• Ah yes, I have seen this on your post some time ago. Good idea, I actually find them bothersome as need as much space as possible on tops for my aching hands, so will probably not sue it this way.

  • On another note - anyone know more about the Chossy brand of saddlebags? Couple came with recent purchases, they look ok, but not my kind of thing. They seem to be well made, albeit out of synthetic leather aside trims and straps, perhaps not bad idea considering it can rain in this country. The large one is really large, something like 17" across. And a bit heavy too.

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  • Three questions for Falconvitesse:

    Which ferry port did you start from?

    Your saddle bag looks heavy, do you know what it weighed ?

    Last week I did a modest four day YHA trip (London to Cirencester and back) about 200 miles in four days, so nothing like your effort. I had getting on for 20 lbs of luggage (including the necessary rack) in two panniers and found this quite enough to pull up the climbs, but at least with the weight fairly low on the bike it was possible to get out of the saddle (I also had low gears). I think I would find that difficult with your Carridice.

    Did your bike arouse much interest from the French?

    My experience is they are generally sympathetic and interested in any kind of cycling (especially in Brittany), but they don't have much of a tradition of non derailleur bikes.

    I hear that they think that anyone who rides a trike must be handicapped ...... or mad.

  • Ha.. nice questions
    Dieppe to Dreux.
    Duex to Blois.
    blois to chateaureax.
    The roads were superb, quiet well maintained and the vilages and towns were picturesque. But lacking supplies so i carried food for the day with me like a baguette, ham and cheese.

    I was carrying one change of clothes, food, some tools and a spare tyre, all kept in the carridice.
    Incidentally i was wearing most of my clothes as it was biterly cold.
    I stayed in Airbnb's each night where it was possible to hand wash clothing for the next day.
    The Airbnb's were very cheap (£25) as i guess it was out of season. I ate out in the evening which again wasnt expensive.

    You are spot on about fixed wheel it garnered very little interest. A couple of years ago i rode from Paris to london on a Gillott with simplex gears and the french were very appreciative.
    Ive just weighed everything now and it came in at 8 pounds.
    The route was fairly flat to be honest especially as i am used to cycling in the North downs so the weight wasnt much of an issue.
    What was your route to Cirencester and do you have any photos of the bike fully laden.

  • yes i wouldn't recommend a handlebar mounted cage they just get in the way and clutter up the cockpit.

  • My Route

    My route and destination were mainly decided by the availability of hostels. Once there were many YHA hostels within a day's ride from London, now there are very few, which is annoying if, you take my view that for 'proper' touring you should get on your bike at your own front gate and ride - no using trains or cars!

    So, the obvious first stop, going west, is Streatley. This is an excellent traditional hostel with a nice old building, not too badly hacked about, and an enthusiastic and helpful warden. From Willesden the first 15 miles are pretty miserable, but after Colnbrook things start to look up until you have to deal with Reading. I took the route through Tilehurst to Pangbourne which did involve quite a hard climb on a narrow and very busy road.

    The next day took me through Wantage and Lechlade to Cirencester. I used B roads were I could without doing excessive extra work, but in the end the A417 proved easy and not terrible from the traffic point of view.

    On the third day I retraced to Lechlade and then using lanes to Eynsham and then Oxford where, thanks to my sister, I had very luxurious 'hostel' accommodation at Worcester College.

    Home by the usual A40 route the fourth day.

    I'm impressed that you could manage with only 8 lbs of luggage. My 20 lbs does include spares, minimal tools, the rack and the bags themselves. I did carry some spare clothes including non-cycling wear for the evenings. I too suffered from the cold and was wearing everything I could.

    The Bike

    As you can see from the photo this was not a pedigree lightweight like your Gillott, although the Sunbeam frame is similar in age. A point that may be of interest is that I took the advice of "The Modern Cyclist 1923" which states: 'for touring a low gear is a necessity, a high gear a luxury'. I did this by abandoning 'top' gear altogether (on my Sturmey AW) and by using sprockets of 47 / 24 I had a top gear of about 69" for level conditions and 52" and 39" to use
    for climbing. This works reasonably well, but the gap from top to middle is still too great - however that's not a serious problem for my sort of touring.

    In fact I didn't use the 39 much, but I must admit it did come in handy climbing Aston Hill (on the A40) back towards Stokenchurch.

    Here's the bike with its load:

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  • Woah. Impressed. I always wanted to try a touring weeks on my own. Never managed and now that I’ve adopted two little souls of young age, I don’t see myself riding long rides anytime soon!

  • I have the same view that you should only use the bicycle when touring, however im not very strict or im just lazy with this concept as i did use the train to Newhaven, to pick up the ferry.
    I love the fact that this hobby is so accessible and can be appreciated just by leaving the front door and hopping on your bike.
    The bike looks great with the sloping downtubes giving that relaxed geometry. Would this bike have been built for touring.
    Thats a lot of luggage, not that im criticizing because i didnt have enough, it was fine while riding but once i had reached my over night stop i had very little to wear, the stand out night was Blois by the river Loire which was below freezing once the sun went down.

