A pm would be most appreciated, thanks, or feel free to post it here so it's searchable?
Something like this would be an option further south:
Those rides will all be good, in short :)
My only advice would be not to stick too rigidly to the coast, the ring (particularly Kerry) can be busy, although I must admit I never found it too bad. However, there are some stunning in land passes which cut off the peninsulas, which can really add up distance wise too. After i'd done a couple I felt I'd seen enough. e.g https://www.strava.com/activities/383964540
Healy Pass is pretty stunning. I'm sure the coast is good too. And here: https://www.strava.com/activities/383964557
Probably my top day in Ireland in terms of two super scenic, isolated passes, and I think there are more nearby.
I had a bit of a meltdown in Dingle as it was very busy when I went, nearly died on the main road in, although at that point I was tired and wet. By most accounts the peninsula is pretty good but most of the town feels very touristy, so I got out pretty quick. I didn't make the most of Galway or Donegal as I'd agreed to meet some friends' parents who let me stay.
Since my plans were pretty loose I took this map with me:
I found it pretty good, scenic roads are highlighted, although obviously you lose out on some granular detail.
I'd really love to go back so I'm sure whatever you do you'll have a great time. Even when it's raining it's pretty good.
Also, if you can reserve a good weather day (calm sea) I would highly recommend the trip from Portmagee to see the Skellig islands. It's definitely a tourist attraction, especially since star wars, but it sort of blew me away. I didn't know what I was in for though. It's not cheap and it's probably become more expensive. But I think it would be worth it.
After my planning for the north west, my better half has decided we're going to the south west, I'll post up more details of the plan tonight I think.
Taking the train to Valence tomorrow. First 2 nights I will stay with a friend who has a house near Pontaix, than I plan to do this 10 day tour. Route may change as weatherforecast promises extremely hot weather (up to 38 °C).
looks nice, take pics and report back, have fun.
I've just finished a London to Bergen tour. Great fun despite the weather, Norway is incredible.
If anyone is interested pics are here: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=15dTJZl--GpIsK0nSpHpo3KWuTgtieUk1
Nice photo, looks great
Looks like an amazing trip. The bike looks great too!
I've been thinking to get a lowrider front rack, have you ever clipped the bottom of the panniers whilst cornering?
Yeah was great, weather wasn't brilliant for much of it.
The front panniers worked really well, no issues with clearance or handling. They were standard back roller classics so bigger than the normal Ortleib front panniers.
Anyone got any bike friendly bnb / hostel / cheap airbnb type ideas for accommodation for 4 friends around 60km from birmingham? I know theres two YHA I'm just wondering if anyone has any more left field ideas
60km in any particular direction? That's a pretty broad search.
I find that for our group, accommodation and transport links are the most important things and I can normally work out a decent route based around them. As I've sorted out the transport (meet in Birmingham) we're pretty flexible as to where we go from there, and preferably we'll end up there again so we can all train it back to our various locales. 60km out to the accommodation, 60km back to the train station seems like the simplest logistics (we're all catching trains to different parts of the country so going part of the way back home or similar isn't really a goer)
Don't really know the area so am open to any suggestions. Guess we'll probably by trying to keep it pretty roadie because @Maj has bought a road bike and insists we go 'up a climb' like 'on le tour'
60km will just about get you to the Shropshire Hills, could be a nice option. For accommodation, Stokes Barn near Much Wenlock might be an option. Sheffield CTC has used it as a base over the years, and I've relatives in the area who've booked it for family parties/weddings etc. Possibly geared towards larger groups, but could be worth dropping them a line?
Ended up cycling from dieppe to ouistreham, followed the veloroute de lin for the first part then after that a mix of lanes and coast. Pastries and steak frites were eaten, much sea swimming was done and there were some nice campsites. Had too much stuff and it was hot hot hot so some of the steeper stuff was walked. All in all I quite like touring fixed, have done it before and will do it again
much obliged! thank you!
I just finished touring the Pyrenees from Llanca to San Sebastián, following the TransPyrenaica BTT route for the first half and then the Transpyrenees race route for the second half.
It was hot, wet, steep, insane, remote, silly and epic.
I will do a better write up when back to boring life over the next days, in the meantime I drop some pictures here, some more can be found in the highlights saved on IG.
This small camping municipal was nice and tidy before we arrived
Some impressions from my tour. Started in Valence, went to Barcelonnette crossing the Vercors and Devoluy range, did the "3 cols tour" in the Mercantour (col d'Allos, Champs, Cayolle - all over 2000 m but without all my luggage) and returned to the Valence region crossing col de Vars, col du Lautaret, col d'Ornon and the climb from Grenoble to the Plateau de Vercors. Been in the saddle for 850 km and 14.000 vertical meter. My butt needs some new skin but I'd do it again (despite the wrecking heat the first 4 days: temperatures went up to 40° C).
I’m going on a tour. From Penzance, tomorrow, I’ll be following Dave barter’s LEJOG route as far as Carlisle then heading across the borders to my friend in Melrose. From there I’ll maybe do a borders loop before heading back down via the ncn 68 and 1 all the way home to London. I haven’t had time to think it all through - nowhere to stay in Carlisle or anywhere booked on the return- and Im in a particularly bad a patch of mental ill health but I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t ridden my road bike in ages. It’s packed fairly light with alpkits most basic bags with extra straps added. One change of clothes and warmer evening things, a few toiletries, I’ll put that rear light somewhere more sensible.
sounds good mate, have a good time. You're doing it the right way - have a vague plan then wing it the rest of the way
hopefully it will lift your mood too
Time to do a write up of the trip in the Pyrenees, disclaimer: it's going to be lengthy.
tl;dr the Pyrenees are a great place for touring, if you like mountains.
