LEJOG April 2019

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
PeterT
Posts: 25
Joined: 25 Jul 2016, 8:58am

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby PeterT » 7 Sep 2018, 10:22am

Mick F wrote:A49 must've changed then.
I was last up there spring of 2014 and rode Leominster/Ludlow/Church Stretton/Shrewsbury/Whitchurch with absolutely no bother at all. It's a good cycling road considering it's a major trunk road ........... or at least it was, and I've ridden it loads of times.

Mercian and Trailer in tow all the way to Manchester.


I guess if you are a confident cyclist that doesnt mind major 2 lane roads where traffic is passing you at 50 mph ++ then the A49 and similar roads are OK for you. However the author is new to cycling and I personally would recommend finding less busy roads.

FasterFerret
Posts: 189
Joined: 27 Jul 2015, 3:19pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby FasterFerret » 7 Sep 2018, 3:12pm

PeterT wrote:
Mick F wrote:A49 must've changed then.
I was last up there spring of 2014 and rode Leominster/Ludlow/Church Stretton/Shrewsbury/Whitchurch with absolutely no bother at all. It's a good cycling road considering it's a major trunk road ........... or at least it was, and I've ridden it loads of times.

Mercian and Trailer in tow all the way to Manchester.


I guess if you are a confident cyclist that doesnt mind major 2 lane roads where traffic is passing you at 50 mph ++ then the A49 and similar roads are OK for you. However the author is new to cycling and I personally would recommend finding less busy roads.
I think that this is at the heart of the choices to be made by a LEJOGer.

Different strokes for different folks and all that.

Personally I am more than confident enough to ride in any kind of traffic - commuting in Leeds, Manchester and London and doing dual carriageway TTs in my time. BUT most of the time when I'm out on my bike I'm out to enjoy myself, and for ME this equates to quiet, lanes cycling. Why? Because for me it's the best way to enjoy the wonderful countryside of our country. Most of the time it also has the benefits of being quieter and, in the main, there is less traffic and what traffic there is is usually going a bit slower (if I am unfortunate enough to get back ended by something, I would much prefer them to be doing 30 rather than 60). Thankfully accidents are still relatively rare (this is different to saying that there aren't too many of them) and believe it or not nobody is actually out to get you (despite what it feels like sometimes). However, I do get wound up by close and/or inconsiderate passes. They put me in a bad mood and impact my enjoyment of cycling. So I try to reduce the likelihood of them happening and I do this by asking myself 'if I was going from A-B in the car, which route would I take? I then look for possible and practical alternatives.

So for ME planning for any ride is more about a good riding experience and the roads that I think will give me that.

For others getting from A-B as quick or as flat as possible might be the priority.

There are many shades in between. None are right and none are wrong.

So I'm back to my original question. What ride do you want?

At either end of the country your options reduce, but there is a big chunk in the middle where you could seek out exactly the type of riding you like.

stephenjlynch
Posts: 16
Joined: 25 Aug 2018, 7:54am

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby stephenjlynch » 7 Sep 2018, 6:50pm

FasterFerret wrote:
PeterT wrote:
Mick F wrote:A49 must've changed then.
I was last up there spring of 2014 and rode Leominster/Ludlow/Church Stretton/Shrewsbury/Whitchurch with absolutely no bother at all. It's a good cycling road considering it's a major trunk road ........... or at least it was, and I've ridden it loads of times.

Mercian and Trailer in tow all the way to Manchester.


I guess if you are a confident cyclist that doesnt mind major 2 lane roads where traffic is passing you at 50 mph ++ then the A49 and similar roads are OK for you. However the author is new to cycling and I personally would recommend finding less busy roads.
I think that this is at the heart of the choices to be made by a LEJOGer.

Different strokes for different folks and all that.

Personally I am more than confident enough to ride in any kind of traffic - commuting in Leeds, Manchester and London and doing dual carriageway TTs in my time. BUT most of the time when I'm out on my bike I'm out to enjoy myself, and for ME this equates to quiet, lanes cycling. Why? Because for me it's the best way to enjoy the wonderful countryside of our country. Most of the time it also has the benefits of being quieter and, in the main, there is less traffic and what traffic there is is usually going a bit slower (if I am unfortunate enough to get back ended by something, I would much prefer them to be doing 30 rather than 60). Thankfully accidents are still relatively rare (this is different to saying that there aren't too many of them) and believe it or not nobody is actually out to get you (despite what it feels like sometimes). However, I do get wound up by close and/or inconsiderate passes. They put me in a bad mood and impact my enjoyment of cycling. So I try to reduce the likelihood of them happening and I do this by asking myself 'if I was going from A-B in the car, which route would I take? I then look for possible and practical alternatives.

