Author Topic: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle  (Read 11387 times)

patrickza

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Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« on: August 16, 2016, 01:24:01 AM »
My wife and I love to travel. Our ultimate dream is to live on a comfortable boat, sailing anywhere our fancy takes us. Unfortunately comfortable boats are known to be huge money holes, so that dream may have to wait a while.

Fortunately, we also really like bikes, so if we didn't want to spend a fortune, we could travel by bicycle instead. Recently we took our first try to see if we would like it. Well we didn't like it, we loved it! In fact I'm now more excited to do bike traveling than I am to do boat traveling!

We bought a pair of folding bikes, as our planned route included a couple of flights and train trips. They weren't cheap, but they are amazingly good quality, and I'm hoping they'll last a very, very long time. The little bikes are also easy to take on metro systems, or on buses, and you don't need to worry about them getting stolen when you go somewhere because you can just take them inside.

We started in London, yes that's about as un-londonish as you can get in a picture, but we picked the hottest week of the year to be there


Next up was Belgium, it was blooming beautiful


On to Germany, as you can see, we only do 5 star accommodation


From Germany we quickly crossed into Austria, where it was us, the bikes and the Danube


Except when taking the road less traveled


We usually made our way back to the river again though


My wife says this is a dork on a bike. But this dork never burnt his face or neck. Oh yes, we washed clothes every day, so we always had something hanging on the front or back of the bike to dry out.


On one of the days we past by a ferry without noticing. It meant that a 60km day ended up being an 80km a day. Those are tiring!


Melk, probably the highlight of the trip, and we never even knew there was anything to see there until we arrived ??? it was an amazingly good surprise.


Apparently this place had the best dessert my wife has ever tasted. Something like a dumpling soaked in syrup with cooked peach inside. If you're on a biking holiday you have a license to each yummy food.


We cycled up to Vienna, spent a couple of days there and then took a train to Budapest.


The perfect cure for sore muscles is a day spent in the thermal baths  :TU:


We'd usually get up, have breakfast and pack the bikes and get on the road around 9:30-10am. Stop wherever we felt like it, usually around every 10km. Take a long lunch (er dessert) break somewhere interesting, and arrive at the next stopover at between 3 and 4pm. Then we'd wash the clothes we were wearing in the sink. Wash ourselves in a hot shower and relax a little. As it was light until very late, we'd only go exploring around 7 when it was cooler.

On average we cycled somewhere between 40 and 60km (25 and 40 miles) a day on the bikes, with our longest being 80km (55 miles) which we both thought was too far.

It was the best holiday we've every had, and something I could have done indefinitely.

In terms of the day to day costs (excluding bikes, plane and train tickets) you could get accommodation 30 Euro/person per day in cheap hotels/pvt room hostels. Eating out would be another 20-30 Euro a day. If you camp it's much cheaper, 10 Euros max p.p.p.n. Then if you go shopping for food you could eat on about another 10 euro a day each, for a total of 20 Euro/day, well within 4% of our current stache :)

On this trip we did cheaper hotels and private room hostels, eating out just over half the nights and it was still quite a cheap holiday. I'm hoping we'll camp next time, not only because it's cheaper, but because you never need to book when you're camping, so we can stay extra days if we feel like it, or stop in a town if we really like it.

Quite tough getting back into work mode afterwards, but the good thing about this lifestyle is it requires less of a stache to live on, so who know, maybe it'll become a full time way of life sometime soon :)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 05:01:08 AM by patrickza »

Malasorte

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2016, 02:57:55 AM »
This is splendid.
We did a tandem bike one week tour in France/Switzerland last year and the sense of freedom was overwhelming.
We camped all the way and the flexibility is absolutely worth it.

Bloodbuzz

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2016, 04:49:09 AM »
Ah this is perfect! you guys are living the dream - great photos.
I'm planning on doing this very same thing - spending the summers cycling, camping and hiking round Europe after FIRE - and plan to do some test trips just like yours in the meantime.
Please do more trips and post photos / blog - awesome motivation to see this when sitting in the office on a hot summers day!

dodojojo

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2016, 07:28:40 AM »
So...tell us more about the Bromptons.  Three speed or six?  How did you transport them for flights?

