Cycling Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) or its reverse John O’Groats to Lands End (JOGLE) is one of the UK’s most popular cycling challenges. Generically, it is often referred to as an end to end cycle.
From the choppy up and down challenge of the relentless hills in Devon and Cornwall, through the the relative flat lands beyond, slipping by on quiet lanes, gliding along canal paths, over more hills and valleys towards Scotland and the magnificence of the Highlands, to further north than most have ventured and on and up to the final goal at John O’Groats. There is no better way to experience the varied length of Britain than by bike.
Whether cycling end to end has been a long term goal for you, or it’s a new ambition, you are probably searching for some help and inspiration. If so, read on.
What do I need to know to cycle Lands End to John O’Groats?
When I planned my first end to end cycle, from John O’Groats to Lands End, it was very difficult to find all the information I needed. Eventually, through lots of searching and asking around I did but it was hard work and took a great deal of time. I wished that someone had put all the information together for like minded cyclists in one website but they hadn’t. So after that first ride I set about doing just that. Four Lands End to John O Groats cycles later, the site is as you find it but it is constantly evolving with new information being added to make it the most comprehensive single source of advice on cycling end to end.
However, cycling End to End is a personal adventure and everybody is seeking something slightly different from it. So the website cannot cover every permutation but it is a very good starting point and will get your mind working on the issues relevant to your own cycling adventure.
How long does it take to cycle from Lands End to John O Groats?
7 to 21 days
Why so wide a time scale? Well, it is a long way from one end of the UK to the other (874 miles or 1,407 km according to the sign) and those doing the cycling vary greatly in strength, fitness and purpose. There is no set route and everyone will pick a way that suits them, so the distance will also vary. I have cycled several different routes ranging from 880 miles to around 1000. If you are riding as a challenge you might want to pile the miles in each day, riding dawn till dusk, but if you are touring you might prefer to meander and take in the sights at a more leisurely pace.
The record is less than 2 days! and many people take a few weeks. But the average is around 7-14 days – a week or two’s holiday with a day for travel each end.
Planning your End to End Cycle
The critical thing about planning your Lands End to John O’Groats cycle ride is to start doing it. Until you get the ball rolling your End to End cycle will not progress beyond the, ‘ride I’ve always talked about’ stage.
There are lots of things you will need to factor in. You will need to consider:
- How far is it from Lands End to John O’Groats?
- How are you going to get to Land’s End or John O’Groats?
- Where you are going to sleep on your End to End route.
- How much your Lands End to John O’Groats cycle might cost.
Find out more in the Planning Section of the website.
Training for your Lands End to John O’Groats cycle
Anyone who can ride a bike can complete a Lands End to John O’Groats cycle. However, if you are not fit enough and do not eat the right sort of things then it might take you a long time and it might not be very enjoyable.
The amount of training you will need to do so that you can cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats will depend on your current fitness level and the objectives of your ride. If you are a regular cyclist and you intend to take a leisurely three week tour your training requirements will be somewhat less than someone who hasn’t been on a bike since they were a kid, doesn’t do much exercise and wants to complete a charity End to End in a week.
The Training Section of the website has ideas on how to create a training plans and information on:
- Endurance training for cycling end to end
- Interval training for cycling end to end
- Stretching exercises for cyclists
- Strength exercises for cyclists
Equipment needed to complete an end to end cycle
The equipment you will need to take on your Lands End to John O’Groats cycle ride will depend somewhat on the type of ride you are planning. If you are riding unsupported and want to travel light then your list will be different to a supported rider. Again, if you wish to camp then you will have additional kit.
The What Should I Take Section of the website considers all the bits and pieces you might need including:
- bike [minimum requirement]
- bike computer or Sat Nav
- bike pump
- list of equipment I took
What you should eat on your Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle?
Whilst no nutritional expert I have set out some basic principles in the Nutrition Section of the website.
My personal opinion is that getting your eating and drinking right will have a greater impact on how you feel and perform on your Lands End to John O’Groats cycle than getting your training right will. Of course eating and drinking right doesn’t mean you don’t have to do the training. Sorry. But if you can get the eating and drinking right during your training as well, you will get much more out of it.
Land’s End to John O’Groats route creation
There is no official route for cycling Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) or its reverse from John O Groats to Lands End (JOGLE). Providing you start at Lands End or John O’Groats and end up at its counterpart any route to cross the country will do.
I recommended that you create your own route and have set out some ideas on how you could do this and the types of things you will want to consider when doing so in the Route Creation Section of the website. This includes factors to consider, how to create a route within Google Maps and how to convert it to gpx files to download onto a navigation device, such as a Garmin.
Dig deep into the menus on this website to find all the advice you need to help you successfully complete your end to end cycle, whether in 5 days, 10 days, 4 weeks or longer. It is based on my experience of cycling end to end 5 times: from bombing down “A” roads in my first uninitiated attempt from John O’Groats to Lands End to a much safer (and more enjoyable) way using lanes, cycle routes and canal paths wherever possible on a more traditional Lands End to John O’Groats cycle. This route was certainly a ‘Safer Way‘ and I later completed it with my son on a tandem, to raise money for a charity dear to his heart.
You should also check out the Lands End to John O’Groats Cycling Guide Facebook page for more information and interaction with other riders who have an interest in completing a Lands End to John O Groats cycle.
Of course, if you would rather sit back with a paperback, Kindle or PDF, I have published three Lands End to John O’Groats books which contain information from the website and much more, including gpx route files. You can DOWNLOAD FREE SAMPLES or find out more about them here.
Where to next?
The most popular pages on the site concern planning your End to End, including training for long distance cycling, thinking about the cycling equipment you will need, how to look after your bike, what you should be eating and drinking whilst cycling and how to create a route for your Lands End to John O Groats cycle. Or you can read my own account of cycling End to End to get some idea of what to expect.