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#235085 - 23.03.06 22:17 Help: beginners
cienfuegos
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Hello everybody!

we are three students from Madrid who are thinking about making a cycling-tour around belgium and holland for more or less 15 days.

Neither of us has ever done a long cycling tour so we have a lot of questions. The most important is the economic one (because of our condition=students). I would like to know how much (approoximately) can cost such a tour, including: bike (a normal one, not the worst and not the best), the bags for the bike, sleeping-bag, campings and a tent for three.

I also would appreciate the opinion of some of you: ¿Do you think it's a good idea to do this tour without any experience and no mechanical knowledge? Only one thing is clear, we are very enthusistic and sportifs, but we are not sure its enough....

Thank you for your help!!

If you wish answering in german, spanish or french, there is no problem
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#235114 - 24.03.06 00:23 Re: Help: beginners [Re: cienfuegos]
Peter2
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Hello
I'm also student from Germany (not english as you can see:-). If you spend enough time looking for offers at shops, you may save a lot of money. E-bay is also a good posibility. Perhaps you can get some things cheaper if they are used (don't take synthetic sleeping-bags, if they are too old, tey won't keep you warm). It is only very expensive if you notice you have to get something very quick!
Perhaps you can lend some things like bags for your bike?
It could be a problem that your equipment becomes to heavy or too big, so you get problems to carry it.
It depends also on the season. When will you make your tour?
It is more expensive in winter, or in a cold season. In the summer you don't need very warm sleeping-bags.
My girlfriend bought a new bike from Stevens last year for about 600 Euro. It's fun to ride it and we didn't have any problems so long, although it is equiped with the second lowest Shimano-components. You should try to find a bike without rear suspension (as long as you are healthy). They cost a lot but don't really work as long as you don't pay about 1000;-.
You should try to repair your bike, which means in the beginng, buy a book or look in the internet for manuals and try it. If you buy a used bike you can pick it to pieces and put some greace on the parts which are supposed to move.
sleeping-bag: I've bought one for 70 Euro, in which it starts to become cold at 5 degrees. But it worked well all summer long.
tent: I think you can get one around or even under 100 euro, it will be heavy, about 5 or 6 kilos, but at least it is for all of you three and you can split it up.
Bags for bikes are complicated, because many cheap ones don't have a good System to fix them. And it is not so nice if it brokes.
Lokk either for Vaude Bags or other Bags that are used by other here in this forum, or bags with the "Klick-Fix" 1 or 2 System.
Look at
bags
and
Shops
there are many Shops were you can search. It is also a good forum.
I hopr it helps you
best wishes
Peter
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#235216 - 24.03.06 12:11 Re: Help: beginners [Re: cienfuegos]
whisky
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Hi!

I am dutch (I lived in Roterdam) so I know quite a lot about touring in my lovely flat little country :-)

The cycleroads in Holland are exellent so a simple cheap bike should be OK. In Belgium the roads are a little more rough but still a normal bike should do fine.
The Ardennes in the east of Belgium and Limburg in the south east of Holland are quite hilly so if you plan to bike there you'll need 21 gears. For the rest of Holland and Belgium 3 to 12 gears should be enough.

The cheapest way is to buy a simple (second hand) touring bike
(28' tires) and fit it with a front rack and a backrack. Best would be steel racks as these are stronger than alluminium ones. The backrack should be able to carry 20kg.
A bottlleholder for on the frame is also useful as is a backmirror. Especially if you want to cycle in Amsterdam on a loaded bike smile
If you want to use a MTB (not neseccary in Holland and Belgium) buy one without rear suspension as this won't work with heavy loads.

For tires I would recommend Schwalbe Marathon tour. They are not the cheapest but they will save you a lot of flat tires smile

Panniers should be watertight (holland=rain wink) . Most of us use either Vaude or Ortlieb but these are quite expensive. You can also buy cheep canvas ones and store your gear in large garbagebags.

The rest of the gear you can best lend from friends or buy on e-bay.
The most expensive thing is the tent followed by the sleeping back. The sleeping back should be comfy to 8 degrees when camping in spring or summer so a simple one would do.

For cooking I would recommend Camping Gaz gear as you can buy cannisters on every camping in Belgium and Holland and they are cheap and easy to use.

For clothing: don't forget to bring a rain jacket and trousers with you and a warm pullover (fleece). Preferably don't wear any cotton clothing as it will get wet quickly and dries slowly. Synthetics or wool are better. In Germany and perhaps also in Madrid you can buy cheap cycle clothing at certain supermarkets or in internet shops, so just take a look there. For a tour like yours you don't need expensive clothing.

When you are a student (like me) there are always loads of old unused bikes standing around the campus. Practise your repairing skills on those old crappy forgotten bikes laugh

Most common bikeproblems:
How do I fix a flat tire
How do I remove my wheel
How do I change my brakepads and adjust my brake
How do I cange my chain
How do I adjust my derailleur
How do I replace a broken spoke

If you have more questions just mail me smile

Cycle the world,
Marc
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#235303 - 24.03.06 18:50 Re: Help: beginners [Re: cienfuegos]
cienfuegos
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Thank you both for your help!
Peter, your tips have been very useful. But, do you think e-bay is trustful? I've never bought anything there so I don´t know if its a good way to buy something? Do you have experience about buying in e-bay?

Hi whiskey, our idea is to travel in holland from 1st to 15th july so I hope the weather will be ok and it wo´nt rain too much. Which parts of Holland are the best ones to travel by bike and to visit, too? And do you know aproximately the prices of a camping site for one tent one night?

