Generic Touring Thread

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  • Yeah. I always remember him randomly just putting his headphones in half way through breakfast.

    We were in the middle of a good jokey convo between a group of us and he just stopped talking and plugged them in and ate.

  • Sounds like he'd exceeded his social allowance for the day...

  • That can be a problem when on your own for a while, social interactions, especially in groups can feel quite overwhelming

    To balance it, was reading a ride report the other day where the tourer said they found themselves talking to them selves outloud for company as they had been alone so long and several others commented they do the same thing

    Anyone else follow Geordie Stewart on insta? He seems to have a good balance, several days to a week alone with a good mix of warm showers hosts and guess insta gives social interaction as well as he posts half a dozen times a day

  • I've experience some of that, more so in terms of big cities or society formalisms in general rather than interaction with people itself

  • I've found a picture of me popping a wheelie at the top of the Tourmalet while touring

  • Sagan style. Nice!

  • Thanks again for this. Crashed pretty hard last night and doc has put a lid on any riding ambitions for next week so it's getting banked until next year.

  • @giofox Awe-inspiring! Well done!

  • ☹️
    Hope you heal up quickly!

  • The pictures from this look absolutely awesome.

  • And also @HarmanMogul, thanks!

    The blues back in the office in London are diametrically depressing these weeks.

  • Pamir highway anyone?


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  • So much want. Not a single day goes by without me daydreaming about it. And a million other trips to be honest, like Cairo to Cape Town

  • I really want to do the Silk Road Mountain Race Tour

  • A week ago I returned from touring the UK for two weeks:

    From Hull to Harwich, via Bangor and Cardiff.

    This write-up is a little different from my previous, more factual ones. Each day forms a chapter, which you can expand by clicking on the title. I hope you like it.



    Chapter 1 - Adrift

    I wake up in the middle of the night. It's pitch black. It feels like the room is moving. I turn on the bedside light. A small rectangular piece of paper lies on the night stand. It's bright blue, with white letters. 'Welcome aboard', it says. I turn off the light, roll over, and go back to sleep. Just a couple more hours until we arrive in Hull.


    Chapter 2 - Peaks

    The Peak District. We meet again. It's as beautiful as I remember it from last year. Though I came more prepared this time; I swapped out the 11-32 cassette for a 11-36 one. But you still have to push yourself up those bloody hills. And it doesn't get easier.
    Last year, my training was being a full time courier. Now I work in an office and sit on my behind all day. My commute is only ten minutes by bike! I wasn't trained for this. These excuses don't help me any, other than blowing off some steam. Here we go again.


    Chapter 3 - Burned

    The electronic sign next to the car dealer shows the number thirty. Why is it so hot? I'm in England for crying out loud. Combined with the serious inclines, I feel like I'm overheating. I drink as much as possible, but it doesn't seem to have any effect. My shirt comes off, in an attempt to dissipate more heat. The bare white skin is an easy pray for the burning sun. Only I will experience this the next day, when painfully trying to put on my tee. Wear sunscreen.


    Chapter 4 - Araf

    The heat continues. But the road changes. Suddenly I'm floating on a perfect piece of tarmac. I look around. Am I in Wales? Did I cross the border? I didn't see any separation, nothing to indicate I entered another country. But when I approach the next junction, all doubts vanish. ARAF. Below it, SLOW. I'm riding trough a physical dictionary, ac rydw i'n mwynhau pob munud ohono.


    Chapter 5 - Rest

    As I'm riding along the coast, closing in on Conwy, the temperatures are becoming a problem. I can't go on like this. My head hurts. Am I having heat stroke? I feel it isn't responsible to keep cycling with this heat. Tomorrow's going to be even hotter. I find a campsite nearby on my phone and hit 'navigate'. Just two kilometers to go. And one-hundred-fifty meters of elevation... The final push, I remind myself. Tomorrow I'm not going anywhere.


    Chapter 6 - Snow

    ...donia National Park. One of the highlights of Wales. With the emphasis on high. The ascents are back and in full force. But even they can't dampen the beauty all around. The partly cloudy sky adds to the images of the peaks standing tall. Unfortunately I can only admire the beauty form the outskirts of the park. I don't have a lot of time for sightseeing. Next time I need to include more extra days, so I don't have to pack up my stuff every morning and continue the journey. Next time.


    Chapter 7 - Twenty

    Up ahead there is a white triangle with a red border, encapsulating a two digit number and a symbol. As my brain registers the combination and its meaning, it simultaneously delivers a psychological hammer blow to itself. 20%. The road goes up two meters for every ten meters I travel horizontally. Why am I doing this again?
    I shift my bike into its easiest gear. Thirty teeth up front, thirty-six at the back. A far smaller than one-to-one ratio. But still, it isn't easy. For the first few meters I bravely - or naively - stay seated down, until I almost come to a standstill. To avoid this, I stand on the pedals. I stomp on them. Left, right. Left, right. The soles of my new hiking shoes gripping into the pins of the platform pedals. Halfway up the hill I give up. There is no shame in walking. No one will know.