I've been in obsessive folder stalking mode lately.  I actually bought one but returned it because of a mechanical issue.  A number of stores sell Bromptons here but difficult to find other brands.  I'm not sure I like them enough to drop 1.5-2K.  The twiddly knobby shifters get to me.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2016, 07:37:05 AM »
Welcome back PatrickZa. I see why you were not on the forums for the last couple of months;-)

Great pictures. We want more!

KCM5

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2016, 08:07:08 AM »
This is awesome!

Can you explain your luggage a bit more? Is there a rack on the front? How are you attaching your backpack?

Last year we spent a bit of time on the Mosul and it was beautiful. We promised ourselves that we would come back and do a bike tour one day. On Bromptons, perhaps?

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2016, 09:11:18 AM »
My favorite way to travel! I hope to get to do it in Europe someday too. Thanks for sharing!

Happy in CA

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2016, 11:05:31 AM »
Those bikes look great!  I have been thinking about a touring bike for some time and it looks to me like those bikes could go all over.  Question:  where did you get the racks to hold the backpacks on the back?  Were those from Brompton?  Also did you need special backpacks?  What kind are they?  Honestly I would love to do some longer trips without having to deal with the expense and lack of options that supported tours offer. 

Thanks for the inspiration!

Cycling Stache

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2016, 11:24:01 AM »
Great thread.  Thanks for posting!  Definitely something to consider.

My parents have done several long (multi-state) bike rides in the United States since retiring.  They love them.  They take 6-8 weeks and bike, stopping at relatively cheap motels or bed and breakfast places along the way.  Things are much less expensive when you're not staying in big cities and have flexibility about where to stop.

Would you consider this as a perpetual traveler thing, or just a few months each year and otherwise retired in a location?

big_slacker

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2016, 05:28:45 PM »
Awesome trip pics! Super jealous!

I have a friend who has done multiple trips around the UK by bike, he does the fully loaded camping thing which is a bit different than what you just did but if you want to try that out he can probably give you some info. Blog link below.

http://sabrutat.blogspot.com/

He wrote a book about one? of the tour or maybe more? I haven't read the thing, lol! I totally am not him, don't get a kickback, don't give a shit if you buy the book. Just figured I'd link it if you're interested.

https://www.amazon.com/Wanderer-Warrior-Chronicler-Stefan-Abrutat-ebook/dp/B01G0VLUFQ

letired

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2016, 07:42:10 PM »
Those are some amazing photos! That sounds like a ton of fun, and is something I've been interested in, though have done about 0 research for.

+1 to more info on the bikes/bags/gear you guys used! Most of the bike touring stuff/equipment I see is for standard bikes, so I'm very curious about your stuff!

Erica

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2016, 10:43:31 PM »
Good for you. I hope you are both eating healthy to keep up your energy level.
I envy you both!

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2016, 03:14:18 AM »
Thanks for all the great comments! Let me get to some of the questions.

We camped all the way and the flexibility is absolutely worth it.
I'll be showing my wife this comment before our next trip :)

So...tell us more about the Bromptons.  Three speed or six?  How did you transport them for flights?

I've been in obsessive folder stalking mode lately.  I actually bought one but returned it because of a mechanical issue.  A number of stores sell Bromptons here but difficult to find other brands.  I'm not sure I like them enough to drop 1.5-2K.  The twiddly knobby shifters get to me.
We bought 6 speeds, the M6R -12% model. The M is the medium height handlebar, 6 for the 6 gears, and R means the rack model. the 12% is the lower gearing option. I don't know why this isn't the standard for the gearing, as even in this setup, we used 5th for the downhills, and if we could use 6th we would generally coast instead. Maybe if you're in a big rush and like pedaling down steep hills. The smaller front sprocket also means it's better protected when folded. If you buy a Brompton and tour with it go for -12%. That gear ratio also means we do most of our riding in 3rd and 4th, which is direct drive, and only a single change between the two.

