Advice needed - Where to start?

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ptdurk
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Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby ptdurk » 19 Aug 2018, 9:07am

Hi guys,
First post, so please be gentle.

I've been asked to take part in the LEJOG (over 10 days) next June/July to raise money for a charity that is very close to my heart - so of course I couldn't say no!

I'd say I'm in ok shape as I cycle every day for my commute - but this is only 6 miles a day. I'm also used to following training plans as I've run the marathon twice. However, appreciate this is a completely different ball game and I've not got a clue where to start with cycling so need some help!

1. I know I need to get a fairly decent bike, but my budget is around £500. What make of bike would people recommend?
Also would a road or hybrid be easier for someone of my ability?

2. Are Brooks Saddles worth the investment?

3. I've heard a decent pair of shorts are a must here. Any recommendations?

4. One of the things I've been most surprised about is that I haven't been able to find a training plan - like you get with marathon training. Is there one available?
Or does anyone have one they've created themselves which I could use?
Failing that, if anyone has any advice on how much my mileage should increase weekly? And how many miles I should be doing consecutively in the build up?

The training thing is what I'm most nervous about as I work long hours (out the house 7am-7pm) so I'd only be able to do really long cycles at weekends. Although I could fit a good few hours in at week nights though.

Apologies if this has been asked a million times but I couldn't find it.

Cheers

althebike
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby althebike » 19 Aug 2018, 11:37am

Hi ptdurk,
welcome to the forum, it is easy to come to places like this with a long list of questions and find the answers are different for each individual.
Lejog has been ridden on as many different bike types as you are ever likely to find, from penny farthings to out and out racing bikes. The bike you ride with will have to be comfortable, and with this sorted , you can go a long way. You will need to decide how you are going to ride lejog, will it be as fast as you can? are you staying in hotels , b&b or are you camping?
If you are camping then your bike will need to be sturdy and capable enough to carry the equipment you need to bring, it will need gears that will enable you to go uphill fully loaded.
Regarding brooks saddles. I rode one for years and it was the bees knees as far as I was concerned, then my body shape changed a bit and the saddle got uncomfortable.Saddles are very much personal choice and again comfort is priority.
You can buy cycling specific shorts with padding to aid comfort, fit is important, and again you need to be comfortable.
I rode my lejog using the British Cycling beginners "improvers plan" which is free from their website, it gave me endurance to spare, but with the amount of training time you have in front of you, there is ample opportunity to move to one of their more advanced plans later.
With your background of endurance training, setting goals and achieving them, I am sure lejog will be challenging, rewarding and achievable for you, good luck.

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Mick F
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby Mick F » 19 Aug 2018, 11:48am

Welcome! :D

It's not easy coming from a background of a 6mile commute. You really need to up the mileage and up it again and again.

What you could do, is take a longer route to work and back. Maybe up it to a 12mile commute and see how you get on. Find the time on a weekend to get out too. Try a 25mile ride. Pick somewhere nice to aim at a dozen miles away, maybe a cafe or a pub and have a break when you get there. Don't eat much, but have a cuppa and something. By having an aim, it gives you motivation for the ride. Then, ride home. Maybe take a different route home rather than do and straight out and back.

Only when you can cycle a decent distance confidently will you make your mind up about your present bike and how it could be improved. Make a mental list of it and see if a new bike would foot the bill for you.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby Tigerbiten » 19 Aug 2018, 11:58am

Welcome.

Read this -> http://www.aukweb.net/hints/prep/
It's very good basic advice on both bikes and training for someone starting distance rides, it's from Audax UK.

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

Norman H
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby Norman H » 19 Aug 2018, 12:17pm

Welcome to the forum.

You don't really need a specific training plan, and June/July 2019 gives you plenty of time. A 10 day schedule is probably going to mean a daily average of around 80-100miles. You need to gradually increase the distance of your training rides accordingly until you're comfortable with that sort of distance. You will also need to have the ability of repeating such distances on successive days. So plan some short tours into your schedule that incorporate those sort of repeat daily distances.

I'd also add that training over longer distances isn't all about physical fitness. Half the battle is psychological and maintaining motivation. And of equal importance is the opportunity to sort out any issues with comfort and your position on the bike, and also what works for you regarding nutrition.

