A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Monday, 21 January 2013

LeJog trip Data

Finally got round to doing my trip data for the Lands End - John O Groats tour from June last year . I thought this may be useful for others doing this route

My route was not the fastest and I made a horrendous navigational error on day 8 which added about 50km. I loved this route, Arran well worth a visit and the west of Scotland very pretty. I strongly suggest the "Day 10" route over the central highlands on an amazing sealed D-road.

Journal Link  - Distance - Bikely Route Map

Links have more details:

Day 1:      179.91 km    Lands End - Okehampton
Day 2:      141.88 km    Okehampton - Shipton
Day 3:      166.33 km    Shipton - Ludlow
Day 4:      161.96 km    Ludlow - Wigan
Day 5:      198.63 km   Wigan - Gretna
Day 6:      161.24 km   Gretna - Irvine
Day 7:      171.86 km   Irvine-Arran-Oban
Day 8:      201.17 km   Oban - Drumnadrochit
Day 9:        95.67 km   Drumnadrochit - Lairg
Day 10:     163.3  km   Lairg - John O Groats

Total: 1641.95 km
Average day: 164 km

Trip summary in brief:

  • Rode solo and unsupported
  • I was riding for 2 charities and raised £1,488.50 for the Mental Health charity Rethink and £700.00 for The Dom Pardy Trust
  • I rode on a Specialized Cycle Cross with 2 rear panniers and a bar bag (above) I was travelling light for speed in order to meet a 10 day deadline I'd set myself for the charities. I stayed in B&B's mostly, not camping to save weight. 
  • Apart from the multitude of other blogs on Lejog, the other 2 websites that proved to be a goldmine was http://www.xcweather.co.uk/GB/forecast for detailed wind forecasts, and the CTCForums
  • Weather: so much debate on heading in the direction Lejog vs Jogle (south to north, or north to south). If you can afford to leave your choice to the last minute, watch the wind forecast website above and go with the flow. For most of us that's not possible due to the remoteness of the start/finish and logistics involved.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snakes And Fires

I've been getting out on good rides on the weekends regularly now and have set a couple of goals for the year to work towards. Both involve needing to ride every day that I can, so that's my main objective for now...just to be out peddling as often as possible!

On a recent ride the big excitement was My First Snake Encounter. I had my head down riding into a fairly sprightly sea breeze and didn't see it coming at all, in fact, I nearly ran it over. Locals will laugh but I definitely jumped out of my skin...it was a big snake! (To me, anything larger than a garden earthworm is a big snake mind you...).

Whilst I didn't get a massively detailed look as I furiously accelerated away, having poked around on-line it seems most likely to have been an Eastern Brown snake and I think looked pretty much exactly like this:

A bite from one of these, if that's what it was, is not a good thing. Symptoms include: diarrhea, dizziness, collapse or convulsions, renal failure, paralysis and cardiac arrest. Wonderful. Fortunately for me this snake's cyclist eating days were over...for once a car had actually done me a favour and got to it first.

The sad thing is the area I've been using to train around had a major fire near a village called Little River last weekend. Deliberately lit apparently, which seems like a particularly sadistic thing to do. This one wasn't as bad as others around the country but still blazed though 350 hectars of land before it could be contained. I took this photo in the area:

The weekend before. Its so dry and windy out there you can see why they are so dangerous!

Anyway, am trip planning now for this years cycle tour which I'm going to do in Winter time to fit it round work. At the moment it seems heading further north is the best option but we'll see! This time I plan to ride with a bigger load and camp out more, so also thinking about kit list.

Grabbed these Polar Bottle insulated water bottles yesterday:

Which supposedly will keep your drink cooler for longer. Just had the one test so far and am not totally convinced the cost is worth it yet...but next time I'll stick some ice cubes in as well.

83km done today, it feels like I'm heading in the right direction fitness ways. Goal for the year is 10,000km. Or, 833km a month...27 km a day, every day!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Back in the Saddle

So here I am in Australia, and at Christmas my bike cleared customs and I could get out on the road again. It definitely has not been good for me while I waited the 3 months for the shipment to get here and clear customs...but, it's here now, and its time to get peddling again!

I've just done a couple of bedding in rides so far. The heat here after the UK is a shock, especially just now while the heat wave is in town. I've been trying to head out earlier in the day and be done by lunch time, but its still too warm - for me! Also the warm wind feels like a hair dryer when its coming of the warmer interior.

What I do love is the open space. Although I live out of the far western edge of the city and the commute utterly sucks during the week, on weekends I'm only a short ride from terrain like this:

That was my first proper foray out of town, a 58 km ride out along Bachus Marsh road yesterday. Looking forward to seeing much more of this!

In the meantime, today was a more leisurely ride along a mostly traffic free route into the city:

I was checking this out as part of a possible ride to work route.  The the whole distance to work would be close to 70km I think, so would be a big effort and to then have to work a day...so I'll look at that again later in the year I think! A lovely route nonetheless, on a fairly narrow paved path

But passing Altona Beach

And Williamstown Beach

At the moment I'm just trying to get used to being back out on the road and getting fit again - but its great to be in such a wonderful cycling country!