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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:38 pm 
Retro Guru
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Location: Bournemouth
Great! Thanks for the write-up.


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 Post subject: Re: Retrobike Touring.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:07 pm 
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: Northest North Yorkshire. whippet real good...
Great write-up. I like the local colour. It’s all about the getting there.


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 Post subject: Re: Retrobike Touring.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:40 pm
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Location: The Royal Society of Insobriety
Thanks all, I thought it was worthwhile writing it all down for my own memories as much as anything else.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:51 am
Posts: 515
Location: Bolton
Tent recommendations anyone?

1 or 2 man.
Sub 2.5kg (sub 2kg would be great)
Looking at the cheapest ones for now - £50 tops. More than happy to buy 2nd hand.

Looked at (all £40ish)

Vango Soul 200
Highlander Blackthorn
OEX Phoxx. (this seems to be best, but the smallest).

Joe


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:10 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:33 am
Posts: 3744
Location: Kentcestershire
They all look pretty good, but in addition to weight and how roomy the tent is, you may also want to consider the pack size and how easy it's going to be to fit on the bike:

OEX Phoxx 1: 31 x 14 x 14cm
Vango: 50 x 13 x 13cm
Highlander Blackthorn: 40 x 12 x 12cm

The packed length is typically down to the poles, so you can make the tent pack shorter and fatter if you pack the poles separately.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:51 am
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Location: Bolton
Thanks xerxes

Enjoyed your recent write up which partly inspired me to pull my socks up and try this!

I definitely think the OEX is too small for me. I'm 6'2.

Seen a Berghaus Peak 3.1 @ £79 new or some 2nd hand ones for £60ish. As usual the more you look the more confused you get, and start trying to justify spending more ("buy once, buy right" etc).

I've got a 2 man tent but its over 3kg. My sleeping bag is pretty heavy also. I'll be running cheap panniers so I just think it'll be a slog if I don't try and find a lighter tent.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:28 am 
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Location: Kentcestershire
I'm not sure which way I'd go if I were choosing. I'm short, so the length isn't really an issue for me, but even so, I reckon I'd find something barely larger than a coffin, or a bivvy bag, a bit claustrophobic.

I have a North Face Tadpole, which was quite expensive when I bought it 20 odd years ago and it's very similar in weight and dimensions, both pitched and packed, to the Vango.

It would be nice if it were a bit lighter and packed a bit smaller, but it is nice and roomy and it pitches really easily, just 8 pegs, and because it's free standing, you can pick it up and move it if you find there's a lump in the middle of the floor, where you've placed it. It always seems to end up neat and tidy too, no baggy, flappy bits, unlike the cheap 4 man tent I have, which always ends up a bit baggy and wonky, no matter how much you faff around with it.

Mine has a green fly sheet, but it looks like this:

Image

Image

There are far lighter tents available now that are similarly roomy, but they are expensive: https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk ... 148#sort32


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 Post subject: Re: Retrobike Touring.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:40 pm
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Location: The Royal Society of Insobriety
This is quite long, apologies in advance!

Finding myself with a couple of days at the end of the week free and mindful of the fact that I need to get some miles in I put the word out to a couple of friends that I had another 48 hour ride in mind, one was free and a rough plan was hatched. Due to the mind-blowing price of train tickets we opted to leave at a ‘Super off peak’ time and departed Victoria at about a quarter to ten for the large village of Bearsted in Kent. I’d picked this station purely because it was far enough out of London to help us avoid the built up, less pleasant riding and because it was just under £25 for an open return. Having procured a couple of maps for the areas we were touring and done some Google maps research I had a fair idea of the plan, and we did a little more plotting on the train and decided to see how we were doing as we went, however carrying everything with you allows a certain degree of freedom.

I knew that I didn’t have map coverage for the first 20 or so miles East so I asked Google to help on my phone, when I had plotted this previously the route had intriguingly hinted we would be following ‘the Pilgrim’s way’. Being from the Midlands I was familiar with the Fosse way, once a straight, mainline route up and down the country for the incumbent Romans, now a slow moving A road with all the appeal of Hell for a cyclist, I thought perhaps Google was trying to A) get us there very quickly or B) kill us. A quick check on street view (ah, technology!) showed that this might actually be a little quiet back lane for at least a portion of the journey so we gave it a go.