If you really think you need a new bike (your current bike may well be suitable) I'm sure there will be no shortage of advice on here. I would advise you make the decision early, so that you can sort out any issues regarding fit and comfort well before the challenge.

Finally, a daily commute is a great way of getting fit. If you are restricted for time, try to increase the length of your commute, perhaps by detouring on your way home. Incorporating that with longer rides at the weekend should be fine.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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ferrit worrier
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby ferrit worrier » 19 Aug 2018, 4:04pm

Hi and another Welcome.

Lots of sound advice so far, my first LE JoG was a 10 day trip in June 2009

The journal is on Robs website http://www.cycle-endtoend.org.uk/hosted/573.pdf

that was 10 days supported, but I've done it twice more unsupported. Beware it gets in your blood, I kid you not :lol:

I started my training in march for my first run building up gradually to 100 milers back to back. that way when you come to do the real thing long days aren't a chore and you'll get a buzz out of watching the clock trip up the ton.

When training don't avoid the hills, you'll get plenty on the trip especially in Cornwall, I trained a lot in the Peak district so when it came to things like Shap I just paced it out and enjoyed it. Although it might be unpleasant if it's raining when you need to be training go out in it, you'll need to when your out on the run. Fortunately as you commute on the bike you'll be used to it anyway .

Travel as light as possible and use the smallest panniers you can that way you don't overload with stuff you wont need. Two panniers for the main bits and a bar bag for the daily things like chocolate, cake, camera sandwiches or pies for dinner, and a bit more chocolate in the side pockets if you run out. I lined the panniers with bin bags before loading helps to keep things dry. and /or separate if they're wet.

Post your route when ready and I'm sure many of us will recommend B&B's etc
Good luck

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

crazydave789
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby crazydave789 » 19 Aug 2018, 10:21pm

IMO if you are a regular cyclist with some muscle definition and your bum is suitably hardened up you could do it tomorrow if you wanted to.

the first few days will be hard but no worse than doing any long day touring itinary, the difference is that you will fitten up as you go along and by the time you get to the end of it you will probably be as fit as you need to be.

what you do need is to learn to take the pain of the hills and recovery so try to speed up your commute or keep it the same but with some extra weight and then take a longer ride home with a decent hill or two in the route.

I used to do a 14 miles in 40 mile home commute during the summer months and loved it.

if you are coming near longbridge then you're welcome to stop over and refresh yourself.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby The utility cyclist » 20 Aug 2018, 1:00am

crazydave789 wrote:IMO if you are a regular cyclist with some muscle definition and your bum is suitably hardened up you could do it tomorrow if you wanted to.

the first few days will be hard but no worse than doing any long day touring itinary, the difference is that you will fitten up as you go along and by the time you get to the end of it you will probably be as fit as you need to be.

what you do need is to learn to take the pain of the hills and recovery so try to speed up your commute or keep it the same but with some extra weight and then take a longer ride home with a decent hill or two in the route.

I used to do a 14 miles in 40 mile home commute during the summer months and loved it.

if you are coming near longbridge then you're welcome to stop over and refresh yourself.

Sorry but I don't agree, there's a huge difference in mentality not to mention the physicality. Sure 7--8 hours at a steady 10-12mph average with breaks in between should be doable for most averagely fit folk, problem is repeating this for 10 days continuous and coping with weather and effort variations not to mention feeding/drinking increases and getting it right all the time every time.

No good being fit by the end of it, better to be fit for the whole journey BEFORE you start otherwise there's a higher likelihood of injury and/or simply not making it.

rareposter
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby rareposter » 20 Aug 2018, 1:11pm

I saw the title of the thread and thought "Well - LAND'S END is the usual place to start..." :lol:

Welcome to the forum. All the times I've done LEJOG have been working as a chaperone / ride leader on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain event: https://www.rideacrossbritain.com/
It attracts a vast range of riders from relatively experienced club level cyclists through to people who have often not ridden that sort of daily distance (never mind the overall distance) before and the first time they do 100 miles is on Day 1! While I wouldn't necessarily recommend that sort of approach, you wouldn't be the first person to turn up to LE and just sort of wing it.
It depends on how you plan on doing it - is it unsupported, part of an organised group tour, part of a cycle club? Do you plan on doing it relatively quickly or is it going to be a case of taking all day over it, a leisurely lunch stop, bit of sightseeing etc?

