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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1392
Location: Melbourne, Australia
ajmit3 wrote:
should I get a bike bag (hard or soft) ? and will I need to keep disasembling and reassembling my bike in France and Italy ? Thanks...


Good discussion about bike cases - viewtopic.php?f=3&t=77109" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Packing and reassembling depends whether you go with public transport or hire a car... Doesn't take too long to pack and reassemble once you have done it a few times. :wink:

With cars, I paid a little more and hired a Peugeot Partner van. The back seats fold forward so could easily store my bike case and bike just minus the front wheel upright in the back.

As to cases - they range from very light to heavy - bike bag tend to be the lightest through to heavy molded plastic cases that can weigh over 13kg empty! I went a Polaris bike pod - an moulded EVA foam case that has a claimed weight of 6.7kg but offered a reasonable amount of protection. Once loaded with bike (mine isn't a WW, plus tools, shoes and various spares) it still came to just over 19kg.

Image

Flying from Australia - I'd suggest looking at Emirates as you get 30kg baggage allowance, so I still had 11kg plus hand luggage for clothes etc.

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Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:42 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 1:24 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Tourist office pdf for rides around Cavalese - http://www.visitfiemme.it/cosa-fare/est ... -di-fiemme

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:20 pm 
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GO TO HOLLAND AND HAVE SOME REAL FUN!


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:31 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Not that I have anything against Holland. But Australia's highest point is only 2228m, so if I am going to sit in a plane for over 24 hours it needs to be somewhere that offers some big mountains! Plenty of flat rides around home.

Interesting the comments that the Italian climbs are nicer. Coming from Australia, I really enjoyed the riding in France. The roads were good, the motorists respectful and mountains amazing! Hopefully one day I can compare these to Italy...

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 2:04 am 
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Location: Los Angeles / Glendale, California
I suppose one's tastes for food is a matter of personal preference. In regards to an earlier comment from someone stating that one country's food is superior to anothers, that too is a matter of personal preference.

I love good pasta, but I don't consider it any more "cyclist friendly" of a food than French food, and even in periods where I'm a heavy training schedule I don't personally seek pastas over other foods. To each their own, no? :noidea:

Personally I love French food and have personally found it preferable over most Italian foods available to the average tourist, even the tourist with a nice wallet and connections to pull.

It really depends on the individual's own tastes, and I don't think we should get into a debate of one country's foods versus another's.

The question is really about environment: accessibility to routes with minimal travel between/from places of stay, comfort with local traffic/customs and language. That's it.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 9:30 pm 
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Posts: 73
Location: New Zealand
Was up in northern Italy in 2008 and it's possible to find cheap accomadation in the the Valtellina ( down the valley from Bormio) we found some quite cheap in Sondrio, which was about an hours ride to the foot of the Mortirolo (which is a really horrible climb). Theres tons of big climbs there that you have never heard of too. We found Bormio much more pricey. Tirano would be a good place to if you could find something cheap as it's closer to the Stelvio. We found the Tourist information offices in the towns very helpful. At one stage we managed to get a 4 bedroom house in Tramin near Bolzano for 35 euros per night. Didn't do enough riding in the Dolomites though.

Riding near Turin. South of Turin (50K-ish) theres a town called Alba and there is some fantastic riding around there amongst vineyards and hazelnut orchids and some nice 4-5k climbs out in an area they call the Alto Langhe to the south. Kick ass food and wine too . If you go there let me know I'll give you some good restaurant names.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 1:51 am 
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Location: South Florida
Having done both, Italy and France, there is no question in my mind that I would do Italy a million times before doing France again. That is after really having a great time in France and have nothing bad to say about it really. I personally prefer Italy though. It was much cheaper, love the types of food better (try being a vegetarian in France!!), the wines are more of my personal preference, the roads and climbs were much nicer to me, and the entire scenery was far more enjoyable. Like it was said above, it is a personal preference. I also found that finding hotels online at the last minute was far easier and more abundant in Italy than France. I rented a 2 brm apt in Bormio for about $80 euro/night that would have being the equivalent of the $200/night I saw in France. Many small towns all over that you can just go into and ask for hotels, rooms, etc. I never make reservations, but I do rent a car. The car makes all the difference int he world.

As far as the bike case, there is plenty to read i the link dali put above, which was started by me by the way. I still think the ideal case has not being made that will be light enough, protective enough for carbon wheels/bikes, and secure enough. The one with the inflatable bladders comes close, but the moment TSA in the US opens it they will deflate the bladders and won't inflate them back up. Also, it concentrates in protecting the frame, not the wheels! Funny thing is that most cases will protect the frame more than plenty regardless of design, but your wheels will sit on the side of the case taking most of the impact of throws and hits.

Either way, you are bound to have a great time. Enjoy!!!


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Location: Natovi Landing
If you do go to France, and want to hit the Alps, then I'd suggest Lake Annecy. Although Bourg has more trophy climbs in short range, it's a dreary place alright.

As an aside, lots of riders who come from beyond Europe don't get beyond the main French Alps areas, which is a shame because so much of the country - particularly the south, southwest, northwest and alsace have a lot of superb riding also, and can be more remote and charming.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 1:50 pm 
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Location: Natovi Landing
prendrefeu wrote:
I suppose one's tastes for food is a matter of personal preference. In regards to an earlier comment from someone stating that one country's food is superior to anothers, that too is a matter of personal preference.