I hope finally we do this travel but we afford between 800-1000 € so that´s the problem we have...

Thank you again for your help,

Fernando
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#235376 - 25.03.06 01:04 Re: Help: beginners [Re: cienfuegos]
Peter2
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Hello Fernando
800-1000 per person or all together?
It's good that you ask about ebay. Although I've made good experience with books, I remember a girl who bought a PC there and the display was broken. So she has a useless part that she can't give back. My cousin bought a tent there and it was also worse because it wasn' waterproof . Water yust passed through.
Sorry. I din't remember these bad examples last time.
But on the other hand, there are many shops which sell their stuff at ebay, and they have a guarantee, so you can send it back within 14 days. Look out for these ones.
Now it is a good time to buy things that are left from the last year. They are cheaper now. Unfortunately you haven't got much variety.
Perhaps there are some things you can buil by yourself. In forum.outdoorseiten.net (see the link "Shops") are some guys who build their equipment on their own. There are also some in these forum, but I can' remember the names. -sorry
Hope it will help
best wishes
Peter
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#235377 - 25.03.06 01:10 Re: Help: beginners [Re: cienfuegos]
whisky
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Hi!

Ehm, the part I really like is the south western part (Zuid Holland) and the middel part (Overijsel).

Zuid Holland is below sealevel with lots of 'polders' with wide views. Near the sea are the dunes which are also worth visiting as they are quite unique....
Overijsel is a real river landscape.

In Holland there are many longdistance cycleroutes whitch cover the mosty beautiful parts. They are called called LF-routes and every route is described in its own book with maps etc.
http://www.cycletourer.co.uk/cycletouring/holland.shtml
http://holland.cyclingaroundtheworld.nl/

I also would recommend buying a Lonely Planet.

For campings:
Natuurcampings (nature campsites) are small, silent,cheap and simple campings. Excellent for low budget camping.
I like them the most smile Their website:
http://www.natuurkampeerterreinen.nl
Click on the map to find the campings. All natuurcampings listed:
http://www.natuurkampeerterreinen.nl/index.asp?pza=toon_accomodaties

The ANWB (Dutch automobile club) also has a camping list of all campings in Holland and Belgium (in dutch):
https://webwinkel.anwb.nl/published/webs...xemburg.nl.html
Or search under http://www.anwb.nl/ig/vakanties/campings/bestemming.jsf
To search for campsites look at the left site of th escreen under
"Zoek een camping
Bestemming"
And fill in the place where you would like to camp.

Campsites cost between 6-15E. Wild camping is not allowed but if you ask a farmer you can put up your tent in his fields for a small fee if you are lucky. Some farmers also have small campsites called "kamperen bij de boer" (camp at the farm) and these sites are also quite cheap.

But the best ones are the natuurcampings.

I bought most of my equipment using e-bay and I did not have a single problem. It is safe, cheap and fast.

If you have more questions just ask smile

Cycle the world,

Whisky
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#236058 - 27.03.06 22:05 Re: Help: beginners [Re: whisky]
cienfuegos
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Hi wiskey and peter!

Thank you a lot for your help. For the moment i don't have questions anymore and I think I have enough to do!

I hope we do at the end the trip because it must be really beautiful.

Bye

Fernando
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#236105 - 28.03.06 01:31 Re: Help: beginners [Re: cienfuegos]
moogley
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Hello Cienfuegos,

I think all in all you´ve got quite a few useful pointers.

Of course it´a good thing to plan ahead (something I thoroughly do nowadays) but I remember my first long trip I made in Northern France in 1979.

We did it on "el cheapo" 3 speed bikes with a simple army tent and a lot of improvisation.

And guess what - we had a ball not knowing how poor our gear was!

I hope you´ll have some of that fun too so don´t worry too much wink

Take care / Suerte!,
moogley
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#236437 - 28.03.06 22:27 Re: Help: beginners [Re: moogley]
cienfuegos
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Hi moogley!

You're right, I should not worry too much, but I' m very cautious and I wanna have everything under control-- you know--.

The real problem I have is just money, because I have to buy a new bike (that's quiet a lot ) and the trip in train fromo Madrid to Paris costs about 200€. That's the only question that disappoints me a little bit, but I hope finally I'll get it....

Gracias , Bye
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#237943 - 02.04.06 17:49 Re: Help: beginners [Re: cienfuegos]
Björn
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Hola Fernando,

basically all has been said by ther others. Just one more thought on the issue of "buying a bike". Online-dealers like www.canyon.de sell for very reasonable prices (no. I'm not advertising nor working for them... wink) This bike for example http://www.canyon.com/mountainbikes/index.html?b=64 costs like 500 Euros and technically is way ahead of what we used to ride in the early nineties. And our bikes where almost high-end, MTB racing material then... What I'm trying to say is, a decent brand(!) name bike will not let you down. Quality is too good these days. Just don't buy any trash from supermarkets or the likes. It's not worth it at all.

Que te lo pases genial en Holandia,

Björn
"One man's poison is another man's meat."
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#238051 - 02.04.06 23:45 Re: Help: beginners [Re: Björn]
cienfuegos
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Hello Björn,

Vielen Dank für deine Hilfe! My idea was spending between 400-600 € and I suppose that will be enough. The bike you have suggested looks pretty good. The only thing is I do´nt want a too professional bike nor a too cheap one.

We have talked also about making a tour through Frisenland and the north of Germany...

Grüsse aus Madrid

Fernando
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