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Off to have a Cycle Touring Adventure in Dartmoor

Off to have a Cycle Touring Adventure in Dartmoor
  I think of myself as rather fortunate to live in the South West of England. Perfect for cycle touring with being nicely placed in between two awesome National Parks; Dartmoor and Exmoor. With the bits in between filled with endless country roads and superb views from all directions. I have the luxury of heading in any direction for a cracking local ride, and if I want to go further, I hop on the train. And on this occasion, my target was Dartmoor for a couple of days chilled out riding.     Hopping out of bed early, I had that feeling of not being entirely prepared for this trip, which is completely out of character for me. After a busy week at work, I needed to get away for a couple of days, and instead of preparing the night before I did my best to finish my work to...
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Italian Cycling Adventures: Pavia to Mantova by bike via the River Po

Italian Cycling Adventures: Pavia to Mantova by bike via the River Po
It is time for the next instalment from our guest blogger, Alexandre Rotenberg. Alexandre is based in Italy and is a photographer and cycle touring enthusiast. He enjoys exploring the beautiful areas of Italy by bicycle and contacted me about sharing his writing and photography work with the Cycling Touring Community. This is the final post of four from Alexandre. They have all been  enjoyable to read and with all the fantastic photos, you will want to go grab your bicycle straight away and discover these great places Alex has explored! If you would like to see Alexandre's other posts on Cycling Touring Community, check them out. https://www.cyclingtouring.org/blog/entry/cycle-tourism-along-milan-s-canal-navigli-network https://www.cyclingtouring.org/blog/entry/the-journey-is-more-important-than-the-destination https://www.cyclingtouring.org/blog/entry/piedmont-gastronomy-history-and-beautiful-landscapes   Pavia to Mantova by bike via the River Po   Following on from my recent trip to Piedmont, the next route took me eastwards from Pavia to Mantua (170km) along the mainly-asphalted ciclovia del po, which hugs Italy’s longest...
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The Journey is More Important than the Destination

The Journey is More Important than the Destination
It is time for the next guest blog from Alexandre Rotenberg. Alexandre is based in Italy and is a photographer and cycle touring enthusiast. He enjoys exploring the beautiful areas of Italy by bicycle and contacted me about sharing his writing and photography work with the Cycling Touring Community. This is the second of four great posts from Alexandre. There are some fantastic photos from Alexandre's bicycle touring journeys. Hope you enjoy! If you would like to see Alexandre's first post, check it out here. https://www.cyclingtouring.org/blog/entry/cycle-tourism-along-milan-s-canal-navigli-network   The Journey is More Important Than the Destination One of my hobbies is to cycle long distances across the countryside of Northern Italy.  Prior to cycling long distances, I like to have a general plan of where I’ll be going and when I should reach my “destination”. My rational side proceeds to painstakingly research and draw a proposed safe route on a map,...
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Life changes bring more Cycle Touring Opportunities

Life changes bring more Cycle Touring Opportunities
If you read my past cycling blog posts, you will know that I'm currently based on the beautiful island of Jersey, Channel Islands. For those of you who don't know, Jersey is a very small island off the coast of France, and is part of the British Isles. A stunning island that has been an awesome place live for the past 5 years. That said, cycling on an island 9 by 5 miles in size has brought some challenges with trying to keep cycling interesting. Same roads, views etc. To help overcome this, I re-invented my cycling by starting cycle touring in nearby France to break the boredom. That was five years ago and I'm so glad I got out there and tried something new. It brought this website and a host of great adventures. Life can bring big changes. We all get them from time to time. Some good....
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Best Laid Cycling Touring Plans can go Wrong!

Best Laid Cycling Touring Plans can go Wrong!
It was all planned out. As much as it needed to be anyway. I was riding from St Malo to Le Mans and my cycling friend I was meeting with, was riding from Caen to Le Mans. You guessed it. Le Mans was the meeting point. Did we make it and meet up? Nope! This is what happened. If you read my post a couple of weeks ago, you would know that I have been planning to meet up with another Cycling Touring Community member. Simon was cycling from London to the Sahara. All the way through France and Spain, before heading to the Sahara (if time allowed anyway). It was to be a challenge ride for him, with long days in the saddle planned. Living very close to France, I thought it would be great to meet up and ride along with him for a few days before heading...
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Bike Touring, Spring and Sunshine!

Bike Touring, Spring and Sunshine!
I'm writing this post whilst looking out to beautiful spring sunshine and glorious blue skies. For me the weather plays such an important part in life, especially when bicycle touring. Not that I always let the weather control my cycling, but who doesn't prefer cycling in the sunshine as opposed to driving rain and gales?! Today I have dreaming of chilled out cycling along sleepy roads, eating great food and taking in the world at a slower pace. Escaping the everyday pressures of life for a little while. I think it is so important to find time to just chill, do something different and recharge. Bicycle touring really helps me with this. That back to basics way of life is a real pleasure. How about you - can you relate to this? All this spring sunshine happiness leads perfectly to my first bicycle tour of 2016. If this weather continues, it looks like...
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Cycle Touring Advice | What do I need for my first Bicycle Tour?

