Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
baucutts
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Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby baucutts » 8 May 2017, 12:04am

Hi,

I'm aiming to do LEJOG, taking in the Lizard and Dunnet Head on the way, staying nights at friends' houses so not a particularly direct route. My route is roughly as follows:
1) LE- Bodmin
2) Bodmin- Exeter
3) Exeter- Gloucester
4) Gloucester- Nuneaton
5) Nuneaton- West Kirby
6) West Kirby- Richmond
7) Richmond- Morpeth
8) Morpeth
9) Morpeth- Edinburgh
10) Edinburgh- Fort William
11) Fort William- Inverness
12) Inverness- JOG

So my questions are: Are there any glaring errors or major points to be wary of in my route? Is the Great Glen Way suitable for road bikes? Is Inverness-JOG achievable in a day? Would 25mm tyres be suitable (larger than my normal race tyres)?

Thanks

Seb

hilloverthehill
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby hilloverthehill » 8 May 2017, 3:48pm

Hi Seb
I did the Great Glen Way from Abriachan (start of the off road) to Fort William on my JOGLE end of Oct/Nov 2015 . I used a standard road tourer (Dawes Galaxy) with normal road tyres, not ideal but certainly do-able. There was probably only a few hundred metres that I didn't ride, with reasonably steep pulls out of Drumnadrochit with a bit of wheel spin (you'll be going downhill) and down into Drumnadrochit where I met some folks with hybrids pushing up that section. It was quite hard going, but I'm nearly 60, so nothing's a doddle! I had a couple of punctures on the forest tracks. I camped at Kytra Locks near Fort Augustus, as the camp site in the village had closed for the winter. From Kytra south it's excellent canal towpath, a bit of old railway, and a rougher forest road along the west shore of Loch Lochy (second puncture) to Fort William.
There's a choice of routes on the section between Invermoriston and Drum, the high route and the low route. Don't pick the high route like I did.
Inverness to JOG would be a big day even going up the A roads. I did it over three days, camping in the Flow Country near Forsinard (another good offroad route through the forests from there), and Rhian Bridge just up the valley from Lairg, then home in Kirkhill near Inverness. I was quite limited by length of day at that time of year.
There's some photos of the Great Glen Way on Day 4 of http://hilloverthehill.blogspot.co.uk.
Do you have a Nuneaton connection? I followed the canals from Lancaster to Nuneaton, my home town and my folks still live there!
Have a good one
Alan

baucutts
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby baucutts » 9 May 2017, 11:54am

Hi Alan,

Thanks for this, from the looks of the photos I think I'll be avoiding the way then, as I'll be on a Trek Emonda road bike that won't take the knocks too well. Hopefully the hills themselves should be ok, more the surface that slightly concerns me! I have a cousin in Nuneaton so that'll be my stop- I hadn't considered using the canals though which is a great idea!

Seb

whoof
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby whoof » 9 May 2017, 12:53pm

I take it you know that the A30 over Bodmin moor is closed to cyclist. It's due to open on 13th July. But it was also due to open at Easter.

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/transport-a ... provement/

Once you get around Bodim moor follow the old A30 from Launceton to Exeter

If you put Launceston-Exeter into this it will show the route. However at Tedburn St Mary I would continue on the old A30 past Pathfinder Village and into Exeter at St Thomas. The NCN route over Whitestone takes you over a large hill which you could probably do without at the end of your ride.

http://cycle.travel/map

baucutts
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby baucutts » 9 May 2017, 5:13pm

Thank you, I had seen that but definitely good for a reminder when route planning on Strava! Has anyone cycled the canal towpaths between Nuneaton and the Wirral that has any idea on the state of them at the minute? So far I've seen a few different reports on suitability.

Seb

hilloverthehill
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby hilloverthehill » 9 May 2017, 9:39pm

Hi seb
The canals were a bit grim. I had 10 punctures, though mainly because of the bushes getting trimmed in the autumn and left on the towpath. I averaged about 6km an hour due to mud and lack of a proper towpath, and managed to fall completely in the Trent and Mersey and wrote off my camera!. There were good sections through urban areas, but pretty poor in between. It would have been OK on knobby tyres, just not on my road tourer. I did manage to wild camp by the canals, and it would probably be drier going in June/July than November
Alan

baucutts
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby baucutts » 13 May 2017, 3:26pm

Thank you for all the input! Train ticket to LE is now booked, and some of the kit I need is on order. These are my proposed routes, with a note about some of the days where I thought it might be useful. Some of the detail at each end of the routes is a bit vague as I'm not sure of accommodation streets, but the gist is there.

Day 0: I have plenty of time after arriving in Penzance on the 29th June so thought I'd get the first bit down to Land's End done early.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8655105

Day 1 (first full day): To Bodmin.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8696074

Day 2: To Exeter. Aiming to go over Dartmoor but have another route planned to skirt it to the North, dependent on weather conditions.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8586811

Day 3: To Gloucester. A bit less climbing here so pushing the distance up. Hoping Cheddar Gorge is worth it?
https://www.strava.com/routes/8586931

Day 4: To Nuneaton. Much easier day here, means I get to spend some time with my cousins at Nuneaton, and a bit a refresh hopefully.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8681083

Day 5: To West Kirby. Slightly unsure on how busy this will be, but trying to follow the rivers a little seemed like a sensible plan?
https://www.strava.com/routes/8681142

Day 6: To Kirkby Stephen. Will have to leave early to meet the restrictions on cycling through the Queensway tunnel, as I don't really want to do any of the trip by ferry! Slight detours around Anfield and Goodison Park football stadiums too. Expecting it to be busy but willing to press through the city.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8681529

