LEJOG - Restrospective

3 minute read

Three months on since doing the trip I've started to really miss it. The initial week after finishing (and even the last couple of days) I was a little sick of cycling. But since then, one really begins to miss the roads, views, camaraderie and sense of adventure. The exhaustion, sometimes hunger, and weather means that you do end up missing some of the trip through not looking at what is around you. Thankfully I had my camera with me (not my SLR, but my compact), and it'll be something I'll always take with me as the photos help trigger memories. Given the cost (which we kept down) we're already planning on more trips given how cheap train tickets can be. We'll most likely be revisiting Cornwall/Devon, more of Somerset and also the Lake District.

Liked...

My favourites parts of the whole trip were in the first 5 days. The variety for country lanes, the challenge of such steep accents and decents, cycling along the sea, the small villages you pass through, and the hostels had a lot more about them. Also the weather during those stages was great (no rain) which made it even more enjoyable.

If I were to re-plan I'd definitely allow more time around those areas. In our case this would mean doing nearer 70-90km a day instead of the typical 120km. Mainly so that we'd be able to take our time a bit more, enjoy things like cider farms, cheese factories, and arrive at the hostel earlier to spend more time in the surrounding area. Boscastle, Exford, St Briavels and All Stretton all had lovely summery pubs and small shops around them. Boscastle would certainly have been worth some more time.

Disliked...

If I were to strip out any parts of the trip, I'd maybe avoid the Peak District. It was lovely going through it, but the surrounding towns we had to pass through weren't very pleasant, and the amount of accent we did was quite draining. The heavy rain on that stage didn't help my opinion of it, but it's still definitely a stage I would change. Hence the negatives outweighed the positives.

The worst part of the trip was the M74 corridor from Carlisle up to New Lanark. I'd completely redo that part of the trip, maybe opting to go along the west coast. New Lanark is a lovely place to see, and I'm gutted we didn't have more time there. But it's not worth going to if it means travelling up alongside the M74.

There's not much I'd change about Scotland because you don't have a huge number of options. I liked the scenery, but in general, due to the winds and roads (quality and traffic speed/throughput) I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as England. John O'Groats was especially disappointinbg, and I'm not sure I'f stay there given the choice again. Thurso was a lot nicer, and only an hour or so away.

Whether I'll do LEJOG again I'm not sure, but I'll definitely be planning trips down to the south-west of England for 3-4 days to enjoy more of the roads down there. There are plenty more to see (we didn't do any of the southern coast), and given trains to Penzanze can be around £30 (first class!) if you book in advance, it'd be crazy not to.

Equipment

My carbon fibre bike lasted the whole trip with only one single problem, the rear shifter breaking. That was down to me being a bit forceful with it. It wasn't the most comfortable ride, but I think all of us where in the same boat being on racing road bikes.

The bags Al and I had (Topeaks) were great. Light, and easy to take on and off (compared to Daryl's rack mounted bag). They stood up to the weather, and I still use both of mine. All of the clothing we took was great too, and got us through 30C heats, to 10C down pours. The only thing I could really have done with was an extra pair (or two) of socks, and a second pair of pants. Apart from that I'll most likely be using exactly the same kit list again.

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