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Old 05-02-07, 04:23 PM   #1
tom-mcmorrin
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London to Sicily

I am a relatively inexperienced student cyclist planning to cycle from London to Sicily. I was wondering whether any of you could give any advice on equipment, routes and general planning. Many thanks. Tom
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Old 05-02-07, 04:57 PM   #2
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Will you be camping, staying in hostels, or staying in B&Bs/hotels? Wild camping or in campgrounds? What kind of bike(s) do you presently own and how much mileage do you put on them? Are you determined to cross the Alps and ride the length of Italy, crossing the Straits of Messina at the toe of the Italian boot, or would you consider going from Nice to Corsica to Sardinia to Sicily, using ferries for the wet parts? I've heard excellent things about cycling in Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica, so much so that I'm planning a cycling tour to take in those three islands next year.

Michelin's yellow regional maps (sold in every French supermarket) are a great route planning tool for cyclists, don't know how available they are in the UK. You could probably buy the maps as you went along.

TCI (Touring Club Italiano) publishes excellent maps of Italy, I used the regional maps to plan my trip to Tuscany last year. If you can't find them locally, try http://www.touringclub.it. Hope this helps as a start, please post again with more questions.
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Old 05-03-07, 02:17 AM   #3
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many thanks. We are planning to camp, mainly rough as our student budget will not stretch very far. I currently own a Specialized Tricross sport which has the ability to take paniers, but i was advised to use a more adapted, purer tourer rather than a Cyclo-Cross. I am planning on using my dads Dawes Galaxy although it needs some work. Our rowing fitness will be maintained until the trip so our current estimate is that we will cycle around 70-80 miles a day, routes depending.

I hadnt really though of island hopping to Sicily but i think i would prefer to continu through Europe. At the moment, our plan is to go through eastern france and then thorugh Switzerland then northern Italy, contniuing down the west coast to Sicily. How many passes are there through the Alps, and whicn one would you recommend to two, relatively fit but inexperienced cyclist? the routes are only a 1st draught, so if you could advise that would be great.

Thanks, tom
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Old 05-03-07, 07:37 AM   #4
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Other than the fact that there are many, many passes through the Alps and you are going to have to take several of them to get where you're going, I can't help you there. Something to keep in mind is that many of the big tunnels through the Alps (and other mountainous areas in Italy) have alternate routes close by that are very lightly travelled, although they may not be too well maintained. These are frequently the old road that people used before the tunnel was built. They tend to be very lightly travelled, but they also tend to be steep and narrow. You may need a fairly detailed map (1:100 000 or 1:200 000) to find some of these roads.

Your Dad's Galaxy should have longer chainstays than your own 'cross bike, which will make it easier to carry rear panniers without your heels hitting the panniers on every turn of the pedals. The lower bottom bracket and longer wheelbase of the Galaxy will hopefully make for a more stable ride while carrying panniers. If it fits you well it would be a good choice.
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Old 05-03-07, 10:24 AM   #5
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Um, dude, there's a route called the Via Romea Francigena: London - Rome. I think it may be just what you're looking for.

Mind you, if it were me, I would ride across Belgium to Germany, hop on the Rhine and follow down into Switzerland, then follow the Via Claudia Augusta Bike Path into Italy, and from there one of the long distance Italian bike routes.

Last edited by becnal; 05-03-07 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 05-03-07, 10:36 AM   #6
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This will be useful:

http://www.giovannicaselli.com/francigena/overview.htm


This may help too:

http://www.fiab-onlus.it/images/bit1.jpg

Last edited by becnal; 05-03-07 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 05-04-07, 05:05 AM   #7
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If we are planning to cycle from London to Sicily carrying our own equipment-tent, sleeping bag, cooking utensils etc., what size of pannier should we be looking at? In the shops they range from 20 to 56 litre capacity but for our trip, we might not need that much.

Do you prefer spreading the load around the bike or just on the back racks-Is it easier to to get two large or four medium sized panniers? We have made a list of equipment, do you know of any companies that sells large deals with many bits included or is it better to buy individually? how much spare equipment do you think we should take out and how much of it can we buy out there, as France and Italy are pretty keen on Cycling?

tom
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Old 05-04-07, 06:03 AM   #8
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That's a good point. It may be much less expensive for you to buy yourself in France as things are generally cheaper on the continent than in Britain. It's that strong pound you guys got.

I only use two rear panniers, and I've never had a problem. If it all fits in 2, why use 4?

What do you mean by spare equipment? Do you mean spare bike parts? If so, then I recommend putting new Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires on your bikes before you leave. This way, you won't need to bring spare tires, or spare tubes as you won't be getting any flats if you have the S. Marathon PLUS.
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Old 05-06-07, 01:04 PM   #9
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On the return trip to London, would it be better to catch a train or a plane from Italy? I hear that the plane baggage handlers can brake your bike???
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