A decade or so ago when I was young, fit and full of energy, I was out on a Saturday ride up in the Yorkshire Dales when I cycled past a older guy on his own, pushing a heavily laden touring bicycle up a rather steep hill near Sedburgh.

I was in a sociable mood so I stopped to have a chat and asked him about what he was doing.

He informed me that he was cycling something called the LEJOG – a route that ran from the Western tip of Cornwall, right up to the northern tip of mainland Scotland. He was doing the 900 or so mile long ride slowly over about 21 days and staying in Hostels and B&Bs along the way.

I was impressed and intrigued – I had completed a number of long distance bicycle tours abroad, but I’d never attempted anything of that like that in my own country. I asked him a few more questions about food and transport and then, conscious of the time, wished him well on his journey.

I went on my way and for duration of the ride home, I ruminated about all of the logistics of doing the ride myself. How would I get down to Cornwall with my bicycle? How would I finance the trip? Who would come with me? When would I be able to do it?

When I got home I promptly forgot all about my questions, the cyclist, LEJOG, and life went on.

Fast forward ten years…

‘Oh I’ll come with you!’ I exclaimed to my friend Lizzy, who had just mentioned that she was planning on cycling the LEJOG in September and was thinking about inviting her friend Max.

I didn’t know who this Max guy was, but he seemed like a friendly guy (on account of his name being Max) and so I was certain he wouldn’t mind the company of a fellow cyclist on the trip.

Lizzy smiled and muttered something like ‘Oh yeah maybe’. And so it was confirmed that the three of us would cycle the LEJOG together in 6 months time!

On several occasions later, whenever she was annoyed with me about something, she would accuse me of inviting myself on this trip and that she could uninvite me if I didn’t stop being annoying. She’s often annoyed with me about something or other, mostly because she thinks I make assumptions about things without checking or that I state things as facts when I don’t know them to be true.

I can say with some confidence that this is not true whatsoever, and in any case, if she didn’t invite in the first place then technically she couldn’t uninvite me

It didn’t matter in the end because Max couldn’t make it and her mum wouldn’t let her cycle that kind of distance on her own.

Getting Organised

6 months months is plenty of time to plan and prepared for a trip like this. Unfortunately during that time we moved houses from one continent to another, went on numerous holidays, walked the South Downs Way, and countless other things. As a result planning for the trip properly started properly 4 weeks before…

Be Prepared

Scar from The Lion King

Lizzy had done some research and found out that bicycle reservations were mandatory for the London to Penzance route and there very limited bicycle spaces, so we were eager to guarantee our places and and to lock in a decent fare.

This was great except for one small problem – I had a reservation for a bicycle I didn’t possess and buying a brand new bike wasn’t going to be cheap.

The pandemic was still in full swing and every man and his dog had taken up cycling, buying up all the new bikes with their furlough cash. COVID was also causing huge supply chain issues and many retailers were responding by upping their prices to ridiculous levels.

This buying frenzy did however have one bonus side effect – a flood of cheap second hand bikes available through Facebook marketplace. After a few days browsing and a few time-wasters I located a bike for sale that seemed perfect – a Decathlon bike that was the right size, design and price.

In the end in many ways it was perfect, but unfortunately it had one massive flaw, which in hindsight I should have checked before buying it – it had 650c wheels. It turned out that this wheel size was introduced for use on triathlon bikes back in the early 2000s and the size never really caught on.

This meant that there were only a handful of suppliers in the UK where you could buy the tyres from and only Decathlon sold them i store. To make matters worse the wheels were 13mm rim size which meant that I couldn’t fit anything wider than 28mm tyres – 35mm Michelin World Tour tyres were out of the question.

Why am I telling you this? Well because it caused me all sorts of issues along the way, as you will find out later in the blog!

Any way, moving along…

I went to look at the bike and it was great,