Day 7: To Morpeth. A fairly short distance but quite a lot of climbing. Investing in climbing early I think. Detour via Newcastle football club and the North Sea.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8681647

Day 8/9: Either a rest or to Edinburgh. Dependent on how I'm feeling about one of the long days to come, as to whether I should split it up.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8681795

Day 9/10: To Fort William. Slightly apprehensive about this. Can definitely get it done if I take enough food with me from the start as unlikely to be many places to stop. A big fan of doing a coast to coast in a day, but dependent on conditions and how it's been going to this point it may be asking a lot! If not then I think I can split it about halfway to make two easy days. Overall relatively little climbing for the distance covered.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8695799

Day 11: To Tain, North of Inverness. Should be straightforward, mostly following the Caledonian canal.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8586076

Day 12: The final push! Hopefully with my Dad too. Need to make sure I have enough food with me, but should be easy enough when I know it's the last day.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8680993

Any thoughts please do let me know!!
Seb

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Mick F
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby Mick F » 14 May 2017, 9:58am

Two points, from someone who knows. :wink:
Day Two.

Firstly, why Bodmin?
Bodmin isn't best placed for an End2End despite being in the right direction. I would alway suggest that people take The Northern Route via Wadebridge and Camelford, then Egloskerry and Launceston, then the Old A30 to Okehampton, then Crediton and Taunton ..........

I can see why people want to ride over Dartmoor, so you really need to go via Tavistock.

Basically, from Bodmin to Tavistock is a horrible road ............ I live on it, so I should know. Going via the A390 at West Taphouse like you are going is better than the A38.

This is the way I would recommend. It has hills, but it's a nicer route and the way I would do ........ and I've done it many times.
Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 09.53.10.png
Mick F. Cornwall

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ferrit worrier
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby ferrit worrier » 14 May 2017, 2:03pm

My answer to your first three questions is yes, yes, and yes :D but bear inmind Inverness to JOG is 125 miles, when using the kessock bridge out of inverness keep to the cycle track, it's very busy stretch of road. Once your over the black isle it settles down nicely. Your next big hurdle will be the Braes of Berridale just north of Helmsdale.
Hope that helps

Malc
Percussive maintainance, if it don't fit, hit it with the hammer.

Pete W H
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby Pete W H » 14 May 2017, 11:11pm

Forget canals! They take ages to ride. We went to Plymouth on day 1. Taunton day 2. Inverness to JOG in a day is hard work. Either stop at Helmsdale hostel or the best route via Betty Hill!
Edinburgh to Fort William. Try Edinburgh to Pitlochry then Inverness, instead. Pete


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Mick F
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby Mick F » 15 May 2017, 8:24am

Black Isle ............ thanks FW for bringing this up. :D

As you cross the Kessock Bridge, go on the left behind the barrier and just after crossing over, turn sharp left off the road and down along the loch to join up with the Old A9 via Muir of Ord, Maryburgh, Dingwall, Evanton, Alness and Invergordon.

Far Far Far better than the Black Isle.
Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 08.21.51.png
Mick F. Cornwall

Wilberforce
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby Wilberforce » 19 May 2017, 10:09pm

baucutts wrote:
Day 7: To Morpeth. A fairly short distance but quite a lot of climbing. Investing in climbing early I think. Detour via Newcastle football club and the North Sea.
https://www.strava.com/routes/8681647


Any thoughts please do let me know!!
Seb


Hi Seb, I live on Tyneside but will never take on a journey like yours. Full marks to you for doing this (and anyone else who does Le Jog).

Re the route after the Toon, I'm puzzled if you have a specific reason from not heading north after visiting hallowed ground aka, St James' Park and heading down to the coast.

I'd think that leaving SJP, you'd head due(ish) north via Gosforth, Wideopen, Stannington, or a little further west via Dinnington. I'd be happy to join you for some of the route, dependant on when it is.

PM me if you feel I can help.

rareposter
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby rareposter » 22 May 2017, 5:01pm

Pete W H wrote:Forget canals! They take ages to ride.


The Caledonian Canal is nice, it's got a huge wide towpath -almost a road in itself - all the way up from Fort William. It can be very windy though, the sheltered nature of the canal means it can funnel the wind right down it. Forunately, last time I rode it, I was riding south with a screaming tailwind, I'd have hated to ride into it!

baucutts
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby baucutts » 24 May 2017, 2:44pm

Thanks again for all the replies- I now have almost all my kit sorted, changing the tyres up 2mm in the next couple of days, some new bar tape to go on too. Sounds like canals aren't going to be my friend, as I'm looking to be fairly quick, just with a rather roundabout route.

MickF- Reconsidering Bodmin now you've pointed that out, although for contacts' sake I'd replace it by staying further South for the early part. Also that route off of the Kessock Bridge looks ideal, I'll put that in.

Wilberforce- I was planning on heading out just to get some time riding the coast up there, and then guarantee a flat run in to Morpeth, but if it's not worth it then I'll go with your suggestion! Also I start the 29th June, so will PM you when I'll likely be up near Newcastle, always happy to have people to ride with for any part of it!

Rareposter- What was the towpath surface like when you rode it?

Seb

baucutts
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Re: Solo LEJOG, June/July, a few questions

Postby baucutts » 25 May 2017, 1:08pm

Another question- has anyone used a Blackburn Outpost Seat Pack? It seems to be the cheapest for what I want and can find online, although other suggestions would be welcome. I'm pretty sure legs clearance should be fairly ok as I have an almost TT-like set up with the saddle a long way forward on the seatpost, but anything else to be wary of?