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leaf17

Regular
Hi all,

My last long summer as a student is coming up so some pals and I want to do something challenging, rewarding, and that raises money for a good cause. After dismissing LEJOG/JOGLE because of the hassle and £££ of getting to and from start/finish, we're now planning on setting off from our hometown of York, up to Edinburgh, down to London, and back up to York. We have 14 days from 1st July in which to complete this and will be camping.

My question is: is it realistic to think that 4 lads with virtually no touring experience and average fitness levels can complete this? It looks approx. 70 miles a day to me, which I fear might be too much seeing as we'll be able to do very little training prior (exams until the end of May dictating our lives) and will be loaded up with camping gear. 3 of us have bought appropriate touring bikes (as we're planning on doing some more leisurely cycling through Italy later this summer!) and one of the lads is a bike mechanic so the only thing I am questioning is whether we'll be fit enough/able to deal with the inevitable aches and pains that will come with a long distance tour, particularly for those who haven't been able to train much on the bike.

Are we being naive?

Cheers muchly,
Jack
 
You have all day to do 70 miles, so if you can manage 10mph that is 7 hours of ride time. I recently did my first tour and I did find it hard for the first day as I was trying to ride like I would without the panniers and associated crap I took with me. Our ride was through Yorkshire and had a lot of climbing involved (a minimum of 4500ft each day) with alot of 16% hills, once I get into the mindset of just going into my granny gear and spinning to the top I was fine. Just make sure you get up early to give yourselves as much time as possible to do your mileage and rest in the afternoon/evenings.
 

andym

Über Member
It depends on what you mean by 'average fitness' - I suspect that by that you mean pretty unfit. Especially as you don't mention other sports (although I know some people go the other way - so you might be as fit as butchers dogs for all I know).

I think the honest answer is: why don't you just do it one way and enjoy yourselves?

I'd take the 'you only need to do 10mph for 7 hours a day' with a pinch of salt. You could make the same argument for running back to back marathons: you just need to do 5mph for five and a bit hours a day - sounds easy doesn't it?
 
OP
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leaf17

Regular
Yep 'pretty unfit' might be a more appropriate term! We each play sport on a weekly basis but we don't do any specific fitness training. We're not overweight or couch potatoes so I think we can get to a good level of fitness in little time... I am just trying to gauge how fit one actually should be before attempting something like this?

The reason we're hoping not to do just one way is that now we've set our sights on the full trip it's difficult to half it, and as we're raising money for charity I'd like it to be a challenge that genuinely challenges us, without killing us.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
You have youth on your side, which is not to be under estimated.

However, I think 70 miles a day camping may be a bit ambitious.

You will need to get packed up ready for an early start in the morning.

I reckon your elapsed time each day, point to point, will be closer to 10 hours.

Doing 70 miles and then having to scope around for somewhere to camp will be difficult.

It could work if you know exactly where you are headed each evening.

You may have slightly over estimated the mileage.

Based on London Edinburgh London it will clock about 860 miles, which is closer to 60 miles a day over 14 days.
 
OP
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leaf17

Regular
I'm a fairly meticulous planner so the route and campsites should be organised well in advance so hopefully that would offer some 'comfort' after a long day in the saddle.

When you say it may be a bit ambitious I guess you mean due to a lack of physical capacity to cycle for 7-10 hours every day for 14 days straight?

Thanks very much for your feedback, all very helpful.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
When you say it may be a bit ambitious I guess you mean due to a lack of physical capacity to cycle for 7-10 hours every day for 14 days straight?
.
Pretty much.

You will have very little in hand for any route failures or mechanicals.

The pace will be that of the slowest, and there will be some days when it just doesn't happen for one of you.

I recently shepherded a rider home on a day ride of about 90 miles.

He's normally one of the fitter members of my group, but on this day was struggling big style.

Stopping frequently, we made it in about 13 hours.

The more we tried to make progress, the less progress we seemed to make.

