> I am in need of telephone #'s, preferably Fax #'s, for bicycle shops
>in the UK. I am planning a late July tour from London to Edinburgh,
>and I am looking for sources for bicycle route data, such as elevation,
>campsites, weather conditions, bed & breakfasts - all the usual bicycle
Can't do phone numbers, but since you said later that any help would be
appreciated, I can do some random thoughts:
1. I assume you will be flying in and out of the same airport, and
using the train one way. If so, I **highly** recommend that you do
your trip in whichever direction uses the train first. Assuming you're
planning to fly into London, that would mean train from London to
Edinburgh, then ride Edinburgh to London.
Reason: sometimes it is problematic getting bikes onto trains. If you
do the train part first, then if there is some problem which delays you
a day, you can adjust. If you do the ride first, and then have to rely
on getting onto one of a small set of particular trains to get you back
to the airport on time, it could get exciting if there are any
2. Planning: Of course, any info you can get in advance will help.
However, you can successfully plan a tour on-the-fly in this country,
if necessary. Get the relevant Ordnance Survey (OS) maps, and head in
generally the right direction. If you can cope with Oregon, you won't
find any hills you can't handle between London and Edinburgh, even if
you do accidentally pick a route which forces you to go over. For
distance touring, we usually use the OS 'Routemaster' series (8 maps
cover the whole country) as a nice compromise between bulk and detail.
The OS '1 to 50000' series is better for detail, but needs more maps.
You should be able to pick up a full set at larger bookshops in either
London or Edinburgh, or buy them individually locally as need arises.
(Most newsagents seem to sell the local ones, or look for the tourist
information offices.) Carry a compass. Sometimes, when all else
fails, it's handy to be able to go 'basically North' until you find
some landmark to reorient yourself by.
3. Campsites: When you arrive, find a newsagent or bookshop and get
one of the many 'Campsites in GB' books. They'll help you to locate
sites for planning purposes. There are lots of them in the area you
plan to be in, so there should be no problem of availability, but the
book will help you locate them. *Don't* trust the campsite markings
on the maps. Campsites are cheap.
4. Roads: Bikes are not permitted on motorways (whose numbers start
with 'M', e.g. the M1 or the M25) and are also not permitted on 'roads
subject to motorway regulations' (whose numbers have a following '(M)',
e.g. some portions of the A1 are A1(M)). You need to know that for map
planning. In general, B-roads, and higher-numbered A-roads, are
reasonably pleasant for cycling on. Low numbered A-roads usually
aren't. Especially, avoid the A1 where possible. 'Unclassified'
(un-numbered) roads are often scenic, but they are also often
unpleasantly surfaced and we usually try to avoid them for distance
touring. They're better for weekend pootling around.
5. Weather: Plan for wide variation. Lots of light stuff that you
can layer as it cools down is good; e.g. two Polatek 100 jerseys are
better than one Polatek 200. It WILL rain, so bring a raincoat, and
put everything in your panniers into plastic bags. Ziploc are best.
Anything you REALLY need to keep dry wants to be inside *2* plastic
bags. Ignore this at your own risk.
Paul Smee, Computing Service, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1UD, UK