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Touring in Europe... what to wear?

Old 04-17-08, 11:12 PM
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Touring in Europe... what to wear?

I've got a week before I leave for a tour of the Loire valley of France and then train back to England and up to Scotland to see where my father grew up. I'll be training it between the big jumps and then bicycling from town to town and some day rides out to see the sights from the hostels or B&B's.

I'm used to commuting with clipless pedals and in my lycra with wind/water proof front pants and treated wind shell around here. But I'm seeing that over there the pace and dress is often a little more casual even for a serious bike trip. So I'm wondering if I should be looking at a more casual setup. Something like lighter cotton twill pants and switch to platform pedals for this trip.

Keep in mind that I'm mostly not doing loaded touring. It'll be more casual stuff with maybe an 80 km (50 mile) day being a big one with all the stuff to change towns and up to maybe 70 kms MAX total out and back (40 miles) to get out to see the sights over the course of a day.

Mind you the weather over there at this time of year can often be cool and wet. So the stuff I know will keep me comfy is going anyway.

Am I all wet on this (ooooo what a pun) or on the right track?
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Old 04-17-08, 11:23 PM
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We are very liberal in the Uk and so not mind what people wear. You could have lycra under your cargo pants, or your underpants over your tights ( a la superman) it's up to you. You will see the full range of clothing.

If your clipless are SPD's then again no problems

I would recommend layers, arm and leg warmers are good to slip on and off, and rainproof of course

Scotland is still going to be cold so warm layers for the evening, a fleece or thin duvet/gilet

have fun

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Old 04-18-08, 01:42 AM
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It is perfectly fine for bicyclists to wear bike gear. No one will look at you funny over here. However, you might feel more comfortable in a pair of mountainbike shorts. I always feel funny walking into a proper place wearing spandex shorts.

Bike gear and mtb shorts will out you as a serious cyclist, without making you stick out.
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Old 04-18-08, 02:21 AM
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I've done the Loire Valley twice, once light touring, once daytripping with my girlfriend. Both around this time of year or just slightly later. Weather was fantastic. It's lovely, it's flat, there are plenty of roads with almost no traffic. My suggestion would be to forego the cycling clothing entirely, don't push too hard, and enjoy this stunning part of the world. We did a 60k day on rented mountain bikes, from Blois to Chambord and back, and really, really enjoyed it. The French in general are pretty sporty and your lycra will get respect - but sitting down to a nice lunch in a cafe in sporting attire is really not the done thing.

Not sure if you route is finalised or not, but these days there are some marked bicycle itineraries which are pretty good, and very easy to follow. The best thing is there are these farming roads, single lane, sealed paths that connect farms, and get virtually no traffic whatsoever - just the occasional tractor pottering along. A cyclist really couldn't ask for much more.

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Old 04-18-08, 04:15 AM
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One word mankini. If you want to be treated well where a mankini. Purfect both on and off the bike.
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Old 04-18-08, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by becnal
It is perfectly fine for bicyclists to wear bike gear. No one will look at you funny over here. However, you might feel more comfortable in a pair of mountainbike shorts. I always feel funny walking into a proper place wearing spandex shorts.

Bike gear and mtb shorts will out you as a serious cyclist, without making you stick out.
Unless you are an urban commuter type, I find it unusual to find a cyclist not wearing real bike gear. Our little department has like 22 bike touring clubs and each club has its own bike kit. Then you have race clubs which definitely have their own kit. / I'd not think a thing of what you wear , no one else does. / Besides compare Europeans to Americans. They are comparively fit. Tight is in , whether its bike gear or jeans. Should you like go into a bank, just cover over with soccer shorts, should you feel it necessary. /
You think bike gear too revealing, go to the beach on the Mediterranean . Wear whatever you find comfortable./ About what to wear. I've toured the Loir twice. Don't forget gear for rainy weather, unless its during the dog days of Summer.
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Old 04-18-08, 08:44 PM
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OK guys, thanks. That all helps a lot.

I just need to pick out a couple of colors for my mankini's.....

Also having MTB pinned platforms on a couple of the bikes I commute with I think I'm going to go with both clipless and platforms if I can fit them and since I'll have my walking shoes as well as a pair of cycling shoes I can swap to suit the task of the day.

I do prefer the clipless for the longer 'tween towns trips.
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Old 04-19-08, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by TheBrick
One word mankini. If you want to be treated well where a mankini. Purfect both on and off the bike.
And a Mankini is what??
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Old 04-19-08, 02:36 AM
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Given the weather at the moment in the UK, I'd consider a fur coat...
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Old 04-19-08, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by BCRider
OK guys, thanks. That all helps a lot.

I just need to pick out a couple of colors for my mankini's.....

Also having MTB pinned platforms on a couple of the bikes I commute with I think I'm going to go with both clipless and platforms if I can fit them and since I'll have my walking shoes as well as a pair of cycling shoes I can swap to suit the task of the day.

I do prefer the clipless for the longer 'tween towns trips.
Re pedals have you seen these? Doubble sided and the spd bit pushes down on a spring if you are using normal shoes so are as comfy as normal platforms.

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