LEJOG April 2019

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
stephenjlynch
Posts: 16
Joined: 25 Aug 2018, 7:54am

LEJOG April 2019

Postby stephenjlynch » 2 Sep 2018, 7:48pm

Hi all,

My mate and I are finally going to attempt LEJOG in April 2019. We're not cyclists and we're using our training and associated rides to improve our fitness and also to achieve something pretty special.

We've both purchased a Boardman Hybrid MX Sport 2017 bike this week and already started our training with a 12 mile ride and 15 mile ride - both completed with no problems - although perhaps sore bottoms. We're going to attempt 40 miles' cycling each week, rising by 5 miles per week (give-or-take). We've booked our first longer ride for October, where we're going to cycle 50 miles on a Saturday, stay in B&B and 50 miles back on Sunday.

We're doing the ride over 17 days starting Saturday 13th April. We'd really appreciate your views and opinions around the route, bike and training plans.

Day 1: Lands End to St Austell via national cycle route 3. St Austell, chosen as we're staying with friends.
Day 2: St Austell to Okehampton via national cycle route 27. Calling at Minions, Sydenham Damerel,
Day 3: Okehampton to Taunton via national cycle route 3. Calling at Lapford, Tiverton, Kittisford,
Day 4: Taunton to Chepstow via national cycle route 3 and first Severn Bridge. Calling at Bridgewater, Clevedon (west to avoid Bristol)
Day 5: Chepstow to Ludlow via Wye Valley, A49 Hereford.
Day 6: Ludlow to Chester via A49, chosen as we're staying with friends.
Day 7: Chester to Blackpool via 583, up the Wirral (and either ferry across Mersey or Merseyrail), then A59 and west of Preston on A583. Chosen Blackpool route as visiting friends.
Day 8: Blackpool to Kendal via A588 calling at Cockerham, Lancaster, Bolton-Le-Sands, then A6 to Kendal.
Day 9: Kendal to Carlisle via A6 calling at Penrith, Skelton, Sowerby Row and Dalston.
Day 10: Carlisle to Abington via national cycle route 74/B7076.
Day 11: Abington to Dumbarton (Loch Lomond) via national cycle route 74, then 7.
Day 12: Dumbarton to Lochearnhead via national cycle route 7.
Day 13: Lochearnhead to Pitlochry via national cycle route 7.
Day 14: Pitlochry to Kingussie via national cycle route 7.
Day 15: Kingussie to Dingwall via national cycle route 7 and 1, Muir of Ord.
Day 16: Dingwall to Helmsdale via A9 and minor roads parallel to A9.
Day 17: Helmsdale to John o’Groats via A9, A99 and minor roads parallel to A9/A99.

Things we'd value your opinion on are:-
1 - whether to avoid the (Day 4 and 5) Severn Crossing and go via national cycle route 41 and a flatter route to Ludlow. We have travelled the A49 many times and would be confident to take that route.
2 - day 6 - would it be better to take national cycle route 45 and B5069 to avoid Shrewsbury and Wrexham?
3 - changes to our route to make it perhaps less hilly / and-or less busy / better pavement etc?
4 - tyres to use to avoid punctures etc.
5 - seats to purchase to enjoy a more comfy ride :-)
6 - any other tips

Thanks

Stephen

FasterFerret
Posts: 201
Joined: 27 Jul 2015, 3:19pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby FasterFerret » 4 Sep 2018, 5:49pm

Welcome.

You'll find a huge amount of info on here that will help you with your route planning. Probably the most discussed part is getting through Cornwall with as few hills as possible. If you search around there was a recent long thread about just this: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=122637 Listen to what MickF says - he is the local expert.

With this in mind, and without knowing what your desire to ride up big hills is, but if you are looking for 'perhaps less hilly' I would question going via the Minions. I have ridden that North to South and it is a beautiful route, but I was unladen and doing it as part of a 90 or so mile route to get to a holiday cottage (dropped off in Launceston by the wife on the way) in Helford. It was great, especially if you like climbing, but not necessarily something that I would recommend including on a LEJOG.

Day 5: Have a look on here for discussion of the Peregrine trail. I did Ludlow to Cheddar (JOGLE), down the Wye Valley via the Peregrine Trail, can't recall how much height it takes off, but enough, and it is a nice traffic free route. Ignore the A49 go minor roads. Ross on Wye, Mordiford, Withington and past Hampton Court Castle then B road into Leominster, Luston Orleton and Ludlow (I have a bad experience of the Mascall Centre "accommodation" in Ludlow).