We absolutely love them. I think there might even have been a small bit of jealousy from my wife over how much I loved my bike! We tried two methods for transport. The first was in an ikea dimpa bag with pipe insulation over the delicate bits and wrapped in those camping mats. The bikes were unscathed, but the roller wheels got mildly bent. Still work fine, so not a huge issue. For the long haul flight they were in the original boxes, also with the camping mat around them, and had no damage whatsoever. The only challenge with the boxes is if you start and end from different places, which is why I'm trying to dream up a folding hard case for them.

In terms of riding speed we didn't feel much slower than people in big touring bikes. At most 1-2km/h, could have been a fitness thing though. On cobblestones we had to go slower, but that's usually where there are amazing things to see so we didn't mind. It was totally worth being on folders due to the ease we could get onto trains, and take the bikes into the hotel rooms. regardless of if there was safe parking, it was so easy to fold and take them up that we did anyway. Even in the tiny room in Germany, where they slid under the small table in the room.

Welcome back PatrickZa. I see why you were not on the forums for the last couple of months;-)

Great pictures. We want more!
That and work of course, but I'm back now! I'll post some more pictures soon.

Can you explain your luggage a bit more? Is there a rack on the front? How are you attaching your backpack?
The front bags are standard brompton T-Bag. The T is for touring. They're fantastic. They have a water bottle holder on one side at the back, and a very large pocket on the other I used for the phone, wallet etc. Comes with a rain cover we used once. They also attach to the frame and not the handlebar, so the steering stays light. Such good engineering all over these bikes.

For the backpacks we used Osprey porter 46 backpacks. They're the largest size that will go on as carry on, and luckily so as we needed them to for one of our flights. Again I loved that backpack, they're front loaders not top loaders so you don't need to dig to get stuff out, and they've got fairly stiff sides in spite of weighing just about nothing. The straps also fold away so they won't get caught and torn off in the airline luggage process, always a surprise to the check in clerks. If you try find a bad review on them you'll fail miserably!

To attach them to the bike we used a 30cm length of electrical pipe, cable tied to the seat rails. You could use a dowel or piece of broomstick handle too. The shoulder straps went over that, the hip straps around the seat post, and the integrated bungee cords from the brompton rack kept them centered. We could go from touring mode to carrying mode with the backpack on our backs, bike in one hand and T-bag in the other in under 2 minutes.

Would you consider this as a perpetual traveler thing, or just a few months each year and otherwise retired in a location?
We've been talking about a year off to do this full time. Exploring all over Europe. Even if we were FI, my wife loves her job, so would eventually want to work again, though likely only a week or two a month. Sadly this would mean she has to have quite smart clothing, so apart from that year, we'll need somewhere as a base. Hopefully that will be a boat, and fortunately these bikes are perfect for that too.

Good for you. I hope you are both eating healthy to keep up your energy level.
I envy you both!
I eat well most days, but we were in Strudel country, so on this trip I ate well half the time, the other half was about enjoying the local foods. My wife really enjoyed it though, she sampled all the desserts. Luckily you can burn that off the next day. When I got back I was a couple of kilos lighter, and my trousers fit far better.

Seppia

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2016, 01:44:12 AM »
Thanks for the amazing post, what a trip!

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2016, 11:37:08 AM »
Since people seem to be interested in the bikes, I thought I'd show how useful folding bikes are. Who can spot the two bikes in the next pic?


You should just be able to see the pedals. If we removed the pipe for holding the backpack they would have slid in so far you wouldn't see them.

This is what the space is usually used for, but it looks like it was made for our bikes

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2016, 07:14:24 AM »
Some more pics as requested

French fries were invented in... Belgium, so we had to have some as a snack. The standard accompaniment is Mayonnaise here. This picture was taken after 9pm, I really love the late hours of sunlight!


Here's our last view of Germany before crossing into Austria


The blue Danube was quite green. As was everything else. Clearly they're not suffering from the severe drought El Nino is causing in my region


It was really beautiful


Fairytale castles can be seen all over


And the sunflowers were in full bloom, glowing yellow and following the sun as they tend to do.


