Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

A couple of questions about touring around Europe as a newbie

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

A couple of questions about touring around Europe as a newbie

Old 03-12-10, 06:58 PM
  #26  
Senior Member
 
BengeBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 6,955

Bikes: 2009 Chris Boedeker custom; 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 2021 Bill Davidson custom gravel bike; 2022 Specialized Turbo Vado e-bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by NokoYoko

As for research..It's really not as easy as it sounds, bicycle hiking isn't really active on the internet and googling anything with "bicycle + tours" only give useless sites. Try it. I couldn't find anything proper.

The-crazy-guy-on-a-bike-site was a decent site, but his interface is horrible, I couldn't navigate properly. His forum is a mess and his articles are clustered together. He seems very experienced, but his site needs some serious re-haul.?
You don't come across as very self-reliant. I'm wondering if long-distance bike touring is really going to be fun for you.
BengeBoy is offline  
Old 03-12-10, 08:40 PM
  #27  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 63

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by NokoYoko
As for research..It's really not as easy as it sounds, bicycle hiking isn't really active on the internet and googling anything with "bicycle + tours" only give useless sites. Try it. I couldn't find anything proper.
I am new to bicycle touring but all 10 questions you asked can easily be answered by using the search feature on this very site. I found tons of information by reading threads on this site before I purchased my bike in January.

Whether one country is more beautiful than another is subjective but can be easily googled to give you an idea
ubermensch84 is offline  
Old 03-13-10, 12:57 AM
  #28  
Senior Member
 
mattbicycle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Barossa Valley, South Aust.
Posts: 136

Bikes: Walmart supermarket bike in China, and a Schwinn Frontier GS 1999 in Australia

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
+1 Bengeboy & Ubermensch84.

NokoYoko, nobody is being disrespectful or insensitive. The questions you ask are either so subjective and impossible to answer; or so elementary that you should be able to answer them yourself.

I am sometimes critical on here about top-of-the-line gear being touted as essential for first time tourers; along with technical bike specification language that confuses and discourages first-time tourers like yourself. Likewise, I am critical of those who do not do any research before posting.

You are talking about touring in May. That is only eight weeks away. You are at the very early planning stages of getting into your first tour. Why Europe; and why so soon? I am not sure if you're American, English or from a Commonwealth nation. I have a feeling you're English because you didn't ask about putting bikes on planes and commented on Scottish accents. Why not stay at home and do the Trans-America route; John-o-Groats to Dover; Melbourne to Sydney etc. (depending on your nationality)? Minimise the risk and trouble for yourself. Spend the money you were going to spend on the flight/ferry on the bicycle/camping gear you need instead.

I spent almost six months preparing for my first trip (Hong Kong to Shanghai). I listened to language-learning MP3s while riding for an hour or more each day. I absorbed everything I could from this site and other excellent bicycle touring sites (yes, there are many out there including one fantastic site -- www.biketouringtips.com -- hosted by a member of this forum) . Also I spent time on Google Maps, Lonely Planet and countless general travel sites which gave information on the areas I was visiting. I made sure I had the language ability to order food, ask for directions, book hotel rooms etc. Then there's packing lists, weather information, mobile phone coverage, tools and spare parts, whether small town ATMs would accept my credit card, visas, maps, tents, how effective a 3 season sleeping bag would be in late Autumn, where to buy cooking fuel and so on, and so on... In hindsight I knew very little and was ridiculously unprepared! But I had a great time. I often wonder how much hopeless I would have been without the planning I had done.

I don't wish to discourage you from touring and want to help. I just think that even if you do make the trip in eight weeks' time it won't be enjoyable because you need to progress a lot further along your planning/research learning curve before tackling Europe (or any tour), as well as learning to be more self-reliant. I hope you don't take this in a disrespectful way and hope that I can help you to plan this or another trip in the near future.
mattbicycle is offline  
Old 03-13-10, 08:18 AM
  #29  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mattbicycle
I hope you don't take this in a disrespectful way and hope that I can help you to plan this or another trip in the near future.
Just because I ask question, doesn't mean I haven't done my research. I have done tons of research and I'm almost at a point where I'm out of questions or don't need any help. It irritated me at first that people thought I was a clueless idiot that thought he could jump on a bicycle and ride hundreds of miles without a problem.

