Search found 25 matches

by JohnWL
9 Jun 2021, 11:42pm
Forum: Off-road Cycling.
Topic: Cairngorms Loop / Carousel
Replies: 4
Views: 399

Re: Cairngorms Loop / Carousel

I think the posts not being in date order is not a minor grumble - I did years ago look up how to sort it but it was so complicated I gave up. However these things tend to get easier so I'll have another go.

The pushing was for some short distances difficult with the steep drop offs and very narrow tracks. But I enjoy walking so I rationalised it as a walk. The boggy bits won't be there now with all the dry weather so again it will be easier.

The calf whacking was a bit of a problem - I ended up with somewhat bruised and lightly bloodied after a few days but I was wearing shorts.

But overall I found cycling in these remote and beautiful areas, with no traffic, brilliant.
by JohnWL
3 Jun 2021, 8:34pm
Forum: Off-road Cycling.
Topic: Great North Trail - Which bike?
Replies: 15
Views: 2396

Re: Great North Trail - Which bike?

Ha! Thanks, but Covid got in the way. I spent too long in lockdown looking at bikes and watching youtube videos of how to fix and change things so bought myself a gravel bike - a Breezer Radar Cafe, secondhand, which is a basic steel framed rigid fork bike that I then modified. One mod was to change the very current and in vogue 1x10 to a 2x10.

I have not yet tried ATM as I thought best to try something easier for less time so a few weeks ago cycled over 4 days the Cairngorm loop/carousel, on the Breezer.

Great experience and now looking forward to ATM. I've just posted a link to my blog in which I set out why I choose the Breezer over my cheap but capable Calibre Two Cubed hard tail. Here is my blog:

www.jlinwoodblog.wordpress.com

What I am now going to fit is those flared gravel bike drop handlebars in place of straight bars, as my touring and commuting for many yeras has been with drop bars. I need to find out what on hill tracks suits me best. Anyone else done the same?

John
by JohnWL
3 Jun 2021, 8:16pm
Forum: Off-road Cycling.
Topic: Cairngorms Loop / Carousel
Replies: 4
Views: 399

Cairngorms Loop / Carousel

Evening all,

A couple of weeks ago I did my first gravel/mtb tour for over 20 years.

It took me 4 days and is a great route. It is (subject to the Highland weather) well within the capabilities of any reasonably fit cyclist and I highly recommend this route - some 145 miles and just under 12,000ft of climbing in 4 days. Stunning scenery but rather wet - would have been easier if I did it this week but that is Scotland.

I did it as my training for the mtb/gravel bike route An Turas Mor (Glasgow to Cape Wrath) so if I didn't like the Cairngorm trip then there was no way I'd try ATM.

I did a blog : www.jlinwoodblog.wordpress.com

Happy to answer any questions. ATM next.

John
by JohnWL
7 Apr 2020, 10:27pm
Forum: Lands End to John O'Groats
Topic: Chamois Creme ???
Replies: 30
Views: 8752

Re: Chamois Creme ???

+1 on applying to skin not shorts. I have gradually reduced the amount I use, and I do not use it for rides of less than 50 miles or 4 hours or so.

I think use of it is one part of the answer to no chafe ; the others being saddle you are comfortable on ( I swear by Brooks ), gel shorts which suit/fit you (I use relatively cheap Decathlon ones which are excellent) and a good wash every night.

After a learning curve on a couple of tours I now can do a 2 week tour of say 70 miles a day happily with no problems. I also use the Asos stuff which is fine. You don't need too much otherwise the just sh@t yourself squidgy feeling takes a few miles to disappear!
by JohnWL
3 Apr 2020, 12:17pm
Forum: Off-road Cycling.
Topic: Great North Trail - Which bike?
Replies: 15
Views: 2396

Re: Great North Trail - Which bike?

Thanks all, that is helpful. I'll have the Specialised fully serviced and then do some off road trips locally leading up to 2 days loaded.

I usually cycle 50 - 80 miles a day road touring, unsupported, depending on the hills. I'm planning 30 - 40 miles a day as as Tinnishill says I want to enjoy it. I'm semi-retired and have no real time constraints. When I did LEJOG a few years ago I found I had some spare time so had a snooze most afternoons in the sun which was great.

As to accommodation Paulatic I have only planned the first 4 days - about 140 miles - and there are hotels/B&Bs so far. I will take a bivvy bag and sleep mat in case I get caught out but for me a good evening meal with wine is part of the holiday so I'm aiming to eat in and well every night!

