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Old 05-15-16, 01:37 PM   #1
Lucy.P
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Suitable bike for London to Paris cycle challenge

Hello...i hope someone can help. I've just recently signed up to a London to Paris bike ride in September...something i've wanted to do for many years now as a fundraising challenge. My training has been ok but could be better. When filling out my registration form for the event i gave details of my bike, health and fitness etc as was requested. A few days after submitting my registration form i received a call from the organisers (European Cycling Tours), the gentleman was very friendly and we had a lengthy chat about how my training was going at the moment and he discussed targets regarding my training i should be looking to achieve in the following months leading up to the ride - he even offered to forward a training plan for me, but the thing that he was most concerned with was the make and model of my bike that i was planning to use. It is a rather old bike which i have used for almost everything over the last few years from popping down the shops to riding at the weekends with friends and family. The gentleman explained that i should really look to upgrade to a bike more appropriate to long distance riding and that is a little lighter than my current bike. He pointed out that many riders who sign up for these type of events will likely have reasonably nice aluminium/carbon fibre bikes with gears suited to riding over long distances and up lots of hills. He did say to perhaps visit my nearest 'Bike Hut' by Halfords as they offer good bikes and the staff 'should' help me with my sizing and set up. Not knowing anyone who is really that 'ua fait' with this sort of thing i really would be grateful for any advice on this matter.
Many thanks
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Old 05-15-16, 01:42 PM   #2
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So what do you have now?

There is nothing wrong with an old bike as long as it's in good mechanical condition (the same is true for a new bike)

Giving a bit more info with this question would really help here.
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Old 05-15-16, 02:17 PM   #3
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Old 05-15-16, 02:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Lucy.P View Post
Hello...i hope someone can help. I've just recently signed up to a London to Paris bike ride in September...something i've wanted to do for many years now as a fundraising challenge. My training has been ok but could be better. When filling out my registration form for the event i gave details of my bike, health and fitness etc as was requested. A few days after submitting my registration form i received a call from the organisers (European Cycling Tours), the gentleman was very friendly and we had a lengthy chat about how my training was going at the moment and he discussed targets regarding my training i should be looking to achieve in the following months leading up to the ride - he even offered to forward a training plan for me, but the thing that he was most concerned with was the make and model of my bike that i was planning to use. It is a rather old bike which i have used for almost everything over the last few years from popping down the shops to riding at the weekends with friends and family. The gentleman explained that i should really look to upgrade to a bike more appropriate to long distance riding and that is a little lighter than my current bike. He pointed out that many riders who sign up for these type of events will likely have reasonably nice aluminium/carbon fibre bikes with gears suited to riding over long distances and up lots of hills. He did say to perhaps visit my nearest 'Bike Hut' by Halfords as they offer good bikes and the staff 'should' help me with my sizing and set up. Not knowing anyone who is really that 'ua fait' with this sort of thing i really would be grateful for any advice on this matter.
Many thanks
he was being polite and helpful .... he is saying your bike is crap and there is no way you will finish in time and climb the steep hills on the course. If he took the time to phone you, he is very concerned, and so should you be
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Old 05-15-16, 02:50 PM   #5
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he was being polite and helpful .... he is saying your bike is crap and there is no way you will finish in time and climb the steep hills on the course. If he took the time to phone you, he is very concerned, and so should you be
Without knowing what the OP has, that's pure speculation, a photo would be really useful, mechanical soundness is important, and a new bike if badly setup can be useless
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Old 05-15-16, 03:14 PM   #6
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Each ride is different, and the details of the ride is important too. Oh, also, Paved? Gravel? Cobbles? Mountains?

Most of my rides are alone, self-supported, and I target 100-150 miles a day (usually starting and finishing in one day, but I've done multi-day trips in the past too). I ride from dawn to dusk, and push myself to the limit.

On the other hand, many tour rides do 50 to 60 miles a day. That would be like an afternoon shopping trip around town.

So, I prefer a nice lightweight road bike for the longer rides, but I will ride whatever works out or is needed at the time. And, carrying or towing stuff can quickly add up to a slower bike than if I was riding a beater.

