The cunning plan

Lands End to John O'Groats (LEJOG for short) is the holy grail for UK cyclists.

When I posted on a couple of cycling forums that I planned to do it, quite a number of people expressed an interest in joining me. Curiously, the closer we got to the starting date, the fewer those people became. Once the plans were concrete, there was precisely one of them left: a fellow CycleChat forum member called Donald.

Why did we do this? Several reasons. Firstly, and most obviously, there is ... er ... well ... anyway, moving onto the second reason, there is the fact that ... uh ... um ... and in conclusion, it seemed like a good idea at the time. It is not entirely beyond the bounds of possibility that alcohol had some small part to play in the decision-making process.

We did, however, do it in a relatively sane fashion. First, we planned three weeks to do it, which is an average of 52 miles a day. This allowed us time for leisurely lunch and cake stops.

Ah yes, cakes. One of the best things about long-distance cycling is you burn so many calories (a total of around 7000 a day) that you can eat anything you like. :-)

Second, we had a motorhome as a support vehicle. Usually, you have to choose between B&Bs and camping. B&Bs let you travel light, but you have to book your accommodation ahead of time, which limits your flexibility. Camping gives you the freedom to vary your route and schedule on a whim, but you have a lot of junk to carry. Which is why I came up with a cunning plan: namely, a friend with a motorhome who also wanted to take some time out to explore this country of ours.

Each day, we had a nominal destination. Erica did her own exploring and met up with us at the end of the day. All we needed on us for the ride was a day-bag with the usual bits & pieces - everything else was transported in the motorhome.

Third, we did an east-of-Pennines route, which adds about 100 miles to the more direct westerly route but is flatter and (statistically) drier. This plan worked perfectly: we had precisely one day of foul weather the entire trip. Otherwise, a few showers, a few headwinds and lots & lots of sun!

Some people do this as a sponsored ride. I did a sort of freeform version of this: if you think that this sort of nutty endeavour needs to be acknowledged, please make a donation to your favourite charity. Drop me an email with your name and the charity and I'll add it to the charity donations page..

On to day 1