We didn't turn into pumpkins, but it was dark when we got home and the thought of camping after a day like that would not have been pleasant.
 

andym

Über Member
OK so 'pretty unfit' may have been a bit hard, and you've got youth on your side, but I'd still build a lot of leeway into you plans. It's probably better to plan on the basis of a lower daily average mileage and then if you can go further great.

So for example identify as many campsites/places-to-stay as you can so that you can easily improvise/change as you get a better idea of what you can do (or if the weather turns against you).

Don't forget that there's a difference between what you can do on a day ride and what you can do day after day.

It should be easy to get the train back if you need to. So maybe also have an idea of where the train stations are ...
 

HelenD123

Guru
Location
York
How much time have you spent on a bike recently? Irrespective of how fit you are, you need to be able to sit on a bike saddle for hours a day for 14 days straight. Go on some test rides and make sure your bikes fit you as any niggles could turn into major discomfort after a few days.

14 days without a break will be a challenge but that's what you're after! Hopefully there being 4 of you should make things easier as you can share out the chores (setting up camp, cooking, route/acccomodation planning etc) and offer moral support when someone's having a bad day. Good luck!
 

andym

Über Member
Hopefully there being 4 of you should make things easier as you can share out the chores (setting up camp, cooking, route/acccomodation planning etc) and offer moral support when someone's having a bad day. Good luck!
Or fight, and blame the person who did the planning?
 
OP
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leaf17

Regular
I'd still build a lot of leeway into you plans
Hi Andy,
The trouble is that because we have 14 days max and it's a fundraiser there isn't really an option to be flexible - once we've committed to doing a certain route and have done the necessary 'marketing' that goes alongside such an event, we can't go back on ourselves! Which is why I'm trying to gauge whether what we're proposing to do is either challenging or approaching foolish/naive/ignorant. The consensus at the moment seems to be that it will be very difficult (considering that we're not seasoned riders and will have little time to practise) but doable - so that's good!

Or fight, and blame the person who did the planning?
Fortunately we've done plenty of travelling together (not on bikes) and so we're pretty tolerant of one another.

How much time have you spent on a bike recently?
Hi Helen,
Unfortunately I've spent no time on the bike that I intend to use for this and won't be able to until a month before setting off (can't get it to uni). I'm glad you've asked that question as I am wondering whether several long distance rides within that one month is likely to prepare me adequately for 14 days of 60/70 miles?! I fear not.
 

samid

Veteran
Location
Toronto, Canada
In my experience, 70 miles/day should not be a problem for young guys with an average fitness level, especially in summer when the days are longer. For me, the 2nd and 3rd days are usually the hardest, once you're past that it all becomes easier and more enjoyable. Take rest stops and don't forget to feed yourself (when you're on a tour, eating is like filling up the car's gas tank), and all should be well :smile:
 

Bodhbh

Guru
Personally, I'd go for it - it'll be a great experience. I reckon you could get up to fitness in a month without too much bother. You probably want to get at least one long ride in beforehand to work out niggles, how the bike fits, etc, also you might want to do an overnighter or a weekend trip first to check out your camping gear.

Is it a possibile to get an old beater bike and get some riding done beforehand if you're worried about fitness?
 
OP
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leaf17

Regular
70 miles/day should not be a problem for young guys with an average fitness level
That's what I like to hear! And good advice too - thank you.

You probably want to get at least one long ride in beforehand to work out niggles,
We'll be going on 1 or 2 overnighters doing at least 70 miles a day so hopefully that will help.

Is it a possibile to get an old beater bike
I have an old road bike which I use to cycle 2 miles to uni every day but I'm pretty sure it's about a 50cm frame and I am 5ft11 - so not ideal! Also, I have very little spare time with finals looming. I've started doing a run every couple of days (nothing too demanding, less than 5 miles) as I figure that 30mins running will do more for my fitness than 30mins cycling. Although I know that nothing compares to actually getting on the bike, plus the muscle groups aren't the same.
 
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