So, I probably wouldn't choose an old commuter 1-speed or 3-speed for a 60 mile a day ride, but it might be possible. I could ride anything from an MTB to a Hybrid to a Cross to a "Touring Specific Bike" to the latest carbon composite road warrior.
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Old 05-16-16, 04:10 PM   #7
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Hi, I have a Dawes Mohave bicycle. It has lots of gears but is not the most aerodynamic bike by any means and it is quite heavy. I think the gentleman at European Cycling Tours was concerned the bike is not designed for long distance touring and i would find the already demanding itinerary unnecessarily more of a challenge than it already is and i'm concerned by what he said about what other people will be riding - i feel a little pressured now to seek another bike that will help me complete the challenge, which isn't actually a problem i'm quite happy to buy another bike i just don't know which sort. When you look at European Cycling Tours website all the bikes in the pictures look really expensive. The gentleman at European Cycling Tours suggested 'Bike Hut' at Halfords - does anyone think this is a good place to go or is there somewhere else i should try?
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Old 05-17-16, 12:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lucy.P View Post
Hi, I have a Dawes Mohave bicycle. It has lots of gears but is not the most aerodynamic bike by any means and it is quite heavy. I think the gentleman at European Cycling Tours was concerned the bike is not designed for long distance touring and i would find the already demanding itinerary unnecessarily more of a challenge than it already is and i'm concerned by what he said about what other people will be riding - i feel a little pressured now to seek another bike that will help me complete the challenge, which isn't actually a problem i'm quite happy to buy another bike i just don't know which sort. When you look at European Cycling Tours website all the bikes in the pictures look really expensive. The gentleman at European Cycling Tours suggested 'Bike Hut' at Halfords - does anyone think this is a good place to go or is there somewhere else i should try?
I'm looking for another bike to do Audax rides (200km and more). The bike must be able to accomodate fenders (mudguards), and a back rack. I'm looking very closely for a used Dawes Galaxy, and if I can find one in good condition in a 50cm size, I will probably buy it. I need a bike that can take a load

The ride that you are looking at doing is only 266km and it is done over 3 days:
http://europeancyclingtours.com/london_to_paris/

so that averages to 88km per day. If you cycle at 12km/hr, you will finish the daily distance in just over 8hrs (includes a stop for lunch). I have just used 12km/hr for calculations, and depending on how strong the wind is, and how many hills you have to climb, you could possible ride faster... the ascent is 2200 meters)

So your hybrid should be fine, but try doing a 100km ride and see if you are comfortable without any hand/back pains etc, and try find an area that has some hills. On the link, it states that this ride is a 'road bike' tour. That means, you need a road bike (with drop bars)

and looking at the photos on the link, it seems that no-one carries any luggage. So you could look at getting a light carbon (or aluminium with carbon forks) road bike (perhaps something like a Cannondale Synapse or Bianchi etc) .... but make sure you get one that fits proper. There are some good bargains on ebay

If you want a bike that is fairly cheap, look at a Carrera (sold by Halfords).:
http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/s...MFName_Carrera

add some decent tyres and you should be ok

I ride one and I keep up with guys who ride 3000+ bikes

Last edited by dim; 05-17-16 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 05-17-16, 01:30 AM   #9
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Having had a quick look at the Europeancycingtorus website, the market they look to be aiming at appears to be similar to the sportive/mamil market in UK terms. and the bike you have will be out of place on a ride like that (sorry that may sound negative against you current bike, but it's a reflection on the type of ride you are doing, if you were on an audax like #dim talks about, turn up on anything and on one will care what it looks like)

Where are you in the UK as suggestions could be given on good LBS's, for Halfords, nothing wrong with them (but would look at their Boardman range as a starter for what your doing), if you do look to buy from them, get a British Cycling membership before, as the 10% discount would be more than the cost of the membership fee, Evans is another national, as well as Cycle Surgery & Decathlon to name a few, and most towns have a least one good LBS, and there is also the internet option like Planet X, Merlin & Ribble.

What you are't doing it touring for which a Galaxy is designed for, looking at the ride, it's the equivalent of 3 club mid-week training rides so what your looking for is a summer road bike

Would stay away from 2nd hand, unless you know exactly what you are looking for & can fix bike, as you are on a limited time scale, there are bargains to be had, but they take patience and time, which you are in short supply of time given when you need the bike for; and product knowledge, as there are lot of bike in need of a lot of attention on ebay/facebook sales pages.