I love good pasta, but I don't consider it any more "cyclist friendly" of a food than French food, and even in periods where I'm a heavy training schedule I don't personally seek pastas over other foods. To each their own, no? :noidea:

Personally I love French food and have personally found it preferable over most Italian foods available to the average tourist, even the tourist with a nice wallet and connections to pull.

It really depends on the individual's own tastes, and I don't think we should get into a debate of one country's foods versus another's.

The question is really about environment: accessibility to routes with minimal travel between/from places of stay, comfort with local traffic/customs and language. That's it.


Isn't French cuisine's reputation a canard? :wink:

Of course you can eat superbly in France but generally I find the food often disappoints, particularly for a country that has such great produce.

It's not for want of giving it a chance either, I've been there 40+ plus times, and cycled across the entire country twice.

The point about vegetarian-friendliness is valid. I'm not a veggy, but friends who are invariably have reservations about holidaying in France precisely because of the food.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 7:22 pm 
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Location: UK & WEST AFRICA
My take on the cuisine in France and Italy, from experience, is that I've never had a bad meal in Italy, but plenty of bad one's in France. However, at the top end of the market, the most memorable meals have been in France (at a price). Also, breakfast in France is superior. On balance, it would be Italy for me.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 8:33 pm 
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Location: Wherever there's a mountain beckoning to be climbed
sawyer wrote:
Isn't French cuisine's reputation a canard? :wink:
French cuisine consists of more than duck.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 11:07 am 
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Location: Natovi Landing
HammerTime2 wrote:
sawyer wrote:
Isn't French cuisine's reputation a canard? :wink:
French cuisine consists of more than duck.


Knew someone would get it :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:42 am
Posts: 896
Location: Calgary
HammerTime 2 that's a great picture but the Gavia didn't look like that in 95. It was wider than that (about a lane and a half most of the way as it was in 2003 when I did it from the south). At every switchback, there were wooden troughs running across the road to channel the water. I was riding on something like Specialized Armadillos (I can't remember why) and just hopped those. One of the guys on our trip had a super-light (probably 17 pounds in those days) bike with 700x18 tires. He didn't have much fun and had to borrow tubes from his wife until she ran out and he had to hop in the following van.

I've ridden a lot in both France and Italy and have to say that the drivers there are generally a lot more tolerant of us cyclists than North American drivers. I remember being in small town France on my first ride there in 94. I was going (slowly) up some hill on a backroad barely two cars wide. I could see a car approaching and heard a truck coming behind. I was watching for the best place to ride off the road when I heard the truck start gearing down well back of me. I think that's a lot more common there than here.

As to cases, we've used BikePro cases for years with no problems on any of our bikes. They're a little heavy (something like 20 pounds empty) but there's lots of room for extra stuff. A friend borrowed mine once because his bike was too big for the hard shell case he could rent (Ironcase?) and the airlines made a mess of my steel De Rosa so I'm not keen on those. He bought a BikePro, used it for years and now has a Zinn with S&S couplings. I also had a Bike Friday that's a suitcase bike for a while but got tired of the people asking when I was going to bring a real bike. It went up Ventoux OK and came down at 85 km/hr OK but eventually I sold it. I now have an S&S coupled bike and my wife is ordering one as well. Easy to transport, avoid airline bike charge and there's room in the case for some clothes. Mine is an Independent Fabrication with geometry matching an Italian bike I had at the time. My wife is getting a Seven (LBS using Seven rather than IF now) with geometry to match her Italian bike (coincidentally the same brand I had, although a different model).

If you're coming from some part of the new world, whether North America or down under, cycling in either country is a great experience. I'm going to Italy with my son and France with my wife this year and look forward to both. They're different, but good. Choosing one or the other is, as some have said, a personal preference. I like the food of Italy, the backroads of France but I'd have no hesitation to recommend either one.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 6:29 pm 
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Location: Wherever there's a mountain beckoning to be climbed
Regarding
Image

That is the picture on the cover of the Palo Alto Bicycles 1980-81 catalog.
P. 2 of the Palo Alto Bicycles 1980-81 catalog wrote:
Front Cover of Jobst Brandt
South Side of Gavia Pass, Italy

I don't know the date of the picture however. Also note that the back cover of that catalog lists that as a 24" x 36" color poster, Cat. No. 50-05, priced at $4.98.

Either I have a really bitching memory, or I still have that catalog.


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Posted: Sat May 05, 2012 6:29 pm 


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Posts: 7503
Location: Geeeelong! / YURP
Dalai wrote:
Plenty of flat rides around home.

And wind :lol:


Travelling case wise, pack as much as you can with your bike. The heavier the bike case becomes the less likely and able the baggage handlers are to be able to throw it around. Also if you're using a hard shell one that uses the QR's to secure the wheels I highly recommend using an old pair to secure them, as they can get bent.

Soft shell cases are also a heap easier to get into a taxi. Hard shell harder for stuff to get damaged (but as mentioned a lot heavier).

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