Planning to tour Europe... omg

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Raas, 17 May 2008.

  1. Raas

    Raas New Member

    Hi There,

    I'm 29 and have had leisure bikes up to University age and have not ridden since. Next Spring I plan to cycle across Europe with some mates but could really do with knowing the fundamentals before popping down the bike shop.

    I have never ridden a 'racer' and feel far more comfortable with a more mountain bike shape but have heard of a hybrid style. Is this worth pursuing?

    For luggage are panniers the best option?

    Is there a manufacturer that focuses on bikes & equipment for just this activity?

    I lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle and am slightly out of shape, is there any recommended reading or excerise routines?

    Many Thanks,

  2. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Hi there. Welcome to the forum.

    The 'classic touring' bike still has lots of advantages for long distance touring in places like Europe. It is robust enough to carry your stuff and fast enough to make good progress.

    An excellent version is the Hewitt Cheviot.

    These are round the £1000 mark plus luggage. If that's not your budget then at least read up about these these as they will act as an excellent bench mark when appraising what any other options have to offer.

    As for training: Well ride as often as possible! A year of integrating more riding back into your life will easily get you fit enough for your tour.

    Good luck.
  3. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Limoges or York
    Hewitt's always get good reports and importantly for touring the wheels are said to be well built as well.

    As for fitness obviously it's best if you are reasonably fit but it's surprising how quickly you get fit as you go whilst touring. So long as you and your mates start out at much the same level you should be ok.
  4. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    The Dawes Galaxy is another popular tourer, often available second hand, but make sure you get one the right size. Panniers are best for luggage, you might get a small pair for the front and larger pair for the back. Avoid back packs, they make your back sweaty and can affect balance.:rolleyes:
  5. thePig

    thePig New Member

    I use a hardtail mountain bike with slick tyres for touring and it has been perfect. I prefer panniers to carry my luggage although there is often the debate between panniers and trailers.

    Regarding training, cycle touring is about being able to go long rather than fast. So you just need to put lots of time in the saddle.

    I bought this book a few years ago and found it quite helpful.
  6. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    I would suggest a touring bike, as the name suggest these bikes are design for just that use. That said I do short tours and long day rides thought the summer on a hybrid. Ultimately the bike has to be comfortable to ride as you are liable to be on it all day when you are touring. So I would suggest you find a good local bike shop (LBS) and try as wide a range to bikes in your price bracket as you can, then go with the one that feels best.

    For load lugging panniers are definitely the best choice, some thing like Ortlieb, although there are cheaper alternatives available.

    As for training, the best thing is to spend as much time in the saddle as you can, work on building up distance and don't worry about speed. The most important thing to remember is to have fun...
  7. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    Agreed. 100%

    I have 'racers' but much much prefer my converted hardtail mountain bike for touring. It's solid and dependable, a mile muncher! Touring for me is about the journey, not about speed. I'll pootle along steadily, stopping as I like and generally just enjoy being on the road.
  8. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    Oh and the best cycling guides to Europe are the Esterbauer Bikeline series, even though most of them are only in German, they are worth getting for the maps. Poke around the web site and there is all sorts of useful information there.
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