Lands End to John O’Groats Ride

31st May 2008 to 15th June 2008. Cycling unsupported from Lands End to John O’Groats.

This will be my toughest challenge to date. Google maps calculates the distance to be 893 miles, however not all the roads it has chosen will be suitable for bicycles, so it will be longer than that, and hilly too.

Update: 21st April 2008

I’ve finalised my schedule of overnight stops, but not the specific route between them yet. You can view my general route on Google Maps by clicking here, but by adding the specific stops the route distance has now increased to 958 miles or an average of 68 miles per day.

Update: 10th May 2008

Train tickets from Wigan to Penzance, and from Thurso to Wigan have now been purchased, and a very big thank you must go to Phil at Burscough Bridge station for his patience, help and sheer tenacity in organising my tickets and cycle reservations.

I have now finalised my route and plotted it on 1:250k maps for the whole journey, the final mileage is working out at 949.9 miles, so I think I can safely say it’s going to be at least 950 miles by the time I have gone the wrong way a couple of times. By the time I finish I will have cycled up over 62,000 feet of hills, which is over twice the height of Everest.

Because of the difficulty getting cycle reservations and the times trains run I’ve had to reduce the time taken by a day, which means a revised average distance of 73 miles per day.

Update: 27th May 2008

My online sponsorship page is now active for this epic ride, please click here to go direct to my page on the Action Medical Research web site.

Update: 28th May 2008

Kit List

Bike Specification

  • Thorn Raven Tour steel frame and steel forks
  • Rohloff 14 Speed Hub Gear
  • Front and Rear Radius V-Brakes
  • Mavic EX-721 26″ rims with Pasela Tourguard Kevlar tyres
  • Full mudguards with integrated rear light
  • Schmidt SON Hub Dynamo
  • Homemade 6 volt (hub dynamo output) to USB port charger
  • Blackburn short bottle mount pump
  • Standard frame pump
  • Front and Read Blackburn Racks
  • Shimano SPD clipless pedals
  • Thorn 44T alloy chain guard
  • Brooks B-17 leather saddle
  • Brooks saddle bag tool kit
  • Thorn carbon fibre bar ends
  • Thorn black alloy flat handlebar
  • Thorn cork grips
  • Cateye bell
  • Specialized bottle cages x3
  • Garmin Edge 305 GPS
  • Twin leg, alloy, centre propstand

Spares and Tools

  • Pasela Tourguard Kevlar folding tyre
  • Inner tubes x2
  • Topeak cycle tool
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Rohloff maintenance kit
  • Allen keys
  • Pedal and eccentric bottom bracket tool
  • Bucktool

Luggage

  • Ortlieb Front-Roller Classic x2
  • Ortlieb Back-Roller Plus x2
  • Ortlieb Pannier Outer Pocket
  • Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Plus BarBag
  • Ortlieb Dry Bag PD 350 Medium

Equipment

  • Terra-Nova Laser Competition tent
  • Snugpak Travelpak Lite sleeping bag
  • Single flock covered inflatable bed
  • Pump adapter for inflatable bed
  • Trangia Series 25 cook set
  • Trangia gas adapter
  • Butane/Propane mix screw-fitting gas cannister
  • Gelert stainless steel mug
  • Terra-Nova titanium cooking mug
  • Light-My-Fire Spork
  • Windmill Delta turboflame lighter
  • Silva Field 7 compass
  • First aid kit
  • Foil survival blanket
  • Mobile phone
  • Spare mobile phone
  • Spare mobile phone battery
  • Multi-purpose electronic device charger
  • Helmet camera
  • Camcorder
  • 2GB SD memory cards x5
  • Platypus 2L water carrier
  • SIS sports drink bottles x2
  • Sigg bottle with Trangia top and filled with Methylated Spirit
  • TomTom One Europe GPS navigation device
  • Petzl Tikka Plus headlight
  • Wash kit and travel towel
  • Samsung NQ10 notebook PC and charger

Clothing

  • Endura Hummvee 3/4 length shorts x2
  • Endura Hummvee full length trousers
  • Endura Cirrus short sleeved cycle jersey
  • Endura MT500 long sleeved cycle jersey
  • Carradice Pro Route Cycle Cape
  • Nike Pro Compression sleeveless top x2
  • Nike Pro Compression under shorts x2
  • Nike sport socks x4
  • Flipflops
  • Trainers
  • SIDI mountain bike SPD shoes
  • Brooks merino wool short sleeved cycle jerey
  • Foska “Baked Beans” cycle jersey
  • Cycling shorts
  • Fruit of the Loom T-Shirt
  • Convertible trousers
  • Shorts
  • Socks
  • Underpants x2
  • Lightweight fleece pullover top
  • Lusso lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Bell cycle helmet

Food and Drink

  • Wayfayrer meals x7
  • Energy bars x5
  • Energy gels x8
  • Energy drinks x5
  • Recovery drinks x5
  • Instant coffee
  • Vegetable drink
  • Packet soup x2
  • Turkey and herb pate tin
  • Cracker biscuits
  • Long grain rice portions x8

Update: 6th June 2008

I’m 6 days in, and have now covered 426.1 miles. Human kindness has continued to amaze me, as it always does when I do these events. I was approached by a deaf gentleman and his wife at Taunton station on the way down to Land’s End who presented me with a post-it note with the single word “Donation” written on it and £2 to add to my sponsorship fund, then at the Royal Oak pub in Perranwell a gentleman at the bar gave another £1, followed shortly by the Darnon party outside who had an in-promptu whip round and presented me with another £8.

The laptop I took failed abysmally on day one, as the battery won’t hold a charge any more, so I haven’t been able to update this page as frequently as I would like. The friends I stayed with in Copplestone very kindly sent my surplus equipment (non-operational laptop et al) home so I didn’t have to carry it any further. With these kinds of events you always end up taking stuff that isn’t used so it was a big help to offload it.

Today I cycled from Sutton Coldfield to my home in Lathom, which is my longest planned day at 102.8 miles. So at last I’m able to update the site, and check my emails. You can’t imagine my amazement to find that I have been sponsored online anonymously for £300, fantastic and my heartfelt thanks go to whoever was so incredibly generous I just wish I knew who it was so I could thank them properly.

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