Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
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Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby the_journey » 2 Oct 2020, 7:11pm

Hi, my name is Scott.

I had a "crazy idea" late last night...doing LEJOG to try and raise money to help my wife get the best possible care. 2 weeks ago she was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer. We don't have much money and a private clinic I contacted said starting treatment ranged from £50,000 - £80,000 so that's currently out of the question.

When I woke up I assumed the idea would have dissipated, I would have shrugged it off, called myself crazy for even thinking of such a daft idea.

But, here I am, did some research a couple hours ago, found this forum, it seemed to be relatively active and full of experienced riders so thought I'd ask for some advice.

I haven't even told my wife yet (for fear of ridicule lol) but I did tell my 12 year old son who was supportive. I haven't gone on a long bike journey in yeras but, I have done a 7-day, 565 mile journey in my 20s (I'm 52 now) so the slog doesn't scare me. Seeing my wife in daily pain scares me!

So, whilst I assume there to be a massive list one must procure, such as:

- bicycle type (mountain bike with thin tires, road bike, etc,)
- odometer
- pannier bags
- tent
- backpack
- helmet
- route planner (destination targets, camp sites, hostels, etc.)
- (gps?)

I'm willing to camp, I'm willing to ride sun up to sunset, etc. Again, the physical part doesn't scare me, other than the potential to get killed on Britain's beautiful but dangerously narrow roads.

Just looking for some speedy advice because time is of the essence. My wife is scheduled to have both chemo and radiotherapy concurrently starting the 19th October. Today is the 2nd. I would like to be ready to go by the 7th at the latest and do the trip in ~7 days or so.

I would be leaving my 12 yr old son to look after my wife who is pretty much self-reliant but needs help now and again for mundane tasks. I would prep 7-8 days of meals, put in freezer, so for the most part, they should be fine.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Any advice would be much appreciated.


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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby the_journey » 3 Oct 2020, 3:06am

I can see 29 views at the time of this writing.

Perhaps I didn't write a compelling post.

Any tips, even "check out this website" would be greatly appreciated.

I'm going to contact local bicycle shops and see if they'd be willing to donate any equipment, be it spare tubes, odometer, etc.

At this point, I'm still planning everything. I just wrote to cycle-endtoend.org.uk and hopefully they'll be able to offer some routes, or advice.

Thanks again for reading. This is for charity.

I hope to hear from anyone as I could use the advice as I plan my trip. I don't have much time.


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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby DaveBeck » 3 Oct 2020, 5:31am

Hello Scott,

Did I read it correctly that you want to start on the 7th of this month and complete the ride in 7 days and that you haven't done any riding like this on a bike for around 30 years?

Speaking as a regular cyclist and one who has done LEJOG in 5 days, you are setting yourself a near impossible challenge. A ride of this distance, in 7 days takes a fair amount of training, in order to be able to cope with the 100+ miles a day. It's far more than just pedalling there, there's learning which foods your body will cope with whilst it's working hard, adapting your backside to the saddle and the mental pressure of riding alone. Your average daily speed, including stops for meals, comfort breaks and navigation checks is likely to be in the region of 10mph at best. Which means you'll need a moving pace of around 15mph. So you will be on the road for a long time each day, maybe 10 hours? And that's hard if you aren't used to it. Don't forget too, daylight is getting into short supply now, especially up north.

I'm not saying it's impossible, just that it's a huge task to undertake with little or no preparation. There's another topic on this section, a World record attempt for both directions in 10 days. Despite a lot of training and (hopefully) a lot of research into the route, she didn't achieve her goal. Probably worth having a look at that.

You would need to take the most direct route you could find, it's around 882 miles the way we did it, and you would have to use many of the major roads. Which although our roads are not that deadly, does increase your contact with more traffic, travelling at speed.

Having said all that, I'm not saying it isn't possible, just an extremely hard ask. When you have done it, come back on here and tell me I was talking rubbish! ;)

Good luck!

Dave B

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby the_journey » 3 Oct 2020, 5:59am

Hi Dave,

Firstly, thank you SO much for a reply!

I completely hear what you are saying. At this point, I agree, it is sounding near impossible.

At my age, you're likely to be 100% correct. At least I can take on board what you are saying as opposed to being trapped in my own brain thinking it's just a matter of pedalling there.

When I did my 565 mile journey, I hadn't trained at all (max miles I had ever done (years prior) was 30 miles in an afternoon). My mate and I averaged about 85 miles/day with no rush, just casual riding. Of course, I was much younger! We were hit by rain, had to travel on the motorway for at least 30% of the journey, dealt with flat tires etc.

I'm at a crossroad of thoughts between, "it's just a fantasy you old git" to "it's to help raise funds to help my wife". One side sounds foolish, the other sounds like I'd be giving in and any pain/fatigue couldn't match what my wife is going through. Maybe I'm romanticizing it all too much.

