Do I want to do LEJOG?

Discussion in 'Lands End to John O'Groats (LEJOG)' started by space, 25 Jun 2017.

  1. space

    space Member

    Silly question, I know. Only I can answer it. However, I'm looking for a little help in doing so.

    Basically, the question is, the challenge of LEJOG aside, is it an enjoyable ride?

    I would be travelling solo, trying to minimise cost and time off work, so we're talking camping + hostels, etc. Quite fit, middle of the road time-triallist, so not a slow rider (though I appreciate this is something quite different). And I'd ideally like to do it between 7-10 days, on the scenic route!

    Living in the far reaches of the north, I'm blessed to have the most amazing riding around me, and I spend much of my time around the North Pennines and the quieter roads of Northumberland, so I'm quite spoilt really. And that's what I like. Pedalling around in traffic does not interest me one bit, so certainly the A30 and A9 are out, without question! Anything even remotely close to that is out.

    I'm really looking for people with experience to give me some idea what to expect on the ride.

    The alternative would probably be a Scottish trip. Quite possibly western isles. Maybe something based on North Coast 500. And I think at least some of that is guaranteed to be pretty epic and right up my street. And the logistics are easier. However, LEJOG keeps calling: it feels somewhat obligatory to tick it off the list. But would I mostly be torturing myself with mundane roads and sights just so I can say I've done it. Or would I genuinely be missing out on an amazing experience if I didn't?

    I just have this vision that everything south of the border will just not be very interesting, and slightly uncomfortable with traffic.
  2. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Veteran

    East Sussex
    It is something to tick off a list, as you say. I did it some years ago and parts of it were quite enjoyable. But quite a bit of it was fairly ordinary and both of the end points - Land's End and John O'Groats were really naff and touristy. I certainly didn't find it an amazing experience. Britain has some truly lovely cycle routes and places to ride. Unless you really, really want to tick that box, there are much better options for touring.

    Scotland - the outer isles - is great, as is Lôn Las Cymru in Wales. I have spent a lot of time exploring Orkney by bicycle, which I loved. I would do any of those again in a heartbeat, but not LEJOG.
  3. furball

    furball Veteran

    I've never had the urge to do LEJOG or any other made up and promoted route. Part of the whole touring experience for me is developing a route from a spark of an idea. I can't see the point in passing by good cycling country to tick a box.
  4. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Veteran

    East Sussex
    To be fair, one needn't follow a prescribed route when one does LEJOG. I certainly didn't. My route was circuitous and rather longer than most people's. That said, in order to cover the length of Britain, one is obliged to connect the dots and that does mean covering some stretches of countryside that are considerably less interesting than others.
  5. Afnug

    Afnug Everything you can imagine is real

    I rode Lejog on the turbo last winter I used the files from the website in the link, it was an interesting route it went up the west coast of Scotland taking in some of the islands, the route in England and Wales took in some nice roads, although I only saw them on street view on the computer, if I was to do it this is the route I would choose.
    Last edited: 27 Jun 2017
    Vegan1 likes this.
  6. Vegan1

    Vegan1 Guest

    I'd say no it's not enjoyable overall and aim to do it in the fastest time possible. I done mine way back when in eight days, yes of course there are pretty bits of the ride but for me it felt like a ticking exercise to say yes I done the end to end.

    If you are after an enjoyable tour/ride where you can really enjoy you cycling then I'd recommend either the Lakes or the south west coast of Wales.
  7. MikeG

    MikeG Guru

    You'll be pleasantly surprised.

    If you take the old A30, and then instead of going through Bristol you go around it to the east, you'll see nothing but beautiful countryside on quiet lanes with little traffic until you get to, say, Gloucester. Even that is avoidable. Again, get past Manchester, and the only cyclist's hell to look out for is Preston, which did its level best to kill us, repeatedly. I thought I'd nuked it, but I've had reports it's still there. Sorry. After that, lots of pleasant countryside and quiet lanes, until you get to Edinburgh.

