Where have all the end to enders gone?

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
nnc283
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Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby nnc283 » 22 Feb 2016, 8:53am

We run a hostel in the Highlands on Route 7, been here four years now and in that time we've noticed a gradual falling off in trade from touring cyclists generally but E2E riders in particular. It doesn't affect us financially but I would like to understand what is going on - we're lifelong cyclists ourselves, and E2E veterans you might say.

I can't believe there are fewer people attempting the journey these days so I'm guessing there are a number of possible reasons:

1) Cyclists these days tend to prefer slightly more upmarket digs than a hostel

2) Fewer cyclists are taking the shortest route

3)The poor state of the Sustrans route over Drumochter and beyond puts people off coming through the Spey Valley

4) More cyclists are using support vehicles these days so cover greater mileages ie the cyclists we used to get are now passing us by.

Does anyone out there have any thoughts?

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DaveP
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby DaveP » 22 Feb 2016, 9:23am

Strangely quiet on this board too. As I looked at your headline I could still see a post I made nearly six weeks ago. A couple of years ago hat would have been on page three by now - No, not that one! :roll:
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully... That hasn't changed!

rareposter
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby rareposter » 22 Feb 2016, 10:46am

Possibly more people doing it via organised trips? There seem to be loads of companies offering that now, everything from massive trips like the Deloitte Ride Across Britain right down to smaller, customised arrangements for groups of anything from 4 upwards.
I think there's a general decline in people's ability to think/plan for themselves - maybe it's laziness, maybe people want that safety net, possibly it's a different "breed" of cyclist now; fewer traditional touring cyclists, more of the "sportive" style of rider who likes everything laid on for them? I know that's a bit of a generalisation but it's difficult to put it into words without sounding unintentionally patronising!

How well publicised is the route that you're on? What's it like generally (good quality roads, or rough tracks)? That might be having an effect too if you're on a gravel section and everyone is moving more towards road bikes...

puffin
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby puffin » 22 Feb 2016, 11:06am

The CTC B&B route goes East of you (I think) via Spittall of Glenshea, maybe that's a cause?

Rich_Clements
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby Rich_Clements » 22 Feb 2016, 11:10am

Now you mention it..... :?

I wonder if anyone who has a wish to complete has done so already, or perhaps as rareposter says people are using organised trips, when I did it a few years back that was one options that the group I did it with looked at, we chose to do it ourselves which looking back I feel was the right decision.

When we did it we went via Glencoe which I think is west of you, perhaps people are doing that route more often.

Anyway I plan to celebrate my 50th by another attempt, I have a few years to plan :)
Rich

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Paulatic
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby Paulatic » 22 Feb 2016, 11:34am

My observations are;
I witness a lot more with back up vehicles the last few years. When I chat to these riders on the road they mostly have a 'Sportif' approach to the ride.
My opinion is the unsupported riders I meet and cycle along with are far more interesting, as well as easier to keep up with, and I believe they are getting far more pleasure.
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nnc283
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby nnc283 » 22 Feb 2016, 12:02pm

The organised rides point is a good one - we have a friend who is attempting E2E this year but has never done any cycle touring and doesn't have the confidence to do a self supported trip. The popular route does go through Glenshee and I have to admit I think it's a better way to go unless time is of the essence.

The numbers of cross country mountain bikers we get is pretty consistent and I've got to say I feel "spiritually"closer to these folk even though I'm not into the off road stuff simply because they are almost always self supported. But I accept the reason why people prefer a support vehicle, in the days when we did it you had no trouble getting to Lands End and back from Thurso by train. I can't see how a sizeable group could do this now.

It's not just cyclists though. We find a lot of long distance walkers now use portage facilities rather than backpacking. And it is truly astonishing the amount of luggage people think they need.

We do still get the hard core riders like the guy who rode all the way from Gibraltar to John o' Groats in three weeks - on a mountain bike... and we've had a few unsupported cyclists on a five day schedule. We didn't get the bloke who was walking backwards but some lunatic did turn up a few years ago riding a tandem solo with a skeleton strapped in the stokers seat.

Chat Noir
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby Chat Noir » 22 Feb 2016, 12:50pm

Don’t know the answer to your questions but you’ve made me think. Last year did double ender with 17 nights accommodation. Of these, 9 in hostels (6 in YHA and 3 in what I described as ‘private’ hostels). The others consisted of 2 nights camping (my partner met up with me twice in the trip), 2 B&Bs, 2 hotels and 2 pubs. For a variety of reasons, the pub accommodation was the least good. The B&Bs were excellent, but one of these was the most expensive accommodation on the trip. My two favourite stays were the hostels at Sennen (and I gather this may no longer operate as a hostel) and at John O’Groats – friendly people, quality accommodation and good food.

Cost just under £500 for accommodation for the whole trip, about £30 per night, some including food, others not, all pre-booked. A not inconsiderable amount, but worth it for me – and it was for a double. I sometimes do trips abroad in small groups and the people I go with seem happy to stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, use Air BnB, etc, so maybe expectations changing and incomes rising (and we’re also getting old!).

Generally, I like hostel accommodation. On a long, mostly solo, ride it’s good to chat with others, cook in communal kitchens (loved chatting with a couple of Goth French motorcyclists in Inverness YHA over breakfast, for example), hang out with the uber-cool in Bristol YHA and even talked books with staff in Edinburgh.

However, hostels aren’t cheap these days, they can be noisy and may not always get a good night’s sleep so maybe people just think the accommodation somehow won’t be as good. I like the route over the Drumochter, agreed it’s a bit rough in places but nowhere too bad. It’s a beautiful route, some of the best of the whole ride so hope this doesn’t put people off. For me, having climbed for years in Glencoe and aware of the speed people drive at on the A82, the thought of cycling along it fills me with horror, but I know that for others this isn’t an issue.