I'll post again once I have planned the remainder. I appreciate my slow pace is not for everyone but as I doubt I'll be sunbathing if there is any spare time I'll climb some of the hills.

John
by JohnWL
2 Apr 2020, 9:44am
Forum: Off-road Cycling.
Topic: Great North Trail - Which bike?
Replies: 15
Views: 2396

Great North Trail - Which bike?

I would appreciate members' advice. I am planning the Glasgow - Cape Wrath section of the above, which has been an off road route for some time - An Turas Mor. It is about 350 miles, 32,000 - 40,000 ft of ascent. The route is described as not a technical off road route as it is mainly hill tracks but with some severe climbs, remoteness and I would anticipate from walking in Scotland that special blend of weather namely 4 seasons in one day.

I mainly tour and commute. I have not cycled on a MTB for more than a few hours since I did the South Downs Way over 20 years ago. I still have the MTB I used - a Specialised which was fine. It has no suspension, 26 x 2.25" tyres, cantilever rim brakes, gearing is fine, and it fits me.

Technology has changed massively. I am tempted by something like a Calibre 2 Cubed or Decathlon Rockrider 540 for around £400, with lock out front suspension, disc brakes, 27.5" wheels/tyres, wide bars etc. I will not be camping and will carry my stuff in 2 panniers, and will train for the ride when the current emergency is over.

What do people think? I'd also appreciate any advice from those who have done this section.

Thanks all.

John
by JohnWL
2 Sep 2017, 10:00pm
Forum: Touring & Expedition
Topic: Channel to the Med
Replies: 3
Views: 787

Re: Channel to the Med

Thanks Rob, will do.

John
by JohnWL
2 Sep 2017, 11:17am
Forum: Touring & Expedition
Topic: Channel to the Med
Replies: 3
Views: 787

Channel to the Med

I did this - from Ouistreham to Cagnes sur Mer - last May. I had never cycled in France and it was great - the roads, drivers, food, wine and most of all the scenery.

I had intended to do it solo and unsupported, credit card touring, not camping, as I did LEJOG, but a friend recommended Peak Tours so I booked with them, and am very glad I did. We had a great group , 21 of us, aged 40 - 84. It took us 14 days and the organisation and support were faultless.

Most were club cyclists and/or keen tourers. I am neither, and the only cycle touring I had done before is LEJOG, as my main cycling is commuting; so any reasonably fit person can do it. I found the hills easier than LEJOG as whilst there is far more climbing the gradients are less and you just get used to spending an hour or two spinning up a climb.

If anyone is thinking of doing it I'd highly recommend it. More detail on my blog:

http://www.jlinwoodblog.wordpress.com

John
by JohnWL
22 May 2016, 12:11pm
Forum: Lands End to John O'Groats
Topic: How important is it that I choose a definite route?
Replies: 20
Views: 2396

Re: How important is it that I choose a definite route?

I set off on a planned route in early June 2014 with a few variations. I did change it as I went - for example in the area of Wigan, Preston etc I followed canals which were a bit slow but pleasant easy cycling away form the mass of roads in that part of NW England.I also found a great road not on the map ( then ) to the west of the A6/M6. I added diversions according to the weather.

Also I only booked my first nights' accomodation in Hayle, Cornwall. From then on save for JoG I just cycled about and asked at hotels pubs etc that looked ok or else called up late afternoon afternoon once I knew where I would get to.

A couple of times I was a bit concerned about finding somewhere to stay but I never had any real problems.

I enjoyed feeling I did not have to get to a certain place as I set off on the basis never having done any cycle touring and with limited training I did not know whether I would last two days or the full 14 it took me ( at the end of the 2nd day in Cornwall/Devon with what seemed like millions of hills and a full on 25mph headwind I did think if that continued I was not going to get there ).

The uncertainty for me added to the enjoyment. I appreciate others may feel differently !

John
by JohnWL
7 Jul 2015, 10:15pm
Forum: Lands End to John O'Groats
Topic: track from Tomintoul
Replies: 4
Views: 8890

Re: track from Tomintoul

I've walked it whole and in parts at various times of the year and also - as far as Ben Avon - cycled it so I could climb without the foot slog.

I also - with estate permission - have driven the land rover tracks. If any chance of poor weather avoid unless well equipped. You need a good mountain bike. if in the shooting season check with Tomintoul tourist info that they are not shooting in the upland part ( the good track to Inchory being no problem .)