Day 6: If you can't find a nicer way to get from Ludlow to Chester than the A49 then you are not looking hard enough... This is prime 'lanes' cycling, make the most of it for a lot of the route you won't get this much choice of minor roads to ride on.

stephenjlynch wrote:We're not cyclists

- nothing wrong with that, you will be by the end of your adventure. But, you'll have a much nicer time of it if you route plan like a cyclist rather than a motorist. (IMHO) Good roads for cars are rarely the same ones as good roads for bikes.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46803
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Mick F » 4 Sep 2018, 6:28pm

Day Two.

Day 2: St Austell to Okehampton via national cycle route 27. Calling at Minions, Sydenham Damerel,


St Austell to Okehampton would be along the A390 via Lostwithiel, West and Middle and East Taphouse(s) to Dobwalls.
Then Minions to Upton Cross, then Congdon's Shop, South Petherwin and Launceston.
Do not bother with Sydenham Damerel at all, as you're letting yourself into many more hills!

From Launceston, get on the Old A30 to cross over into England over Polson Bridge and keep going up and up and up. Loads of long hills with a few downs, but you have to still climb again. 1,000ft elevation at the end of the Old A30 and turn left onto the A386 and go under the A30 dual carriageway. Keep on that road and find a small crossroads about a mile after passing under the A30. Turn right, go down the hill, and then join the Old A30 again and down down down into Okehampton town.
I know all this like the back of my hand. :D
Cross over the River Tamar into England at Polson Bridge east of Launceston and not Horsebridge.
Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 18.33.34.jpg
Mick F. Cornwall

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

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby stephenjlynch » 4 Sep 2018, 7:55pm

FasterFerret wrote:Welcome.

You'll find a huge amount of info on here that will help you with your route planning. Probably the most discussed part is getting through Cornwall with as few hills as possible. If you search around there was a recent long thread about just this: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=122637 Listen to what MickF says - he is the local expert.

With this in mind, and without knowing what your desire to ride up big hills is, but if you are looking for 'perhaps less hilly' I would question going via the Minions. I have ridden that North to South and it is a beautiful route, but I was unladen and doing it as part of a 90 or so mile route to get to a holiday cottage (dropped off in Launceston by the wife on the way) in Helford. It was great, especially if you like climbing, but not necessarily something that I would recommend including on a LEJOG.

Day 5: Have a look on here for discussion of the Peregrine trail. I did Ludlow to Cheddar (JOGLE), down the Wye Valley via the Peregrine Trail, can't recall how much height it takes off, but enough, and it is a nice traffic free route. Ignore the A49 go minor roads. Ross on Wye, Mordiford, Withington and past Hampton Court Castle then B road into Leominster, Luston Orleton and Ludlow (I have a bad experience of the Mascall Centre "accommodation" in Ludlow).

Day 6: If you can't find a nicer way to get from Ludlow to Chester than the A49 then you are not looking hard enough... This is prime 'lanes' cycling, make the most of it for a lot of the route you won't get this much choice of minor roads to ride on.

stephenjlynch wrote:We're not cyclists

- nothing wrong with that, you will be by the end of your adventure. But, you'll have a much nicer time of it if you route plan like a cyclist rather than a motorist. (IMHO) Good roads for cars are rarely the same ones as good roads for bikes.


Thanks FasterFerret - your help is invaluable. To be fair, you're absolutely right - we've been planning it like motorists rather than cyclists. Currently redoing parts of the route based on yours and MickF's advice - really appreciate both of your advice. Looking at BikeHub and the Sustrans routes - what other resources would you recommend for better routes other than the great range of resources here?

We're definitely not in the market for hills if possible, but want to also enjoy the scenery. We've concentrated on our route through Scotland but neglected what could be the trickiest part of the route through Cornwall and Devon.

On the plus-side... managed a 30 mile ride without stopping - including hills :-). Small steps and all that.

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

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby stephenjlynch » 4 Sep 2018, 7:59pm

Mick F wrote:Day Two.

Day 2: St Austell to Okehampton via national cycle route 27. Calling at Minions, Sydenham Damerel,


St Austell to Okehampton would be along the A390 via Lostwithiel, West and Middle and East Taphouse(s) to Dobwalls.
Then Minions to Upton Cross, then Congdon's Shop, South Petherwin and Launceston.
Do not bother with Sydenham Damerel at all, as you're letting yourself into many more hills!

