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Old 09-10-12, 04:49 AM   #1
Gareth B
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Latvia to Southampton

I'm a novice cyclist and an event manager by trade.

I have been asked to head up the organisation of a cycle from Latvia to Southampton in 2013 for a people trafficking charity (I will not be cycling). The first girl they rescued was trafficked from Latvia to Southampton and they are cycling the route she was trafficked to raise awareness and much needed funds to fund the rescue of more trafficking victims in the UK.

I have found this forum really useful for general bits of information. However, I have a few specific questions that I would like to ask to experienced cyclists that would really help me make this a safe and successful trip. I hope I'm not imposing and that this type of use of the forum is acceptable.

I'll tell you what I have in mind already and please feel free to comment, tell me I'm doing it all wrong and (hopefully) offer advice on some or all of it.

What I know already:

May 2013
6 cyclists
Latvia to Southampton
2 weeks (is this realistic?)

I am planning to take a tour bus with beds on board so we don't have to worry about accommodation enroute.


What is the best way of planning a cycle route? I am well versed in planning European tours for bands but these are by car/tour bus so motorways etc are fine. I have been using Google Earth to look at the routes across Europe. Safety is my primary concern.
All cyclists will be experienced.

If it is legal, is it safe to cycle on dual carriageways?

Is a group of 6 cyclists OK together or should I split them into 2 groups?

Do I need to look at wind direction in May across Europe? If so, where do I find out this information and how much of a bearing on us changing the date should it take?

I have planned to bring a Physio/paramedic, bike mechanic and myself as support. Do you foresee us needing anyone else? Some of the cyclists will be able to carry out their own bike maintenance.

Does anyone have any experience cycling across European borders? Do we need any special paperwork?

I am thinking about taking a support van (as well as the tour bus) to drive ahead of the cyclists, plan stops every few hours, deal with any issues and set them off again. Then repeat. Does this sound feasible/a good idea?

I realise some of these questions may sound stupid to some of you experienced cyclists but I would rather ask and sound stupid than guess, get it wrong and fail on the road or even worse, cause someone to have an accident and get injured.

Hope you can help - thanks so much for reading this (if you got this far!).


Gareth B
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Old 09-13-12, 07:00 AM   #2
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As a fund-raising venture you have included some pretty steep costs with a high ratio of support staff/rider. The market for fund-raising bike rides is becoming saturated. Unless your riders are "rescued trafficked persons" or well known celebrities then you will have a hard time marketing the fund-raising element on such a tame route.
Schengen Area countries require no internal border controls for EU citizens.
The sensible route would be more or less coastal There is a good, well marked route from Denmark to N France, the North Sea Cycle Route. It is all pretty flat with lots of bike-only sections. The main enemy is wind which generally blows from the West, but not always.
The time depends on how athletic your riders are. They need to know the mileage that they can maintain for days on end. If they don't know, then use 50 miles/day; regular riders can do 60-80miles a day. Beyond 80miles/day is for experienced riders. It is about 1300 miles so you should be looking at about 3 weeks of riding + rest days and contingency.
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Old 09-13-12, 11:12 AM   #3
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If it is legal, is it safe to cycle on dual carriageways?.
I'd say No, Twice.

Do you have separate grants for the bus and Overhead,
or is that to be deducted from the charity donations?

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-13-12 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 09-14-12, 11:24 AM   #4
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Speaking just about the UK end of things here ...

Originally Posted by Gareth B View Post
If it is legal, is it safe to cycle on dual carriageways?
If it's "just" a dual carriageway, and not a motorway then it'll be legal but it might or might not be safe. If it's a dual carriageway within a town/city then you'll probably be okay, if it's a major trunk road linking towns/cities then I'd recommend staying away.

[QUOTE=Gareth B;14711150Does anyone have any experience cycling across European borders? Do we need any special paperwork?[/quote]

You'll need a passport to get into/out of the UK. However assuming you avoid the Kaliningrad exclave then you can get all the way from Latvia to Belgium/France without really noticing where the borders are (you'll need to carry photo id of some kind though).

Last edited by palmersperry; 09-14-12 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Got enclave/exclave mixed up!
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Old 09-15-12, 12:46 AM   #5
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You dont need any special paperwork and most likely no one will stop you at EU borders, however you need to carry either a passport, drivers licence or some kind of id with you.

Depends on how experienced cyclists you have, what is their equipment (if you have support bus, i would expect road bikes, right?). If so, 2 weeks are more than enough. Experienced cyclists with road bikes can easily make 200km per day.
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