    Around midday I look at my phone. With still half a day left, I start looking for a campsite. There are none. At least not along route 8, which takes me all the way from Bangor to Cardiff. I start to panic slightly, having never wild camped before. But there seems to be no other option.
    After a couple more hours of cycling, my mind is more acclimatized to the idea of sleeping in the wild. I'm still not completely comfortable with it, but I've accepted it. As I keep on moving somewhat distracted by the forecast of my sleeping accommodation for the night, my eyes drift towards a field of grass ten meters below the road I'm cycling on. I see a caravan. Tents. Is this a fata morgana? Am I going insane?
    I make a u-turn and back track a bit. Around the corner a sign appears. On it the symbol of a tent with an arrow pointing down a driveway. The owner tells me they're purposely not on the map. I was lucky - and very happy - to find them then and there.


    Chapter 8 - Alone

    I look around. There is absolutely no one here. It's just me, my thoughts, and the hills. Sometimes that's all you need.


    Chapter 9 - Mill

    I arrive at the campsite around two in the afternoon. Today was one of the most relaxed days so far. The weather is perfect and the campsite idyllic. An old mill that was saved by a creative couple. The grounds made available for tents. There are no numbers, no bushes separating 'spaces'. I lie down on the soft grass. No rush. I've got all day. I close my eyes, and gently fall asleep.


    Chapter 10 - Fog

    When I unzip my tent the next morning, I can see a light drizzle. The sky is gray and the forecast isn't any more colourful. I bust out the rain kit and comfort myself with the notion that I didn't carry the extra weight of my stainless steel mudguards up and over those hills for nothing.

    It's pouring rain now. A slight fog covers a lake as I cycle past it. But it doesn't ruin my mood. On the contrary, surprisingly. I'm loving the adventurous weather. The roads are following suit. I turn onto a loose stone path, uphill of course. The incline, road surface and weather make for a fantastic atmosphere. This is why I do this.
    I smilingly go up and down the sketchy gravel paths, receiving bewildered looks from fully kitted out locals walking their dogs. Soon they will be warm and dry again, while I still have a long way to go. Destination: Cardiff.


    Chapter 11 & 12 - London

    The train from Cardiff to London leaves at ten in the morning. I can sleep in for the first time in almost two weeks. The joys of vacation. In London I have made plans with a friend I met last year. He has kindly invited me into his home once again. We repeat all the good things from last time: riding, wrenching and eating. After two fantastic days, it's time to get back into the saddle. The ferry in Harwich leaves in twenty-four hours.


    Chapter 13 - Castle

    I look up at the sky. It's a perfect combination of clear blue and soft cotton ball like clouds. Seagulls are announcing their presence. I'm closing in on the North Sea. It's still another fifty kilometers to go, though. No big deal under normal circumstances, but a different story with a thousand already in the legs, eighty of which during this day so far.
    One step at a time. I break the distance down in my mind. Another twenty to Colchester, there I take a break. I devour half a bag of crisps, a banana and an energy bar. That should be enough, shouldn't it? Thirty kilometers left turn into twenty. At ten to go we're approaching single digit territory. Once entered I consume an energy gel. Both for moral as well as hopefully a final boost.

    I imagine a pro who successfully managed to escape the peloton, going into the final kilometers of the race. He's been on the bike for ten hours. He's almost there, but not quite yet. The final stretch is always the hardest. But you know the finish is at arm's length. I pass signs welcoming me into Ramsey Town. Almost there.
    When I turn the corner, I see the Castle Inn. I recognize it from last year. I'm so relieved I even raise my arm up in the air, like the pro who just won the race. The hill behind the Inn is my podium. A pint of coke my champagne. My tent my hotel. The final stage of the tour. I imagine the good night's sleep is the same.


    Thank you for looking.

  • Such a nice write up. Guess the bar end plug didn't fancy coming to Wales?

  • Nice right up, did you take route 8 the whole way from snowdonia to cardiff?

  • I enjoyed that, too. Nice write-up. Since the texts were so short, I did find the clever bit with the clickable titles a little unnecessary, though.

    As I keep on moving somewhat distracted by the forecast of my sleeping accommodation for the night, my eyes drift towards a field of grass ten meters below the road I'm cycling on. I see a caravan. Tents. Is this a fata morgana? Am I going insane?
    I make a u-turn and back track a bit. Around the corner a sign appears. The symbol of a tent with an arrow pointing down a driveway. The owner tells me they're purposely not on the map. I was lucky to find them then there.

    This sounds a bit like a campsite I spent three nights on twenty-one years ago. Was it just north of Machynlleth, near the Centre for Alternative Technology, along the Afon Dulas? Long shot, I know, but it seems to fit the description. :)

  • I really enjoyed that, thank you.

    Do you have any GPX files for the your trip? I'm off to Wales in a few weeks, north to south, so I'm trying to absorb any routes and sights I can.

  • Thank you. That is making the bulk of our ride so far.

    So far we have Trans Cambian, Lon Las Cymru, and Crossduro Wales18 routes to platy with.

  • Thanks all, had a great time.

    @Squaredisk: I hope it has a better life.

    @greentricky: I did. What a breeze to navigate.

    @Oliver Schick: That's the one!

    @Tomo187: No GPX file I'm afraid. But traversing Wales is the easiest thing in the world. Just follow the NCN route 8 signs! It literally goes from Bangor to Cardiff, and it's fantastic.

  • Thank you. That's good to know.

  • You've got the Bryan Chapman for a road route as well if you want to drop in to quicker sections at any point

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Generic Touring Thread

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