The longest and undeniably one of the most iconic routes in the UK, as well as one of its most challenging – tackling the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycling tour (LEJOG) involves careful planning and preparation.
The trip can vary in length, depending on the pace of the tour, however it typically ranges from approximately 10 days up to anything around 30 days for those wishing to take it at a more leisurely pace.
Packing for an Independent Tour
The distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats is approximately 1000 miles, those embarking on an independent tour will need to carry their belongings on their bike for the duration of the trip, making lightweight packing a top priority. The Lejog route also has a surprisingly large number of hills, especially around the southern counties of Devon and Cornwall – obviously, the heavier the load you are carrying, the more you will need to exert yourself to climb the hills.
Things to Consider
Although it may sound only too obvious, choice of bike is a massively important factor when it comes to enjoyment. Your bike of choice should be as lightweight as possible and also something you actually like riding and find genuinely comfortable. There are numerous touring bikes available on the market at price points to suit individual budgets.
It is a good idea to invest high quality panniers for long distance bike touring, these are specifically designed to keep luggage balanced and safely stored on the bike. Be sure to opt for panniers made from waterproof and tear resistant fabric. Touring panniers offer varying capacities up to 50 litres, allowing ample storage space for all your essentials, two panniers of approximately 30 litres each, and a bar bag should provide adequate space for packing all the essentials.
Most Lejog cycling tours take place in the spring or summer months, which in theory should ensure better weather – this however does not provide any guarantee against cold morning starts and pouring rain. It is a good idea to invest in the following items of clothing for the trip:
- Cycling shirts – both short sleeved and long sleeved
- Cycling shorts
- Waterproofs (including socks)
- Arm warmers
- Leg warmers
- Long trousers
Other Essential Items
- First aid kit
- Water bottle
- Food – energy snacks
- Bike repair kit
- Bike lock
- Sat nav
- Phone & charger
- Chamois or other anti-chafe cream
- Wallet (always ensure you have enough cash, this is especially important in remote locations such as the Highlands of Scotland)
How Can Bikepacking Help?
The Lejog cycle experience is described as a cycle tour as it uses road routes – bikepacking differs from road touring as it is essentially backpacking with a bike. Bikepacking is typically an independent type of adventure travel, part backpacking and part cycling, with a focus on off road cycling. Bikepackers become experts at lightweight packing and mastering good weight distribution. Therefore, researching how to prepare for a bikepacking trip and how other bikepackers tackle the art of successful packing, can prove extremely useful.
What to Take on a Supported Tour?
For those participating in a supported tour, packing is not as much of concern, as supported tours typically include baggage transfer services and a support vehicle well equipped to deal with any type of breakdown or first aid emergency. Therefore, when it comes to packing, you can get away with packing more generously, taking all of the above listed and maybe a few extras.
Bike Adventures offer an extensive range of both independent and supported cycling tours to LEJOG as well as numerous other destinations both in the UK and across the rest of the world. Get in touch today for more information.