Cycle Touring Advice
So, you have possibly made the best decision of your life. You have decided to go on a bicycle tour! But what next? You have a destination in mind. Maybe have some ideas of what to do along the way and thoughts about where you can sleep. The start date is approaching and your brain starts to take over with all these questions. Do I need special gear? Do I need a dedicated touring bicycle? Do I need to spend lots of money? Start by chilling out! The simple answer to these questions is no. Of course you need a few basic items to get started; bicycle being the most obvious starting point. But aside from a bicycle, I bet many of the items you need or think you need, you already own. If not, I also bet many of your friends & family could help you out. Check out a blog post I...
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Get out of bed and go Cycling!

Get out of bed and go Cycling!
It is fair to say that in terms of cycling, 2016 has been a bit of a struggle so far for me! The most amount of miles I have got on the bike has been my 15 mile daily commute to work, and the occasional Saturday or Sunday quick (1 hour) morning ride. Maybe the effects of the Christmas holidays are lingering. Whatever the reason, it is time for change. So, today I kick started my cycling for 2016 back into life. It may have been blowing a gale, driving rain and generally unpleasant when I woke up, but after a hearty breakfast, I got dressed in my cycling gear and braved the elements! And I'm so glad I did. I survived and came away with a renewed energy and focus. My body is back to life after a month of chilling out a little too much! The ride today...
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Cycle Touring Festival. Here I come!

Cycle Touring Festival. Here I come!
I'm very excited! I have ordered my ticket to the Cycle Touring Festival . After missing out last year through my own forgetfulness, this year I was prepared. I signed up to the newsletter and as soon as the tickets went on sale, I got one :-) For those of you who don't know, the Cycle Touring Festival is held in Clitheroe, Lancashire (UK). And this year it runs between Friday 27th - Sunday 30th May 2016, with an option to stay another night for a few extra pounds. As you can guess by the name, the festival is aimed at anyone interested in cycle touring. Doesn't matter if you are experienced, novice or just interested in having a weekend away, there will be something for everyone. The 2016 lineup is yet to be 100% confirmed, although the organisers have told me to expect Tom Allen  and Neil & Harriet...
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Eating and Cooking on a Bicycle Tour | Part 2

Eating and Cooking on a Bicycle Tour
Welcome back to Part 2 of this post about my take on eating and cooking whilst on a bicycle tour. In Part One  I talked about how I cook, where I eat and what works for me. In this part I'll run through a few of the things I like eat and how I cook them. Lets get started There is no better place to start than my favorite meal of the day. A great breakfast will get in you the mood for crunching away the miles, hour after hour. It kicks starts your body and is the foundation for feeling happy all day. As I touched on in Part One , try not to skip breakfast or eat something that isn't matching the energy needed for you day of cycling. You are on a cycle tour, not a dieting boot camp! Getting this wrong could mess up your day and leave you...
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Eating and Cooking on a Bicycle Tour | Part 1

Eating and Cooking on a Bicycle Tour
In my list of things I love in this world, both cycling and food are high up there. Obsession is probably a better way to describe my commitment level for both :-) My poor suffering family, friends and work colleagues generally have to listen to me talking obsessively about one of them constantly. And more often than not, I'm dreaming of my next meal shortly after finishing the last! I have always eaten well to feed my cycling over the years, but nothing prepared me for the hunger I would feel after progressing into the world of cycle touring! With many long days in the saddle and having all my kit on the back of the bicycle, three meals a day soon turns into many more! This makes bicycle touring and food a perfect match me :-) I have read many posts from people asking what, when and how to eat...
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2016 | A Year of Cycling Adventures

2016
Happy New Year! With Christmas and New Year well and truly over, it is time to get moving with cyclingtouring.org  in 2016! The Christmas holidays were a welcomed break. My family and I headed off to the Brecon Beacons for a short break, visiting family, eating good food and generally chilling out. Staying on a farm, located on top of a Welsh mountain in high winds and rain may sound crazy to many people (my wife included!), but I find it really invigorates you. The beautiful views and peace & quiet really help get away from busy day to day life :-) 2015 was such a busy year in so many ways. The launch of cyclingtouring.org  in June/July was an obvious highlight for me and seeing the community grow at a steady pace has been a pleasure. The support and positive feedback from everyone has been fantastic. Please keep it...
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Local Bike Rides and Recurring Cycle Tours & Rides

Local Bike Rides and Recurring Cycle Tours & Rides
  Over the past few months many of you have kindly taken the time to send in suggestions for new features and changes. Two topics that have come up a few times, is to have the ability to find people people to go on local bike rides (not necessarily touring) with and to setup regular/recurring tours & cycle rides . Two great ideas that I think will benefit many people. So, today I have made a few changes. A new category called ' Local Bike Ride ' has been created. This is great for people who don't always get chance to go off touring on a regular basis, but are still looking for people to go out cycling with. Maybe you have moved to a new area or you want to find new people to go cycling with in your local area. For people looking to setup regular/recurring cycle tours...
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Mini Cycle Tour in November

