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  1. #1
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    Best country to tour during July and Aug.?

    I'd like your recommendations!

    A friend and I are planning a tour for this July and August, likely averaging 45-60 miles/day. Last year we cycled the pacific northwest which was great.

    This year, we're looking for something new. We're open to pretty much anywhere in the world. Any suggestions on regions where the weather is mild during this time, and the hills aren't excruciating?
    We both enjoy taking a couple days off to explore local towns and nature.

    Central America was the initial idea, but July/Aug. is rainy season.. Now, we're considering Alaska but I'm not particularly excited about staying in US territory.

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    Canada is an exotic foreign country.
    Filled with interesting natives and quaint customs.

    Since you are on the west coast - how about Quebec and the Maritimes?
    Mais, on doit savoir que le québécois n'est pas le français.
    You could do a loop out of Quebec City - take ferries across the St. Lawrence and to Nova Scotia.
    Then end up back in Quebec City and have a glorious visit and treat yourself to some fine dining.
    Kinda like a trip to Paris without the hassle.

    Temperatures - pleasant.
    Rain - moderate.
    Terrain - rolling, but not too bad.
    Services - not too far apart.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Canada
    Europe (several countries)
    Northern Australia

  4. #4
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I too would vote for Quebec and the Maritimes. But if you need a different continent I would recommend Denmark . Very good cycling infrastructure , great scenery and not hilly ( southeastern part near Germany has some short but steep hills). On the down side Denmark can be very expensive. The campgrounds and hostels fill quickly in the summer ( I was there in August 2007) The Hotels are decent but overpriced IMO.

  5. #5
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    Ive never gone touring but, I would say France. It's Beautiful.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBL0ZER0 View Post
    Ive never gone touring but, I would say France. It's Beautiful.
    France is beautiful, but it would be extremely hot in July and August.

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    True, maybe check out the alps. They are still pretty cool in summer due to the high altitudes.

  8. #8
    mev
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    How long are you going? Depending on the type of trip you want, I would second several of the suggestions already in this thread:

    45-60 miles per day and chance to explore local towns and nature, and you enjoyed the Pacific NW - then I'd definitely recommend the Canadian Maritimes. Somewhat more populated and touristy areas can be found in parts of Nova Scotia and PEI. Less populated and wilder areas can be found in other parts of Nova Scotia and particularly Newfoundland and Labrador. Weather might be a little more volatile in Newfoundland though tolerable in July/August. Mixture of French speaking and English speaking also found in New Brunswick.

    Not too many hills and good weather and a relaxed nice ride makes it a good time for Northern Australia. During my entire time north of Tropic of Capricorn, I only had rain once when visiting and really enjoyed my time riding through the north. A week or two is easily done near Darwin but if you're looking for more extended time you'll probably concentrate more on the nature part as towns can be few and far between.

    An area perhaps a bit more exotic would be a ride through Ukraine. I rode through Ukraine and Southern Russia four years ago and the more populated European regions were definitely an interesting ride. Towns aren't too far apart - there is a lot to see and it hasn't developed as far as Western Europe goes. There are hilly bits but also ways to cycle around.

    Finally, I wouldn't completely discount either Alaska or the Canadian Northwest in Yukon, NWT or BC. Even though Alaska is US, it is still a little different touring there than in Pacific Northwest.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    You could do a loop out of Quebec City - take ferries across the St. Lawrence and to Nova Scotia.
    Then end up back in Quebec City and have a glorious visit and treat yourself to some fine dining.
    Kinda like a trip to Paris without the hassle.

    Temperatures - pleasant.
    Rain - moderate.
    Terrain - rolling, but not too bad.
    Services - not too far apart.
    This would be a great trip.

    But about the terrain: If you begin or end in Quebec City, you have a choice: follow the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, and jamawani is right: the terrain is not too bad.

    But the north shore is mountainous. The region just east of Quebec City is called Charlevoix. It's stunningly beautiful, but you will be in for days of climbing and descending long, steep hills: 10% - 12% grades are normal; 15% grades are not uncommon; 18% grades are not hard to find; and apparently, there is at least one hill with a 20% grade, which fortunately, I did not find!

    The only downside of Charlevoix is that truck traffic can be intense. Many roads have well-marked bicycle lanes, but some cyclists may find it unnerving to share the road with convoys of logging trucks.

    Despite the hills and trucks, I count my Charlevoix trip as a highlight of my bicycle touring career.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post
    France is beautiful, but it would be extremely hot in July and August.
    The weather in Europe, especially central and northern europe, is quite unpredictable in the summer. While it's likely that southeastern and southwestern France will be warm (but with lower humidity than the eastern US), the majority of France (and Europe) is a crap shoot weather-wise. The average high temperature in Paris in August, the hottest month of the year for that city, is only 77F (25C), with an average low of 62F/16C. Places like Brittany and Normandy are unlikely to be hot in July & August. Most of my biking in France was in June or September, and I've generally had great weather in those months.