For me, somewhere that is positively cycle friendly would be a pull - proper and secure bike storage not involving a trip to some remote spot as if bikes need to be placed in quarantine, some tools, especially track pump, etc, would be a good start. Good and sufficient food. Good humour. Good coffee.

But, you're right, people are changing what they want.
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robgul
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby robgul » 22 Feb 2016, 1:00pm

I run, as a hobby, the www.cycle-endtoend.org.uk website and have also noticed a slowdown in: a) the number of rides that are added to the site's calendar, and b) the number of Journals that are sent for publication.

No idea why - perhaps the number of long-distance/mult-day riders is dwindling at the expense of the time-poor, cash-rich sportive riders that are on the (massive) increase?

Rob

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Mick F
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby Mick F » 22 Feb 2016, 2:58pm

robgul wrote: - perhaps the number of long-distance/mult-day riders is dwindling at the expense of the time-poor, cash-rich sportive riders that are on the (massive) increase?
Living on the route here, we see riders passing through on a daily basis during "the season", and invariably they are supported in some way or another. Some on organised rides, others on disorganised :lol: (but still supported) rides.

Very rare that we see the obvious un-supported rider.

We also recognise that most folk are doing LEJOG through here, and maybe on the other popular routes through Cornwall it's also true.
I reckon that the riders get half way to JOG before their support (wives/girlfriends/boyfriends) meet up with them, so the Scotland legs would be well supported.

JOGLE doesn't seem to be a popular option ......... goodness knows why.
Mick F. Cornwall

rareposter
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby rareposter » 22 Feb 2016, 3:52pm

JOGLE doesn't seem to be a popular option ......... goodness knows why.


There's a popular (and usually wrong) opinion that doing LEJOG is with the prevailing wind whereas doing JOGLE is against it. It's complete rubbish but it's been repeated so often that it's become "accepted". Pressure systems can travel over the UK in a day or two changing the wind all the time; you get a raft of low pressures pushing through over 10 days and you can have 10 days of 20 different winds!

Part of it might simply be the location - if you're "between" popular stopping points, people will ride right by on the way to their overnight stop that they've read about and you end up with a situation where a few articles in books, online etc can result in one spot getting 1000 bookings a year whereas somewhere 20 miles away will get a mere handful of bookings.

nnc283
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby nnc283 » 22 Feb 2016, 5:45pm

rareposter wrote:
JOGLE doesn't seem to be a popular option ......... goodness knows why.


There's a popular (and usually wrong) opinion that doing LEJOG is with the prevailing wind whereas doing JOGLE is against it. It's complete rubbish but it's been repeated so often that it's become "accepted". Pressure systems can travel over the UK in a day or two changing the wind all the time; you get a raft of low pressures pushing through over 10 days and you can have 10 days of 20 different winds!

Part of it might simply be the location - if you're "between" popular stopping points, people will ride right by on the way to their overnight stop that they've read about and you end up with a situation where a few articles in books, online etc can result in one spot getting 1000 bookings a year whereas somewhere 20 miles away will get a mere handful of bookings.


Ain't that the truth... When my wife and I did it way back in the 1980's I distinctly recall pushing the wind most of the time, most notably from (the now sadly derelict) Carbisdale Castle to Wick.

David Duffield who of course has just left us, famously set a trike record cycling the "wrong way".

From our experience I'd say the ratio was about three to one in favour of LeJog.

Robgul's point about time poor cash rich cyclists strikes a chord. I remember when our local Sunday club runs got shortened to half day sessions "so we can get back in time for lunch/to spend time with the kids/to watch the footie" etc etc.

There was one couple last summer who suggested the rise of the SNP was a factor...

BottomGear
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby BottomGear » 23 Feb 2016, 7:44am

I'm slightly surprised that the trend is for those taking on an E2E is by way of an organised, supported tour. For me the planning and the sense of adventure it will bring is very much part of the experience and although my own ride will be solo, I don't think I'll be missing out - far from it.

Malaconotus
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby Malaconotus » 23 Feb 2016, 7:58am

I suspect it's part of the much more widespread slowdown in the cycle industry. Ask your LBS whether trade is up or down. Sportives are not booming either. We reached peak mamil in 2014 and it's been in sharp decline for almost a year now.

rareposter
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Re: Where have all the end to enders gone?

Postby rareposter » 24 Feb 2016, 4:32pm

BottomGear wrote:I'm slightly surprised that the trend is for those taking on an E2E is by way of an organised, supported tour. For me the planning and the sense of adventure it will bring is very much part of the experience and although my own ride will be solo, I don't think I'll be missing out - far from it.


Ironically, it's never been easier to plan and sort your own trip. Online mapping, GPS, internet bookings, Google Streetview. It's possible (with a bit of time!) to "ride" the entire route from the comfort of your sofa via Google Earth and a mapping app, change things around, find points of interest en route, book your accommodation, buy the kit that you need, watch "how to..." videos on YouTube...

And yet the most popular way is via organised trips. I can kind of see why - loads of people find it difficult to coordinate the friends, club-mates etc who can get the same time off work, the same desire to do that journey and there's a definite benefit to having the mechanics, broom wagon etc on hand but you're right, I feel that people doing it that way do miss out. I mean, I've done it three times as a Ride Leader for the Deloitte Ride Across Britain event and while the ride is all lovely and we're all very well looked after, I do have this slight niggle that we're not allowed off-route, that we have to do it in this timeframe.

A lot of the riders are so busy looking at their Garmin, following the arrows and just turning the pedals that they don't even know the towns, villages, landmarks etc that they're passing and I find that rather depressing, where the act of riding overcomes the journey being undertaken.