Thats not how it is. I am extremely prepared and I am already training everyday to get ready for May. As for language, almost everyone in Europe speaks English to some degree. Sure the old grandpa-generation doesn't, but the new generation does.

And you said you had a great time but you were unprepared on the trip - well hey - atleast you had fun right?

Thats the whole goal of my tour. Not to see sights or to meet people. Just have fun. Enjoy it. If it means getting stuck in the middle of no where, then so be it.
I will have maps and mapmyride.com already planned my route for me.

If I were to write everything I know about touring it would've been half a site, and you wouldn't have read that, would you? I was just gonna ask questions and thats it.

As for googling and searching those questions on the forum, I was originally gonna copy paste the question, or atleast a small part of it, paste it into google and this forums search bar and then see if I got any results. I would then take a screenshot, save it and post it here to show you that you can't just google everything.
I suggest you try it yourself:

South Germany vs South France
Italy cycle touring route
Can you campfire in europe

etc.
NokoYoko is offline  
Old 03-13-10, 09:39 AM
  #30  
Senior Member
 
BengeBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 6,955

Bikes: 2009 Chris Boedeker custom; 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 2021 Bill Davidson custom gravel bike; 2022 Specialized Turbo Vado e-bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by NokoYoko
J
As for googling and searching those questions on the forum, I was originally gonna copy paste the question, or atleast a small part of it, paste it into google and this forums search bar and then see if I got any results. I would then take a screenshot, save it and post it here to show you that you can't just google everything.
I suggest you try it yourself:

South Germany vs South France
Italy cycle touring route
Can you campfire in europe

etc.
NokoYoko,

This is the part of your approach that made me wonder how self-reliant you are. If you are trying to argue that Google is not a perfect research tool, you win. But there are plenty of ways to get the information you need, especially if you helped yourself a bit along the way.

Let's just take one of your questions:

"2) I have no equipment nor a bike, how much would it cost me to get all the equipment needed? (backpack, panniers, water bottle, racks, lock, compass, map, side-money, rain coat, touring-clothes, shoes, helmet)."

There are at least 3 or 4 questions "baked into" that one question of yours, which are:
- How much will a bike cost?
- What equipment should I take?
- How much will the equipment cost?
- How much "side money" (spending money?) am I likely to need?

Taking these one at a time, you can easily use Google to find a number of touring- and camping-related websites that probably contain the answer to all these questions. Those websites would be this one; Adventure Cycling; CrazyGuyonaBike, REI.com; Campmor.com; Sierra Trading Post; and Bicycle Touring Pro.

In these websites, you will find:

1. Endless lists of appropriate touring bikes, and lengthy discussions about pros/cons and costs.
2. Packing lists. (There are dozens, if not hundreds of packing lists at Crazy Guy on a Bike).
3. Suggestions of where to shop for non-biking equipment. So, to answer your question, you just write down your packing list, and research the prices of each item. I just threw out REI and the others because you can quickly find the prices of practically anything you would need to tour with as a guide. Probably 30 minutes of research and you're done.
4. There are even polls of how much money people tend to spend off the bike; If you had read any of the journals of cyclists who have traveled around Europe you'll find a number of diligently record what they spend on food, campgrounds, lodging, etc. The guy who runs Bicycle Touring Pro spent several months in Europe last year and appears to have written down practically every Euro he spent, and then he reported on it.


Just a thought.

One other thing, let me address one thing based on my own experience about languages in Europe. You said: "As for language, almost everyone in Europe speaks English to some degree. Sure the old grandpa-generation doesn't, but the new generation does." IMHO, the issue is not whether "everyone in Europe speaks English." In my own experience, even in fairly small towns, you're likely not to be too far away from someone who speaks English. In case of a serious accident, or big problem (say, you get robbed), you'll quickly find some kind soul who speaks English who will be happy to help. But in more common, day-to-day situations, it's super helpful to know a few words of the local language. I learned this one of the first times I was in France -- I can understand many restaurant menus in French; hack my way through road signs, airports or mass transit; but I can't understand or speak a word of spoken French. I found myself one day in a little bakery / sandwich shop where people were standing in line, working their way to the front of the line, and then having to talk to a (very busy) person behind the counter to communicate an order. As I stood in line, I realized I was too embarrassed to shout out in English in front of a crowd of locals; I had no real way of pointing to what I wanted; and I couldn't even think of the French words to say, "I don't speak French." At that point I realized I needed to learn at least a few basics to get through situations like that. My advice to you would be the same.
BengeBoy is offline  
Old 03-13-10, 10:13 AM
  #31  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by BengeBoy
My advice to you would be the same.
Oh don't worry. I ALWAYS prepare when I'm doing something. I'm planning to get some french people to help me write some basic sentences like "Excuse me sir, may I use your bathroom?". I know a bit of german, but not much. I have a german friend though, back in Dortmund. He said that he'll help me with my German. Sweet, eh?

