The famous Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) describes a transversal route from the South-Western tip of mainland England in Cornwall, all the way up to the North-Eastern tip of John O’Groats in Scotland.
The route was traditionally considered a walking challenge but has now become one of the most well established and iconic cycling challenges in the world. A classic, yet extremely tough challenge which often takes months to prepare for.
The journey consists of approximately 1,000 miles and explores some of the most beautiful regions of the UK, making it a popular choice for avid cyclists looking to push themselves to their limits.
When to Go
Most people take on LEJOG during the spring or summer months when the weather is at its best. UK weather however is never stable and summer time brings no guarantee of fair weather – riders should be aware that they may be faced with strong prevailing winds and lasting rain.
The average rider faces a daily mileage of approximately 50 – 100 miles depending on the trip booked. It is important to prepare your body for riding all day long – this requires a lot of physical and mental stamina and endurance.
Preparing your body for the trip should begin 12 weeks or more before the trip itself, some sections of the ride will be more challenging and demanding than others – for many, the hardest part of the tour is in the first couple of days in the hills of Devon and Cornwall. It is therefore essential to include not only distance but also hill training into your overall training plan.
It is also important to train in all types of weather, getting your mind and body used to cycling in the prevailing wind.
Get the Nutrition Right
It goes without saying that it is important to get into shape before the event. A good diet will help make sure you are on tip-top form. It is also important to ensure your bike nutrition and hydration strategy is perfected before departing for LEJOG, testing out which snacks and drinks work best for you.
A decent and professionally fitted bike which provides a comfortable and ergonomic position whilst riding is essential and will also help to prevent a number of posture related complaints often associated with back to back long-distance riding.
High quality cycling shorts and clothing suitable for a range of weather conditions is a must. This should include waterproof clothing (including waterproof socks) and sun screen, as it’s easy to burn when the sun does come out.
After a long day in the saddle, most cyclists don’t want to waste time washing and drying sweaty shorts in the evening, investing in multiple shorts is a good way to avoid this problem. It is a good idea to apply a layer of Chamois cream before setting out each day, in order to avoid uncomfortable saddle sores – this is especially important for those not used to cycling long distances and equally so during hot weather.
Investing in a high-quality pair of tyres is also worth its weight in gold and can mean the difference between multiple punctures and no punctures at all – regular flat tyres are a sure way to suck the joy out of any cycling tour.
Choosing the Right Trip to Suit Your Needs
A fully supported holiday is ideally suited to those who wish to focus purely on cycling, all planning and other arrangements will be taken care of. This will include the provision of transport to and from the destinations, vehicle support which provides spare equipment, baggage transfers, accommodation, breakfasts and detailed route information with turn by turn instructions.
Self-guided holidays which are custom made for independent cyclists who wish to choose exactly when they want to, the length of the tour, the number of rest days and their cycling companions, making this the ideal trip for families, couples and groups of friends. These kind of trips however, typically offer a well-researched route for cyclists to follow and often book accommodation on behalf of clients in advance.
Alternatively, others may opt for a fully unsupported tour, choosing their own route and making all of their own arrangements – this type of tour is usually better suited to experienced cyclists. Good route planning is essential – some areas are extremely hilly and much more tiring than often predicted. Finding suitable accommodation can also be painstakingly time consuming and expensive, especially in the Southern counties such as Cornwall and Devon where summer tourism is popular.
Other Things to Think About
Be Prepared for The Midges!
Don’t forget to apply insect repellent – the midges of Scotland are notoriously bad during the summer months.
Don’t Forget to Carry Cash
Some parts of the trip, especially The Highlands of Scotland, are extremely remote and cash will be a lot more welcome than cards.
For more information on LEJOG cycling holidays, get in touch with Bike Adventures today.