How To: Cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats

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It’s certainly a trip that is not for the faint hearted. The journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats is a test of both physical and mental strength, but to say you have traversed this great island on pedal power alone is certainly an achievement that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

From the southern most tip of England to the northern realms of Scotland, it’s a route that will test even the fittest of cyclists, but with the right training, equipment and of course willpower, you can be over the line and celebrating in no time.

1. Preparation:

Training is key. The route covers a gruelling 838 miles if you stick to classified roads, so experts suggest that you begin practising and improving your fitness levels at least 6 months before your trip. Make a realistic plan for how long you expect the trip to take you. For a reasonably fit cyclist, 9-10 days is a good starting point.

Gym work is great for building cardio and muscle strength, but nothing quite compares to hitting the open road to get used to your bike and riding it in all conditions! Before the big day arrives make sure you have spent plenty of time on the bike you will be riding and wearing the clothes you are going to wear on the trip. Take note of any areas that could rub or cause friction burns and adapt your clothing or equipment to avoid this.

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2. Equipment:

What sort of kit do you need for the trip? Obviously cycling gear is important, make sure you feel comfortable in the clothes you choose and opt for layers so that you can adapt to changing weather conditions easily. A decent rain mac will be a saviour on this route – even in the summer!

Other than the clothes you wear, you’ll need a small toolbox, some spare inner tubes and plenty of snacks to keep you going between hotels (jelly babies are a great way of keeping your sugar levels up and giving you a short, sharp boost while riding!)

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3. The Route

Day one will see you do roughly 80 miles, starting at Land’s End and traversing the coastline where pounding tides and rocky cliffs will keep you interested until you arrive at Liskeard.

After that is a breathtaking but also challenging part of the journey as you cross Dartmoor, tackle steep hills and make your way across Exeter. Why not stay in one of our hotels in Tiverton and take a rest – you’ll definitely need it!

The trip will then take you through the Westcountry, thankfully avoiding Cheddar Gorge but travelling through Bristol and into Wales before snaking back up north and onto the second half of your long journey.

After making your way through Preston and a hotel in Carlisle, you can finally cross the border into Scotland and begin your final stretch.

This final leg will see you enjoy the sights of Kilmarnock, Inveraray, pass the beautiful Loch Lochy and more before finally arriving at John O’Groats, exhausted but immensely proud at what you have achieved! Then of course it’s time for a slap up meal (you deserve it) and a well earned rest (you’ve earn it) before heading home (hopefully not by bike!)

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