From Launceston, get on the Old A30 to cross over into England over Polson Bridge and keep going up and up and up. Loads of long hills with a few downs, but you have to still climb again. 1,000ft elevation at the end of the Old A30 and turn left onto the A386 and go under the A30 dual carriageway. Keep on that road and find a small crossroads about a mile after passing under the A30. Turn right, go down the hill, and then join the Old A30 again and down down down into Okehampton town.
I know all this like the back of my hand. :D
Cross over the River Tamar into England at Polson Bridge east of Launceston and not Horsebridge.
Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 18.33.34.jpg

Thanks Mick F for this detailed information, genuinely appreciate your time. This route looks a bit more pleasant (except the 1000ft elevation!). And I especially love the "cross over to England"!!

FasterFerret
Posts: 201
Joined: 27 Jul 2015, 3:19pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby FasterFerret » 4 Sep 2018, 9:43pm

stephenjlynch wrote:what other resources would you recommend for better routes other than the great range of resources here?


To be honest for now I would just immerse yourself in the info that is contained here. There is one thread where Mick pretty much describes a route from bottom to top.

There are also loads of other routes that people have done and lots of links to mapfiles and routes to make visualising (and copying and pasting) a lot easier.

But as someone once told me - it's YOUR route that matters. Try to work out what you want to get out of this potentially once (!) in a lifetime ride - then seek that out. There's no easy way to do LEJOG (why do it if it was easy?) but there are plenty of ways to make it more difficult, more scenic, more direct, more meandering, flatter, hillier, shorter (but not many ways of getting it under 840 miles!) and definately lots of options to make it longer. The possibilities are endless and half the fun is working out 'what's the route for you'.

Dive-in, become obsessed and have fun planning your A to B!

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46803
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Mick F » 5 Sep 2018, 6:54am

stephenjlynch wrote:Thanks Mick F for this detailed information, genuinely appreciate your time. This route looks a bit more pleasant (except the 1000ft elevation!). And I especially love the "cross over to England"!!
The main issue is your calling in at St Austell.
I know you want to go there, but the easiest route is via the north of Bodmin Moor, not the south.

Instead of Truro to St Austell, it's better and easier to go through Camborne, Redruth, and Blackwater. Then work your way to St Columb Major and then A39 via Wadebridge and Camelford, then Davidstow. Egloskerry to Launceston and Okehampton.

The A390 from Truro to Dobwalls is busy, but so is the northern route along the A39 ......... but is easier - or maybe less hard! :wink:
Mick F. Cornwall

Norman H
Posts: 842
Joined: 31 Jul 2011, 4:39pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Norman H » 5 Sep 2018, 11:57am

Looking further north to your route in Scotland. I see that you are using NCR 74 and NCR 7. Presumably route 74 from Gretna to just south of Glasgow, and then route 75 across Glasgow to link with route 7.

There's a route that I've used in the past that avoids Glasgow and leaves Route 74 at Happenden and cuts across country to Callander, where you can again join route 7. It's mostly on quiet roads and weaves between Lanark, Carluke, Shotts, Airdrie, Cumbernauld, and Kilsyth. I can post more details if it helps.

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

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby stephenjlynch » 5 Sep 2018, 1:07pm

Mick F wrote:
stephenjlynch wrote:Thanks Mick F for this detailed information, genuinely appreciate your time. This route looks a bit more pleasant (except the 1000ft elevation!). And I especially love the "cross over to England"!!
The main issue is your calling in at St Austell.
I know you want to go there, but the easiest route is via the north of Bodmin Moor, not the south.

Instead of Truro to St Austell, it's better and easier to go through Camborne, Redruth, and Blackwater. Then work your way to St Columb Major and then A39 via Wadebridge and Camelford, then Davidstow. Egloskerry to Launceston and Okehampton.

The A390 from Truro to Dobwalls is busy, but so is the northern route along the A39 ......... but is easier - or maybe less hard! :wink:

Hi Mick F - thanks for this. Based on your advice we're planning the northern route you suggested and we're scrapping our visit to St Austell (they're coming to visit us further north instead) :-)

As part of your travels around the southwest - have you used the Granite Trail - is it a good surface?

