Touring Bike rental

J-Lo

Senior Member
Hi all,

Id like to do a short touring stint say a week in france... I havent even thought about planning but I was just wondering whether there are places you can rent a touring bike from for say a week with panniers etc.

Reason being, I don't have a suitable bike (only a racer and mountain bike) but would like to try a week of touring and get a feel for it before investing in a tourer.

Or do you think it would just be best to buy a 2nd hand tourer? I know rental charges for a week might be pricey.. If I did buy my own how much do you reckon I could get a half decent bike for, and the basic equipment (eg. panniers, racks, already got a tent etc)? Im in suffolk by the way!

Thanks in advance, any tips or help appreciated!
 

mcshroom

Bionic Subsonic
You may already have a bike capable of touring. What sort of mtb have you got? If it's not full suspension then it may be worth putting some slicks and a rack on it.
 

toroddf

Guest
Blackburn have a good removable rack for racing bikes for around £ 40. I have a racing bike myself which I have just put my removable rack on. On that rack, I have a tent, sleeping bag, xtra tyre and tubes and a sleeping mat. Add a good handlebar bag too. For my clothes, etc etc, I use a medium size rucksack.

I have done hundreds of miles with this configuration with no problems at all. It is actually a very comfy touring setup and I see more and more people moving over from the touring tractors to a racing bike setup. So use your racing bike is my advice.

I am off on a 700 miler/10 days tour on this setup from Friday morning.
 
OP
J

J-Lo

Senior Member
Hi and thanks for your advice (both of you!)

I have a full suspension bike so Its not really suitable.

As for my racer, I couldn't really tour on it due to the gears/cogset (whatever you call it!). Basically, it doesn't have low enough gears that I would like when touring around, its only built for speed, not for taking it leisurely up a hill etc. So I think that would be too many problems.

On top of that Im not sure if I like the idea of cycling with a rucksack on. I would prefer to have a rack (for tent and sleeping bag) and rear, possibly front panniers on too (for the other stuff) to keep me cool during the day.

Any further help appreciated. Will have a read through touring tips and other similar threads for ideas and inspiration!
 

JackE

Über Member
Location
Hertfordshire

vernon

Harder than Ronnie Pickering
Location
Meanwood, Leeds
JackE said:
I read about a guy in a similar situation to yours, who flew to a town in France with a Decathlon store. Bought something like this: http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/riverside-5-men-s-49820112/ plus the gear and, basically, cycled home. Decathlon bikes get good reviews on here and their 1-2 man tent: http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/t2-ultralight-pro-3244110/ is also well thought of.
Apparently, their stuff tends to be cheaper over there than here as well.

I have a Decathlon Triban 7 wich is roughly the same as the Riverside 5. I bought mine in Orleans when my touring bike's frame broke and I decided that it was more cost effective to buy a replacement. It served me well and needed nothing extra to tour. It even came with hub dynamo lighting.

I'm taking it back to France this summer for a three week tour.

I considered it to be great value in France and was slightly irked to find that it was £40 cheaper in England. Nevertheless the fact remains it is a great value bike even when purchased in France.
 

JackE

Über Member
Location
Hertfordshire
Vernon,
Sounds like you experienced the tourer's "worst nightmare". What happened? Was it an alu or steel frame that broke? Had you heard of Decathlon bikes before or was it just a shot in the dark?
 

srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
J-Lo said:
On top of that Im not sure if I like the idea of cycling with a rucksack on.
I'd hate it, but it seems to be relatively common. In the Loire valley we bumped into three middle-Europeans. "Where are you going?" "Spain" - usually enough to impress. "We're going to Istanbul" came the reply.

Three gentlemen of a certain age, one on a city bike with a couple of panniers and two on racing bikes with a rucksack each.
 
OP
J

J-Lo

Senior Member
Sorry for the late reply and thanks to all for advice.

Ive started looking for a decent 2nd hand touring bike now - so we shall see how well that goes.

How much could I expect to pay daily to keep myself alive whilst touring. I dont want to starve but Im not really fussy and not required to eat out all nights/3 course meals.

For starters, I know I would be camping. I thought that I could take a little stove with me, take a few rations. A few other light foods to satisfy me. Buy anything/everything else I need when I can get it. Maybe treat myself once or twice at a pub/restaurant etc..?

Not sure how to budget for a trip like this. Journey (roughly) would be starting from calais, into and down through belgium, heading down east france and possibly into switzerland briefly. Id like to end up at toulousse to then make the journey back up the west coast back to calais.

I can easily take a month or more (probably needed) to do this trip, I would estimate it without planning the route at around 1500-2000mile. I do a fair bit of cycling so am quite fit, but I'd like to take it easy and enjoy it along the way instead of racing all the way.

Anyone whos done something similar, or toured france, any advice on how much and how to budget for this trip would be greatly appreciated :wacko:

Many thanks
 

srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
Carcassonne - Toulouse - Bordeaux - Noirmoutier - Angers - Calais is pretty much the reverse of (some of) what we did this June, and answers your description of "up the west coast then into Calais". There are very good cycle paths between the watershed and Bordeaux; northern france is hilly. Check out www.ffortissimo.org.uk and crib freely - all the GPS tracks are on www.wikiloc.com (linked from the blog), as is the overall route.

The cycle paths are all shown on www.canaletvoieverte.com. (If that's not the exact address, google for canal et voie verte - it should be a link to a website about cycle routes between the Med and Bordeaux.

But be prepared for a bit of a shock on your mileage estimate. 1000 miles got us somewhere not far East of Toulouse. We added on perhaps 50 miles by starting in Belgium and taking a mildly eccentric route out of the Calais area (because of accommodation), and perhaps another 50 miles by going all the way out to Noirmoutier (but you'll want to do that to check out next year's TdF route).

As for budget, ours was pretty high, but that was without stinting at all! You could survive very cheaply, especially as you're camping. Basics (bread, meat, fruit, veg) all come cheaply; it's usually possible to find a meal of some kind (not necessarily a bike-friendly one) for €10 or so, especially if you find a pizzeria - a lot of places have them.
 
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