    If a rear hub has double sided threads i always like to fit the bike out with double cogs of differing sizes. Useful and it looks smart to me, similar to having pump pegs but no pump fitted. (I'm guilty of doing that though).
    My ride in France was surprisingly flat particularly the second day between Chartres and Blois which was dead flat. My gearing was far too low for this 46/17 as i had set the gearing up for Kent's gradients.
    It hadnt even occurred to me until i had read the account of your trip and you had explained your sturmey gearing set up that i could have flipped the rear wheel around and used the smaller cog 46/16.

  • until you have to deal with Reading

    Never a nice prospect, however you approach it

  • Talking of Sturmey Archer, does anybody happen to have a decent but cheap AM or similar hub built into a 700c wheel They might consider selling? MY daughter is coming up to bike seat age, I've been given one that attaches to the stem/seatpost over the top tube, that I was going I to fit to my JRJ as it's comfortable and has decent MAFAC brakes, but I don't really fancy riding fixed up the (admittedly fairly short, but steepish) hills around North East London/Epping forest way with an excitable 1 year old sending my balance off, so thought a Sturmey might suit whilst keeping the look of the bike.

  • The AM Sturmey is an excellent hub, but only for the right circumstances. It gives differences of (about) 12% down and 13% up from direct drive. So if you have, for example, 46 x 18 with 26" wheels you have 66.4" direct, and approx. 58" bottom with 75" top.

    Those gears would be fairly good for a club run somewhere without very steep climbs, but for touring or child carrying the low gear wouldn't be enough for most people.

    I think you would do better with an AW (25% down,33% up) As mentioned elsewhere these are plentiful and cheap or free (in skips). The ratios aren't ideal, but in my experience the hubs are super reliable.

    If you can't find one, let me know.

  • I've been through that stage (children) you'll find they grow up faster than you expect - at least that's how it seems afterwards. So don't give up hope!

  • I left your reply till last and now I've been summoned away - it'll have to wait for tomorrow.

  • Perhaps a better idea, I'll look out for a suitable one already built up, as I'm not sure I want to try out a first wheel build on a bike intended for carrying a small (and only) child! I have a few months until she'll be big enough so plenty of time to find one. The bottom bracket has developed a clanging (loose cups?) recently so that has to be sorted first anyway.

  • https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/234935374415?­mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0­&ssspo=Uk1zsGtHRHu&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=z­b3kpnpgQlG&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media­=COPY
    Its not really old enough to be in this thread i know but it looks like it has a kids seat on the back and it would be great fun and it has gears.

  • Anyone can build a great wheel first time; it just takes a good set of instructions (like Jobst Brandt's advice) and patience.

    What you lack in skill you can just make up for in time.

    The biggest barrier is getting the right length spokes.

  • Ah! Never :)
    (Give up on hope)

  • Riding from Home

    I'm not strict about this either, but it's good if you can do it. Riding to Newhaven would almost certainly have involved an unwanted overnight stop - it's not great to force yourself to ride in an unfamiliar country in the dark.

    The Sunbeam

    The only part of this bike which is 'Sunbeam' is the frame - all the equipment is my choice (or what I happened to have).

    This frame was BSA built (late forties, I believe) but does retain some Sunbeam features. It seems to be reasonably well made, but no one would say it was lively (or light!). I've ridden this as a hack since 2015 and I have done a few longish days on it. No Sunbeam was suitable for racing, so I suppose, you might say it was intended for touring and, to be fair, it does work quite well for long distances - as long as you're not expecting to go fast. I used it for this trip mainly because I wanted to try out the 'no top gear' arrangement.


    I applaud managing with a minimum, but I didn't really stick to that ideal. However I did use almost everything I carried.

    I believe Dave Keeler (google if you don't recognise the name) was the expert at French touring with no luggage. He would travel with nothing more than the clothes he stood up in and some money. This worked well for him (he said) until some one stole his bike!

    Another photo of the Sunbeam below. This was the original (to me) set of kit. Main changes since then are 700's instead of 26's, 6.75" cranks instead of 7" and a beefier luggage rack

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  • possibly true, but I've been stung by spoke measuring before and time is not something I have much of right now (New house needing work and the aforementioned small human!)

  • Surely you can find some one to build a wheel for you?

    It's something I've always left to experts - the things I can do well take up all the time I have available for working on bikes.

  • I'd love to fins someone to build few for me at reasonable price if anyone can recommend them?

    I'd also love to build my own to be honest, but yes, agree on @jeff80 that finding the right spokes can be a pain (not my words, but of my LBS owner, when I showed him hubs and rims for him to build me a pair of wheels).

  • There are tons of YT videos on wheel building, and plenty of free spoke length calculators on-line. Just take an old scrap wheel, strip it and then rebuild it a few times, you'll soon get the idea.

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Pre 1950s rides of LFGSS: old bikes, vintage rats, classic lightweights

Posted by Avatar for luckyskull @luckyskull