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

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby stephenjlynch » 5 Sep 2018, 1:08pm

Norman H wrote:Looking further north to your route in Scotland. I see that you are using NCR 74 and NCR 7. Presumably route 74 from Gretna to just south of Glasgow, and then route 75 across Glasgow to link with route 7.

There's a route that I've used in the past that avoids Glasgow and leaves Route 74 at Happenden and cuts across country to Callander, where you can again join route 7. It's mostly on quiet roads and weaves between Lanark, Carluke, Shotts, Airdrie, Cumbernauld, and Kilsyth. I can post more details if it helps.


Hi Norman - that does sound like an interesting route. I'd be really grateful if you could share some more details?

Norman H
Posts: 842
Joined: 31 Jul 2011, 4:39pm

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Norman H » 5 Sep 2018, 3:23pm

stephenjlynch wrote:
Hi Norman - that does sound like an interesting route. I'd be really grateful if you could share some more details?


At Happenden J12, after crossing beneath the motorway, at the roundabout take the dual carriageway towards the services but turn right after a short distance on to minor roads that eventually join the A72 where it crosses the river Clyde just to the west of Lanark. Turn right (A72) and head uphill into the town and in about ¾ of a mile turn left (Mousebank Rd). Continue heading north on minor roads, passing to the east of Carluke at Kilndadzow, and crossing the A71 at Allanton. Continue north via Hartwood station and HM Prison at Shotts to cross the M8 at Kirk of Shotts. Pass to the east of Airdrie and then cut across north of the town and join the B802 which takes you west of Cumbernauld towards Kilsyth.

From Kilsyth head north up over the Kilsyth hills and down into the Carron valley. Turn west along the valley to Fintry and then north to Callander via Lake of Mentieth.

You can either pick up the offroad section of NCR7 at Callander or follow the A84 up Strathyre to Lochearnhead and beyond.

Alternatively you could instead turn left at Lake of Menteith and join route 7 at Aberfoyle.

There are hostels at New Lanark and Callander, if that helps with accommodation.

New Lanark, an eighteenth century mill village, is a fascinating place with an interesting history. The site of an early example of enlightened capitalism, that was quite remarkable for its time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Lanark

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46803
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Mick F » 6 Sep 2018, 9:31am

stephenjlynch wrote:As part of your travels around the southwest - have you used the Granite Trail - is it a good surface?
Yes, good, and a nice ride for the most of it.

Two issues though.
There's a stretch that goes through private land, so you go through gates at either end, though last time I rode there, the gates were wide open. The surface through there is terrible with stones and rubble - and mud if it's wet weather - but thankfully it's only a short distance of private land. Maybe 200yds or so.

Out near Okehampton, after Meldon Viaduct, the track veers off the old railbed because there's a railway line. It's ok as surface, but it goes in and out of gates, and through a tunnel under the A30 with sharp rightangles at either end plus more gates.

If you do the ride north/south from Okehampton town, be prepared for a steep hill up to the start.


Back to your LEJOG.
When I last did a JOGLE, Mrs Mick F met me at Okehampton and brought me home for some tender loving care :D and then the following day took me back to carry on. She did the same from/to St Columb Major.

This saves on riding too many hills, so it's worth thinking about with your St Austell friends.
Mick F. Cornwall

PeterT
Posts: 25
Joined: 25 Jul 2016, 8:58am

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby PeterT » 6 Sep 2018, 10:05pm

I could advise you to go on this road or that road, avoid this town or that city but I wont. What I will advise you to do is to meticulously plan your route. Work out approximately how many miles to ride each day. If you are staying in hostels, B and B or premier inn type places look for place to stay. Then plan your route between those places. Be prepared to be flexible in your stopping places when planning because the route / roads might not be suitable.. Finally and most importantly spend hours and hours planning and examining the route using Garmin for altitude etc AND GOOGLE MAPS for road type and usage. Switch between the map and street view to see what the road is actually like, For example, you mention the A49. I wouldnt go anywhere near it, unless there is a cycle path and I only say that because I know the road.
And finally ENJOY.

User avatar
Paulatic
Posts: 4233
Joined: 2 Feb 2014, 1:03pm
Location: 24 Hours from Lands End

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Paulatic » 7 Sep 2018, 9:11am

Very sound advise there from Peter.
I would ride the A9 north of Tain ten times over before I’d ever ride the A49 Leominster to Ludlow again.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

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

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46803
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: LEJOG April 2019

Postby Mick F » 7 Sep 2018, 9:56am

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.
Mick F. Cornwall