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Cycling and camping

Travel Forums Europe Cycling and camping

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1. Posted by Booty (Budding Member 6 posts) 33w

Hi, I am going to have a little cycle and camp in France. I won't be going until May (due to work) Was wondering if anyone had any tips and advice.....
I want to start somewhere close to home, in case things go belly up, but would like to start long haul cycling and camping along the way......
I would appreciate what people have to say, as I have never done this abroad before..... I usually go in style, ( planes and hotels) hahaha.....
Well I will leave it at that for now

Many thanks T

2. Posted by MARÍAPatti (Inactive 13 posts) 32w

Take warm socks and sleeping bag with u.

3. Posted by Booty (Budding Member 6 posts) 32w

I have a lovely down bag ... Good idea with the socks.....

Had 2nd thoughts....... Got to be going for 2 months as I think, a week wont be enough time
to see anything.....

4. Posted by MARÍAPatti (Inactive 13 posts) 32w

Socks sometimes save me in the night))

ahah)) True) I also always wish I'd have more time to see everything)

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Feb-2016, at 14:01 by MARÍAPatti ]

5. Posted by Budgie Escapee (Budding Member 27 posts) 30w

About ten months ago I set out on a round-the-world cycle trip. Just yesterday I finished my first 10,000 km. Two key things you have said are 'I would like to start long haul cycling' and 'I have never done this abroad before'. I would suggest planning a relatively short adventure to begin with. Maybe 3 days to a week's tour. If you plan on doing this in the long term...but have no experience...then a short trip will help you work out whether or not it is really something you want to do. You will have an end point to focus on, so if you start to hate the experience, then you know the end is coming soon...but if you love the experience, then when the end comes you will feel a great sense of achievement and be ready to take things further next time.

You say you probably need to be away for a couple of months - I suggest that for keeping a positive state of mind you should maybe do the short trip to begin with...like a 3-day to a week loop back home. At home you can recover, change anything you have learnt (bike setup and gear) then set out again for longer. I know it sounds pointless to just head out for a few days from your home and return again...but in the long run I think this would be valuable as having a break back home will give you a chance to refocus your mind/body for a bigger trip and apply what you have learnt. There is so much to deal with all at once (finding food, finding places to sleep, setting up camp each day, actually riding a decent distance each day, body pain etc etc) that having the chance to break up the trip when you first start makes things a whole lot easier to deal with.

It becomes a matter of what you want to put yourself through. If you want to throw yourself in the deep end, just go for a big trip and learn along the way. But if you want to ease yourself into it with less heartache/body-ache then doing a short trip to start would be better. The end point is probably the same it just depends on how much suffering you want to go through to get there.

Obviously make sure you have the right cycling an camping gear with you... If you have specific questions about gear, don't hesitate to ask :-)

All the best! Cycle-touring is amazing!!!! It is hard work but incredibly rewarding.

Mark

6. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 30w

Some of my best memories of my teen years were cycling trips with my dad through parts of Europe. It's a great way to travel. Cheap, relaxing and you get to see the world at a nice slow pace.

Mark's advice above is great :)

7. Posted by Booty (Budding Member 6 posts) 30w

Thank you very much mark for your advice. I have done as you say the smaller trips. I spent a few days around the Isle of Wight, where i live.I have ventured over to the New Forest and further afield and Loved it so much even thr gruelling hills towing my trustee trailer. I have read so many stories of long haul trips to think I could be ready for it. I do find that my own company is good and I feel confident in camping and bike maintenance. I am late 40s and if I don't go I think it will be my only regret in life. I have chosen to go in the better time of the year, but bad weather does not bother me. i don't really have a time scale of where or when I have to be anywhere and if things do get a bit much, I can always head for a train station and come back to ol Blighty..

Many thanks for everyone and I will take everything people tell and advice me very seriously. Good luck to everyone on any trips they are planning or are on.
I have a few more months till I go and hopefully will pick up more valuble tips and advice.

Cheers everyone

Booty

8. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 493 posts) 30w

I cycled in my 30s in England, Wales and France. One of my prized possessions is a photo of me and my Gitane Tour de France at the Tan Hill Inn. I still have the cycle! There was a UK outfit called the Cyclists Touring Club that I found helpful. I didn't take a sleeping bag, preferring to stay at hostels and inns. I found lots of friendly people along the way; and Scotch eggs were really handy to eat while cycling!

9. Posted by Budgie Escapee (Budding Member 27 posts) 30w

No worries. Sounds like your ready! As you already have some experience, I guess general advice is not needed...don't hesitate to ask more specific questions...otherwise there is no way of knowing the kind of advice you are seeking :-)

...here is some general advice anyway...

When riding abroad, your biggest asset can be your smile, especially in places that aren't used to seeing a foreigner turn up randomly on a bike. It probably applies less in France where thousands of other cycle tourists have ridden before...but still, if you end up off the beaten track somewhere, then a smile can put everyone at ease when people don't know how to take you. Invites acceptance, friendly conversation and often a free place to stay.

10. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 493 posts) 30w

Budgie Escapee is right on the mark. A smile goes a long way in opening doors.