Q How easy is it to find campsites in France? I don’t want to book ahead and tie myself to a date. And is October too late to visit the Alps? A In reverse order… Early October’s usually great in the Alps, though it can be chilly once the sun goes down, so might not be great for camping. We’ve scraped ice off saddles in the French Alps in midoctober, even though it was a lovely sunny day for riding. However, if you’re worried, try visiting the Cevennes or the Auvergne instead: lots of great mountain roads but at lower altitudes than the Alps.
It’s normally easy to find campsites in France – most towns have a municipal site, often signposted from the edge of town. If in doubt, tourist offices in bigger towns can help. In the Alps, sites in the mountains may start closing as they get fewer visitors once the nights turn cold. Q What’s the best luggage for touring on my 2009 Triumph Speed Triple? I can’t use my old throwover panniers with the high-level exhausts. A If you’re not taking a passenger, you can get a rollbag on the back. Sizes and capacities vary, but we’d look at the Oxford Aqua range (from £55 for a 20L bag to £70 for 70L). Put a board (like an old MDF shelf) in the base to stop sagging. Q If I do a fly-ride trip over winter, do I have to put my crash helmet in the hold? A It’s up to you. When journalists fly to launches, half pack their helmets in hold bags, half as carryon luggage. Some take the lid as their only cabin luggage, others have rucksacks that include a helmet carrier (try the Givi EA104B, £56, www.givi.co.uk). Q Any route suggestions from Llangollen to Edinburgh avoiding motorway? A We’d go cross-country to Deeside (over Horseshoe Pass), then the M56/M6 past Liverpool and Manchester to Halton (J34). Then A683/A687/B6255 to Hawes, A684/ B6259/A685 to Brough and B6276/ B6277/B6278 through Stanhope to the A68, all the way to Edinburgh.
The Alps can be chilly by October, despite sun