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horizon
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby horizon » 20 Aug 2018, 1:33pm

althebike wrote: You will need to decide how you are going to ride lejog, will it be as fast as you can? are you staying in hotels , b&b or are you camping?


It is interesting that the OP hasn't mentioned this. I think accommodation choice turns LEJOG from a one week affair (supported, motorhome) into a three week slog (camping, unsupported).

It isn't just a cycle ride!
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

crazydave789
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby crazydave789 » 20 Aug 2018, 7:40pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
crazydave789 wrote:IMO if you are a regular cyclist with some muscle definition and your bum is suitably hardened up you could do it tomorrow if you wanted to.

the first few days will be hard but no worse than doing any long day touring itinary, the difference is that you will fitten up as you go along and by the time you get to the end of it you will probably be as fit as you need to be.

what you do need is to learn to take the pain of the hills and recovery so try to speed up your commute or keep it the same but with some extra weight and then take a longer ride home with a decent hill or two in the route.

I used to do a 14 miles in 40 mile home commute during the summer months and loved it.

if you are coming near longbridge then you're welcome to stop over and refresh yourself.

Sorry but I don't agree, there's a huge difference in mentality not to mention the physicality. Sure 7--8 hours at a steady 10-12mph average with breaks in between should be doable for most averagely fit folk, problem is repeating this for 10 days continuous and coping with weather and effort variations not to mention feeding/drinking increases and getting it right all the time every time.

No good being fit by the end of it, better to be fit for the whole journey BEFORE you start otherwise there's a higher likelihood of injury and/or simply not making it.


it depends on your goals. I agree that the fitter you are generally to begin with the better, but if you can ride an hour into work, do an 8-12 hour day then ride home you already have a big chunk of the stamina and the recovery bit sorted out.

most touring advice sites say you can train or not because you will fitten up to the required level as you go along. I did it last year when going touring, I hadn't ridden at all for a good fifteen years, didn't have time to prepare or train so I did one days hard riding to season my rear end and let the bruising settle down for a few weeks, an hour here and there on the exercise bike when I could and a few short rides to balance my panniers. then I just went off and did 90 mile days for two weeks. you set your goal and you stick to it. often the goal is to get fit and you get fit by doing because you have a better incentive.

otherwise its hard to motivate yourself to pre ride fitness many over train and burn themselves out by doing too long training rides or feel they haven't trained enough and go into the ride all negative and complaining so fail to enjoy the experience. embrace the suck knowing it will end.

lejog you have a hilly start and finish whichever way you go so you will hurt for the first three days or so regardless of how fit you are, the flatter middle section will give you time to recover if you are eating properly so the finish section will be feel easier and you get the rush of knowing you are fitter and wanting to push yourself into it.

you get to the end feeling you have acheived something beyond just ticking a box and then you feel you can turn around and ride home. which is the other way to do it. get fit by riding to the start, have a couple of rest and reprovision days then set off.

the risks of injury, strains, infections, colds, cysts, thrush, carpal tunnel, food poisoning etc.. are the same whether you are fit or not.

Igobybike
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby Igobybike » 21 Aug 2018, 8:13am

You've got loads of time to train, supported or unsupported it will be doable, just don't expect to turn up and do it with only your commuting miles in your legs. I'd say join a cycling club and get out with them on longer rides at the weekends, it'll help motivate you to get out. Sign up for a few sportives. And definitely get some padded cycling shorts. Don't shy away from the Lycra :D

eileithyia
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby eileithyia » 22 Aug 2018, 2:01pm

Welcome. Agree you have time to build up to this.
6 miles a day is not much and certainly won't help.
Brooks; not necessarily the saddle you are comfortable on already is probably the best. Along with decent padded shorts.

Do you know what the daily mileage will be?
Supported or unsupported?
Camping or indoor accommodation?

