Planning your End to End Cycle - Image of pin in a calendar

Planning your Lands End to John O’Groats 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. Of course, I don’t need to tell you that, you’ve already started. And you have a great natural instinct in finding the most efficient way forward – you’re here!

Planning your End to End Cycle - Image of pin in a calendar

I’ve found the best way to kick off is to set a date. When you put a cross on the calendar it tends to focus the mind. It works even better if you tell other people about it because it’s much harder to back out or let the date slide.

Of course there will be a number of factors for you to think about before randomly sticking a pin in the calendar:

  • preferred weather conditions.  Do you want to be battling through snow?  Are you uncomfortable riding in the heat?
  • hours of daylight – how long do you intend to ride each day?
  • type and cost of accommodation – high or low season.
  • sights you want to see – maybe you want to see snow on the hills or the highlands in heather or daffodils in Windermere or cones on the road or caravans blocking every lane.
  • personal matters. Things specific to you that will constrain when you can do the ride such as work, prior commitments, family matters etc.

Once you have a date set (or at least penciled in) you can start planning your activities. To illustrate this I have set out below how I set about planning my trip.

Lands End to John O'Groats Planning - Man with feet up on desk

After months of dithering I started actually ‘planning’ over the Christmas break. Initially this involved picking a date [after due consultation process with spouse – highly recommended] and marking it on the calendar.



In arriving at the date the things I took into consideration were:

  • I wanted to complete the ride in 6 days. Having worked out roughly how far it is from Lands End to John O’Groats I would need to cycle about 150 mile a day. To this day I cannot remember why I decided upon 6 days. Probably for the challenge but it really is too short a time to really enjoy the experience (at least at my cycling speeds).  At my normal average speeds over this distance I thought I would need 12 hours in the saddle plus stopping time. So I would need to have plenty of daylight or be prepared to ride in the dark. The beginning of May to middle of August would be good.
  • I like riding in warm sunny conditions so to maximize the possibility of this I narrowed down my time window to July and August.
  • My wife would be left to deal with the household of two small boys, two puppies and two cats whilst working herself, so to give her a fair chance I had to avoid school holidays. This ruled out the last week of July and all of August.
  • I was riding solo and wanted to keep my equipment list to a minimum so did not want to camp. There were still a number of accommodation options but I decided to use B&Bs.  My budget for the End to End ride was tight so I had to avoid peak season. This meant as far from the summer holidays as possible so early July seemed to be the best bet.
  • I wanted to start on a Sunday to give me Saturday for travel to the start and the following Saturday and Sunday for recovery [in hind sight – ha bloody ha!] before going back to work on the Monday. So my date was set as the first Sunday in July.

Having set the date a number of things immediately crystalised:

Kickstart your Land’s End to John O’Groats planning

Image for Lands End to john O'Groats Guide Books - Free Samples

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.

Click the image above for free samples.

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.

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.

Lands End to John O'Groats Cycle Route Guide Image of Man Lifting Page