A bit of storage and route ideas required

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tahic
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A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by tahic » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:46 pm

Hi all and thanks for the add.
I am a kiwi bike packer heading to your shores post Silk Road Mountain Race. I land at Heathrow and have 3 weeks to play. Two things

1. If you came from the other side of the world and had 3 weeks to play biking and camping where would you go? My current thoughts are start in the Lakes and head North to Scotland taking in some of the Argyll area (midges are putting me off) or Ireland doing some/all of the West Atlantic way (which seems to be sealed?) Is there much off piste bikepacking in Ireland

2. I will arrive with a boxed bike and a bit of extra gear and would like to store this while I am off on the bike and collect again to fly home..is there anywhere that provides this..cycle friendly hostel or whatever in London? or near one of my jump points..are boxed bikes allowed on the trains there?

Thanks for any advice..great forum you have. cheers

lune ranger
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by lune ranger » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:16 pm

Transporting a bike by train in the U.K. Is a PITA but you can do it.
Unboxed the bike would need to be booked onto a long distance train. In advance of departure, in person at a train station. All a big pain.
In the box, just rock up and ram the box in somewhere. If the train is busy you'll get a bunch of evil stares but you won't get turfed off.
Consider a coach if the bike is boxed. The cost for a fare is way less. Think you may need to pay £10 or something for the extra luggage though. Taking a coach a long way is truly hideous though :cry:

Don't know anywhere to dump your gear near Heathrow.

As for routes. I love the Lakes and there is stacks of trails to keep you interested. Highlights for a hardy bikepacker with good legs would be the Helvellyn ridge (think 900m push/carry followed by high level plateau and vaguely exciting views) and High Street (similar set up)
I also rate the Yorkshire Dales very highly.
I guess most folk here will guide towards Scotland or even Wales and that's a fair call. I'll let them fill in the details.
If you fancy the SW Dartmoor, Exemoor and the Quantock Hills could offer you a very unique UK bikepacking experience with bleak boggy moorland galore.
In this area I could offer to store your gear and offer some digs. As long as you don't mind being stared at by grubby half naked children!
Enjoy your trip.
When are you here? We've had an exceptionally dry and hot summer so far... probably be p1ssing down for the rest of the year soon

tahic
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by tahic » Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:08 am

Oh dear!!! thanks for the honesty and your reply..I am actually open to any area/s and would not mind somewhere a little less obvious as long as there are pubs to crawl into occasionally..not going to be many of those in Kyrgyzstan so will research your bleak bit of the world! I am arriving first week of Sept as for p1ssing down well I'm from NZ its green..there is a reason why....Travelling with a bike is in general a PITA

lune ranger
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by lune ranger » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:39 am

If you do opt for trains be on the lookout for tickets about 6 weeks ahead of when you want to travel.
Start at National Rail or TheTrainLine websites.
All routes have a certain amount of cheap tickets released at around that time. This can save a fortune. E.g. London to Scotland or Lakes may be £40-60 in advance but £200-250 on the day!
You can buy the ticket in NZ and pick it up automatically with your credit card from any ticket machine at any UK station you specify.
You can't do this for your bike though. Bikes can only be booked when you have a physical ticket at a physical station. On some trains you can get away with no bike reservations as you simply put the bike on yourself. On others s guard has to put the bike on for you and should want to see a ticket. They don't always do that but don't bet on it.
This all sounds a bit bleak but I travel with my bike on the train all the time. It's idiosyncratic and annoying at times but works after a fashion.
Choose 2-3 areas to ride and keep public transport transfers to s minimum

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Ian
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Ian » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:54 am

Trains: regional train companies usually use a smaller number of carriages where bike storage can be an issue. Traveling with a bike on a national train company, eg Virgin Trains, is easier as they’re typically 9+ carriages with a guards van and loads of space. Bikes still need to be booked, but it can be done over the phone. Route planning sites try trainline.com or splittickets.com. Be aware purchasing one through ticket usually costs a good deal more than separate tickets for each journey leg.

Traveling with a bike on spec in Scotland is easier, booking not always required, but is at the guards discretion if the train is busy. This is only usually a problem closer to the main hubs, Inverness, Perth, Edinburgh or Glasgow.

Routes: Scotland - Great Glen Way, Rob Roy Way, bits of the Highland Trail Route (or the whole thing), Cairngorms Loop, West Highland Way - all brilliant riding. Midges should be past their peak by September, but it’s usually worst in the West than the East. If you get to Scotland don’t leave without riding through Fisherfield (enter via Dundonnell and exit via Poolewe).
Wales - Trans Cambrian Way (east west) or Cambrian Trail (north south), etc provide good linear routes that give you contrast across all Wales has to offer and connect to rail services.
England - Yorkshire Dales 300, Pennine Bridleway, North York Moors etc all good. Lakes is good, compact, very scenic but generally harder (more severe) to ride than other places. Weather sometimes more unpredictable.

