Lands End to John O'Groats

Planning the Ride

Planning a trip from Land's End to John O'Groats has certainly been a major undertaking. We began with one old touring bike, a cycling Britain book, and a considerable amount of excess weight between us. We decided that we would sort everything out ourselves rather than go on an organized trip, this meant carrying luggage, booking accommodation and arranging travel to the start and from the finish. So far, so good.

We had toyed with the idea of this ride from our teens using geography lesson atlases to check out routes rather than study (how we passed that I will never know). As regular tourers and YHAers through our mid teens to our early twenties we knew it was entirely feasible.

Time crept on and we found that we were 30, this was enough of a landmark to jolt us into action, however the birth of a daughter (for Richard) and a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (for Mark) seemed somehow to get in the way of a 2003 trip.

Conversation turned to 2004 and a window of opportunity opened up (thanks mainly to the kind natures of our wives Ruth and Suzie). We jumped into the planning feet first, starting with the route, culled from the Cycling guide to Britain (see route page) and cut down from 3 weeks to 2. Booked all the accommodation (YHAs and B&Bs) and put the times in our diaries when we were able to book trains (aren't UK trains useless!). We decided the easiest, fastest and cheapest (I know the 3 rarely mix) way to travel home was to fly from Inverness to Luton - thank you Easy Jet!

Next came the bicycles, Mark bought a new bike while Richard had his frame bared back and fitted with new components by a great little bike shop (Clements Cycles in Ledbury). If you are at all interested you can see what we did on the bicycles page.

We have been training after a fashion through March and April putting in a number of 10 to 30 mile solo rides in evenings and weekends, as well as two longer cycles of 70 miles and 90 miles through the Cotswolds and Wales respectively.

We Also joined the CTC which covers us for liability in the event of an accident and provides a whole range of events, information (including a free E2E pack for members) and benefits.

Thanks must also go to our respective employers Pharmacy2U for being flexible with Mark's holiday and CSC for donating 100 to our cause.