Epic UK Ride

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
mcallaghan
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Epic UK Ride

Postby mcallaghan » 4 Mar 2012, 2:12am

My dad passed away on Nov 13, 2011. I currently live in the states but my family is from the UK - my dad was always a Welshman when asked (born/raised in Cardiff). He did not get into cycling until the last 10 years or so and had always wanted to do a LEJOG. This summer, in memory of him, I plan on doing that and so much more. Its a once in a lifetime ride for me, so I thought I'd start the LEJOG and throw in Wales and Ireland in the middle of it. The Wales part (planning wise) should be the easiest as I plan on doing the Las Lon Cymru ride (forgive my spelling, its been a long day). I have an Aunt in Ireland who I can take a rest day or two with while riding the Malin Head to Mizen Head route (ferry to/from Ireland being at Holyhead, Wales). I'd then return to Wales, head off to Chester, and rejoin the LEJOG route to complete it.

Ambitious, yes. Possible, yes. I haven't worked out the details, my Uncle lives in England and is a member on these forums as well, so would be able to help provide some local support for me. I am still in the planning stages of this trip. Is June/July or July/August the best time (weather wise) to do this trip? How are campsites around the UK? Any areas to avoid?

vernon
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby vernon » 4 Mar 2012, 7:15am

Your proposed time slot is fine. You'll be mixing it with lots of tourist traffic though. You need to be prepared to take on an adversary that can make your life hell - the scottish midge especially if you are riding on the west coast of Scotland.

There's no shortage of campsites in the UK - I had no difficulties finding one when I did LEJOG.

I can not advise on Ireland as I have no direct experience.

johnb
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby johnb » 4 Mar 2012, 8:39am

A quick google turns these links up. You state Malin to Mizen, it is usually cycled Mizen to Malin to avail of the prevailing South to North winds, but some do it in reverse.

If you arrive by ferry to Dublin you then have to get to either Malin or Mizen by bike, bus or train. Malin is easier got to as you have the choice of express bus from Dublin to Donegal or Train from Dublin to Derry. Both buses and trains will carry bikes but in the south not all buses will as its up to the drivers discretion.

There are more campsites than that listed below which you can find on a localised basis, you also have the choice of wild camping if you choose.

A quick search of the site below turned up this for Malin to Mizen so if your looking a pre planned route I think you could get one there.

Day 1 http://ridewithgps.com/routes/29322

Day 2 http://ridewithgps.com/routes/29317

Day 3 http://ridewithgps.com/routes/29319

Day 4 http://ridewithgps.com/routes/29320

Day 5 http://ridewithgps.com/routes/29321



http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/results.asp?county=N%20Ireland

http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/results.asp?region=Overseas&county=S%20Ireland

http://www.camping-ireland.ie/map-ireland.html

http://www.cycleni.com/

http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/accomfinder/select.aspx?Rooms=1&PartySize=2&Arrival=2012-03-06&Nights=1&Required=1102&Destination=

http://www.campsitesinireland.co.uk/campsites-in-republic-of-ireland-eire.asp

http://www.discoverireland.com/gb/accommodation/listings/?l=1all&la=1all&pts=413614059

http://www.independenthostelsireland.com/irelandmap.htm

http://anoige.ie/Hostels/Map.htm
The lead Greyhound never has to look at another Greyhounds derrière.

mcallaghan
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby mcallaghan » 4 Mar 2012, 1:47pm

Many thanks for the links. I will browse them more once I get to work (I am GMT -7 here).

It is interesting that Ireland is ridden North to South - I would have assumed it would have been ridden South to North much like the LEJOG.

My plan was (most likely) to ride to the start/from the finish in regards to getting there from the Ferry. Essentially, turning the Irish End-2-Ender into a lopsided circle around Ireland. My Aunt is down in County Carlow (I believe) but that could make more sense stopping there on the way back to the Ferry.

Midges sound quite terrifying based on everyone warning me about them. I am assume they are like gnats that bite? Mosquitoes are a terror over here. I'd assume the same sort of bug repellant works on them?

mcallaghan
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby mcallaghan » 11 Mar 2012, 12:59pm

So my new tentative date for this is August/September. The ride will start at Lands End, go through Wales and Ireland, before finishing at Jon O Groats. A Surly Disc Trucker has been ordered - should arrive end of month - with a Brooks saddle. Will ride it to work for last weeks of season.

