Tag Archives: planning

Transporting Bicycles On Ferries, Boats and Trains

Transporting bicycles around the globe on trains, boats and planes is at best a chore and at worst an expensive and stressful endeavour likely to decrease your life expectancy. But, it’s a necessary evil for many cycle tourists and you only have to try it once to realise that not everyone is as thrilled with your cycling plans as you are. Here’s what you need to know to have a smooth journey when transporting a bicycle.

Transporting Bicycles on Ferries

The simplest and most hassle free method of transporting bicycles, especially when heavily laden with panniers and touring gear, is to use a ferry.

Transporting Bicycles onto a ferry in the Greek islands
Cycling onto a ferry in the Greek islands

Ferries, in some form or another are found nearly everywhere and any ferry that takes cars and even those that don’t, in my experience, will also take bicycles and typically there is no weight or size restriction. On large commercial ferries that go from country to country you ride on with the cars, tie the bike up at the side of the car deck with some kind of rope (usually provided, but often some extra bungee straps are useful). During the voyage the lower decks are closed so take what luggage you need with you up to your seat, cabin, etc. Once the journey is complete you go back down to the vehicle levels, find your bicycle and roll off the other side, just like a car. No hassle, no fuss, perhaps a slight extra cost for taking a bike, but usually far less than the price the charge for cars. Continue reading Transporting Bicycles On Ferries, Boats and Trains

How to plan an adventure

Planning for an adventure
Planning for an adventure

Often the most difficult parts of any trip is getting it started. It’s just about getting enough momentum for plans to emerge and evolve, tickets to be booked, equipment to be procured and for you to find yourself taking that first step on your journey.

Well, I have a trick to get this going, it’s one that many serial adventurers use and it’s a technique revered for its simplicity and effectiveness: ‘tell your mates.’

Yep, that’s it. Just tell people about what you are looking to do. If you’re doing it alone then telling people will reaffirm to yourself that it’s actually happening. Tell enough people and the idea will gain its own momentum and you will mercilessly be swept along with it. Continue reading How to plan an adventure

12 days and one assignment to go!

SRAM-PC991
procrastination at it's best

It’s nearly time to start cycling to south-east Asia. I’ve got 12 days and one last uni assignment to go and I can finally begin my journey east. The plan has been massively revised in the last few weeks; the bad news is that Charlie, who I began planning this trip with over a year ago, has had an irrefusable offer from his uni to work through the summer with the opportunity to win a prestigous award, so he won’t be cycling any great distances this year, although he might fly out and join us for a small section in Europe. However the good news is that Joe, one of my oldest and most trusted friends, is now able to join us for ‘as long as money allows’ where as before he was only going to accompany us as far as Slovenia before making his way to a wedding in Africa.

The planning stage is almost complete, I’m only waiting on a few small items; some methylated spirits, malaria tablets, one last course of vaccinations and a filter for my camera. The only really pressing thing is getting this assignment done for next Tuesday so I’d better stop photographing chains get back to work!

If you really want to see how creative a person can be then you should watch them avoid a task they’ve become tired of; for me this is writing sociology assignments – I just don’t find it quite as interesting as my other modules.

Warmth and Water; what makes a good cycle-tour: pt.1

a cosy campsite in Croatia
a cosy campsite in Croatia

Recently I found myself asking the question ‘what makes a good cycle-tour’; it’s been well over a year since Charlie, a fellow student, and I agreed that in the summer of 2012 we would embark on a transcontinental ride from England to China. Since then the plan has evolved to include more people, more locations, backup routes and has undergone many subtle revisions. Despite all this another seemingly impassable obstacle has emerged from the woodwork over the last few weeks; and that is that Charlie wants to ride fast, so he can drop over the Himalayas into India before the border closes on December the 1st, and I want to ride slow so that I can meet Ellie, see her fantastic blog here, in Slovenia and take a detour into Greece before looping around the south of Turkey. As my own separate plans have developed Continue reading Warmth and Water; what makes a good cycle-tour: pt.1

Switzerland 2012; the home run

Zurich at night
first stop; Zurich at night - our flight lands in the evening

I don’t know how long it has been since I started taking the prospect of cycling to China seriously; well over a year I think. I’ve wanted to do it for ages but always preferred the idea of having company, and could never fully convince anyone to surrender a year of their life and what money they had to two wheels and a tent. Now, since I’ve found some like-minded people to join and I’ve been committed to a date (mid June) I’ve had to take extra shifts at work and save every penny I could to fund it, there has been quite a lot of kit to procure along with hours of research on visas, insurance, routes and mapping etc. This combined with my last year of Uni and general life stuff has made the last few winter months quite tough. But finally the end is in sight; the end of planning, the end of Uni and the start of life on the road as I make my way to China. Continue reading Switzerland 2012; the home run

MSR AC Bivy Review – Updated

It’s time for me to update my MSR AC Bivy review. I’ve spent quite a few nights in this yellow cocoon and have formed some new opinions on it.

MSR AC Bivy Review

The MSR AC Bivy is generously sized, it’s the kind of bivy you can place a full-sized ground mat, a large sleeping bag and a daypack into and still have room to shuffle, it opens from the top with the zip going straight across the width of the upper side at about eye level. I’m only a mere 5ft10 or so but this bivy would be fine for people bigger than me as the pictures hopefully show. Continue reading MSR AC Bivy Review – Updated