Cycling in Perthshire

As hopefully most of you will know by now, I’m planning to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in May with my nephew.

Er, why?”, I hear you say.  Good question.

But rather than answer that question right now I wanted to make “Why cycle LEJOG?” the first part of a new section to this blog.  You see, the plan is to build up a series of blog articles that together will not only document our own LEJOG adventure but also provide a guide for anyone else stupid enough keen to do the challenge.

Like many people planning to do long cycle rides I’ve been doing a lot of reading and preparation and have picked up lots of useful hints and tips along the way in various books and blogs.  I’m certainly no expert (!) but am climbing a steep learning curve; it seems only right that I should pass on the benefit of my knowledge and experiences to others.

So, I have the bones of some of the topics I’d like to cover but I’m wondering what you’d like to hear about ?

  • have you cycled LEJOG (or JOGLE) ?  What do you think should be in such a guide?
  • are you thinking about a long-distance cycle ride like this?  What would you expect me to cover?

I can’t promise to produce the definitive work on LEJOG but doing it this way should result in a structure and content that others will find useful.

The topics I have so far are:

 

Planning

  • Why cycle LEJOG?
  • Resources (ie books, websites, blogs)
  • Route planning and route options
  • What to take – cycling gear
  • What to take – camping/other gear

 

Preparation

  • Where to stay – accommodation options
  • Getting to/from Land’s End and John O’Groats
  • Getting into training
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Health and hygiene

 

The Journey

  • Day by day journal – days 1 – 14
  • The highs and lows
  • Reflections on what I’d do differently

 

What have I missed ??  Is this a logical structure to folllow ?

 

11 Comments on “My LEJOG Blog

  1. Hi
    Not a big fan of ultra/marathon events but if you must do it be aware of the landscape you are cycling through. – the impact of geology and the impact of Man on the environment. Without getting all Zen about it have a sense of where you are and how it affects what you are doing. Good luck anyway.

    • Thanks. In my book, I’ll have missed the point if I’m not enjoying the ride. I certainly don’t intend to make this an endurance test ! In fact, the route we’ve chosen isn’t the fastest or most direct but takes us up the west coast to the Lake District and Arran to places we’d prefer to cycle.

  2. It all sounds very thorough. Good luck. I would skip the training, and not worry too much about “nutrition and hydration” – food and water are easy enough to find. Health and hygiene should be no problem in UK as long as you can avoid A&E !. Most interesting topic is route selection. Have not cycled LEJOG but many 1,000 miles touring Europe. My one tip would be get a simple & effective bike mirror, mine attaches to bar-end with velcro. May not look cool but it transforms experience of riding in traffic. Can’t believe how few riders bother with them when they wouldn’t drive a car without 3 mirrors !

    • Thanks, very helpful. I agree that route planning is a big issue that always sparks much discussion, so deserves a bug focus. However, for those not already bike-fit (like me) I think a training section would be useful. I certainly had to think carefully about my training for this winter when I can’t get out on my bike midweek at the moment.

      Thanks for your tip on a bike mirror – I can see it would be really useful.

  3. My parents went on a 10 week bike trip across the west coast of the USA when they were about my age. I want to do something similar at some point so I am interested in finding out what you discover!

    • Sounds a good ambition ! Our trip is only 2 weeks so the ‘pace’ of our journey will probably be a little different, but hopefully I can share some information you’ll find useful.

      • I am sure I will learn a lot, I will probably start out with a few 3-day trips around my local area anyway 🙂

  4. Having fairly recently returned to regular cycling and now in my early fifties, I’m finding recovering from long day rides and strenuous days in the hills takes a tad longer than it used to! I’d recommend getting as much quality training in as you can manage. Good nutrition and hydration should help to speed up your recovery time and maximize your fitness gains.
    Cycle touring, where you can afford to introduce rest days here and there or at least some shorter/easier recovery days is one thing, but averaging 75 miles a day on a laden touring bike every day for 2 weeks will be quite demanding.
    I’d like to complete LEJOG myself some day in the future but in the meantime my wife and I are planning to take part in some sportive events later in 2015 on our tandem (hopefully including the Prudential Ride London in August if we’re fortunate enough to get a place)
    I’ve found the British Cycling website an excellent source of useful information, tips and training advice. Admittedly it is oriented towards sportive events, but it might be worth you checking out their “insight zone” which has training plans for all levels from beginner through to advanced cyclists.
    It does get a little technical with use of “heart rate training zones” but adds a new dimension to your training and perhaps more usefully, it’s a good way of finding out not only if your training hard enough, but perhaps more importantly if your training harder than you need to be and at risk of overtraining.
    I concur with the earlier post recommending a rear view mirror. I use one which attaches to my helmet. I look a total geek, but I wouldn’t ride without it now and at my age I’m beyond caring what people think (you quickly adapt to being pointed and stared at when riding a tandem!)

    Other suggestions: chamois cream! (To be applied before you ride)
    . A quality saddle (often a matter of trial and error which can become expensive if you don’t find your ideal saddle early on) I have a Brooks B17 leather saddle on both my touring bike and tandem but they’re not for everyone and do take some breaking in.

    Good luck on your challenge, I’m quite envious.
    let us know your itinerary, particularly when passing through Lancashire and I’ll ride along with you for a few miles (if you think you can cope with the geeky mirror)

    • Thanks very much, this is really helpful advice. I haven’t come across the British Cycling website but from a quick browse I can see that it holds some very useful information that’s just what I’m looking for just now. Having just reached 100 miles/week in my training I not only realise how much fitter I’ve become as a cyclist but also how much of a challenge 75 miles a day will be ! I am starting from a base of reasonable fitness but what I’ve discovered is that muscles used for walking and running and not necessarily the same as those used for cycling.

      I did in fact look into cycling mirrors and noticed the helmet-mounted ones. Out of interest, what kind is yours / which would you recommend ? I found one that might do the job. Unfortunately bar-end mirrors won’t suit my Dawes Galaxy, which has bar end gears, and I can’t see where I could fit a mirror on the handlebars given the need to keep it clear for multiple hand positions (on top of the brake hoods is the only place ?). I see you can also buy a mirror which fits on the frame further down but it seems that this will be too low to see past my Ortlieb panniers. So I’m interested to know what you (or anyone else) would recommend as my best option.

      Thanks for the other tips re chamois cream and the saddle; I should be OK with my current saddle, the chamois cream I still have to experience (and feel the need) !

      That would be great if you wanted to ride along with us. I’ll share our route and itinerary in a future post but to cut to the chase, we’ll be going from Whitchurch to Garstang on Fri 22nd May and then from Garstang through the Lake District to Patterdale on Sat 23rd. Please let me know what suits and keep in touch.

  5. Hi
    We’ve not long to go now, great to hear for others doing the ride around the time we are. As you’ve probably read on my blog http://www.lejog4us.com we are MAMIL’s and like you don’t intend to turn this is to a speed event. I would certainly back up the mirror option. I have a small take a look mirror which attaches to the helmet and found that to be great as less vibrations than the ones that fit on the bike. Udderly smooth chamois cream ( available from amazon) is fab goes on and soaks in quick. Well we wish you all the best and who knows may see you on the way… we’ll be easy to spot, the three older blokes struggling up the hills

    • Thanks – we’ll certainly look out for you. It’ll be easy to spot us – my nephew waiting at the top of a hill for me to catch up ! Good luck with your final prepararations.

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