Budget is key, you haven't mentioned this, but thinking you need to be at the 1000 level if you don't have helmet and shorts/cloths/helmet/shoes etc, say upto 700 will get a bike with Sora, possibly Tiagra, and the rest for clothing/accessories (going on the basis you are new/don't have anything as we have no info to go on)
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Old 05-17-16, 02:56 PM   #10
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What you are't doing it touring for which a Galaxy is designed for, looking at the ride, it's the equivalent of 3 club mid-week training rides so what your looking for is a summer road bike
don't be fooled .... the Dawes Galaxy is not a slow bike ... loads of them around here where I live, and it's hard to keep up to the fit guys riding them .... add decent 25 or 28 tyres and a decent saddle, and you are good to ride all day in comfort

and if you want to tackle longer distances with luggage, add the racks and bags, wider tyres and it will take you there fast. Another bonus is that you have 3 speed up front for the hills

if you want a fast bike for strava, get a Giant TCR in carbon (i'm hoping to get one within 3 months)
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Old 05-17-16, 03:28 PM   #11
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don't be fooled .... the Dawes Galaxy is not a slow bike ... loads of them around here where I live, and it's hard to keep up to the fit guys riding them .... add decent 25 or 28 tyres and a decent saddle, and you are good to ride all day in comfort
Totally agree with that, just thinking more of the type of ride that the OP is going on, where from the tour's website gives the impression that you want a road bike, not a tourer
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Old 05-17-16, 03:40 PM   #12
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Totally agree with that, just thinking more of the type of ride that the OP is going on, where from the tour's website gives the impression that you want a road bike, not a tourer
looking at the route, that is a tough ride with lots of climbing. Just hope that the OP can handle mountains.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:10 PM   #13
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looking at the route, that is a tough ride with lots of climbing. Just hope that the OP can handle mountains.
Was thinking by type, it looks like an organized sportive, depending on where you are in the UK, the elevation gain is normal or even low for a 100km ride (having ridden round Cambridgeshire & The Fens if your ride there any elevation is noticeable).
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Old 05-21-16, 08:41 AM   #14
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Thankyou all so much...lots of information for me to take in, i am very grateful. I have spoken with the organisers again and they have forwarded information to me on the bikes that are normally used for this kind of cycle challenge and where they can be purchased but what they did say is it is very important to be sized correctly by someone at a bike shop and not to guess before purchasing - so that counts out any online shopping for me. Armed with all this information from everybody, I shall look for a the nearest bike shop and look around. Thankyou all again...
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Old 06-08-16, 05:29 AM   #15
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So after taking in all your wonderful advice i went to my local bike shop and had a look around and chat...I discussed what i was planning to do and they were very helpful. They even 'sized' me when i was there and recommended some lovely bikes for me to look at. As i'm planning to use the bike for lots of things other than riding to Paris on in September with European Cycling Tours like riding with family and around the town i really like the look of a 'sports hybrid' bike by the makers Giant. I contacted European Cycling Tours and told them i'd been to my local bike shop and how helpful they were with sizing ect and that i'd seen a bike i really like that came recommended by the bike shop. The gentleman at European Cycling Tours was very enthusiastic and delighted by the choice saying that a 'sports hybrid' bike is an excellent choice particularly as a utility bike for all sorts of different types of riding and that it would be absolutely fine to ride on their challenge to Paris on in September...i'm now the proud owner of a Giant Escape 1 and i got a deal on some innertubes and tyre changing tools, a new helmet and gloves...the bike shop were brilliant!
I'd like to say a big thankyou to everyone who replied to my post and i'll let you all know how i got on :-) Lucy x
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Old 09-18-16, 03:57 PM   #16
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I did it!!!

A quick update to everyone :-D
The big day came and with some trepidation I and a dozen or so other riders set off for Paris. My new Giant Escape bike was absolutely brilliant and i soon found i was keeping up ok with the group (which was brilliantly managed by our amazing cycle leader Jason at European Cycling Tours) and once my confidence was up there was no stopping me. The gears i had worked really well and i was able to keep up with the boys most of the time on their super duper bikes and not having dropped handlebars made little if any consequence to my riding experience over the trip. Three days later we arrived in the Champs Elysee and the buzz was like nothing else i've ever experienced... it was absolutely brilliant!! I think i'm hooked! Now to sign up to another trip - especially with European Cycling Tours...they were so brilliant! - so well organised and the leadership and support was amazing and i think there were a few on the trip that probably wouldn't have completed the whole tour if it wasn't for their amazing support, motivation and guidance...highly recommended!
Thankyou again everyone for your help in my search for a bike and i'm so glad i took the advice to talk to a local bike shop who were also brilliant who helped me finally find the bike that helped me achieve my dream.
I can't thank you all enough x
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Old 09-18-16, 04:09 PM   #17
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Your ride sounds cool. The advice from the race organizers sounds poor though. You had a 3 x 7 hybrid (the Dawes Mojave) with an aluminum frame and steel fork and they had you buy a 3 x 9 hybrid with an aluminum frame and carbon fork. If the Dawes fit you, then this is less than sterling advice. That said, you have a bike you love and you did a great ride. Congratulations.
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