I hadn't been on a tour longer than a weekend since last October and I needed this more than any other type of holiday. Fiance this time was heading home to the hot beaches of Southern Italy, so I could come up with my own plan, and then see if I would find someone to join me.
The Transpyrenees race spurred my interest in this part of Europe where I'd never been before, but the route was lacking some adventure and remoteness for my taste. Too much tarmac, too tidy and predictable.
After some time researching alternatives I found this video
, showing the TransPirenaica BTT route.
I decided I would merge the two, following the BTT through Spain for the first half and then crossing onto the Transpyrenees route for the second half, for more reliability in case I had to make up some time (I still had a limited amount of days to deal with).
This is the final route I decided to go with. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30523833
I set off on the 18th of July, from Llanca, alone, as I couldn't find anyone (silly enough) to join me.
Gear of choice was my trusty Surly Straggler in full bikepacking mode, Salsa anything cages, Roswheel handlebar bag, Revelate tangle frame bag, Apidura saddle bag and other bits and bobs. I geared low as usual for offroad bikepacking, 50-34 paired with 11-40 cassette. I went bold with tyre choice this time, 36c Challenge Strade Bianche, looking forward to that smooth rolling on the tarmac of the second half.
I spent the first 3/4 days in the mediterranean side of the Pyrenees, low-ish altitude, very dry soil and landscape. The offroad route would often be dusty, mostly packed gravel, but with whole stretches of loose sand which made it at times impossible to have any traction with slick tires, some times even sideways.
The first day was fine, with only minor rerouring, but the second day nearly broke me, requiring 4h to cover 40km and 2000m of gain! The heat sure wasn't helping, with the solid 35+ degrees, even above 1500m of altitude it was hard to find a bit of cooler air. I had to stop in a village called Tregura de Dalt as the pass I wanted to do was coverd by black clouds which I didn't fancy at 8pm.
This made for a pretty long third day as I was determined to reach Tuixent. The route was great, until I found myself pushing up a ski slope at 2pm under the sun.
Despite the heat I was determined to reach my destination for the day, so I started a 22km offroad climb at 6pm, luckily it was quite rideable, with epic views building up along the way. Once at the top I thought all I had to do was descend before it'd get dark, but the route turned into a single track on loose rocks, so much so I had to walk some sections. I ended up getting to the village with a slashed tyre and the tube that completely deflated right in front of the only hotel, where I decided to spend the night.
The fourth day was pretty forgettable, mostly driven by unbearable heat, lack of food and water (Sundays in Spain/France) and rather boring route. Luckily the following day made up for that with an amazing long climb up the Val D'Aran, to the manastery of Montgarri, tucked away in the mountains.
I left a part of my heart in that stunning valley. The day finished with the Col du Portilhon as I rejoined the TranPyrenees tarmac route on the French side.
I was at the halfway point in 5 days, as I wanted to, but it had been a lot harder than I anticipated. The Transpyrenaica is meant for MTB, be prepared to suffer if you go with anything different and bring the widest tires you can.
From here I would concatenate a series of famous cols, just two days behind the Tour. I went up Superbagnes, one of my favorite climbs of the route, only to descend on the other side, following a red VTT track which proved to be quite challenging.
Then Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Borderes, Soulor and Aubisque. The road between these last two is simply stunning, I've probably spent more time taking pictures and staring at mountains than pedalling! The high mountains of the central Pyrenees are truly riveting, with nothing short of Dolomites or Alps. Most of the time you end up above the tree line, with clear views of the peaks around you.
After Aubisque I was into my 8th day, entering the Atlantic section of the Pyrenees and perhaps one of the least frequented. @FourGreenFields words about the incosistent gradient warned me not to underestimate these climbs and I had good reasons to be concerned. I found myself without water or food under the sun again while climbing col du Labays, but I was determined to cover as much as possible due to the massive storm coming the following days, so I had Erroymendi and Larrau in front of me, before entering Spain again. Well, the heat, plus the gradient of these two broke me for good this time. I stopped several times, sweating like never before, trying to eat and drink as much as possible. The views from the top were insane and surreal, making it as usual all worth it.
I was then in Navarra, Spain, when the big storm that shook Europe hit the Pyrenees. The first day was a mix of dry and wet, which motivated me to try to cover the whole 175km and get to San Sebastian before the weather would turn for worse. But after getting soaked yet again, I was too cold to continue and left 50km for the last day. Relentless torrential rain drenched me all the way for the final push. I was wet and cold but happy to have reached San Sebastian, where some of the most incredible food I've had in a while was waiting for me.
To draw some conclusions, the Pyrenees are great for cycling, despite not having as many high roads as the Alps or Dolomites. I am happy about the route I did, although I came underprepared for the offroad part. The people and food are wonderful all along, especially if you speak some Spanish/French. Campsites on the French side are silly cheap, not so much on the Spanish counterpart. One great remark to the Warmshowers community, I've met some incredible people, yet again.
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