Some days we'd stop for lunch in public parks along the river


For dinner we'd either eat out, or find a store and a spot for a picnic. The cheese was cheaper than back home, but what you can't see under the slice at the bottom is a 500 gram tub of blueberries which were even cheaper. We ate some nearly every day.


Somedays were really hot and some rain made for welcome relief


Enns was one of the first places in Austria to be officially called a town


Along the route you could often buy a few things, without a shopkeeper. In my country this wouldn't work. The money would just be stolen. And the wine. And the jam. And the table...


And if you weren't wise enough to pack some tools, some of the lunch spots had tools available for the bikes, along with charging points for electric bikes. My OCD really wanted me to spend some time untangling those cables, but my wife who can walk a dog with a knotted leash said I didn't have time :(


We made it to Vienna! 10 points if you can guess what that colourful building in the background is for.


Vienna has the worlds oldest ferris wheel. Amazingly it was so well engineered that even though it took a near direct hit by a bomb in WW2, it was still able to be used with just minor repairs.


They also have a great big palace, where we went to see an orchestra one night.


When were were heading to the train station to go to Budapest, we ran into a family touring on the same bikes as ours. They'd were heading back to Germany.


Budapest is actually two cities, Buda on the one side, and Pest on the other. I can't remember which was which.

mozar

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2016, 06:57:41 PM »
How long were you gone for? How many days did you spend in each place? How did you know where to bike? Did you have a European bike map?

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2016, 02:06:38 AM »
How long were you gone for? How many days did you spend in each place? How did you know where to bike? Did you have a European bike map?

Most European countries (Western Europe anyways, don't know about eastern) are VERY bike friendly. Bike paths everywhere, and drivers are completely used to bikes in traffic as well.
The Netherlands are probably the crowning jewel of bike friendly countries. EVERY road has a bike lane (most have two). Here's a picture of an average commuter train station in the Netherlands:


mozar

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2016, 08:55:51 AM »
Yeah I've been to the Netherlands but I didn't see a sign that says "this way to Paris." I'm curious how they chose their routes.

Able was I ERE

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2016, 10:06:08 AM »
There are a few EuroVelo bike routes that span countries, so "this way to Paris" isn't that far fetched.  This route goes from Norway to the UK via through Netherlands and a few other countries: http://www.eurovelo.com/en/eurovelos/eurovelo-12

mozar

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2016, 10:29:13 AM »
Thanks for the link.

Northwestie

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2016, 10:32:42 AM »
Very cool - nice bikes, looks like a fun trip.  thanks for posting

mm1970

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2016, 10:37:59 AM »
This is amazing!!

cchrissyy

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2016, 12:42:19 PM »
beautiful pics, very interesting!

how "bike fit" were you guys before this trip? were you used to biking to work or errands? longer rides on weekends?

csr

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2016, 06:51:02 PM »
love this trip report!

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2016, 05:15:45 AM »
Thanks again for the comments. We took quite a lot of video from a gopro I had on my front bag and our phone. It'll get posted eventually.

How long were you gone for? How many days did you spend in each place? How did you know where to bike? Did you have a European bike map?
We spent 2 and a half weeks away, but I felt like I could have carried on forever! Like MustachianAccountant above indicated, we followed one of the Eurovelo paths. Eurovelo 6 to be exact. We also followed the Danube, mostly right along side it, but at times the paths veered off. And of course we explored towns that weren't right by the river. No map, but I downloaded the openstreetmaps on my GPS app.

how "bike fit" were you guys before this trip? were you used to biking to work or errands? longer rides on weekends?
I bike to work 50% of the time, but I use an electric, so I don't break a sweat. My wife hadn't ridden in well over a year, but she was fine too. There's no reason to go biking over mountains in Europe if you don't want to, just pick a route that follows a river (downstream ideally) or a coastline.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2016, 11:30:51 AM »
People need to stop commenting on this thread because it's killing my motivation to work every time it shows up in my new posts list.  Something about seeing all the pictures made it concrete and really, really appealing.

Well done, Patrickza!

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2016, 04:17:54 AM »
Time for another trip. I travel a lot for work, mostly in Southern Africa. This time I was off to Namibia again, where I usually spend time walking around the city, but this time I decided my Brompton folding bike had to come along.