What I'm trying to realise, besides the whole fitness side of things, is how much "extra mileage" I'd be subject to such as riding through small towns, zig-zagging quieter roads to take the safest routes etc.

Do you have a particular route you wouldn't mind sharing with me, the 882 mile route? Is it a route I could perhaps purchase somewhere? As I'd be doing it for charity, rather than scenic enjoyment, I'd be interested in the route you took.

At this point, I'm still planning it out. But again, it may just be fantasy.

Thank you though, I truly appreciate your perspective, especially coming from experience.


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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby bluelagos » 3 Oct 2020, 7:16am

the_journey wrote:I can see 29 views at the time of this writing. . . . <snip> ..

Your desire is admirable, I would maybe suggest setting it as a goal to work towards? I did 4k miles training (from a low base) and others I know did similar preparation.

How much cycling do you do a week already? If you cycled 100 miles tomorrow could you do the same the next day?

I think posters would need to understand that before giving appropriate advice.

And good luck to your wife in her treatment, a focus such as a fundraiser may be a great way to keep busy in difficult times, just make sure it is realistic and achievable.

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby Tigerbiten » 3 Oct 2020, 7:22am

Is it possible, yes.

It normally takes me around 3 months to cycle myself to a new level of fitness. Before I reach the new level of fitness, I suffer badly. So if you set off, you're going to hurt.

I've just checked the long range weather forecast:- unsettled for the whole period. So high chance of wind and rain. Length of day around this time of year is only around 12 hours and you're going to need most/all of it just to get the miles in. How do you feel about putting a tent up in driving rain in the dark when you're cold and wet. If it stays unsettled then you're not going to dry anything while camping. So you'll be getting up in the dark to get your damp/wet kit back on. Then pack your wet tent up just to do it all over again the next night. I've done it while on tour and it's not nice.
If settled then they talk of a high chance of frost and fog at night. So your sleeping bag needs to be a good 3 season one just in case. Driving cost and weight up, just what you don't want.

So likelihood of finishing, very very small.

It's a nice idea, just not practical with how fit you are and the weather forecast.

Luck ........... :D

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby DaveBeck » 3 Oct 2020, 7:35am

Our ride was back in 2006. I was 45 at the time.

The route was approximately - A30 to Exeter - A38 to Bristol, Tewksbury, Kidderminster and Manchester - A6 to Shap Fell, Kendal and Gretna Green - A702 to Edinburgh - Picked up the A9 and finally A99 to JOG. Obviously that route would need to be researched and updated because of the 14 year difference.

It was 882.82 miles, 55hours 27 minutes of pedalling over 5 days with an average moving speed of 16.02mph. We were on the road each day from around 0600hrs until at least 2000hrs. We were fully supported, all we had to do was cycle, sleep and eat. And you do have to eat! Basically three main meals a day, plus continuous grazing en-route. Not something to be done without a degree of preparation all round.

Don't forget as well that at the moment you have the additional complication of the COVID virus. Places in the Country are, and could be, subject to local lock-downs at anytime. You may not be able to go where you want, or stay where you want.

The other thing is I really doubt you'd be able to raise the sort of money you are looking for. To be frank, most people wouldn't be that impressed, it's already been done thousands of times. So unless you were going for the record, 41 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds, to them it would be just another bike ride.

However, if you go for it good luck. Let us know when you are leaving and I'll ride a few miles with you in Cornwall if you'd like the company.

Dave B

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby WOT » 3 Oct 2020, 7:48am

Do a virtual JOGLE / LEJOG in your own neighbourhood, sleep in your own bed each night. Do as long or short a loop as you see fit each day but also be in a position to take care of your new and existing responsibilities.

Spend as much time with your wife as she would like company or needs assistance. She won’t need the stress of worrying where you are sleeping, are you still alive etc. Be beside her when she needs comfort and support and soup.

Speaking from experience of this disease in my own family.

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Oct 2020, 7:50am

Sorry if you have covered this already, but are you sure this is a good time to be leaving your wife without the support of your presence? In any other circumstances, I imagine your wife would have been worried by a project like this; faced with serious illness, this might just make everything even worse.

(WOT has just covered the same point.)

PS Forgot to say: a small point in the circumstances but the thread title does not reflect your intentions.

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby Barred1 » 3 Oct 2020, 8:21am

I don't want to sound harsh but I really don't think you're on a starter here - for many of the reasons and more that have been expressed - and the (as I type) increasing risk of a wider lockdown hoving into view.

Reality to me would suggest spending the winter planning and training to then ride in, say, late April 2021 when the weather will potentially be better, you'll be more likely to be capable of meeting the challenge - and, hopefully, we'll be in whatever the "new normal" will be.

Out of curiosity, where do you live? As a recovered, pretty serious, cancer patient the NHS was beyond reproach for me . . . .

Riding high!