Also since I am fluent in Polish I won't have that much trouble talking with serbians/croatians/bosnians. Even if the language barrier prevents me from expressing myself, I'll have a notepad with me with serbian/croatian sentences. :-)
NokoYoko is offline  
Old 03-13-10, 06:54 PM
  #32  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 599 Times in 331 Posts
Get a bicycle.

Start riding ... lots. In all sorts of weather. In all sorts of terrain.

Get some touring gear.

Ride out 100 km from where you live, camp overnight with whatever you brought, and ride back.

You'll figure out the answers to most of your questions that way.
Machka is offline  
Old 03-15-10, 12:26 PM
  #33  
Formerly Known as Newbie
 
Juha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 6,249
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by ironwood
I would strongly advise against camping outside of established campgrounds in Europe...
and I hear the weather is horrible in the US. This "Europe" you mention consists of several dozen countries, and in some of those countries (Northern Europe specifically) wild camping is recognised and perfectly legal concept since forever? I'm not sure it's a good idea in Central Europe, where OP plans to tour, and I know open fire is not. But speaking of the whole of Europe in this context is just a sweeping generalisation.

--J
__________________
To err is human. To moo is bovine.

Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


Become a Registered Member in Bike Forums
Community guidelines
Juha is offline  
Old 03-15-10, 01:11 PM
  #34  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston area
Posts: 2,035

Bikes: 1984 Bridgestone 400 1985Univega nouevo sport 650b conversion 1993b'stone RBT 1985 Schwinn Tempo

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 542 Post(s)
Liked 152 Times in 100 Posts
I shouldn't have said Europe because concepts of land ownereship vary from country to country, but since the OP is heading toward the more populated countries. he would be well advised to find out what is permissable and not. But even if wild camping is legal I don't know if I would do so close to a road. There are a lot of strange people in cars.
ironwood is offline  
Old 03-15-10, 01:33 PM
  #35  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston area
Posts: 2,035

Bikes: 1984 Bridgestone 400 1985Univega nouevo sport 650b conversion 1993b'stone RBT 1985 Schwinn Tempo

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 542 Post(s)
Liked 152 Times in 100 Posts
I agree with your advice. I started touring in the seventies after using my bike to commute and do errands. A five mile commute beame a twelve mile commute, then a twentyfive mile round trip. Then I realized I could go fifty miles to the beach. I started carrying more stuff so I got rack and then panniers. An overnight trip led to a week in Vermont and NH. Then I heard about Bikecentennial and I realized it was possible to ride across North America, and I did so on my own, then to Europe.

So my advice to the new tourist is to find an old bike , learn about it and start riding to the store or post office or school first.
ironwood is offline  
Old 03-16-10, 12:57 PM
  #36  
Bike addict, dreamer
 
AdamDZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Queens, New York
Posts: 5,165
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
NokoYoko, Google is the best search tool humanity ever invented. Learn some advanced search syntax and you can find anything. The Internet is full of bicycle touring knowledge, there are hundreds related site that come out in Google. If you were unable to find good touring info that means you have been doing something wrong. Your original questions clearly show that you have done no research. CrazyGuyOnABike site has tons of info as well. Show some effort if you want people to help you.

You don't own a bike yet? When was the last time you've ridden a bike? You may not be physically prepared for such tour. Get a bike first start riding then start planning a tour. Do a few overnight trips to test your gear. Then do some longer rides before you embark on a long journey.

$300 is an expensive bike? Actually, that's a cheap bike.

Adam
AdamDZ is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Steve0000
Touring
9
04-16-13 07:12 AM
downtube42
Touring
26
12-19-12 08:32 PM
simplygib
Touring
19
12-02-10 10:04 PM
stevage
Touring
4
01-31-10 09:57 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.