I agree with all Birkhead says. Especially re the pronounciation of A'an !

It's a great route and having not done it whole for 20 years this thread has made me determined to do it this summer !

Some scary pics if you search 'net of the paths in the snow .

If you can do it , do.

Good luck.

John
by JohnWL
26 Jun 2015, 7:36pm
Forum: Lands End to John O'Groats
Topic: Which way should you ride the route?
Replies: 22
Views: 10647

Re: Which way should you ride the route?

I would start at LE for the following reasons : there is a prevalent wind which is usually SW as the chart shows, the weather in March in Scotland can be very poor - ice and snow - and it should improve and most importantly if due to weather , lack of fitness or any other reason you are just not making the miles you thought you should you will find it much easier to find accomodation .

I did have a couple of hard days when I cut the mileage down by about 10 miles and it was easy in the south with so many places to stay close together.
by JohnWL
19 Jun 2015, 9:47am
Forum: Lands End to John O'Groats
Topic: Midges, live track and thank you
Replies: 27
Views: 12582

Re: Midges, live track and thank you

I began by using Jungle Formula then stopped after witnessing it disfiguring plastic.


That brings back memories of 1979 when I was in teh Army Reserve and we were given DEET which I think was developed by the USA for Vietnam- it's watered down in Jungle Formula. I saw it melt away the plastic butt of a rifle.

As to midges not existing in the East of Scotland I must disagree with Mick F. They are there but not as prevalent as in the West. Few around at the moment due to the cold but when I was in Glenlivet last week they were out when it was cloudy and in the evenings. But they have been awful in the height of summer there - so much so that once trying to fix a puncture we couldn't do it due to teh midges and had to go into a pub to get away form them to do the repair.. That was my excuse anyway

On my LEJOG last June I only had them bad on the Cowal peninsula - the furthest west I got .
by JohnWL
13 Jun 2015, 11:27am
Forum: Lands End to John O'Groats
Topic: What's wrong with me ???
Replies: 19
Views: 9986

Re: What's wrong with me ???

Sorry cannot help as to A49 but as to routes I also felt it got a bit of a pain .

I did LEJOG and started on 4th June 2014. I did work out a route - and a few variations depending if I was feeling like doing hills which I avoided where I could .

I also changed the route as I went - for example I went for unintended miles along the canals in and around Wigan, did a Sustrans route through a field into Hereford etc and was very glad that I did. I also went to the Cowal peninsula to avoid Glasgow and was very glad I did , especially looking at the cyclists I saw on that route up the old A74 yesterday which has a dreadful surface and due to the closure of the M74 tons of artics .

Apart from the first night I just turned up and found places or else booked by 'phone that afternoon. I did have a place to aim to get to , which I got to most of the time. Sometimes I was tired or sore so cut the distance down .

I really wasn't sure that I would make the distance never having cycled for more than 3 consecutive days before so I did not want the pressure of a fixed route and booked accomodation.

For me that uncertainty really added to the enjoyment of the trip. Good luck and most of all enjoy it !
by JohnWL
17 May 2015, 9:28pm
Forum: Lands End to John O'Groats
Topic: Caledonian Sleeper
Replies: 48
Views: 43299

Re: Caledonian Sleeper

I took this last June on my journey home - Inverness to ( supposedly ) Euston. I did very little advance booking of anything on my route as I was unsure that I could do the distance so I could not get on the day trains with my bike. So that left the sleeper.

I booked a First Class berth , which was great as I enjoy trains and especially sleepers. Food and drink were surprisingly good value and the staff are excellent.

But then we broke down somewhere in the Midlands early Sat morning. Basically it took 5 hours to get us going again with a new loco and we only got to Watford Junction.

But the good news was from there I got a train direct to my home station and my full fare of £164 was refunded - OK in rail vouchers - which I have used on other trips. So I was very happy overall.

John
by JohnWL
28 Apr 2015, 10:12pm
Forum: Lands End to John O'Groats
Topic: 12 day Jogle?
Replies: 9
Views: 9588

Re: 12 day Jogle?

I agree with Mick F, especially if like me you highlight 2 or poss 3 alternatives in some areas and then decide to take the least hilly as you are knackered/lazy/whatever.

And best I found to stay open to unplanned diversions - I found the canal paths through Wigan and thereabouts very good. The Sustrans path toward Hereford less so when it ended up as a muddy track and even on my big tyred Condor tourer I had to push in parts.

But all part of the fun.

John