So for ME planning for any ride is more about a good riding experience and the roads that I think will give me that.

For others getting from A-B as quick or as flat as possible might be the priority.

There are many shades in between. None are right and none are wrong.

So I'm back to my original question. What ride do you want?

At either end of the country your options reduce, but there is a big chunk in the middle where you could seek out exactly the type of riding you like.


Thankyou everyone for your really helpful posts - they have been really useful. Based on opinions, we've changed our route significantly to take advantage of cycling on quieter roads and lanes along with cycle paths. We've also gone for a more scenic route at the cost of more miles and hills but quieter in the main.

Planning to complete the second draft of the route and post it here over the weekend.

stephenjlynch
Posts: 16
Joined: 25 Aug 2018, 7:54am

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby stephenjlynch » 10 Sep 2018, 1:25pm

Thank-you to everyone who has offered advice and tips - all gratefully received. We've amended the route (although some parts such as the route through southern Scotland were important to one or other other of us), and got the details below.

So on one of my first rides along a relatively busy road, kids decided to trip each other and one fell in the road right in front of me. A few scrapes to me (not the bike) - quieter roads are the way to go. We've decided that busy roads and hills are what we'd try to avoid, and rather do a few extra miles as a consequence. We've aimed for quieter lanes where possible, and avoided canal cycle paths unless they are the best route through a tricky part of the journey. We'd really appreciate any feedback, along with suggestions - everyone has been so helpful!

Day 1 - Lands End to Penhale - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28530272
We decided to skip St Austell and take the "easier route" as per advice given. We'll still be seeing friends though, as they will come to us.

Day 2 - Penhale to Okehampton - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28530781
Decided to go for the easier route again as per advice, taking in the Granite Trail and where possible avoiding hills and busier roads (bit tricky).

Day 3 - Okehampton to Taunton - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28521549
Where possible, avoiding the busier roads.

Day 4 - Taunton to Chepstow - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28534140
Reasonably flat, quite scenic. Still not sure of the route around Clevedon and Portishead as quite industrial. Used cycle paths where possible.

Day 5 - Chepstow to Ludlow - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28521573
Had some great advice to take in the Wye Valley and a more scenic route, plus avoidance of the A49 where possible.

Day 6 - Ludlow to Buckley - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28545427
This is one of those segments where we've basically scrapped our previous route and gone for something quieter, scenic with the cost of a few extra miles (followed by a night at home!).

Day 7 - Buckley to Blackpool - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28545525
One of the tricker segments to map, with cycle paths / river banks etc. used. We can get either the ferry or the train across the Mersey. Was looking at the Runcorn bridge as an alternative, but plumped for the trip through Liverpool to end at my the house of the other cyclist for the night.

Day 8 - Blackpool to Kendal - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28562494
Nice and "easy day" with some easy riding and quiet roads.

Day 9 - Kendal to Carlisle - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28564557
Avoiding the busier A6 where possible, plus some nice lanes cycling to avoid the worst that Shap can throw at us.

Day 10 - Kendal to Abington - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28566620
Following the old trunk road alongside the M74 with a lovely scenic stay at Abington Services to end the day(!).

Day 11 - Abington to Dumbarton - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28549553
We looked at a different route via Edinburgh but this route was pretty much demanded by my co-cyclist. Using the NCR 74 and & wherever we can. I'm sure there's still some improvements we can make to this segment though...

Day 12 - Dumbarton to Lochearnhead - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28542476
Looking forward to this segment following NCR 7 or quiet roads.

Day 13 - Lochearnhead to Pitlochry - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28541545
Using NCR 7 or some lovely lanes and quiet roads.

Day 14 - Pitlochry to Kingussie - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28541665
Pretty much NCR 7 all the way. Avoiding the A9 unless absolutely needed, with some long stretches of traffic free riding.

Day 15 - Kingussie to Dingwall - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28539702
Doing quite a few extra miles to avoid the A9. Was advised to take the route through Muir of Ord and this looks great!