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby Oldjohnw » 3 Oct 2020, 8:47am

I think your proposal is absolutely brilliant in the motivation and care for you wife it reflects. In reality, I would rethink. The likelihood of completion is virtually zero and in the event of 'failure' you would be devastated and feel you had let everyone down. Raising money is difficult in the best of times (I have done it climbing 29,000' for a charity and I had to organise everything: I did well at £5,000) and needs months of planning. Perhaps at another time do something for Cancer UK or Macmillan?

Keep it for now and my heartfelt best wishes. I truly sympathise as I am undergoing treatment right now, albeit for something much less radical. The NHS has been remarkable at every turn.

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby simonhill » 3 Oct 2020, 9:42am

Firstly, let me say you have my sympathy, but I agree with most of the points above and think your wife would rather have you by her side.

Just to add another problem, have you worked out the cost of doing this. Bike, equipement, food, transport to start finish - all this will add up to a fair bit. You can't always expect everything to be given for free.

Add to this that bikes and spares are in very short supply at the moment due to problems resulting from Covid lockdowns and massively increased demand.

Much as I admire your desire, I'm sorry, but I think it is completely impractical. As said above, it's also been done a thousand times before so if you want to grab the nation's interest you need to find a very niche thing to do. Think Captain (Colonel) Tom.

Good luck, whatever.

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby bogmyrtle » 3 Oct 2020, 10:06am

Like everyone else I admire your ambition but I think it's the wrong time to be leaving your wife and son. The timescale you have to acquire everything needed, work out a route, factor in travel to the start and back from the end would be ambitious for someone who is cycling fit.
If you don't have a bike at all I would suggest you look at getting something and use it to get back into cycling again (it can be a great way of relieving stress when times get tough) with a long term plan to achieve your ambition.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby oldun » 3 Oct 2020, 2:08pm

Scott.....i am full of sympathy for your situation but as has been stated by many others this is such short notice , which i know cant be helped , but , with no training , equipment etc and in unpleasant weather is LEJOG really do-able ? as i believe normally, any donations are only paid if the task is achieved . To complete half the distance is akin to not starting in the eyes of some of the donors .

I cannot get your situation out of my mind and am searching for ways to help .

I was thinking that i could use my car as your support vehicle , but as i live in East Anglia this would involve huge distances from Norwich to Lands End .......John O groats ......Lands End.....Norwich .....some 2800 miles .
Does it have to be LEJOG ?

I will keep thinking of ideas to try and help .

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Re: Want to do LEJOG for charity - wife has cancer

Postby the_journey » 3 Oct 2020, 6:19pm

Hi folks,

I'm overwhelmed by the replies, thank you all very much!

I appreciate every single comment, suggestion, even the offer to ride along or be a spot driver, wow, simply fantastic you guys...thank you again!

I agree, it's one thing to be charged with emotional ambition but quite another to take on a massive task without being cycle-fit, the cost of getting there (searched train tickets last night...not really affordable in my current situation), getting home after, where would I camp, bad weather, COVID, and so on.

I do believe the mind can push the body to extremes though and I don't think it's impossible, just very, very impractical. I too have thought about what if I was injured or worse, how would that put undue pressure on my wife/son.

I'm up in the north west, Preston area if you're familiar.

Thank you oldun for offering a support vehicle. That's super kind of you but, I couldn't put anyone through that level of inconvenience. I'm touched by all the offers of support, suggestions, etc. I'll convey this to my wife.

I know it's been done 1000s of times and it's not news worthy or anything. Doing it for charity probably wouldn't guarantee more donations than if I did a general GoFundMe page (which I'm going to do anyway).

I too will continue to think of other ideas, whether that be to plan it for next year where hopefully COVID will be reined in, weather may be nicer, I'd have my equipment, routes, gear, camp sites all planned. And no, it doesn't necessarily have to be LEJOG.

I just love the idea of enduring that distance. I envy those of you who have done it!

I'm oddly not worried about the actual physical side of things but I know how important nutrition would be. I remember getting severe legs cramp once when riding through mountains unprepared. I'm more worried about getting hit by a car or my bike breaking down and having to quit due to situations out of my control. I rode that 565 (over 100 miles the last day) without any training, on a mountain bike, in the rain, up/down mountains, on the motorway at times, etc. (it was California to Oregon and back) but, I had youth on my side it was more an adventure.

But, having said all the above, if I wasn't able to raise the kind of money I'd need, which is the whole point really, then maybe I need to focus on another angle/goal.

I'm very open to suggestions so if you come up with anything, I'm all ears! :D

I'll still look into materials, maps, equipment, read stories here in the forum, etc. in preparation for possibly doing it next spring/summer where I have longer, hopefully drier, days. I'll put in some riding time as I live near the countryside and plenty of hills.

Again, thank you all for your advice and suggestions. It means a lot!


PS - My wife is feeling a lot better today so along with your support/suggestions, it's put me in a good mood. Thanks!