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Preparation | Cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End

Just four days to go until the big cycle trip and my thoughts have turned to preparation.

If only my pedals had been turning to it a bit more too.

I’ve only managed to squeeze in a handful of training rides since the weather improved, but I resolved to do at least one long training ride before the trip.

I set off at 9am on Sunday morning to clear blue skies and glorious sunshine, heading down the canal towards east London and Limehouse Basin, a favourite Sunday morning ride. Instead of making the return journey, from there I headed north up the River Lee on the Lee Valley Way, past the Olympic Stadium and out into Hertfordshire.

After two hours I reached the Old Mill Cafe at Broxbourne, having been reminded of some facts of cycling.

Pollen in my nose, reminding me I need to take hayfever medication, and insects in my eyes (and mouth) reminding me I should have worn my sunglasses.

On the plus side it was time for an ice-cream.



I continued as far as Hertford, before leaving the canal to join the Cole Green Way, a cycle route that follows an old railway line to Welwyn Garden City.

The entire route was about 60-65 miles, and largely flat until after Hertford where the hills really sapped my energy. I’ll be aiming to complete about 120 miles on the first day of my ride, so I could have done with a few more of these in preparation.

I leave for Scotland on Friday evening.

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Kitted out and ready to ride

Things you would rather not know about the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness

20 miles with a bloke called Tim, and a slight change of plan

Day 1 – John O’Groats to Inverness

Day 2 – Ness to Nevis and my nemesis rears its head

Day 3 – Fort William to Tarbert with only one brake

Day 4 – Tarbert to Ayr and the battle of Arran

Day 5 – Ayr to Dumfries and tasting defeat in the Forest of Galloway

Day 6 – Dumfries to Windermere and thoughts on cycling earworms

Day 7 – Windermere to Liverpool and the birds-eye of the storm

Day 8 – Liverpool to Shrewsbury and the ferry across the Mersey

Day 9 – Shrewsbury to Gloucester with sun, showers and an injured Armadillo

Day 10 – Gloucester to Bristol and the day I spoke to soon

Day 11 – Bristol to Bath, a day of disused railway lines

Day 12 – Bath to Tiverton and the breakfast hostage

Day 13 – Tiverton to Lostwithiel and fatigue causes forgetfulness

Day 14 – Lostwithiel to Penzance, and the mining trail

Day 15 – Penzance to Lands End (and back again)

Learning to walk again

Ideas for cycling end to end, with the benefit of hindsight

Kit List


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