Day 16 - Dingwall to Altnaharra - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28538331
We scrapped our previous route via A9 and Helmsdale and decided to take the slower scenic route, primarily via NCR 1.

Day 17 - Altnaharra to John o'Groats - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28538589
NCR 1 all the way with a few shortcuts. Might split this into two days to allow us to enjoy things more, but we'll see.

Your opinions would be really very welcome. If there are routes you've done that might improve our experience, or if you had tips about poor surface etc. then please share. We're riding Boardman Hybrid MX Sport 2017 bikes.

Thanks,

Stephen

FasterFerret
Posts: 189
Joined: 27 Jul 2015, 3:19pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby FasterFerret » 10 Sep 2018, 1:40pm

Day 5 - Chepstow to Ludlow

One to have up your sleeve rather than a proposed change. I had originally planned on the same roads between Ross on Wye and Fownhope (only I was going south not north).

In the end I stuck to the B224. It does mean a bit of time on the A449 but it does take a bit of the height out of it. That road by the river looks lovely, but from what I remember there are a couple of really steep bits on it - might be better going S>N though.

Perhaps just one to know about, if you are feeling strong then go one way, if you want to knock a bit of height off you could consider the other.

FasterFerret
Posts: 189
Joined: 27 Jul 2015, 3:19pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby FasterFerret » 10 Sep 2018, 2:08pm

Day 4 - Taunton to Chepstow

Used a lot of these roads on my JOGLE. (https://ridewithgps.com/trips/26816174)

Did you consider the Strawberry Line? Axbridge to Congresbury - decent. I got off it a bit sooner than I should, with hindsight I would have probably stayed on - it was just getting a bit busy with people.

Good choice to take the road that parallels the M5 out of Cleavdon, nice single track road. Black Horse pub a potential refreshment point.

There is something of a cycle path across the A369, depending on traffic you might want to just do that short section on the road - I remember it being a bit 'faffy'.

Through Pill the national cycle route will signpost you a slightly different way (see the map below), but the way that you have mapped will work. There are a couple of shops that you will miss out (and a steep hill down) by cutting the corner - depends if you need provisions by then.

By Blaise Castle - I couldn't find that cut through, you might just want to do the extra few meters on the road and turn left (B4059), the one way system works in your favour giving you the shorter way around going North.

There is a good cyclepath alongside the A403, recommend that you use it, a busy fast road with lots of HGVs.

I got stuck the wrong side of the barriers on the A466 (Chepstow), looking longingly at the very nice cyclepath that runs alongside it...I ended up stopping and lifting my bike over the barrier to get on it. That road is quite busy/fast and the cyclepath is good.
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FasterFerret
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Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby FasterFerret » 10 Sep 2018, 2:17pm

Day 17 - Altnaharra to John o'Groats

Good choice.

Just bear in mind that there is nothing between Altnaharra and Bettyhill apart from a camping site on the side of Loch Naver. Beautifully remote. Just don't expect to find any provisions.

Consider a dogleg to Dunnet Head, not many more miles and the mainland's most Northerly point.

Could feel like a long day if you do it in one hit. Depends on wind and weather. I doubt that you will find that the bit from Altnaharra to Bettyhill feels as downhill as it looks. Grippy road surface and undulating.
Last edited by FasterFerret on 10 Sep 2018, 5:26pm, edited 1 time in total.

FasterFerret
Posts: 189
Joined: 27 Jul 2015, 3:19pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby FasterFerret » 10 Sep 2018, 2:25pm

Day 16 - Dingwall to Altnaharra

You could go over the top rather than through Tain, not sure what difference it terms of miles vs ascent. Great scenery over the top. Can't comment on the other way.

Consider staying on the NCN1 at Ardgay and joining the mainroad at Invershin. You have to ride a small stretch on track and then down some steps to cross the river on a bridge. I did this on a carbon road bike with cleats without a problem. Was a nice bit of quiet road. You would miss out Bonar Bridge and the Spar if you needed provisions, but Lairg is better provisioned anyway.

The Crask Inn is worth a stop (check it is open before relying on it), just for the experience (and the banana cake).

