LEJOG Journal

Cycling Lands End to John O'Groats April 22nd 2011; 1000 miles, 10 days…will we make it?

Our LEJOG: Thanks and what we would have done differently…

Our LEJOG seems like a long time ago now and as ‘Summer’ progresses I look back and think just how bloody lucky we were to have done the ride back in April/May (which seems to be when we get our real Summer now anyway!).

We’ve now collected just about all of our sponsorship money and we’ll very soon be passing the money that was raised for the Schleroderma society to Penny’s Fund (see our sponsor page for details) so I thought now would be a good time to wrap things up, say a few thanks and offer a few final pearls of wisdom to anyone planning on doing the ride in the future.

Firstly, the lovely money: to date, we have raised £1859.00 (+£458.06 gift aid) for Penny’s Fund and £2234.56 (+£505.33 gift aid) for Cancer Research. Result!

So we owe a massive thanks to everyone who sponsored us and also those who helped make the trip possible. In no particular order, these are as follows:

  • All of our generous family, friends and colleagues.
  • Sperry Rail who sponsored our kit.
  • Northgate Vehicle Hire, who provided us with a free van.
  • Generous strangers en-route who helped us generate an additional £300 in sponsorship.
  • All the people who gave us free stuff on our way, from Ferry Crossings to free toll bridge crossings.
  • Everyone online who provided us with advice on route selection and preparation.
  • Various family who met us on the way and generously gave us some money for diesel.
  • Finally, to Norman for driving the van ridiculous distances, fetching us food and taking some great photos that will provide memories to last a lifetime.

Our Just Giving sponsorship pages are still open by the way, so if you’d still like to donate, it’s not too late!

In terms of advice, these are the things I personally would do differently if I were to do the ride again (which I may do, but not just yet!):

  • JOGLE instead of LEJOG. The reason we set off from Land’s End was to take advantage of prevailing winds which are apparently more likely to be in the cyclists favour if you head up the country; this wasn’t true in our experience. It wasn’t that we had the wind against us particularly (apart from the final day), but we didn’t get any advantage either. The sole reason I recommend finishing at Land’s End is that there are more lively places to have your final night celebrations (e.g. Newquay and St Ives are both close) – there isn’t much to do in John O’Groats. Even Thurso, where we got a hotel, was very quiet.
  • Plan your route so you have a short last day. We left ourselves a big distance to do and by the time we were done we were pretty much too tired and it was too late for any major celebrations. When you finish you’ll have just cycled approx 1000 miles – you’ll deserve to enjoy at least a couple of beers before passing out!
  • Use a GPS system. This is down to personal preference and these things are quite expensive, but you can buy one off Ebay, use it for your trip and then sell it again when you get back. We didn’t use one and ended up on a duel carriageway near Runcorn. Some people will be able to follow a map better than us, but I would use one just to cut down on the stress.
  • Plan your route so your end point each day is your accommodation, even if you have a support vehicle. We usually had to load the van and travel 15 miles or so to our hotel, adding about an hour to the start and end of each day. When you’ve been cycling all day your rest time will be precious, so make the most of it and keep the faffing to a minimum! In Scotland we finished our riding at the hotel and the difference it made to our time in the evening was significant.

Well, I think that’s about it. Writing this post has brought back some fond memories and anyone who is planning their own trip at the moment should be excited – it’s a great experience. Do your training, do your planning and enjoy! Feel free to get in touch with any queries.

Now then, what to do next….suggestions welcome!

Gaz

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