'm not looking to "prove" anything by doing the ride - it's just a fun challenge.

    If I run out of cash I'll declare the effort a failure and draw some cash out of an ATM. Or if the bike breaks then, given that I'll have spent very little up to that point anyway, I'll either a buy a cheapo one from a local Decathlon (or similar) to complete the ride on, or just get on the train to Rome and enjoy a holiday in the Eternal City.

    I picked up the bike I'll do the ride on last night - it cost £2.20 off Ebay. I've separately scrounged up a "donor" bike from which I can strip replacement parts and a friend of a friend found a brand new Panaracer tyre in his shed. I expect to have a fully functioning bike with new/newish slick tyres for less than £20.

    I don't usually do rides for charity but if I do for this one then that increases the likelihood of me getting a free ferry ticket. I've founds the ideal charity to raise funds for and if they like what I'm doing they may give me some bike bits for nothing (fingers crossed...).

    Which leaves me around £120 for food and not much else. I did a 4 day ride last year where I slept rough each night and coped easily doing 120-130 miles a day. For this one I'm targeting 80-90 miles a day (given the poorer quality bike) and have up to 16 days to do it in. So my food budget is potentially £7.50-9.00 a day. I should be able to get by on that.

    So, I'm optimistic but quite open to the possibility of it all totally failing just outside Calais. If I make it then it will give me a buzz and will be a fun thing to tell people about as I suspect it'll lead me into some adventures!

    And if it goes wrong I'll still do the journey but slightly differently than planned...
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Well, if it is possible to achieve this I'll be finding out in the course of the next few weeks. I'm setting off for London tonight with 160 Euros in my pocket and a bike that has cost me £4.40 to buy and set up for the ride.

    You can see the build up and the progress of the ride on my blog -

    https://threadbare2016.wordpress.com/

    And there may be some updates on the Facebook page too -

    https://www.facebook.com/threadbarecycling/

    That's if the rear wheel can hold the weight of the luggage!
  • Thick MikeThick Mike Posts: 337
    Great idea, good luck!
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Top tip for France, if you're hungry, pull out a map and look lost. Did this a few times (we were actually lost mind) and strangers offered us chocolate.

    I think you'll do OK, I didn't write down what was spent doing the same ride but it wasn't much. It's only when we hit Italy and realised that the camping isn't very good that we splashed out on hostels where possible. I realise you are on the road already but if you do read this, smash the miles in France. It gives you wiggle room in Italy. It can be tough going when hot and some of the coastal roads go up and down for miles.
  • andcpandcp Posts: 644
    He's only gone and done it!
    https://www.facebook.com/threadbarecycling/
    https://threadbare2016.wordpress.com
    Chapeau that man!
    Hope you enjoyed it :D
    "It must be true, it's on the internet" - Winston Churchill
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,816
    Congrats!

    It's St. Peter's square, not St. Mark's... that's in Venice :-)
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Andcp wrote:
    He's only gone and done it!
    https://www.facebook.com/threadbarecycling/
    https://threadbare2016.wordpress.com
    Chapeau that man!
    Hope you enjoyed it :D


    Cheers guys! I really enjoyed the trip and felt great rolling up to the Coliseum.

    It didn't quite go as I'd hoped but I was very happy with the way it panned out in the end. A ride of two halves you might say but a really, really good experience and (I have to remind myself to think of it in this way) a top holiday too!

    I'll be adding some extra pics and a bit of an epilogue as soon as I've finished the slightly chaotic house move I'm involved in at the minute!

    https://threadbare2016.wordpress.com/
  • Well done Thomas,I enjoyed reading your daily log
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Nice one - jealous of the trip - perhaps one day I'll try and do an "epic" ride with the family... :)
  • Redbaron1Redbaron1 Posts: 116
    Well done, enjoyed reading that.
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