My biggest problem right now is summer work - things are very seasonal out here, June/July being the peak of the summer season (thus pushing the date back to August) so my biggest concern right now is finding a summer job out here.

In the process of ordering racks/panniers this week - probably on Tuesday - and have everything else but cooking utensils and a good lightweigh tent (which I'll probably order this week as well).

Is my new time frame still a good time weather wise to ride? I dont want to be cold and wet the entire ride but I am hoping the weather holds up during those months.

thirdcrank
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby thirdcrank » 11 Mar 2012, 2:01pm

British weather is rarely extreme but often variable and unpredictable. Spetember is often a season of warm, settled weather. Bear in mind that the last weeken in August always includes the Monday as a public holiday (bank holiday) at least in England and Wales.

One thing to be aware of is that the days begin to shorten quite noticeably in September. I'm not talking about dark all day by any means, but it reduces the opportunity for long days to make up on lost mileage.

mcallaghan
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby mcallaghan » 13 Mar 2012, 4:29pm

Surly Disc Trucker with a Brooks saddle should arrive here at the end of the month.

Tentative start date of August 1st, gives me a solid 3 months to get in shape. Given that I live at 9,000 feet and there is no such thing as a 'flat' ride out here, and with a 3000+ foot climb that opens in May, I am not too worried about getting back in shape in that time frame. I've started up a blog that will contain my thoughts, preparations, training etc as of yesterday - will help keep me on a good path to fitness.

Thursday or so I will be ordering Rack(s) and Panniers. The guy who sells them is very knowledgeable so I am going to talk to him on the phone to figure out if I need Front + Rears or Rears only. I am thinking I will need both.

Tarptent Scarp 1 has been ordered as well. More roomy then my tiny backpacking tent that I have (never) used. Will be able to keep Panniers inside of its flap at night - out of the weather. Have a 12 year old sleeping bag that should be fine - not sure if I still have a sleeping pad. Not sure if I need a Tent Pad (or whats it called) to go under the Scarp 1 - anyone have experience with this?

Bad Weather Cycling gear - own it already (still quite cold up here in May - snows occasionally etc) plus waterproofs. Might need to get some Booties.

Cooking Gear - planning on picking up a small pot, small frying pan, and gas camp stove (should hopefully fit into small pot) since I am just cooking for myself once I get to the UK - or have my Uncle get it for me.

Otherwise, I think I am pretty much set other than actually heading over there.

bealer
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby bealer » 14 Mar 2012, 12:54am

Re the Tarptent Scarp, for camp sites you won't need a ground sheet. But...if you plan on wild camping I would get one. I have the Moment, and the floor is ok but thin, and the last thing you want to do is puncture it.

They're great tents, but being single skin take a bit of getting used to.

- Pop to a hardware store, buy a piece of PVC plastic and cut it to the rough size of the tents footprint. Cheap and easy and the PVC sheet shouldn't weigh much.
- Seal the tent, you'll need some seam sealer (McNets, I think that's the name). Dilute it down a bit with some (can't remember, white spirit maybe) that way it seeps into the seams better. It's worth carrying too, just incase you get any little holes or punctures.
- Buy a small face cloth (the quick dry travel sort), it's great for wiping the condensation off the inside of the tent.
- Get a couple of spare pegs just in case too.

Then you're all set. Just practise putting it up a few times, and learn how to set it up if it's windy. You may want a ground mat, otherwise you're not insulated from the earth. If you want to go cheap, some bubble wrap, less cheap a foam mat (pain to carry them), or most expensive is an inflatable mat.

Also if you're planning on cooking (MSR pocket rocket is a great stove btw), make sure you're able to put your tent up in a way that you can cook in a porch like area. Otherwise you'll be cooking in the rain! My Moment was okish although not perfect for this. I made a few modifications to make it more suitable, you may need to do similar.

Front and rear panniers will balance the bike better. You could get away with just rears and a dry bag on the back (check Alpkit.com for decent, good value gear. They do Xtra Drybag for £8 or so). That's the setup I had cycling to Oz. I find front and rears too many bags, and too much to carry at times. I go fairly minimal though.