So now I had an issue. I want to be able to cycle from the airport, so I don't need expensive taxis, but I also wanted my bicycle to be safe in the hands of the luggage tossers. A strong cardboard box would work, but I wouldn't be able to cycle with a box that size, and it would likely get tossed or taken if I tried to leave it near the airport.

So having built a battery box for my electric bike before out of ABS plastic, I decided this would do the job again. Here's the box:


Yes the bicycle fits into that. With far too much space to spare actually as I made it too high. It does leave a lot of space for packing other things into the box, but with the 30 liter front bag I didn't need more space, so I just used thick protective foam. I also had a company stitch up a thick nylon cover for it so it looked more like luggage, I'll take a picture later.

So the box is held closed by three screws on each side. Not being able to carry a screwdriver on board meant I'd have no way to unscrew it, but fortunately I found a large washer that fit the screws perfectly, and I could carry it in my wallet, just like a coin! When the screws are removed, the box collapses in on itself and I can carry it on the back of my bike with just two luggage straps and one piece of foam, as you can see here at the Windhoek airport:


And off I went, Windhoek is to the right:


I'm from South Africa, so I'm used to seeing signs warning about potential buck in the road, but this one was new to me:


I didn't see Pumba sadly, pity too, I made friends with them a while back in one of the local campsites bordering a park. You probably shouldn't try this at home, I was also the only person to try this at the campsite, couldn't help myself, they are so cute:
https://youtu.be/yRqA7lF7agU

Anyone know how to embed youtube videos here, I've tried and failed?

Ok back to the bike trip. The roads were in good condition, with no potholes, and quite smooth tarmac, but the lack of an emergency lane was terrible. I had to leave the road twice because of trucks coming too close:


It was really hot too as you would expect in the desert. Sadly the whole region is struggling with a drought thanks to El Nino. I never saw a drop of water in any river:


Halfway through my journey I found the first piece of usable shade, the police checkpoint. They were also kind enough to offer their firehose for refilling the bottles, but the bees are also obviously struggling in the drought so they weren't leaving the nozzle edge. Instead I used a small bottle in the bathroom which I'd pour into my larger one, I also poured a little into a hollow on the floor for the bees, they flew straight to it! During the ride I'd drank about 1.5 out of the 3 liters I was carrying in the 22km of the trip so far:


Another dry riverbed, it's a miracle these trees are green:


Another few kilometers further on I found some more shade on a piece of old unused road. I took the opportunity to adjust my gears as the job I did the night before seemed to cause more clicking:


Fortunately I found ways to mount all my tools inside the frame of this amazingly versatile little bike:
https://youtu.be/O28MCouwkus

The railway criss-crosses the road, sometimes by going underneath it:


And other times by going above it:


After what seemed like an endless uphill, I finally started finding a few downhills:
https://youtu.be/gvzl594nizc

After 4 and a half hours I finally made it to my airBNB for the night. The heat was too much, so it was a cold shower for me followed by me lying on the bed covered in a wet shirt. Bike, box and gear all happily inside with me:
« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 07:54:26 AM by patrickza »

GuitarStv

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2016, 04:53:52 AM »
What an inspiring thread!  Posting to follow.

NinetyFour

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2016, 04:24:25 PM »
Awesome--thanks for posting more pics!

Daisy

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2016, 06:40:40 PM »
Really awesome!

How hard are the bikes to use in hilly areas, or bridges and stuff? (I'm from flat terrain)

How comfortable are they for 30-40 miles a day? Do they compare with road or hybrid bikes?

Are there other shipping options, such as ditching the cardboard box you bring with you and then FedEx-ng your bike home or buy a new cardboard box at end of trip to fly with? Riding around with the shipping box seems like a pain to deal with.

I guess another option is to buy the bike at the location you land in then sell the bike at the end of the trip at the final location.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 06:47:12 PM by Daisy »

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2016, 10:48:05 PM »
How hard are the bikes to use in hilly areas, or bridges and stuff? (I'm from flat terrain)

How comfortable are they for 30-40 miles a day? Do they compare with road or hybrid bikes?