Hope that helps!

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Ian
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Ian » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:57 am

You can buy the ticket in NZ and pick it up automatically with your credit card from any ticket machine at any UK station you specify.
You can't do this for your bike though. Bikes can only be booked when you have a physical ticket at a physical station.
You can book bikes over the phone with trainline.com, they give you a reference number and you can collect your ticket from the ticket machine in the normal way. Have done this on plenty of occasions.

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whitestone
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by whitestone » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:14 am

Ian's mentioned most of the long distance rides, there's a fuller list here -http://selfsupporteduk.net/. Generally the further north and/or west you go, the quieter things become. There are a lot of estate tracks in Scotland that let you put together long rides though sometimes they end up in the middle of nowhere! There's also stalking (of deer not mountain bikers) to consider.

Trains. Due to privatisation there are multiple train companies, each with their own seemingly arbitrary rules about bikes. Transpennine for example now have a mandatory 24hr booking for bikes - https://www.tpexpress.co.uk/travelling- ... servations. If you want to use the West Highland Line (you do!) then you need to reserve a place for your bike. Except when you don't! At least with the WHL the reservations are centralised so you can find out beforehand if there's room.

In a lot of instances it's down to the guard and how busy the train is. Try and travel outside rush hour (before 0930 and after 1630) and away from weekends and it shouldn't be too bad.
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RIP
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by RIP » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:22 am

There's no doubt that having multiple 'competing' rail companies makes bikes-on-trains harder than it used to be but I wouldn't say it's a total pain. Personally I think it's a superb combo of the two best ways to travel.

Here's some useful info: https://www.heathrow.com/transport-and- ... ns/cycling. The Heathrow Cycle Hub can presumably store your box for you. I'd then be very tempted to bike from there to central London - it's only 16 miles and you'd honestly have a blast biking through the capital. Certainly a memorable experience :smile:.

As far as onward train travel goes, keep-it-simple must surely be the watchword. Stick to one rail company and make it VirginTrains. That will get you direct trains to Wales and Scotland from London Euston station. Each train can take 2-4 bikes and there's loads of trains to choose from. You can book a bike on a train without a ticket which ensures you dont pay for the ticket and then find you can't get the bike on! I'm going to Wales this weekend - booked my bike 6 weeks ago but will get the ticket on the day.

Do book ahead as mentioned above - much cheaper and you can get some real bargains too. Phone VirginTrains direct and they'll sort it all out and email you the tickets.

Routes? Scotland's good of course and you can wildcamp 'anywhere', however perhaps consider these ideas:

1. Direct train from Euston to Bangor in N Wales. Tour Wales for three weeks then return from Bangor. You'll get loads of ideas from people here and the scenery and culture are world class. Not difficult to wildcamp albeit 'illegal'.

2. Direct train from Euston to Oxenholme in the Lake District. Spend 3 weeks in the Lakes returning from Penrith direct to Euston. Busy so wildcamping could be a challenge.

3. Similar to 2 but continue into SW Scotland and the Borders returning from Lockerbie.

If you're feeling spendy - sleeper train to Fort William :smile:.

Oh, of course nearest main railway station to Heathrow is London Paddington so another option is approach Wales via direct train to Cardiff and bike up the Taff Trail to the Brecon Beacons mountains, which have many fans (and indeed many Fans too, ho ho), and beyond.

Less time wasted booking complex journeys and more time enjoying yourself :-bd. Hope you have a great visit!

Welcome to PM me for more info on VirginTrains...

'Reg'
Last edited by RIP on Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"There comes a time in your life Ponsonby, when you think: 'My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

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BobCatMax
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by BobCatMax » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:44 pm

If you're coming into Heathrow, you could consider the South Downs Way, or exploring some of Chiltern Hills before you head west to Wales and then North to Scotland and/or Ireland? Not quite as lumpy but certainly beautiful in their own way
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ianfitz
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by ianfitz » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:22 pm

Some good advice above.

The sleeper train is expensive but saves you a day getting to Scotland as you arrive in the morning. It's a pretty amazing experience too. That said if you decide to go to Scotland (and that would be a great choice!) a connecting flight will be more time efficient, and sadly probably loads cheaper too.

If you want to pick an existing route then something based on either the HT550 or the Cairngorms Loop would be worth a look. Plenty of other riding of course and there's plenty of people on here who could give you advice. I guess between us on this forum we probably have locals in, or near, most of the best riding.

