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Four weeks off from next week, where to go?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by jay clock, 8 Jan 2008.

  1. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    OK, it is "trip of a lifetime advice required" time

    I am in the lucky position of having handed in my notice to go to a competitor, and my employers are forcing me not to work until the end of my notice. I am effectively free to go away for 3-4 weeks from about 20 Jan....

    My inclination would have been to do my No1 planned trip, which is "UK to Africa" (I live in Winchester, so effectively that means France and Spain with a day trip to Morocco. However the weather in France could mean 2 weeks of cold and wet, and Spain is by no means guaranteed.)

    No2 is to cycle the length of Baja California (1600km from San Diego to Los Cabos. I speak Spanish well, have cycled there before (organised MTB trip) but it could be hot, and will need a lot of self sufficiency

    No3 is somewhere more exotic. Any ideas? Chile/Argentina? New Zealand? Australia? South-Western parts of USA? Target would be 100km average per day in flattish country, could do a lot more if needed. I have a good touring bike, but would consider a new bike if needed (based on 26" wheels)

    Get your thinking hats on! I look forward to your ideas

    Jay
     
  2. friedel

    friedel New Member

    Location:
    On our bikes!
    How about a flight to Agadir and then touring around the south of Morocco and up the coast to places like Safi and Essaouira? You can see the ocean, desert dunes, February might be just the right time to catch the almond blossoms near Tafraoute. I can offer a lot of tips on this one if you like. If you are lucky with the weather northern Morocco might be an option too (it was for us this time last year) but that's down to good luck.

    Southern Iran and Oman with a ferry across the Gulf? Problem there is potentially getting a visa for Iran on short notice but I think if you flew into Oman you could do it through Kish Island reasonably easily.
     
  3. Hmmm..., having done it in March, I think cycling in Europe in January would be more character building than enjoyable.
    I would look at:
    1) Chile, either a circuit round the Lake District or the Carreterra Austral.
    2) Bolivia and North-west Argentina - go and pedal across the Salar de Uyuni for the wierdest cycle ride in the world. It's quite tough though - rough tracks and high altitude.
    3) Northern Thailand and into Laos - I think this might be the most fun, i.e. not so strenuous, cheap, great food and lots of cheap guesthouses - no need for a tent.
    4) Closer to home, Morocco might be an option.
     
  4. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Location:
    Brighton
    My choice would be South America given that you've got more than a couple of weeks. You'd be able to do it more justice than on a regular 2 week break. I'm planning on the Chilean Lake District area in the next year or two.
     
  5. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Follow the sun...France in the rain doesnt sound like much fun to me. ...(he says packing his waterproofs and planning his trip across France:rolleyes:)
     
  6. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    Thanks for all the help.... Friedel, I am following your trip avidly and I did think of Morocco. The downer for me I think would be being alone, and simply the hassle factor of things like going into a shop whilst leaving the bike outside. This would be my first tour over a week, the first camping, and the first outside Europe.

    Chile appeals, as does NZ, but that looks a bit "first world" for me

    I now need to do some bike research as I think I need a new bike for this type of trip.

    Keep the ideas coming!
     
  7. friedel

    friedel New Member

    Location:
    On our bikes!
    I would argue that Morocco would perhaps be easier for those concerns than say Europe where the supermarkets and shops are huge and your bike is totally out of sight when you pop in for bread. In Morocco, most of the shops are tiny and you'll be able to see your bike from the back of the store.

    Also, shop owners take responsibility in a way for keeping people away from the bikes. More often than not, if we were in an internet cafe and totally absorbed in writing emails home it was the owner of the cafe who noticed kids touching our bike and rushed out to chase them away.

    Campsites will be open all over southern Morocco as there are plenty of French and Germans who go there for the winter. This means there are lots of friendly motorhome owners who will let you stash your valuables in their locked vehicles if you want to wander carefree for the day, without worrying about someone stealing something from your tent, although I would rate that as a reasonably low risk. We normally carried our super valuables with us but there was never a hint of anyone having been around the tent. All campgrounds have a guardian who watches over things. Also, hotels will be cheap enough that you can just take one of those if you like. You should be able to get a single room easily for well under 10 euros a night.
     
  8. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    Thanks Friedel - points well made, and perhaps one day I will get there!

    However, after much umming and ahing. I have taken the plunge and booked 3 weeks in New Zealand from 26 January! And bought a new bike - a Koga Miyata World Traveller!

    Many thanks for the help!

    Julian

    Will listen to the Damascus podcast soon!
     
  9. friedel

    friedel New Member

    Location:
    On our bikes!
    Ooooho, wonderful! I think I would have been tempted by NZ as well. Looking forward to to your report. You can give us some tips for NZ when we get there :rolleyes: