This website has been providing a wealth of useful information, resources and tips for budding end to end adventurers for a few years now.
Of course, there are always very specific questions relating to individual rides that the general scope of the site cannot cover. As a result, many people contact me through the website with queries and problems.
Whilst I am more than happy to help I thought it would be good to create an environment in which potential End to Enders can raise issues within a community so that a broader range of opinions can be sought, rather than just my own!
My hope is that the interactive nature of Facebook will mean that people can raise a potential problem and, hopefully, a number of people that have already tackled a similar dilemma will be able to offer advice.
I will also be posting items of interest and hints and tips as they arise, which may not appear on the website.
Be prepared to face this question. It is either something people get – or not. And the trouble is it isn’t always very easy to answer if they don’t get it.
For most people that do it, long distance cycling is about facing a challenge of endurance and endeavour. Of course, each individual has a mix of other stuff that they get out of it, but at the core is that feeling of satisfaction, of a job well done, on reaching the end.
And at the end, in that warm glow of achievement, we forget the pain and suffering we have endured during the course of the ride. Those swear words that bounced around our heads halfway up that 20% climb have faded away. We have forgotten our pledge, ‘never to do this #@NM ride again’, whilst battling against horizontal hail in the teeth of a 40mph headwind. We are left only with good memories, even if that good memory is, ‘It was a pig of a ride but I finished!’ [and if only 10% of the starters did, even better].
The point is, we can’t remember pain. Yes, we can remember that we suffered pain but we cannot actually relive it. So the memory of the pain is weak and soon subsumed.
By way of illustration I can point to my own experiences on my first end to end. In the aftermath of my ride I was left with the overall feeling that it went much better than I anticipated and was, on the whole, much easier than I thought it would be. I had ridden steadily each day with a fairly constant energy level and had not suffered much at any point on the ride. I knew a couple of stretches had been tricky but nothing to have gotten me down.
What I wasn’t aware of is the fact that my wife had been typing up all the text messages I had been sending her (I sent one every two hours or so to show I was still alive) and converting them to blog like emails to send to my work colleagues and sponsors to show how things were going. And they were copied verbatim. You can see a transcript in Appendix 2.
I was most surprised to find words like, ‘strain’ and ‘sick’ and ‘tired’ and ‘hard’ and ‘crap’ in my texts. And they also reminded me that I had felt so bad on day two that I had decided to cut out my slight detour over the Kirkstone Pass (which was to be a highlight challenge) because I was worried it would rekindle the sciatica in my right leg.
The thing is, even with the reality spelt out in black and white before me, I still can’t quite conjure up the memories to go with the texts. It is all very positive in my memory and that is why I would have no hesitations in doing it all again. In fact I have. Twice.
But all of that is hard to explain to somebody who can’t grasp the concept, perhaps because they have never challenged their body and mind in that way. So, if you get fed up with trying to explain why you are doing it, then do the ride for charity. Everyone understands that.
Kickstart your Land’s End to John O’Groats planning
Available as electronic or paperback books from as little as £2.99 each or get all 3 for the price of 2 through this site for only £5.98. That’s less than an inner tube or a Costa coffee with a slice of cake.
For many years I used my bike solely as a means to get to work and back. This was not largely due to a love of the bike but more born of a hate of buses – brought on by years of nauseating bus rides to and from school.
Slowly I started to appreciate the joy of cycling: the freedom, the adventure, the exhilaration, the … well you know. I began to venture out on the weekends slowly stretching out my distance up to about a maximum of 50-60 miles.
And then came a turning point. My wife signed me up for the 100 mile route of Dartmoor Classic sportif. I trained hard and just about managed to haul my carcass around the course. I had struggled and cursed over the last thirty miles but promptly forgot that after the event. I was now hooked on cycling longer distances. (My wife won’t be please to hear it’s all her fault).
I joined Audax UK (http://www.aukweb.net/) and started cycling 200km events local to me. It was whilst cycling one of these that I started talking to someone who was using the event as a training run for an end to end. “What’s and end to end?” I asked. And so the seed was sown.
When I came to plan my end to end I felt completely daunted by the task of planning a route over such a vast distance. I spent quite a lot of time searching for routes on the internet and I bought routes from CTC and purchased a couple of published guides as well.
Ultimately I discovered that somebody else’s route was not my route. So I set about mapping my own route from scratch and creating written route sheets and gpx files for a navigation device. This took a lot of experimenting and research to achieve because there is nowhere that I have found that can give you a complete answer to this problem (until now). To save you untold hours of trawling through web forums I have included a section in the book that tells you, step by step, how to do it for yourself.
I also spent far too much time researching training and nutrition to give me the best possible chance of completing my challenge without collapsing. There is a vast quantity of information out there, much of it conflicting and most of it confusing. I have encapsulated what you need to know in the contexts of training for and riding an end to end within the book so you don’t have to do the leg work yourself.
Whether cycling Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) or End to End as it or its reverse John O’Groats to Lands End (JOGLE) is often known, has been a long term goal or is a new ambition, you are probably looking for some help with:
Dig deep into the menus on this website and you will 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 3 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.
Does this site cover everything I need to know about cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats?
When I first rode End to 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 in one website but they hadn’t. So after that first ride I set about doing just that. Two more End to Ends 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 cycling adventure.
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.