    I'd suggest you find yourself 10 days for the trip, so you'll be able to look up from the tarmac now and then. You'll see that this island we share is really very beautiful.
    classic33 and DanZac like this.
  8. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    If I had taken 7-10 days I would have come home disappointed that I had not taken more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the places, and the company of the people I met along the way. But that's just me, I set out on a tour, not a challenge:smile:.
    Tom B likes this.
  9. Ajax Bay

    Ajax Bay Veteran

    East Devon
    I think it can be both a challenge and enjoyable. I did it solo and unsupported using B&B, friends and hostels, in 9 days in the month of September. There is no set route and my route was one I planned with reference and drawing from those many who've gone before. I did not use the A30 (except for the first 8 miles!) or the A9 (at all). To enhance the 'enjoyment' quotient I went west coast and via Arran, the Kintyre peninsula and Mull. And earlier in England I took a northerly line through Cornwall, Devon and Somerset (Newquay, Padstow, Holsworthy, Taunton, Bridgwater) used the Strawberry Line cycle path north and across the Avon Bridge, then over the Severn Bridge and up through the Forest of Dean. Through rural Herefordshire, Shropshire (skipping into Wales) and Cheshire before tackling the relatively built up area from Runcorn north to Preston. There a cycle route through Preston which was excellent and then via Lancaster, up the Lune valley (Kirkby Stephen, Sedbergh, Tebay) over Orton Scar into the Eden valley past Penrith and back roads to Carlisle and Gretna. So "everything south of the border will just not be very interesting, and slightly uncomfortable with traffic" is wide of the mark (and only the 35 miles Runcorn north to Preston could be so described - even then careful B road route choice (B5206/B5250/B5253) leavens that). If you want to take a central line up through the Dales that's your territory.
    In Scotland, as you know, the A roads away from conurbations take only limited traffic and are anyway often the only reasonable route, seeing a 9 day rider has to average 100 miles a day and by going west coast via Arran and the Kintyre peninsula I enjoyed spectacular scenery, the summit of the Ben though afternoon and sunset, the Spean Bridge Commando memorial at sunset
    Cdo Memorial - Spean Bridge.JPG
    Then the Great Glen and Loch Ness, the handlebar-wrenching climb out of Drumnadrochit and the 'back route' through Beauly, Dingwall, Bonar Bridge, Lairg and the (LEJOG iconic) Crask Inn. Topping off the last day was Strathnaver and the 'top road' across to JoG, with the Orkneys appearing across the Pentland Firth. I finished the trip off with a ferry to Orkney, a ride up to Kirkwall, a ride round the 'mainland', a ferry back to Aberdeen and a flight (with bike in box from cycle shop) back to Heathrow (£56!).
    Scenic? Yes. "torturing myself with mundane roads?" No - see above - unless you just bang up the A30/A38/A49/B7078 (// M74)/A9 roads. Missing out on amazing experience? Probably, though a bit overstated - depends on where 'amazing' is on your personal spectrum. "Say I've done it"? End-to-end, if done with positive motivation (enjoy, challenge) is a 'bucket list' event, not just for you but for others: it's immediately recognisable even to those who don't do/get cycling.
    HTH and here's (roughly) my route.
    Last edited: 31 Jan 2018
    zer07, Donger, space and 4 others like this.
  10. DanZac

    DanZac Senior Member

    To me if your just doing it to tick a box then the chances are your not going to enjoy it and the ride itself will be a chore.
    However treated as an adventure and the chance to get out amongst the people and countryside of what is often a beautiful island then its right up there with many of the other epic rides.
    My home, LEJOG, home round trip last year was one of the best things I've ever done (and I did some pretty cool stuff during 26 years in the airforce). I would have happily kept going and gone around again if I didnt have to start a new job.
    Only you can answer the original question, but if your going to do it take the advice of the others above and pick a quiet scenic route and give the ride the time it deserves to fully enjoy it.
    snorri likes this.
  11. OP

    space Member

    I'm torn now. If it wasn't for the difficulty in getting to and from the start and finish I think I'd be sold. But I've also been looking at routes around the west coast of Scotland, and they looks amazing... Could include the west coast on LEJOG of course, but it would be a bit more rushed.
  12. Tigerbiten

    Tigerbiten Veteran

    I hate to say this but ........
    The border is only halfway there on LEJOG.
    So you're nowhere near "the far reaches of the north" ........ :laugh:
    classic33 and snorri like this.
  13. Ice2911

    Ice2911 Über Member

    If you book trains in advance you can get some great deals £38 from Norwich to Penzance £42 Inverness back to Peterborough. I included Arran Mull and Skye in my ride and well worth it. Take your time if you can and enjoy it. if you want to have a look at my route which Ajax Bay helped/ developed for me.
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2017
  14. MikeG

    MikeG Guru

    Don't listen to him people! He's obviously part of the plot. Preston will try to kill you, and this fake news about cycle paths is just another tactic. Avoid it like the plague......or better still...........nuke the place from orbit.
    classic33 likes this.
  15. Tenacious Sloth

    Tenacious Sloth Über Member

    Huntingdon, UK
    I can confirm there is an excellent cycle route through Preston which I followed on my recent LEJOG.

    Didn't see a single factory chimney, cloth cap or whippet, just lovely cycle tracks through parks.

    Tom B and classic33 like this.
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