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  1. #1
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    Hi from Cambridge UK

    Hi, I'm new to the forum and have caught the cycle touring bug in a virtual sense - not yet having done a tour. I plan (after testing out kit) to cycle to Rome (from Cambridge) and back next May/June and would appreciate any advice/encouragement in particular about routes. I was thinking of Harwich to the Hook of Holland then following the Rhine to Switzerland and over the Alps into Italy, returning from Italy wholly through France. The camping will be the first I've done for many years but I'm mostly concerned about languages. Any general advice would be most welcome.

  2. #2
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donki
    Hi, I'm new to the forum and have caught the cycle touring bug in a virtual sense - not yet having done a tour. I plan (after testing out kit) to cycle to Rome (from Cambridge) and back next May/June and would appreciate any advice/encouragement in particular about routes. I was thinking of Harwich to the Hook of Holland then following the Rhine to Switzerland and over the Alps into Italy, returning from Italy wholly through France. The camping will be the first I've done for many years but I'm mostly concerned about languages. Any general advice would be most welcome.
    Hi, that looks like a very nice tour, last year I cycled from the south of Holland to Athens, Greece.
    Following the Rhine is a good plan, as for Switserland check out the Splugen pass one of the easyest and most beatifull, www.montivagus.de.
    My wife and I also rode along the Rhine last fall, from Andernach to Freiburg very nice route, especialy between Koblenz and Bingen. As for returning through France the Loire river valey is very nice we rode through there last spring.
    You can also click on the link below for more info.
    Hope it helps some, cheers

  3. #3
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    If you are looking for a quieter way into Italy from Switzerland, consider Slovenia.
    Languages never seem to be a problem, you can pick up the bare essentials but you dont need fluency to find a campsite.
    You may need a lot of maps, take a small scale Euro map and buy en-route but check out which ones you will need. Smaller lanes are only found on 1:200,000 and larger scale.
    Try a long weekend shakedown tour before you go.

  4. #4
    Tinkerer since 1980 TheBrick's Avatar
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    I'm at the same planning stage as you and am keeping to uk for my first tour because of my poor language skills but I am trying out a tape serise by Michal Thomas they seem quite good. The only problem is the number of countries you are going through makes it prohibative. If I was learning one language for that trip it would be French.
    Travelling without inertia

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    Lets make this happen.

  5. #5
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Just about everyone speaks english, you only need to learn a few words like bread, bakery, water, supermarket, and a few others.

  6. #6
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    For additional touring resources in the UK check out, http://www.cyclingplus.co.uk/
    Their magazine's touring content is better than any we have here in the states.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jurjan's Avatar
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    hhhrrmmm, looks like three languages: german (for germany, switzerland), italian (switzerland and italy) and
    french (for france).
    i wouldn't recommend you try to learn dutch for the short while you're going to be in my country.
    i have to disagree with xilios a tiny bit: yes, you only have to SPEAK a few words. but....
    understanding the answer is important too.
    however... just be seen trying to speak the natives language is often enough to make people like you.
    and then they'll try their utmost to help you. even if you and them have no real language in common.

    depending on how long you're going to stay in each country i would prioritise learning that language, BUT i would definitely try to learn a bit of each.

    have a nice day
    jurjan

  8. #8
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    Many thanks xilios

    Thanks for the advice. I enjoyed looking at details of your tours - most inspirational!
    I think the Splugen pass has to be the one. The photographs are stunning and I'll look at the Loire valley for the return trip. Thanks again - I'll let you know how it goes.

  9. #9
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    Many thanks MichaelW

    Do you mean a map of Europe to view the entire route? I'd be happier to have the larger scale maps before setting off. Is it an advantage to buy in this coutry so that I can fully understand the key? Are we talking 20 or more of these? Is a satnav possible on a bike? I think I'd prefer maps.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Thebrick

    French it is. I've some megre knowledge from holidays there.

  11. #11
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    Thanks Velonomad

    I get Cycle the magazine of the CTC which is excellent.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Jurjan

    I will certainly try to pick up some phrases from each language as you suggest.

  13. #13
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    For accurate navigation on small rural lanes you need a fairly large scale 1:100,000 or 1:200,000 maps such as Freytag & Berndt. You also need a small scale European map to get everything in perspective and make longer plans.
    OS style 1:50,000 are a bit too large for cycling, you ride across them in a day.
    See how much room an entire set of maps takes up in your pannier.

  14. #14
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    Most areas have tourist information offices which will give you maps of the area/town.city. In some places I managed on these maps, together with a general map of Europe or the country.

    While I was touring I found that out of the towns most people did not speak english, even in The Netherlands, which surprised me, as every one from these countries I have met on the road have been able to speak almost perfect english.

    For most countries I visit I try to at least learn, Please, thank you, Left right, where, road, etc

    or buy a book called Point It, with photos of most things you can point at if you get in trouble.

    good luck
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  15. #15
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    Thanks for your advice Jibi. Enjoyed your photos especially the ones in the alps. Inspirational!

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