Your stuff to put in bags has to fit in your bags!
It is better to reduce the quantity of stuff than to buy bigger/more bags to accommodate it. Is there anything you can do without? Really? Could you reduce things by using mutli purpose items, e.g. a phone that can take decent pictures/video, play music, send emails, act as a sat nav and you can read a book on?
Below is a list of all the things I took on my trip, which may help as a guide to the sorts of things you might need to take. Of course this is very much up to the individual and the type of trip you are planning. I was not camping and I also took the risk that I would not need things like spare spokes and tyres for instance. As an aside, this caught me out on my last trip and I wish I had heard of and obtained Bicycle Breakdown Cover. This is an ‘AA’ type of service for bikes and can get you out of a tight spot for a few pounds a year. I would thoroughly recommend it for any end to ender as a cheap ‘get out of jail’ in an emergency. You can read how I was caught out and how the cover could have helped me here.
2. Stuff to go on me
- Leg warmers
- Arm Warmers
- Cycling shoes
- 2-3 hour supply of food in pockets
- Chest strap for heart rate monitor
- Scott CR1 Team
4. Stuff to go on bike
- Bike computer
- Sat Nav
- Route holder and day’s route
5. Stuff to go in bag
- Tyre levers
- Multi tool
- Inner tubes x2
- Zip ties
- Chain lube
- Plastic bags
- First aid kit
- Wet wipes/antiseptic wipes
- Sudocrèm ® (butt bream)
- Toiletries (deo, shampoo/bodywash, toothpaste, toothbrush)
- Mobile phone
- Chargers (phone, sat nav, mp3)
- MP3 player
- Route – paper
- Shorts (spare)
- Top (spare)
- Socks (spare)
- Wind stop/rain top
- Shoes – karate slippers
- Long Sleeve top – base layer
- Long Trousers – nylon hiking ¾ trousers
- Spare food and energy drink powder for the day
The only things I did not use on the trip were my pump, inner tubes, multi tool, first aid kit and mp3 player. Of those the only one I could have got away without carrying was the mp3 player.In 2013 and again in 2014 I rode Land’s End to John O’Groats and took the above list with the exception of the my spare kit (shorts, top and socks), gillet (because I had lost it) and my none cycling clothes (karate slippers, long sleeve top and long trousers). This reduced the weight I was carrying a little but mainly freed up a lot of space in the bag which I could use to carry proper food purchased en route without crushing it. The only time I had used the none cycling clothes previously was to fly to the start. On these trip my long journey was the return so I simply sent the clothes to my B&B at John O’Groats. The decision to not take any spare kit meant that once I had washed my kit every evening I had to wander around in a towel, having nothing else to wear.
In addition to the above list I added cleat covers for my cycling shoes to wear on the train to Penzance, neoprene toe covers for my shoes to keep my feet minimally dry but mainly clean for arrival at B&Bs on wet days, an external battery pack to extend the life of my sat nav and Rainlegs (like riding chaps for cyclists) to keep my leg muscles warm in the rain, particularly on the October 2013 ride. It is a good idea to pack your stuff in sealable, clear plastic bags. This will help to keep them watertight, preventing water leaking in and toiletries leaking out. It also makes it much easier to sort through your kit.
Kickstart your Lands End to John O’Groats planning
Everything you need to know to get you started on your Lands End to John O Groats adventure is contained within these three books: a How To, a detailed account of riding the Google Map route for LEJOG and a ‘safe’ Route Book using GPX files.
Available as electronic or paperback books from as little as £2.99 each or all three for £5.98. That’s less than an inner tube or a Costa coffee with a slice of cake.
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 Lands End to John O’Groats. Or you can read my own account of cycling End to End to get some idea of what to expect.