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Just want to get this down before I forget; thinking about LEJOG compared to other adventure holidays, where the natural tendency is to go all-out at the start (Crossfit WOD for breakfast?) and only the hardcore (Nastia!) are still going by the end with the rest subsiding into beer and Wii Bowling.

LEJOG was quantitatively different because it had an un-blaggable endpoint.  Even if, say, a tri-themed camp training camp were to have an actual proper race at the end, it's still blaggable.  A sightseeing tour would be, too; by the end of it, bad weather would tick the tearoom box more than the clifftop one.  But a point-to-point tour can't be blagged: you allow a degree of slack because it's not a route march, but the only way to get where you want to go is to keep on riding, every day, munching up that mandatory itinerary. 

In fact, the itinerary becomes the Prime Directive.  Do what you like to have fun along the way, but you have to make the miles.  Pretty soon I learned that an early start was essential unless I wanted to finish very late; no lie-ins on this holiday!  Shopping, pubs, bike parts, food all change their priority from "best choice" to "first acceptable choice" because there's just no time to mither around all day comparing the titanium to the carbon widget or looking for organic hand-rolled dolmades when there's a can of Sutherland chilli in the Spar.  This sounds grim, but actually, it was kind of okay; in fact it was liberating: buy food, get wheel, find campsite.  The option-paralysis that sometimes hits me ("this pub has better beer" "its a bit crowded" "how about this one" "dingy" "lets go back to the first one" "argh!") isn't allowed: it breaches the Prime Directive: Get the miles in.

I'm wondering whether it is applicable elsewhere, because I rather enjoyed it. 

Mind you, I enjoy the slack adventure stuff too: there the Prime Directive is to have fun; the adventuring is the secondary objective, the vector for the fun to be had, and as such it is changeable (and since hanging out with a beer and a bad movie is fun too, easily changed).
andygates: (Default)
I've had Land's End - John O'Groats on my list since I was about fourteen and first heard of it.  Forty is a good time to do a bucket-list ride, and this three-week trip (some camping, some hostelling, some couch-surfing) is how I'm hoping to do it.  Days are around 60 miles, with nothing centuriffic and a few shorties.  There are rest days in there too, though "rest" and "beer" may be cognate in this context.  The deviations from the CTC's standard route make for a total of about a thousand miles.
  1. Land's End - Wadebridge (up the north coast - gorgeous but tough - with chuffy, baggy and cider)
  2. Wadebridge - Crediton (coastal to Bude, then pause via home)
  3. Crediton - Glastonbury (you can't keep a good hippy down; the chuffbag sabot is fired off home now)
  4. Glastonbury - Bristol (a short day, and hopefully a hookup and some ales)
  5. Bristol - Cinderford (I've always wanted to ride the Severn Bridge; hope to avoid Monmouth)
  6. Cinderford - Clun (if I can get away from being Mum-fed)
  7. Clun - Chester (possibly with forum rider types)
  8. Chester - Preston (goin' north)
  9. Preston - Kendal (lumps!)
  10. Kendal - Keswick (short detour to the Lakes; rest day and a paddle)
  11. Keswick - Kielder Water (water is a theme, isn't it?)
  12. Kielder Water - Edinburgh (this and yesterday could be quite the hack; pick up [ profile] ravenbait , frood and ales)
  13. Edinburgh - Crainlairach (picking up the CTC bikepacker route)
  14. Crainlarach - Glencoe (Scotland is big. Really big. )
  15. Glencoe - Loch Ness (More lakeside camping, plus monster. ME!   )
  16. Loch Ness - Carbisdale Castle (they'll probably repel the English)
  17. Carbisdale Castle - Tongue (made up name, surely?)
  18. Tongue - John O'Groats (groaty john got groats on his head!)
I'm fizzing with apprehension and excitement in equal proportion, which is probably about right. 
andygates: (Default)
I'm a gadget queen so I had to work out something to keep my kit going during my upcoming extended cycle tour.  Now, there's a lot of dynohub-and-battery-charger arrangements coming to market, but I lack the dynohub and don't want to tie stuff to one bike (or any bike).  Solar is the obvious candidate, and most of the commercial "backpacking solar" is expensive and rather underpowered.  Here's what I settled on:

Where does he get those wonderful toys? )
andygates: (Default)
My big ride takes me past the Bristol massive.  Tuesday 3rd May I'm coming from Glastonbury to Bristol; Wednesday 4th I'm going over the Bridge to the folks in the Forest of Dean.  If anyone fancies riding along with, gimme a shout (or maybe an evening roll up the Bath Path? or other random pub-related locations?).  My speed at all times will be... sedate
andygates: (Default)
Okay chaps, time for your kit brains to spool up.  This LEJOG is an excuse for a kit refresh, and one thing I still don't have are some Heroic Adventure Trousers.  Combats are all well good but are heavy, bulky and slow-drying.  The cargo hotpants I got in Tignes aren't safe outside France!  Time for some small-packing quick-drying hardwearing versatile off-bike trousers.  Are Rohan worth the wedge?  How about the other name brands, Craghopper and the like?  What about high-street stuff?  Your wisdom is needed, as my trewcunning is close to nil. 
andygates: (Default)
Next year, I'm forty and my do-it-all bike is ten (even though he's a bit like Trigger's broom now).  I know sixty is the new forty, but it's an excuse for a midlife crisis ride and in the UK,  that means Land's End to John O'Groats.  I quite hope to do it with friends, for chunks of the ride at least, if any of them can stand me wittering on for that length of time. 

LEJOG is 880 miles, give or take, and I'll probably take it easy over three weeks with a rest day or two, tentatively in May as that's the bike's birthday; basically, in the nice months because wintry Scotland is as grim as a grim thing.  I will be camping: this is one of those take-your-home-with-you gigs, because it makes me smile (the camp-over after Dunwich still makes me smile despite the Night Of The Earwigs). 

After talking around, I'm going to go uphill.  Coming from wild-and-lovely to crowded-and-familiar is what you do after an expedition, not during it. Plus I'll have a tailwind.

Read more... )


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