Mini Cycle Tour in November
As you may have seen in my previous post, I have headed off France this week for a few days cycling. With the weather being unusually pleasant for this time of year, it was a perfect opportunity to clear away the cobwebs and chill out. Arriving in the Port of St Malo late Sunday evening, I headed off to my hotel. I do normally like to camp (even in colder months), but some of the deals at this time of year, make hotels a good choice. At the end of a hard days riding, who doesn't like hot showers and comfy beds?! Once checked in, I got my kit for the ride ready to go in the morning. Some final route planning before bed and I was ready. Although only one hour difference in time, it still amazes me how tired you can feel in the morning! Pitch black at...
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Get Up & Go Cycling!

Get Up & Go Cycling!
I wrote a little blog post last Sunday evening after popping out for a night time cycle ride, to encourage other people to be motivated during the dark and cold months. Here it is...   It was a Sunday night. Dark and getting cold. I was little tired from the previous night's Halloween party. I guess, hungover is a better way of putting it! My mind was feeling a little guilty for not going out riding during the day when it was glorious sunshine and I was also very aware I had a big ride coming up the following weekend when I head off to Northern France for 3 days of undisturbed cycling. I'm pleased to say my motivational side won and I talked myself into popping out for a quick hour in the darkness.  On the back of a beautiful day of sunshine, the sunset was simply amazing! I...
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Bicycle Lights | Ay Up Lights Review

Bicycle Lights
With dark mornings and nights closing in fast, this makes it a perfect time for me to write few paragraphs about my bicycle lights of choice.  Bicycle lights are subjective. It is all about your needs, surroundings and ultimately your budget. Ask yourself some questions before making a choice and spending your hard earned cash. How long do they need to stay on for ? Are my cycling routes in well lit/dark areas ? How will I charge the battery ?   Let me start with my riding habits and where I ride to give you an insight into why I made my choice. I live on the small island of Jersey. An island that is made up of miles of country lanes, with the majority not having any form of street lighting. It is fair to say it gets pretty dark! I do like riding at night in the pitch...
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Think Today, Ride Tomorrow

Think Today, Ride Tomorrow
If you are living in the Northern hemisphere right now, then the nights are closing in, the mornings are dark and your bed is making you want to hide under the covers. Well, it is for me anyway! If you read my last blog post , then you will know it doesn't always stop me riding, but it can be a struggle to get motivated sometimes. For me, it is the time of year when I start to think about, what next for my cycling? Did I go where I wanted to during the warmer months? Should have gone for a ride instead of popping to the pub beer garden!? We cannot beat ourselves up about missed opportunities, but we can have ideas for the future and start to make plans. We all need something to look forward to :-)  The one thing I'm a little frustrated about this year...
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Keep Cycling during Autumn & Winter

Keep Cycling during Autumn & Winter
As autumn and winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, like many people I'm starting to find it a little chilly and darker, especially when it comes to riding my bicycle. To be honest, I have not always been the greatest fan of the colder months. But in recent years I have decided to embrace it and get out there. What I have found is that it is really enjoyable to be out on my bicycle when everyone else is tucked up indoors. It feels like I have the roads to myself at times and I get to see areas near and afar from a different perspective.  This year will be no different. I have already dug out my warmer cycling gear and given it the smell test, serviced all my bicycles (especially the single speed commuting bicycle I ride to work every day) and made sure my lights are working....
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Sleeping Bags for Cycle Touring | Terra Nova Voyager 800

Sleeping Bags for Cycle Touring
Are you like me? And have owned a few cheap sleeping bags over the years. Purchasing them for occasional usage; crashing at someone's house, back garden camping, festivals, etc.. You stand in your local camping shop with a couple of thoughts in mind. It has to be cheap (preferably in a sale) and the right colour. Little thought goes into the quality and if it will keep you warm and comfortable. I don’t think anyone can be criticised for this approach. Lets face it, many vendors market us with these cheap, quite often low quality items for those very same reasons. People quite often don't care. If it is only for a night or two, why did I need spend a fortune? This methodology is okay at the time, but maybe not so great when trying to stuff your bulky sleeping bag into your panniers for your first cycle tours!...
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Getting Started with Tents for Cycle Touring

Getting Started with Tents for Cycle Touring
Your first cycle tour is all planned. You know roughly where you want to go and how long you will go for. You have thought about camping, but your last experience was at a Scouts/Girl Guides weekend away when you were 12 years old! Looking through your local camping shop and on-line you become even more confused about what you need? And the price tags on some kit can be eye watering! Has any of the above been in your mind?  If yes is the answer, then don't worry. My next few posts are going to tell you about the kit I took on some of my first cycle tours. And how not breaking the bank doesn't mean you have to suffer too! I'm certainly not a rich man and when this cycle touring lark started for me, I didn't want to buy the greatest gear until I knew I...
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