Are there other shipping options, such as ditching the cardboard box you bring with you and then FedEx-ng your bike home or buy a new cardboard box at end of trip to fly with? Riding around with the shipping box seems like a pain to deal with.
Quite good. We bought the 6 speed bikes with the -12% gearing, the lowest they make. If the hill was too steep for the lowest gear, it probably meant you could walk nearly as fast, which is what we would do at times on very steep hills.

The bikes are very comfortable. I have no complaints there whatsoever. Great piece of engineering.

On our trips through europe we use the box the bike came in, toss it when we arrive, and get another at a different brompton shop when we leave. If I do a long trip outside of Europe I use regular cardboard boxes and toss them, but for my short work trips where I'll usually stay in one city I prefer flying with my solid plastic box and lugging it around for the trips to and from the airport to my accommodation.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2016, 11:17:26 PM »
Following.

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2016, 07:37:49 AM »
All fantastic!!! Following!

We are fellow brompton owners and fans!!

The one thing we love is being able to fold them up and hide them away on public transportation 😄


patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2016, 06:48:27 AM »
How tall are you patrickza?
1.75m. I use the standard brompton seatpost at max height. It can lift another inch or so if you flip the penta clip around, but any more than that and you need either the telescoping or extended seatpost.

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2016, 02:46:40 PM »
All fantastic!!! Following!

We are fellow brompton owners and fans!!

The one thing we love is being able to fold them up and hide them away on public transportation 😄


I've been following your journal too, looks like a really great trip you're having. We've never tried a campervan, but in Feb my wife and I are going to hire one in Chile to see the country. It'll likely be something much smaller and cheaper, like a steel tent that drives, but we're looking forward to it.

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2016, 03:11:56 PM »
This thread seems to be becoming a bit of a journal.

Anyway, after Namibia I boxed my bike for the flight back home:
https://youtu.be/8axJ6U5VL68

Spent just a couple of weeks back home before it was time to hit the road again, destination Malawi.


Packing the box onto the bike at the airport, ready to get pedaling.


The airport road is pretty lousy as are most airport roads, so I decided to rather take the dirt side paths.


If you insist...


Yes, this tiny bike carrying all that stuff can handle a singletrack with ease.


And the odd ploughed field.


After seeing this guy, I didn't feel nearly as bad about the weight I was carrying.


When you work in the field you often have to have meetings in the villages. The usual spot is under the big tree.


Made it to my BNB :)


Malawi is actually quite bike friendly. It's the way the locals travel. I get a lot of friendly calls on my little brompton. There are also good cycle lanes and paths on most of the city roads.


Bridge over the river Five? Just like Namibia they've been suffering a terrible drought, but recently the rain has arrived.


It's really a beautiful area to cycle through. Hopefully I can make it to the lake next weekend.

cincystache

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #37 on: December 10, 2016, 05:01:12 AM »
Thanks for sharing, this is an awesome thread!

erutio

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #38 on: December 10, 2016, 05:45:17 AM »
You, sir, are an inspiration!  Thanks for sharing?

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #39 on: December 21, 2016, 08:29:03 AM »
Went past this stadium a couple of days ago. Clearly not too many people with smartphones do, so Google asked for a photo and a comment...

Grogounet

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #40 on: December 21, 2016, 09:33:40 PM »
Awesome.
Are you aware of blocks doing this as families with younger children?

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2017, 10:34:10 PM »
Awesome.
Are you aware of blocks doing this as families with younger children?
I'm assuming blocks is folks right? In Europe over the holidays there are tons of families biking together. Parents and kids are most common, but grandparents and kids are also very common. I saw a few extended families all riding together, it looked like a great way to spend quality time together.