    As for eastern Canada, my favorite area was Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. I also really enjoyed Le P'tit Train du Nord, a rail-trail in Quebec. I was in Charlevoix in a car and wouldn't have wanted to bike on those long up and downs with very fast moving traffic going past me constantly.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf View Post
    France is beautiful, but it would be extremely hot in July and August.
    Not necessarily. August 2007 was very cool and rainy. I could have done with a bit of dryness and a little bit more heat that year.

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    Great suggestions! We have 6 weeks for the tour.

    Has anyone ever toured New Zealand? Ideas on the terrain and July/Aug. weather? I'm also interested in hearing more about northern Australia.. What route do you recommend? Is it particularly isolated, or are there towns/cities we can travel through regularly?

    Top 4 locations at this point are: Canadian Maritimes; New Zealand; Australia; Alaska

    Thanks again for any tips!

  13. #13
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    Forget about NZ in July/Aug. There was a thread about this last year. NZ is in the southern hemisphere and is NOT in the tropics.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
    Forget about NZ in July/Aug. There was a thread about this last year. NZ is in the southern hemisphere and is NOT in the tropics.
    Really? Average temps are in the 50s F. Are there not many hours of sunlight?

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    New Zealand wouldn't be ideal at that time unless you stuck to the north island, but most people are attracted to the south island, which would be wet and snowy and cold.

    I'd like you to consider Iceland as a destination. My wife and I went there in 2008 for 5 weeks starting at the beginning of July. The landscape is surreal and the cycling is very easy on the ring road. Yes, you'll have to contend with some rain and wind on occasion, but it's worth it. Plus, you'd get to help bail out a financially bankrupt country. Think of it as a charity ride.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofi View Post
    Great suggestions! We have 6 weeks for the tour.

    Has anyone ever toured New Zealand? Ideas on the terrain and July/Aug. weather? I'm also interested in hearing more about northern Australia.. What route do you recommend? Is it particularly isolated, or are there towns/cities we can travel through regularly?

    Top 4 locations at this point are: Canadian Maritimes; New Zealand; Australia; Alaska

    Thanks again for any tips!
    July and August are the depths of winter down here in the southern hemisphere. I imagine NZ would be pretty cold and wet. I was here in Victoria, Australia in July and August last year (and likely will be again this year) and it was pretty chilly and wet here ... nights down to freezing, snow a little higher than we are, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, and more rain ... and we're further north than NZ.

    If you were to come to Australia, I'd stick with Queensland, or possibly the west coast - Perth area. Queensland is fairly populated.

  17. #17
    mev
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofi View Post
    I'm also interested in hearing more about northern Australia.. What route do you recommend? Is it particularly isolated, or are there towns/cities we can travel through regularly?
    I did a lap around Australia in 2001 (http://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/australia.htm). One possibility would be to go along the Queensland Coast, e.g. going from Brisbane north to Cairns or Cooktown - stopping by interesting places along the way. You'll find a reasonable number of towns and other places along the way, so not particularly isolated.

    There are probably also some rides and loops to do from the Top End in Darwin. Some interesting places nearby including Kakadu, Litchfield and some general cycling though I'm not sure I'd find six weeks worth just with that.

    If you are in the north away from populated areas like Queensland Coast or northern part of NT, then things do get a fair amount more isolated. However, frequently there will be only one sealed road and so not too much choices to make, and also enough traffic along the way that one isn't that isolated. When I went there was an interesting mixture of different people along the way including:
    - grey nomads; think the equivalent of "snowbirds" in the US, though it was more typical to tow a caravan
    and also to go from place to place rather than just stay one spot. Folks I met were in their 50s, 60s, ++
    and since some were nomadic, I'd meet someone camping one night and then they'd pass me on the
    (one sealed) road a few days later and then we might camp again in same place after that.
    - European tourists in little "Britz" camper vans, exploring outback on extended travels
    - Road Trains, not that many at least in daylight hours
    There were spots where towns might be 400-600km apart, though there weren't too many places where gaps
    between "roadhouses" or towns were much more than 100km apart. So what I enjoyed were
    my extended travels and living all the way across the north, e.g. Townville to Darwin or
    Darwin to Perth. That might be pushing it slightly if you also want to spend some time
    sightseeing other things along the way, but I really enjoyed that extended travel in an area
    with reasonable weather, not too bad winds or hills and just a relaxed feel to it with nice
    folks I was camping with along the way.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofi View Post
    Really? Average temps are in the 50s F. Are there not many hours of sunlight?
    Hours of sunlight in NZ in the winter (July/August):
    http://www.timeanddate.com/worldcloc...&afl=-11&day=1
    http://www.timeanddate.com/worldcloc...&afl=-11&day=1