The Pilgrim’s way was a delight, within 2 miles of Bearsted we were off road, essentially on a rolling Bridleway cutting alongside hills, fields of corn and through wooded sections, the day was already starting to get hot so the brief shaded parts made up for the occasional gravel section that required some careful negotiation. It should be noted that I would not have been terribly happy to ride some of these sections on my Road bike with 28c tyres, it would be doable but you wouldn’t necessarily enjoy it so if you’re in the area and Google tells you it’s a cycle route too then maybe be a little wary.

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After 5 miles or so of the intermittent paved/unpaved surfaces we turned off up a hill to head to the coast, soon we were in more high-hedged single width Kent lanes and aside from one 80 year old woman driver who tried to run us down and then scream profanities at us the journey was fairly uneventful, it was Thursday mid-morning so I guess we’d avoided most of the potential traffic. We stopped at a local butchers/greengrocers/village store at about mile ten for some snacks and a brief rest from the sun. At Brogdale we were nearly on the OS map, so we decided to head through Faversham (which is charming by the way) to the coast at Seasalter and to Whitstable for lunch. As we headed down to sea level the view opened up and we were met with a slight breeze that took the edge of the midday sun, we passed The Sportsman on our way and I was reminded I have been hoping to eat at this award winning gastropub for years, unfortunately my mostly-vegan companion would probably not have appreciated the menu or watching me work my way through platefuls of shellfish so we instead rode towards a more humble lunch at Whitstable. The ride into Whitstable from Seasalter is not particularly pleasant as you head inland and through some estates, then into the town but I knew a great spot on the beach and we’d decided at breakfast that lunch would be chips so we picked up some pace and carbs and headed to The Neptune pub on the beach. Although not the nicest pub in the Country, I do think The Neptune has one of the greatest locations, we thought in this instance that although the pub was just there, and everyone outside it seemed to be enjoying their drinks we should skip the lunch time pint and save it for later, it must have been hot!

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The OS map indicated a green dotted cycle route all the way along the coast and inland to our evening destination, so after we had eaten most of our massive portions of chips we set off in search of the coastal path.

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The route combines some fairly quiet-ish roads with a lot of concrete mixed-use paths alongside the beach front and we wound our way along the front at Whitstable, into Swalecliffe and Herne Bay and past the mud banks and salt marshes to Reculver, where we spied the ruins of St Marys Church looking out to sea. I voiced a concern that we hadn’t had any ice cream yet, but as we drifted down to the coast we spotted a little cafe nestled by the beach, a double chocolate Magnum (if anything, too chocolaty) in the shade was welcome respite from the sun and we had another look at the map to pick our route across to the South coast.

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The Cycle route indicated on the map was again a mix of bridleway, paths, quiet country roads and some not so quiet country roads but as we pedalled away from one coast to the other the sun started to abate and we enjoyed the change of scenery, having had a flat sea to our left for 10 miles or so. By now we felt we did deserve a pint, so the 8 or 9 miles across the country to Cliffs End was pretty quick despite the number of miles we’d already completed and the heat through the day, the flatness of todays riding was in stark contrast to the hilliness of the previous trip so we felt pretty good.

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Unfortunately Cliffs End did not provide us with a pub, so we decided to head South along the cycle route by the coast and stop when we found one. Though the route was for the most part segregated this leg of the journey wasn’t terribly calm as it ran alongside a very busy A road (it was after five so traffic was picking up) and through some Industrial Estates, it did however suddenly spit us out into the town of Sandwich, and after waiting for the lights to change to take us over the small bridge there I noticed a delightful little pub to the right by the river. The genuinely wonderful Crispin Inn provided us with some crips and a local ale and half an hour of sitting on something other than a saddle. Onwards from Sandwich we came to a toll road (free to cyclists) which took us back towards the coast via the rather exclusive looking ‘Sandwich Estate’ with it’s over-sized mansions, over-sized cars and one must assume over-sized egos, on past the Golf Club and shooting school (we were starting to get a taste of the vibe here) and down to the coast again at the Small Downs.

