Route Choice (Safe Cycle vs Sustrans)

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
Sub Divo
Posts: 16
Joined: 26 May 2017, 5:59pm

Route Choice (Safe Cycle vs Sustrans)

Postby Sub Divo » 26 May 2017, 6:41pm

Hi Everyone,

I’m currently planning my first LEJOG and would really appreciate some advice on routes please.

A few things to consider...

This is my first long distance cycle tour. I’m 47 y/o, of reasonable fitness, am riding solo and will be using a mountain bike (or possibly hybrid). My biggest priority is safety, so will be using quiet roads\paths\tracks as much as possible. I’ll be riding a max of 70km’s a day over 4 weeks (with one rest day a week). I'll be using B&B’s as opposed to camping. The experience is more about the adventure than the riding, so I plan to enjoy the sights and not push hard. Lots of margin for error, plenty of time for enjoyment.

The aim is to depart LE mid-Aug and arrive at JOG mid-Sep. Given all this, I am very keen to use something tried and tested.

After much research I’ve whittled it down to the Safe Cycle (by Royston Wood) or Sustrans routes. I plan to tweak the routes here and there, but in essence, they will largely remain as is.

I’ve studied each route in a little detail. The former appears more direct, but less variety. The later less direct, but more variety. I’ve not checked elevations, as the daily distance is quite low.

Any advice from those who have used either route (or even better both!) would be hugely appreciated. In-fact any advice would be hugely appreciated :)

Cheers, Dave

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subandean
Posts: 119
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 6:16pm
Location: Northern Powerhouse

Re: Route Choice (Safe Cycle vs Sustrans)

Postby subandean » 27 May 2017, 1:51pm

Dave
We recently completed the Sustrans route as far as Bridgwater.
The route is not the most direct; it follows mainly quiet, traffic free and very scenic lanes. It is also very hilly.
Before we started we thought the suggested distances were low, however, after some very tiring days we realise they are not.
The Sustrans route is for those who want to experience the journey, discover beautiful scenery and are not time constrained.
We are starting the next section next week.
Given your objectives I think you would enjoy the Sustrans route.
Enjoy your adventure
Richard

hilloverthehill
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Joined: 9 May 2016, 11:14am
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Re: Route Choice (Safe Cycle vs Sustrans)

Postby hilloverthehill » 29 May 2017, 2:11pm

Hi Dave
I cycled my own traffic-avoiding JOGLE in Nov '15 (having been hit by a tractor/trailer a year earlier!!), and over a third was off-road. Some of this was grim on a road tourer, especially the canals through the Midlands, but if you're on a MTB or hybrid they should be OK, if a little slow. I followed canals pretty well all the way from Lancaster to Coventry, then followed some of the Kennet-Avon, Taunton and Great Western Canals these last three being a lot easier.
There's a great largely off-road path from Oban to Ballachulish, and I biked the Great Glen Way, some of which was rough with the road bike. If you want to avoid a lot of the a roads near JOG you can follow the forest roads from Forsinard to Loch More then backroads to the end.
Have a great ride! If you want to check out any of my route it's on http://hilloverthehill.blogspot.co.uk
Cheers
Alan

Sub Divo
Posts: 16
Joined: 26 May 2017, 5:59pm

Re: Route Choice (Safe Cycle vs Sustrans)

Postby Sub Divo » 3 Jul 2017, 1:37pm

Hi Richard & Alan,

Thank you so much for the replies, they've definitely helped.

I ended up using a mixture of both in the end. The SS route in England (as it's more direct and still uses a lot of back roads) then the ST route in Scotland (less direct, but a more scenic route and avoids the A9)

The legs are anything from 40km to 98km (depending on climbing) with an average of around 65km. Whilst I've booked B&B's in advance, I've planned rest days roughly every 6 days (which will aid re-planning if need be). In Scotland they drop to every 4 days. Start is mid-Aug and end is mid-Sep. I've plenty of daylight hours to complete each leg, so will just try and keep a slow but steady pace. I've a friend joining me for a few days, so that should help with the sanity :)

As for the bike, I've just purchased a Specialized Crosstrail Elite Hybrid, which seems perfect for the job. Two small Ortlieb panniers on the back and a handlebar bag and that's it. So relatively light.

Will be doing a practice ride to the Isle of White (and back) over 4 days to check everything out.

I'll let you know how it goes post tour, regardless of what happens :)

Thanks again!
Cheers, Dave

mralex
Posts: 1
Joined: 24 Jul 2017, 10:03pm

Re: Route Choice (Safe Cycle vs Sustrans)

Postby mralex » 24 Jul 2017, 10:11pm

Pretty sure the old A9 is an exclusive cycle route now. I cycled it from Aivemore to Pitlochry the other year. It was stunning.
The new dual carriage way is usually within sight but the old road is quite, scenic but admittedly has the odd pot hole.

I followed the red sustains signs for miles without even looking at a map. Fantastic. Route 7 from memory.

keithg
Posts: 119
Joined: 11 Jan 2008, 5:07pm

Re: Route Choice (Safe Cycle vs Sustrans)

Postby keithg » 26 Jul 2017, 11:45am

mralex wrote:Pretty sure the old A9 is an exclusive cycle route now. I cycled it from Aivemore to Pitlochry the other year. It was stunning.
The new dual carriage way is usually within sight but the old road is quite, scenic but admittedly has the odd pot hole.

I followed the red sustains signs for miles without even looking at a map. Fantastic. Route 7 from memory.


That makes me very happy to read!
I am one of the long suffering Sustrans volunteer rangers in Perth and Kinross and I cover the Drumochter to Perth stretch with an "interest" in signing. I made the "artwork" and mileposts between Bruar and Drumochter.
This stretch has a lot of problems which are mainly beyond our scope (the surface can be very poor and needs replacement) but given the huge realignment that the A9 dualling will cause over the next decade, no funding is forthcoming.