    NZ weather/climate:
    http://www.metservice.co.nz/national/
    http://www.climate.co.nz/
    http://www.tourism.net.nz/new-zealan...d-climate.html

    -----------------------------

    As for Queensland, I spent a month there in 2004. I flew into Cairns, then cycled north to Daintree (by accident, but got to see a croc out that way) then back to the turn off, and over to Cape Kimberley, and on up to Cape Trib. Then back down to Port Douglas, where I did a Great Barrier Reef cruise, and back to Cairns. From there I went inland to the Atherton Tablelands, and cycled around up there a while, and back to Innisfail, and down to Tully. Then I took a bus to Airlie Beach and stayed there a few days recovering from a minor injury. I took a bus out of Airlie Beach down to Rockhampton, where I started to ride again, and rode down to Brisbane, stopping off various places, of course, to see various sights. And that took about 3.5 weeks. If I had cycled the whole way, it may have taken longer.

    Virgin Blue used to be pretty good with the bicycles, although I think some of their policies have changed now, but you could look at doing something like that, and then flying over to Perth for a couple weeks.

  19. #19
    Je pose, donc je suis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by niknak View Post
    I'd like you to consider Iceland as a destination. My wife and I went there in 2008 for 5 weeks starting at the beginning of July. The landscape is surreal and the cycling is very easy on the ring road. Yes, you'll have to contend with some rain and wind on occasion, but it's worth it. Plus, you'd get to help bail out a financially bankrupt country. Think of it as a charity ride.
    Iceland is a good suggestion. If you're still thinking of Europe, I'd take Sweden over Denmark, but anywhere north of the Alps should be fine (maybe a little rainy).

  20. #20
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    Hey, just curious, how hard is it to get your bike and all your gear on an airplane and to your intended destination of touring? Seems like this requires some real planning and good be a real ... pain.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBL0ZER0 View Post
    Hey, just curious, how hard is it to get your bike and all your gear on an airplane and to your intended destination of touring? Seems like this requires some real planning and good be a real ... pain.
    It's not that hard. Get a box from a local bike shop for the bike; everything else goes in the panniers you're going to carry. Assemble in the airport. Repeat for the return trip.

    Alternatively, you can mail your bike ahead, which saves a lot of dragging.

    The biggest issue is cost. Some airlines want well over $100 each way. Shipping a bike is not cheap.

    Another reason to go to Iceland (Icelandic Air only charges $30 or so).

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBL0ZER0 View Post
    Hey, just curious, how hard is it to get your bike and all your gear on an airplane and to your intended destination of touring? Seems like this requires some real planning and good be a real ... pain.
    1) Carefully research your possible airlines to find out their prices and regulations regarding bicycles. Most of them have a separate baggage rule section just for bicycles.
    A site like this may be able to help you: http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm But be sure to check the airline itself because they all change their rules on a regular basis.

    2) Get a cardboard bicycle box from your LBS.

    3) Take apart your bicycle (pedals, handlebars, wheels, fenders, racks) and put the bicycle and parts into the box. If you have small bits put them in ziplock bags and tape the bags to the bicycle. If you have lights take them off and put them in your other checked or carry-on luggage. Put your panniers and some other stuff in the box too. Make sure your box doesn't go overweight (see airline).

    4) Put the rest of your stuff in a lightweight duffel bag and your Carradice. Take your Carradice as carry-on, check the duffel bag.

    5) Take it all to the airport as you would any other luggage, check it, cart the bicycle in the box over to be X-Rayed, cart the bicycle in the box to wherever the check-in person tells you.

    6) Fly

    7) Wait at the baggage carousel, and wait and wait. Collect your duffel bag. Look for the oversized luggage area or ask customer service. Locate your bicycle in the box.

    8) Put it all together again .... and ride.


    Been there. Done that. Something like 17 times now. I'd have to count it all up.

  23. #23
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    I gotta say Canada.
    That time of the year is ideal for the Rockies, the north or anything in between.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Canada
    Europe (several countries)
    Northern Australia
    I second the first and especially the last suggestion that Machka gave. I met her while she was randoneering in Manitoba about 6 years ago and have myself toured from Cairns to Darwin via Normanton and Borroloola along the Savannah Way. For me, it was a glorious way to experience life in July and August. I rode 2100 km (mostly on dirt/bull-dust) in 6 weeks. PM me for any details. :-)

  25. #25
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    The Danube Bike Path!!!

    Start in Germany, ride into Austria, then Hungary and farther if you want.

    Sides trips:

    tons of cool things in Austria.

    Bratislava the cap of Slovakia.

    Black Forest in Germany.

    From Vienna, if you do not want to go all the way to Budapest, take the Green Pathway to Prague.

    Robi

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