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Europe tour(7 posts)

Europe tourMicah
May 1, 2001 11:36 PM
A friend and I are planning a trip to bike around the continent. Any advice?
re: Europe tourmuncher
May 2, 2001 2:44 AM
Don't come to England - most of it is closed, and it's full of hills. I went on a 2 week tour around the s of France one year - that was great - there is a very nice route right along the Loire valley - lots of cheap camping and vinyards along the way, and the French are nice to cyclists. Italy is very nice too, but the nice bits in the North tend to be hilly again, though the lakes up around the N border are beautiful, and bikes are, again, very well liked. Cycled a lot in Spain too, but you have to pick you route carefully - mountains/lots of nothing/lots of heat in the centre. If you are fit and don't mind climbing, the Sierra Nevada region in the S around the N of the Seville area is fab.

Just a few thoughts.....
Don't forget the UK...gromit
May 2, 2001 6:57 AM
Muncher is wrong - the UK is open for business and is the best place for you to go. Here's why...
1) miles and miles of beautiful country roads
2) hills but no gut busting mountain passes
3) English spoken (in most places ;-))
4) lots of cycle friendly pubs and B+B's to stay at
5) good food
6) it's not too hot to cycle all day
7) you get to cycle on the 'wrong' side of the road
8) the recent agricultural crisis is nearly over but means lots of vacancies and probably cheaper deals on flights and accomodation
9) good beer
10) good public transport
11) sane drivers (they drive like maniacs in Greece, Italy, France and Spain)
Just don't forget the waterproof!
I must live in paradise...gromit
May 2, 2001 9:49 AM
I live and cycle in Hexham, Northumberland. I have also cycled around Manchester and in Surrey. I have never found a problem finding relatively quiet country roads to ride on. Drivers in the NorthEast are generally more sane than the rest of the country when it comes to cyclists. Urban cycling is another story, noone does that for fun do they?
If you think our public transport is bad you should try America. I use the bus and train regularly btw.
My county has been hit hard by foot and mouth, but no roads have been closed, and by summer most of the tourist sites will be reopened.
I do believe that we live in a very beautiful country, with a lot going for it. I'm sorry that you and muncher don't feel the same way. Perhaps you should move to France!
The weather? Today, it's a pleasant 10 oC, sunny, and will still be light enough to ride at 8.30pm without lights (try that in San Diego). Tomorrow - who knows...
You have a point, butmuncher
May 2, 2001 10:10 AM
Yours is a nice part of the world. There are nice roads down here sure, but if you want to ride 50m plus, you have to do a lot of not nice ones too. And the actual roads - the surface - is a scandal, certainly compared to the continent - that's just the result of a long running government policy.

Admittedly, I may not have the best prespective, as I commute daily, which is just hell on wheels, even now I have moved from Central London where MJ still battles, all year round. If I just did club runs on Sunday mornings, mebbe I would feel more positive about it.

Specifics though. Year before last I did N Yorks to London. Sheer hell most of the way - disgusting traffic, blew a gale most of the time (this was Aug) and got wet a lot too. Had several near death experiences, and not a singe polite wave or chat from passers by etc.

On the continent, the roads are far quieter (it's big there), the surfaces are better, things are cheaper, especially camping/b+b, the weather is better if you pick your spot, and you get lots of waves, space and chat etc - France, Italy and Spain are biking nations, we are not, by comparison. I cycled in Italy (North) last summer - glorious. How many 60-year-olds do you see here on 30 speeds in racing gear out enjoying cycling because they have been at it all their life? In my experience, not many, and getting fewer. Emblematic, I'd say - over there, it feels like everyone has/had a bike on the road, and they give you some room and respect as a consequence - that's just not so here.

As I said, come to England, do, but if you are buring a load of cash to come from the States to cycle, do yourself a favour and go to somewhere where it's nicer and safer to ride.
May 2, 2001 7:23 AM
Ok - I'll give you good beer - major oversight, for which I apologise. The rest of it - we are talking about the England, just to the left of France here? Don't know where you have been hiding, but I have been cycling in this country for 25+ years, and I hate it. There is just no comparison with continental Europe for space, better roads (ours are an outrage) and drivers who regard you as a human being with a right to live and show you some respect (i.e. pass with more than a 1 inch gap), rather than an inconvienience that has to be challenged. Not to mention the weather, the wind everywhere,and the general price of doing anything recreational.

There are lots of good points about England, but being cycling friendly is not one of them, I'm afraid, unless you are talking off-road (and even then round here - Surrey - most stuff is still closed because of disease control).

And don't get fooled by goverment claims about 1000s of Km of cycleways in the UK - most of it is just A road with a few stretches of white line painted a foot from the gutter - just where the manholes, drains, broken glass etc are.

Come to England by all means, it had many good points, but don't plan a cycle touring holiday here...
re: Europe tourpeter
May 3, 2001 2:37 AM
Hello, I live in Slovakia, so I would like to recommend you take some rides in Central and Eastern Europe (East Block formerly). Nice countires, with nice people (except for me :), still kinda different from the western world due to its low economic/traffic development.

Visit Czech Republic if you are into nice villages and historical towns, ride in Slovakia to see more mountain-oriented living style with true shepherd houses and really high mountains with population free valleys, Poland for Krakow, Hungary for their "pustas" (plain). Western Ukraine will deliver even a more adventureous experience . . . There is nothing to be feared of and a lot to see!

Happy tours,