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Old 03-27-06, 09:54 AM   #1
Milesowl
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Europe - finding routes

Hello, I am leaving for a long tour in europe in 2 weeks, starting in Madrid.

From people with experiences touring europe, I would like your inputs as to how easy/hard it is to find a nice route from point A to B, and how you do it... all the tricks etc. Do you plan the day in advance or just figure it out as you go. Is a compass usefull ?

Also, is there usually an accomodation...hostel, pension etc... in the small villages, lets say, in France and Spain or its a mess to find a nice one ? Tell me some horror stories before I go


thanks !

God I'm excited !!!
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Old 03-27-06, 01:46 PM   #2
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Get the most detailed maps you can find. With good map-reading skills and a good guidebook, you should be able to choose a route that is scenic, has minimal traffic, and has interesting sights along the way. A good map is a wealth of information and is the single most important tool for selecting a good route, I believe. My own method is to have a general idea on where I intend to go, and perhaps a few specific places I want to visit. However, I typically select the actual roads then night before, each morning before I head out, or as I'm riding.

In France, at least, it is easy to find accommodations in the countryside. In addition to hotels in fairly small towns, there are lots of chambres d'hotes (B&Bs) in rural areas. Campgrounds are everywhere, too.
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Old 03-27-06, 04:01 PM   #3
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http://www.dewijdewereld.net/travel/...andalucia.html

I use Lonely Planet Guides and you can find them on the web cheaper than new
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Old 03-27-06, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axolotl
Get the most detailed maps you can find. With good map-reading skills and a good guidebook, you should be able to choose a route that is scenic, has minimal traffic, and has interesting sights along the way. A good map is a wealth of information and is the single most important tool for selecting a good route, I believe. My own method is to have a general idea on where I intend to go, and perhaps a few specific places I want to visit. However, I typically select the actual roads then night before, each morning before I head out, or as I'm riding.

In France, at least, it is easy to find accommodations in the countryside. In addition to hotels in fairly small towns, there are lots of chambres d'hotes (B&Bs) in rural areas. Campgrounds are everywhere, too.
We are off to France in 2 weeks and have found the above method works well for us, on the other trips we have done, so can't see why it should be any different in France.
Cheers Brian
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Old 03-27-06, 04:52 PM   #5
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I agree that a map is the most important thing to have. However, the scale of the map is critical because you want a map that shows the small country roads, not only the major roads. I have found that a map with a scale of 1:250,000 is the best. Anything higher, such as 1:750,000 simply doesn't show the roads you need.

In France, lots of pensions, but they may be more than you want to pay. I have found that campgrounds in France are plentiful and cheap. Have never been to Spain, so cannot comment on that.

I ususally know the general direction I want to go, but plan the specfic route the night before.

Let us know how the trip turns out. I am envious!!
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Old 03-27-06, 05:26 PM   #6
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I found the Michelin maps (1:250000 I think) and a compass were all I needed to find a lovely route on-the-fly. As for sleeping, I usually just rode until my stop time (4 or 5ish) and then asked around whatever town I happened to be in for a recommendation on where I could stay. It never once failed me.

I also recommend the campgrounds in France. Fantastic.
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Old 03-28-06, 11:35 AM   #7
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What is your destination? Camping at all?
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Old 03-28-06, 12:16 PM   #8
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I am gonna stay in cheap hostels where I can find them, but I am also bringing a lite sleeping bag, a thermarest pad and a tarp. I think I would stealth camp a bit to save money. It releases the stress of absolutely finding a bed... I guess .

This camping setup adds only about 5 lbs.

I am planning to start in Madrid, then go southwest, trough Toledo... Seville, then go to Granada and keep going north/east. Cross the Pyrénnés and then France... from there its unplanned. I will see how I feel.

Last edited by Milesowl; 03-28-06 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:50 PM   #9
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The route you are taking -heading south from Madrid- is not very pleasant, at least the first 80-100 km. approx: southern Madrid is ugly, just big suburbs and industrial areas, lot of highways. I suggest you take a train - Regionales - to Aranjuez for example. It will be a nice starting point for your bike route.

In sothern Spain it will be difficult you find any hostel, but I think you will not have any problem finding small hotels, hostales even in small villages. In non touristy areas prices are good, I paid 18.00 euros for a room one week ago in a nice small village hotel in the interior.

If you plan to camp please avoid to make any fire in the country, fires are a big problem in Spain and not only in the summer.

Feel free to contact me if you need additional info.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:51 PM   #10
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The route you are taking -heading south from Madrid- is not very pleasant, at least the first 80-100 km. approx: southern Madrid is ugly, just big suburbs and industrial areas, lot of highways. I suggest you take a train - Regionales - to Aranjuez for example. It will be a nice starting point for your bike route.

In sothern Spain it will be difficult you find any hostel, but I think you will not have any problem finding small hotels, hostales even in small villages. In non touristy areas prices are good, I paid 18.00 euros for a room one week ago in a nice small village hotel in the interior.

If you plan to camp please avoid to make any fire in the country, fires are a big problem in Spain and not only in the summer.

Feel free to contact me if you need additional info.
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Old 03-28-06, 06:31 PM   #11
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eh tomas,

thanks for the info !

I thought it would be a rough ride trying to get out of Madrid. The train is a good idea.
I guess the train station is easily accessible via the airport ? If so, I'm thinking I should pick my bike at the airport after my 4 days in Madrid and leave directly from the airport. Sounds a good plan to you ?

If you have any inputs as to what I should do in Madrid, please tell me so ! I like music concerts, nice bars etc... the regular.
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Old 03-29-06, 07:25 AM   #12
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To take the train you should go to Atocha or Chamartin train stations, both of them have Metro connections. Madrid airport has also a Metro connection, but if you arrive to the new T4 terminal you probably have to take a bus to get the Metro.

In Metro you can take the bike with you, just avoid the rush hours in the morning and the evening and you should not have problems.

As for what you should do in Madrid, of course there are many things to do and see in Madrid. And Many many bars too!

Tomas
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Old 03-29-06, 07:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axolotl
Get the most detailed maps you can find. With good map-reading skills and a good guidebook, you should be able to choose a route that is scenic, has minimal traffic, and has interesting sights along the way. A good map is a wealth of information and is the single most important tool for selecting a good route, I believe. My own method is to have a general idea on where I intend to go, and perhaps a few specific places I want to visit. However, I typically select the actual roads then night before, each morning before I head out, or as I'm riding.

In France, at least, it is easy to find accommodations in the countryside. In addition to hotels in fairly small towns, there are lots of chambres d'hotes (B&Bs) in rural areas. Campgrounds are everywhere, too.
+1
This is true but remember if camping in Southern France they don't allow stoves/fires on camping grounds these days because of the fire risks.
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