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Paulatic
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Location: 24 Hours from Lands End

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Paulatic » 10 Sep 2018, 2:44pm

Day 10 around mile 54 go through Crawford. Gives you opportunity of a shop which might be open but more importantly it cuts out an unnecessary hill by Weston’s Recovery
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life RIP Hannah Hauxwell

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

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Paulatic
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Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Paulatic » 10 Sep 2018, 2:47pm

Paulatic wrote:Day 10 around mile 54 go through Crawford. Gives you opportunity of a shop which might be open but more importantly it cuts out an unnecessary hill by Weston’s Recovery


Day9 A lot will say, including me, the A6 over Shap isn’t busy and isn’t a steep , to be feared, climb. I suspect your very pretty route will entail a lot more climbing. I’ve done that route and never worked out the climbing but it always feels hillier.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life RIP Hannah Hauxwell

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

althebike
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Joined: 10 May 2018, 12:58pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby althebike » 10 Sep 2018, 5:49pm

Altnaharra to jog is doable, the cafe at Bettyhill do not like anything except cash, there is a shop a little further on at Reay, which is by some petrol pumps. A diversion to Dunnet Head will not add much to your day.

FasterFerret
Posts: 189
Joined: 27 Jul 2015, 3:19pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby FasterFerret » 10 Sep 2018, 5:57pm

althebike wrote:the cafe at Bettyhill do not like anything except cash...


TripAdvisor reviews of said cafe were 'mixed'...

I figured that as the Bettyhill Hotel was at the top of the hill I would try that instead. I was impressed, good food, friendly and reasonably priced. Nice view as well.Image

bogmyrtle
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Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby bogmyrtle » 10 Sep 2018, 8:45pm

Day 10. Just go onto the B7076 at Gretna. Straight over the roundabout in Gretna then turn right after crossing the railway. Turn left onto the B7076 at the Old Blacksmiths. That's a pointless detour through Rigg.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

PeterT
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Joined: 25 Jul 2016, 8:58am

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby PeterT » 10 Sep 2018, 10:05pm

Paulatic wrote:
Paulatic wrote:Day 10 around mile 54 go through Crawford. Gives you opportunity of a shop which might be open but more importantly it cuts out an unnecessary hill by Weston’s Recovery


Day9 A lot will say, including me, the A6 over Shap isn’t busy and isn’t a steep , to be feared, climb. I suspect your very pretty route will entail a lot more climbing. I’ve done that route and never worked out the climbing but it always feels hillier.


I agree.. Shap isnt that much of a problem because most of the traffic is on the M6, and its a great Kudos to have ridden up Shap.

I havent looked at all your routes in detail but consider the places where you are going to stay overnight. If you book well in advance premier Inn, and Travelodge welcome cyclists and are reasonably priced. . Normally a restaurant on site or nearby. Not all B and B have facilities to store your bike securely overnight. Also consider where you are stopping for lunch. You dont want to be either in the middle of nowhere or riding around a town looking for a suitable place to eat and leave your bikes.

Jon Lucas
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Joined: 6 Mar 2009, 6:02pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Jon Lucas » 11 Sep 2018, 8:10am

FasterFerret wrote:
althebike wrote:the cafe at Bettyhill do not like anything except cash...


TripAdvisor reviews of said cafe were 'mixed'...

I figured that as the Bettyhill Hotel was at the top of the hill I would try that instead. I was impressed, good food, friendly and reasonably priced. Nice view as well.Image


+1

I stayed at the Bettyhill Hotel when I did my coastal ride 13 years ago. It was very reasonably priced then, and had a simply stunning view over the coast. As the sun sets there in the north-west during the summer, the sunset there had everyone just staring in wonder at the array of fantastic colours that were lighting up the view across the waters. This was just at the end of a week's worth of solid cold drizzle blowing off the coast, so made it all the more worthwhile.

A little story related to this whose ending has some relevance to this thread:

I was looking forward to staying in Bettyhill because a friend of mine had told me about a wonderful hostel there she had stayed in earlier that year. When I got there in the evening, I spent a long time cycling down every lane to the coast searching for it, and asking everyone I saw. Nobody had ever heard of it, and all my searches drew a blank. Eventually I gave up and went to the hotel instead.

When I got back home, I saw my friend, and it turned out that the hostel was in a completely different place, about 100 miles further along the coast. The moral of this is never believe anything told to you by someone who has driven there, because they often don't actually know where they are!