Midgies can be annoying, they affect some worse than others. With a Scarp you'll have the tent up in less than 2mins so should be fine. Buy a "Buff", they're about £10. One of the best pieces of kit I have. It's a glorified tube that you can make into a scarf, head band, head cover, mask etc...

mcallaghan
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby mcallaghan » 14 Mar 2012, 4:10am

http://www.amazon.com/McNett-Seam-Water ... 863&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/L-L-Bean-MSR-Pock ... 050&sr=8-6

I imagine those sorts of things? Sealer and PocketRocket. How readily available is fuel for the PocketRocket in the UK? How long does it usually last?

LollyKat
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby LollyKat » 14 Mar 2012, 3:59pm

I don't have a Pocket Rocket and don't know about the original fuel, but here it is used with an adapter and butane gas; seemed to last about a week.

bealer
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby bealer » 15 Mar 2012, 1:28am

For the Tarptent make sure you get a silicon based sealer. The McNett one is called "Silnet":
http://www.amazon.com/McNett-SilNet-Sil ... 196&sr=8-1
And I checked, thin it with some white spirit. Not too much. You'll see when you get it, it's quite goopy. Put some in a cap, and a little bit of white spirit until it's more like a fine oil. Then brush it over the exposed seams. That includes inside the tent on the floor. Another tip, keep it a bit more goopy and brush some round circles on the floor (the diameter of a golf ball) to act as grip pads. Otherwise on a slight slope you end up sliding to the bottom!

The Pocket Rocket isn't the most efficient stove, but it's light and easy to use. Cheap too. Just get a metal mug and you can cook/eat/drink from it. I've never been in charge of it, but we seemed to get around a week out of a 100ml cannister (I think that's the size, need to check) between two of us. Oh make sure you get a wind shield, can be home made. Just increases the efficiency and speed of the stove.

mcallaghan
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby mcallaghan » 16 Mar 2012, 8:38pm

I assume this works for 'White Spirit' - http://www.amazon.com/Klean-Strip-Odorl ... 117&sr=8-3

I am certainly open to recommendations on stoves. It sounds like various parts of my extended family plan on riding parts of the trip with me if I go in August. I am just trying to think of something light-weight that I can refuel easily in the UK. I am going to look up Camp Food suggestions later so that I can vary my diet a little while riding on the trip.

I might be getting a landscaping job this summer, which will start early and end midway through the summer. I live up at 9,000 ft (3000m I believe) so being outdoors doing manual labor will help me get in shape. My Road Bike (not touring) arrives on Monday, so I will hopefully me riding next week. Its still ski-season out here, but today its a t-shirt and shorts day - I am itching to get out on the roads!

bealer
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby bealer » 16 Mar 2012, 9:49pm

Errr not sure. I don't know how things are in the US, but you should be able to pop into a home-depot type store and pick up a bottle for a $1-2. I'd go with that if you can.

I wouldn't worry about food. The UK has a ridiculous supermarket culture, they're everywhere. You'll be able to eat all sorts. It'll more be about what you have the patience to cook. Pasta, bolognese sauce, some peas and a tina of tuna works well. Can even great some cheese over it. Have some fresh bread and tomatoes with it. All that sort of stuff you'll be able to find on a daily basis in the UK.

FixitGraham
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby FixitGraham » 18 Mar 2012, 9:29pm

Quite a trip - good luck.
For info, there is an ipod app (free) "Smidge" (scottish midge) forcast recently available. they also explain the midge for you, and sell a product. I use an 'Avon' product (ladies cosmetics), called 'skin so soft' which I believe the UK army also use, and is very effective because the midges can be real buggers! (pray for a light breeze). Would fully agree with the Buff comment - and I also have a midge net for evenings.
Thinking of England/Wales/Scotland, on the food comments, most towns have a supermarket, and even the smallest places have a post office and store in one, but credit cards/debit cards are not always acceptable - certainly in outer scotland. I went around the coast in scotland a couple of years back, and spent quite bit of cash. I also carry a few spare freeze dried meals - joint boil up water and pour into the self sealing bag. Not gourment food, but good on calories after a day in the saddle. Get these from Decathlon and Go Outdoors.

carlislemike
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Re: Epic UK Ride

Postby carlislemike » 19 Mar 2012, 2:32pm

Love the concept and hope it gets completed. Having just got a LHT, am in total empathy. Read if you can, Peter Mann, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE OF BRITAIN. This was an epic, round Britain ride missing out on Ireland. It may be helpful. All the best, Mike