Posting to follow your awesome bike trips. Have done a few shortish ones with my dog (epic failure as she hates it) but still hoping to do a like long solo round the world bike tour someday when she's gone. Have you checked out crazy guy on a bike journals? I think a lot of people thete would love to see how you do it on nontraditional bikes.
This guy cycles everywhere with his dog on a platform on the back of his bike. Maybe your dog would prefer to be chauffeured :)

I do check out crazy guy on a bike at times, but I really can't stand the format of the site. I much prefer reading a forum or blog style site rather than crazy guy's click on a million links style. Very interesting people there though.

chrisgermany

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2017, 11:35:33 PM »
You guys rock. We did the Danube tour Passau to Budapest and also some more river biking tours, but now our knees are aging. So we take bikes and luggage in a car for longer distances and bike shorter distances.
Bike on to FI!

patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2017, 05:35:34 AM »
I generally only work in places that are having a really rough time. Locations with famine, poverty and war, or a combination are where I get to visit.

Very occasionally I get to go somewhere decent, and my last work trip was one of my favourite places anywhere, Cape Town!

Yes as everyone has told you it's ridiculously beautiful.


There are penguins in Africa too. I asked this one for a kiss. She thought for a little while but decided to stay faithful with her husband.

They do make a cute couple.

These guys live around the penguin colony:

Locally they're called dassies, officially they're a rock hyrax and are most closely related to elephants. Yes I see the resemblance too :)


Table Mountain is seriously famous. I've climbed it three times and stood in a very long cable-car queue once to get to the top.

The view is great, but to get an even better view you need to climb the little peak next to it called Lions Head:

It's about 80% as high as Table Mountain, but because it's quite small on top, you get a 360 degree view, and that view includes Table Mountain! This is from about halfway up.


You can also see Robben Island where Mandela was held for most of his 27 years in jail, the Twelve Aposles which run along the ocean and vast amounts of Cape Town itself.

There is a tradition that says you need to go up on a full moon at night. I've done that twice and it's spectacular. If your timing is off, go up to watch the sunset.


This is a split statue of sorts. The Rhino is actually 6 or 7 pieces of metal spread over 20 meters or so, but when viewed through the target they line up. It's here to highlight the Rhino poaching problem. At it's peak Rhino poaching was responsible for three deaths a day, they were heading for extinction fast. The hosts of my conference have been working with game farms, and have given them new technology. They don't track the rhinos as then they only know too late when there's a problem. Instead they're tracking people with regular and infra red cameras mounted on fences, in trees and on drones. Their image technology is so good it can differentiate between a person leopard crawling and a leopard crawling. In the park it was installed, they only had one kill last year, and even then they were on site before the horn was removed and managed to arrest the poachers.


Sadly the sea is cold here. For warmer water you can either head to the east coast, or go to one of the many public pools right on the waters edge.


The public parks are just as beautiful, this is Green point park but Kirstenbosch is even more beautiful. I didn't go there on this trip.


This is one of the 2010 world cup stadiums.

Shopping is very well priced if you have forex, they even have a daycare for husbands while the wife is out:


But the real reason you go to Cape Town is for the nature. Around every corner is a spectacular view.


There were too many pictures to post even the good ones. I've put them here if you'd like to see more:
https://youtu.be/u3ChbieG64w

BussoV6

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2017, 06:29:56 AM »
Nice pics Patrick

You are doing a great job as the (unpaid) tourism minister for our beautiful country!

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2017, 06:30:14 AM »
Absolutely beautiful pictures of Cape town. I have pictures in exactly the same spots!

The first picture is probably going south to the Cape of good hope, right? It is so beautiful.

And is the second is the penguin sanctuary in Simon's town?

We had some bad weather in Cape town, saw table mountain in the clear just once. They even shut down the trolley due to the low visiblity/weather the next day (could have been maintenance).

 


patrickza

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #46 on: January 31, 2017, 09:52:10 AM »
The first one is heading south, but probably a good 30 miles before the cape, and yes, the second is Simon's Town. It's a really fantastic little town, I could easily live there.

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #47 on: June 09, 2019, 02:53:29 PM »
We need more updates on these adventures, patrickza!

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #48 on: June 10, 2019, 06:17:17 AM »
We need more updates on these adventures, patrickza!

+1

@patrickza , did you get your boat to live/sail on?

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Testing out a sabbatical/fire bicycle touring lifestyle
« Reply #49 on: June 10, 2019, 02:20:55 PM »
+1 need more awesome bike travel pics.