There is good riding in many places. Generally Scotland is more remote and less busy, Cumbria (the lake district) is more popular with 'adventure tourists' and has a higher concentration of villages/shops/pubs, Yorkshire dales too, The Peak District is sandwiched between two major cities. And Wales is worth a look too :wink:

You could easily pass three good weeks in Scotland or split two weeks up there, a train south a bit and spend a week riding Cumbria, Yorkshire dales/the peak or wales.
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Chew
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Chew » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:43 pm

I'm sure someone must live near Heathrow and could store some stuff for you.

I'd have a think about catching a train from London to Inverness and then using those 3 weeks to ride back to Heathrow?

A good chance to see all the different parts of the country and im sure we could crowd source you a route.
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landel
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by landel » Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:46 pm

The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland is all sealed, most of it is on quiet roads and in fairly good condition. A great cycle with plenty of pubs, food and accommodation options along the route. It starts in Derry and ends in Kinsale. Could maybe fly into Dublin, stay in a B&B and let your gear there until you return. Should be no problem. Check out Adrian O'Sullivan's race route as an example.
https://www.transatlanticway.com/the-route/

There aren't many off-road routes but the Wicklow Way is worth a look. A scenic route with a bit of HAB thrown in, around 130km with 4500m ascent. Resupply at Glemalure Lodge and Glendalough.
http://www.wicklowway.com/

Bringing bikes on public is a bit awkward here too, planning ahead/booking is key.
http://irishcycle.com/how-to/how-to-bri ... transport/

Fat tyre kicker
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Fat tyre kicker » Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:53 pm

So can you cycle the Wicklow way then ? Not clear off the website unless I've missed it ?

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Karl
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Karl » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:06 pm

Hi Tahic and welcome to the forum.

Me and Giacomo will also be on the silk road mountain race. I fly back into Heathrow on the 3rd September, landing at 21.25. Not sure if you're on that flight (Aeroflot) but if your are I can give you a lift to Manchester and provide some accommodation if needed. From there you can get to the Lakes, Peaks, North Wales and Scotland fairly easily.

Drliamski
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Drliamski » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:27 pm

I live in North London and would be happy to store some stuff for you... Bit far from Heathrow though

Sarah
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Sarah » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:56 am

Welcome !

I would recommend a version of Wainrights coast to coast. Lakes, Yorkshire and North York moors. Some off road and pubs to camp at. Could tie in with going north. Also look at sustrans for quieter routes, some off road.

September is usually nice weather here so you have timed it well.

If you need any help in Lancashire or south lakes let me know.

And good luck with Silk Road. It's been on my radar for too long.
Sarah

tahic
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by tahic » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:04 am

Sarah wrote:Welcome !

I would recommend a version of Wainrights coast to coast. Lakes, Yorkshire and North York moors. Some off road and pubs to camp at. Could tie in with going north. Also look at sustrans for quieter routes, some off road.

September is usually nice weather here so you have timed it well.

If you need any help in Lancashire or south lakes let me know.

And good luck with Silk Road. It's been on my radar for too long.

Thanks Sarah such great advice in here I really appreciate it. Do you mean something like this https://www.mapmyride.com/sc/victoria-e ... te-3428847 I had it in my head Wainrights was a walking route?

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:37 am

I had it in my head Wainrights was a walking route?
It is. The 'Woodcock' C2C is the off-road cycling route.
#corporate shill

techno mail
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by techno mail » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:45 am

Hi there, been looking into C2C options recently.
There are two established routes that appealed to me, the Tim woodcock version: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/7961731

And the MTB C2C: http://www.pedalnorth.com/content/mtb-c2c

There's plenty of local among resident 'boners about riding in this area. And being a Yorkshireman I've obviously got to recommend the riding in our neck of the woods!
Have a blast wherever you decide to go.


P.S.
Just want to echo what Ian said above, booking bikes into multiple trains with trainline.com was painless. Only took a couple of mins and was free.
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Lazarus
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Lazarus » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:01 am

IMHO it depends on how hard you want it to be in the lakes going across from boot and then up walna scar road from seathwaite with a fully laden bike its definitely type 2 fun and bring some decent walking shoes.

that said the other route [ you put up]seems to flirt with the lakes rather than embrace them so it depends on what you want to experience.

I would still want to see Wales and Scotland though so not sure how you do the logistics of all that mind


Good luck and enjoy

Sarah
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by Sarah » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:16 am

Hey.

Sorry, I should of expanded on the C2C recommdation. Wainrights is a walking route and the other recommendations are for the bikes. I did a slightly softer version in the Lakes, Hardknot and Wrynose passes, tarmac, and used the bothy above Longsleddale. I can't recall name but mountain bothy assn website has details.

Riding thru Yorkshire and NY Moors was a mix of tarmac and gravel. Really pretty and some great riding.
Sarah

wriggles
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Re: A bit of storage and route ideas required

Post by wriggles » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:04 pm

I'm in RG10 so quite close to Heathrow. Welcome to store stuff here. Any other help needed give me a shout. Cheers Andy

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