OK so you want to do LEJoG independently and survive (surviving is the important bit).
We'll assume you are starting at LE because the prevailing wind blows from the SW to the
NE. Here's a few handy tips and hints:
1/ DO NOT try to leave Cornwall on the A30. In the eleven years I've been organising
LEJoG rides there have probably been half a dozen cyclists killed on the A30. It's a high
speed death trap. There are warning signs on it and the Police, if they notice you, will insist
for your own safety that you leave it. It also has many enormous hills. STAY OFF THE A30!
There are many pleasant little back roads that can be used instead. These rural lanes will
have lots of small steep hills but they're much safer. Use Google Maps and the specialist
LEJoG websites to work out your route, such as https://www.cycle-endtoend.org.uk/ or
https://www.cyclelejog.com/ well before you start your ride. There are lots of people on the
Internet forums eager to give you good advice. I'll repeat: STAY OFF MAIN ROADS OR
FAST ROADS...and get yourself a GPS, such as a Garmin. It will save you an hour a day
of messing around with paper maps or route sheets
This leads into:
2/ Don't bite off more than you chew. The first couple of days in Cornwall and Devon are
extremely hard work. It's fairly common for us to meet cyclists who've set themselves very
optimistic daily mileage targets and are trying desperately to redesign their schedule as
they go along. If you are a complete beginner consider doing a four or five day tour
somewhere hilly, to find out what you are capable of, before attempting LEJoG.
Paradoxically Scotland is much easier on the knees than the South West of England. The
Scottish hills are generally long but gentle, though some Scottish road surfaces can have
very coarse chippings, which impart a tedious vibration to your handlebars and you.
3/ Consider the time of year and the weather. The window of opportunity, most years, is
from mid May to late September, the weather in the far North of Scotland often breaks
down at the end of September, with storms, high winds and heavy rain coming in off the
Atlantic. Mid-summer can be problematic, the hottest and wettest LEJoGs I've done, were
both in July.
4/ Accommodation: Can be a headache. On the forums you will be told of wonderful B&Bs
that charge a pittance and produce great meals. Well, they do exist but they're extremely
rare and getting rarer by the year. More common is the B&B or small guest house that's
gone up market, a word to watch out for is 'Boutique' and now has prices similar to, or
higher than, a good hotel. Consider booking your accommodation a year in advance as
there are 'pinch-points', where rooms are in short supply, on all the possible routes.
Cheapest of all, is camping but, of course, you have to lug all that gear with you. It used to
be possible to do the whole thing using Youth Hostels, these have now become rare as
many have closed. In my opinion they're best left to the young people who are their
5/ Bikes: It is possible to do LEJoG on a £25 clunker or cheap mountain bike that you
bought second hand from a friend but doing it on a decent lightweight road bike or tourer,
with LOW gears is a lot more pleasant. On a 1000 mile ride with many hills, it's sensible to
have the lightest, most comfortable bike you can afford. Whatever bike you use, do a few
hundred miles on it BEFORE attempting LEJoG. Brand new bikes often come with
teething problems and can cause misery until they settle down and bed-in. Be wary of
exotic designs that use parts that are unique and impossible to replace when you break
down somewhere remote. Remember that on some parts of the route you may have to do
a twenty mile diversion to find a bike shop.
6/ Support: Life becomes much easier with a bit of support. It's difficult to arrange if you
are doing it solo but if there's three or four of you, a none cycling friend in a car or small
van is often possible and becomes very useful in all sorts of ways. The ultimate support
vehicle is probably the large mobile home but you are talking big money for that. Also do
use local cafes and shops – They need your support and it can be a good way of
interacting with the community wherever you are.
6/ Do use Vaseline and Sudocrem (zinc ointment) on your behind/front/delicate areas (We
get people dropping out due to saddle sores, a mix of Vaseline and Sudocrem acts as a
lubricant and is anti-bacterial. People also report sore hands and feet. Use well padded
cycling gloves and good cycling shoes (and anti-inflammatories in moderation).
www.bikexplore.co.uk Chris Ellison email: email@example.com Phone 0796 758 4409