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Author Topic: THINGS NOT TO DO ON A CYCLE TOUR  (Read 1123 times)


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« on: October 27, 2011, 08:33:53 AM »
(A few insights gained from a recent bike tour through Ireland and Scotland)
1.   When the forecast is for hurricane-force headwinds, go ahead with your planned day of cycling so you can keep to a schedule.
What could possibly go wrong?
a.   You get blown off your fully-loaded bike onto the street three times.
b.   You develop a knee strain that threatens to end your trip after just two days of cycling.
c.   You wind up having to spend several days recuperating in a town like Galway with an icepack on your knee and a cold Guinness in your hand (…maybe not such a bad thing).
2.   Leave your bikes unlocked at night because you’re tired and anyway, they’re right outside the door of the room you rented below a bar.
What could possibly go wrong?
a.   While you’re sleeping, some drunken rowdies “borrow” your bikes and take them for a joyride and then ditch them a couple of miles down the road, minus your expensive tool set, and with enough damage that you have to limp along on one chain ring to another town with a decent bike repair shop.
b.   You waste the next day tracking down your bikes and meeting with the local and county police who assure you that “this kind of thing never happens here, and please don’t let this give us (Killin, Scotland) a bad reputation with cyclists.”
3.   When the owner of the B&B where you’re staying has the proverbial gift of gab (i.e., is full of non-stop blarney), make a point of asking her a question each time you see her, just to see how long she’ll blabber on and also to enjoy the look of utter horror on your travel partner’s face.
What could possibly go wrong?
a.   All the restaurants and bars may close before you can get away.
b.   Your friend may consider killing you in your sleep.
4.   When rain is approaching while you’re on your ride, look for one of the thousands of castle ruins for shelter.
What could possibly go wrong?
a.   None of the castle ruins have roofs, so you will get wet.
b.   There’s no warmth, food, or beer at a castle ruin.
5.   Go full-tilt, racing down a coarse gravel road while fully loaded because you’re so tired from all the uphill climbs that you intend to enjoy this respite, no matter what.
What could possibly go wrong?
a.   You will inevitably blow out a tube on a jagged rock, in a mosquito-infested forest, just as it starts to rain.
b.   It will also be cold and muddy.
6.   Try to actually use that fancy kickstand on your bike with fully-loaded front and rear panniers.
What could possibly go wrong?
a.   You’re on an extremely scenic mountain pass with soft ground along the side of the road – the perfect place for a lunch stop.  As soon as you finish making a sandwich and are about to savor that first bite, a large gust of wind blows your bike over and you watch helplessly as it tumbles down the steep embankment.
b.   Same outcome as a, any time you need a rest stop by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with no place to lean your bike.
c.   You’re on a busy city sidewalk attempting to quickly load your bike into the crowded luggage compartment of a bus before the other riders claim all the valuable space with their bags.  Your front wheel turns, throwing the bike off-balance, sending it crashing to the pavement, and thereby putting you last in line.  Now you get to rearrange the entire luggage space to make room for your bike.
d.   Same outcome as c, in a crowded train station.
7.   When you can’t stand the rain in Ireland any longer, you catch the ferry to Scotland to continue your tour.
What could possibly go wrong?
a.   Scotland is one of the few countries that averages more rain than Ireland.
b.   Your bikes will be stolen while you sleep in a picturesque small town (see #2).
c.   To get away from the rain on the Scottish mainland, you catch a ferry to the Orkneys and later on to the Shetland Islands.  These are purportedly the rainiest parts of Scotland.  However, in a weird twist of fate you get some of the best weather of the trip and the scenery is fantastic!

« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 02:31:30 PM by 2b »


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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2012, 04:55:02 PM »
There are many things that can go wrong.  Some include the typical as bike issues, but I worry more about health issues, especially when riding outside the US.  What kind of precautions do you guys take to acquire health care in the event of a major issue? Has anyone used atlas international insurance?
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 09:31:23 PM by Stephane »


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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 02:03:42 PM »
As far as choosing a health care insurance while touring, I would say it really depends on several factors. The first thing you want to check with is your regular health insurance", some health insurance are covering you for a limited period of time once you leave your country (from a couple weeks to a couple month) so you may want to check with them before purchasing anything.

Also, one thing that many people ignores: many credit card includes health insurance or at least medical evacuation coverage if you purchase you plane ticket with your credit card, so you may also want to check with your credit card provider or read you credit card contract. Then this is your choice (obviously), some prefers travelling "insurance-free" and hope for the best and some choose a broad coverage. Personally, I would make sure I have insurance covering any medical evacuation especially when touring in countries with poor/nonexistent health care (beside the local healer!). This will insure that if something really wrong happens you don't end up dying there because you can't afford a $50,000 medical evacuation.

In developping countries, you usually can get any medicine over the counter, just make sure you're going to a reliable pharmacy as some countries are known (ie. India) to sell fake medicine in pharmacies. I like to go to pharmacies attached to hospitals. In those countries medicine are cheap, no prescription needed, so I would not purchase an insurance covering these little things. If you know you need antibiotics regularly because you get sick easily you may want to, but you have to remember that insurance (big name included) don't make the refund process easy, so in the end people give up because of all the papers, phone calls you have to do/make before getting your money back. If you travel in countries where health care is rather expensive (USA, Europe etc.) you may consider using a travel insurance that covers everything since you may have something serious enough to cost a lot but not serious enough to be life threatening necessitating a medical evacuation. I don't know Atlas International Insurance but if you choose to get insurance I would make sure I read their contract very carefully as I heard bad stories with some of them...