Headed into Deal we stopped for dinner with a view of the pier at the first pub (actually a Hotel) we came to, the lovely view didn’t compensate for the frankly terrible veggie burger but we did need food and sated we set off again to find somewhere to bed down. Rather annoyingly as we headed further South through Deal we passed a large umber of delightful looking pubs and one place offering Craft Beer and Stone-baked pizza, we didn’t let it get to us though and as the sun was waning we coasted along to Kingsdown where we thought we could find a spot to camp. It may have been the pint or it may have been the sun exposure but I found Deal and the area around it enchanting, and when I got home spent a little while on RightMove seeing if I could ever afford to live there! The cycle route took us up onto the cliffs and inland a little to a lovely area by another Golf course, we hunted for somewhere subtle to bivvy down but were struggling, hoping for a great view, the foxes on the Golf Course looked at us with a mix of suspicion and I assume schadenfreude as we lugged our bikes up a steep hill alongside the edge of the course, considering for a short time how comfy a green would be to kip on. We persevered up and onto the cliff and were met with both an incredible view and a lovely, subtle, low-impact area to bed down.

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Our camping spot was shared with some of the largest and most dyspractic bees I have ever encountered who bumped and buzzed there way into us until there was no more light. The hot day had obviously warmed everything up, me included and I found it very difficult to get my temperature right, perhaps a 3 season sleeping bag wrapped in a distinctly non-breathable bivvy bag is not the right combo for someone who already runs hot. Having previously discovered my thin black Merino hat is the perfect eye mask for outdoor sleeping I was actually awoken by the alarm I’d set for 7am, despite the sun having been up for a good few hours already. We packed up, headed down via the Golf course road (to some puzzled looks) and made our way to a section of pebble beach by the cliffs to make a coffee. We had already recce’d this spot the night before as both my companion and I find that within approximately five minutes of even smelling fresh coffee the need for certain facilities was not just pressing, but deeply urgent, the public toilet block 100 metres away was frankly necessary.

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We made some coffee, had a small snooze and ate some brioche while we planned where we could get some breakfast (OK, breakfast two), en route back to Bearsted. Wye was the point at which we left the OS map again and were planning to lunch, but Google maps had once again indicated that we could use the Pilgrim’s way for a much larger portion of this journey, which we were now looking forward to. We headed West, skipping past Dover and the A roads into it and pulled up to a cafe in a converted Railway carriage at Eythorne for some more substantial breakfast. The lovely setting and very helpful hosts got us fed and watered and we set off after an hours shade into the hot, hot sun again. Picking a route through Kent avoiding the busiest roads we headed directly West, knowing todays riding would be different and more about mileage and getting back to the station, rather than the stunning sea vistas. We got to Wye in decent enough time, the route offering little in the way of hills or reasons to stop. Wye is another lovely little olde Englishe market town and the local bakery nourished us for the remaining section of the route. Out of Wye and back onto the Pilgrim’s way the the going was much tougher as the off-road sections here out-numbered the smoother road sections, the sun was at it’s fiercest and we had nearly two full days of riding in our legs. Again the Kent views here were typically British, open patch-worked green spaces with quite a lot of yellow from dusty, sun-parched fields and corn crops, a splash of red from Poppies and the odd church spire in the distance.

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Our stops in the shade became more frequent on this part of the journey, and seven or eight miles from Bearsted, fearing my reserves of water would run out we stopped at a pub and had a half of Kentish Ale and two pints of ice cold water. Arriving into Bearsted we stopped for another cold drink for the train, and realising we had just a few minutes to get to the station nearby we jumped back on our bikes and headed up the hill, just getting onto the platform as the train pulled in.

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Overall this was one of the most pleasant couple of days on a bike I have ever enjoyed, the sea, the sun, the quiet roads and the British countryside all made me realise that I don’t spend enough time out exploring the UK. We did 135 miles and I have a sharp tan-line on my right leg, I could have happily ridden it again over the next couple of days, which bodes well for our impending (though presumably less sunny) trip to Scotland at the start of September.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
Wonderful.

I am currently planning (well ahead) to ride the Lon Las Cymru next year, this sort of write up makes me even more determined to 'do it'.


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 Post subject: Re: Retrobike Touring.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:11 pm 
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: Northest North Yorkshire. whippet real good...
Superb write-up. Thank you.

More pictures of kit and stopping points please! It all adds to the pleasure of reading.


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