I would look to up your mileage on the way home if you can and while there are still some lighter evenings.
Start doing some shorter mileage rides on the weekend; start with 20/25 and increase.
Try building up the base over the winter... then you have a good base to start next spring as the weather improves and the light evenings arrive.
Do you get some holiday time between now and the ride, can you do a couple of nights away from home doing the sort of mileage each day that you will be doing on the E2E? Riding longer days back to back is different to riding 6 miles back to back.
If you are carrying kit work out how it will fit, practise packing and taking it on a weekend ride the reconsider what is essential and what you can dispense with.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

Vorpal
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby Vorpal » 22 Aug 2018, 2:32pm

For the bike: What are you currently commuting on and why do you think you need a new bike? I wouldnæt buy a new bike just for LEJoG, but if you do buy a new bike, get one that you will use for other stuff, such as commuting, and use it for LEJoG. rather than the other way round.

Also, is it supported or unsupported? How much stuff do you need to carry? Tools and rain gear can be carried in a saddle bag, but if you need to carry clothes and food, you might need a rack & panniers. If you are camping, you definitely need some means to carry luggage, like a rack and panniers, or a trailer.

A road bike would be okay if it's supported, but if I had to take my own luggage, I'd prefer a touring or Audax bike. You can probably pick one up within you budget if you buy used.

As for training, the advice above is good. Extend your commute 2 or 3 days a week, and take a longer ride one day at the weekend. Gradually increase your distance, and you should be fine. As you get closer to your goal (a month or two before), try to do a couple of weekends where you ride your daily LEJoG mileage two days in a row. A couple of weekes before you leave, do one ride that is at least 10 miles longer than your longest planned day. Then rest for a week or so before you go, and just do your regular commute.

IMO, the hardest part of a tour like that (I have not done LEJoG, but have done other long tours) is the mental preparation. Everyone has some tough days where the weather is awful, or stuff goes wrong, and knowing that you can ride longer, go a bit further, etc. can make the difference between a stiff upper lip and giving up.

If you are a sort of person who likes to have a training plan, there are some discussed on these threads, and maybe a few more if you search for them.

viewtopic.php?f=49&t=109265
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=104585
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=83722
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charliepolecat
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Re: Advice needed - Where to start?

Postby charliepolecat » 22 Aug 2018, 4:14pm

Good advice above particularly about doing the daily distance as a warm-up. The thing about these long distance touring rides is we usually think of them when the weather is warm, sunny, dry, no traffic, easy hills and we are full of the joys of spring. Then the reality sets in.

Riding a hundred miles in one day is easy enough - I do it often enough - but what about doing that ten days in a row, what about when you emerge from the tent after having been buffered most of the night by the latest named storm and it is chucking it down, it's cold, it's windy and the traffic is going to be bloody awful again and you roll up the soggy tent and still wet sleeping bag because that waterproof tent just wasn't, and you load the bike and load yourself with warm waterproof clothing until you resemble the Michelin man and then in the face of the rain stripping the lining off your face, you set the bike on the road and head north - again, for ten days?

Advice? It can be fun, it will be hard, you will suffer doubts, you will want to call mummy to come and fetch you, but deep down inside you can't face the idea of admitting to your work mates that they were right about you, you did fail, again, so you push on, and on and swear and shout horrible words to the ingrates inside their cosy cars who don't give a toss about you as they force you into the ditch or hedge or just about anywhere but give you space?

And so what do you do?

Either do the supported cosseted thing with a SAG to pick you up when your little toesies hurt, or you face up to the challenge and get out and ride, every day going longer distances and hope it will be bucketing down on your training rides and the wind will blow and the ice will form on your lashes, because you are a LeJogger and nothing, not even the crap - AKA British roads - will keep you down from your self-appointed life enriching drive to reach the end and scream: "Hallelujah" I did it.

So, advice? Get out and ride the bike at least two 100 milers back to back every weekend loaded down with all the accoutrements you will need (by the way- you will be surprised how little you actually need to carry) stacked on the bike until maybe a month before the big off. And oh, yes, remember, it's a trip, a holiday, so have a great time. :D