/ Cycle Touring
You don't say if you are camping or stopping in B&B/hostels and the like.
Other than that, get some miles in, it doesn't have to be a lot but you need to have it in your legs. It's best if you can do 20-30 miles a day in training (every day), the bike doesn't have to be loaded as if you were touring.
The hardest days will be the third and fourth since you are likely to do big training miles at the weekend and not carry on through the week so you won't be used to that third/fourth day. Do at least one day approaching what your maximum daily mileage would be.
Enjoy yourself :-)
Eat lots, drink lots, and listen to your body. It will be easily possible. Unless you get an early injury but refuse to stop and so make the injury worse.
No matter how tempting it may be as your arse gets sorer, don't be tempted to put compeed on your sit bones - whilst it does work to relieve the pain, the in the saddle pain is nothing compared to getting the buggers off afterwards, after taking the first one off, it took me 3 days before I worked up to getting the other one off!
A more serious reply:
The one thing that caused us the most hassle doing LEJOG this year was working out how to get home. The train option will take days, a coach might be an option if you can find one that'll take a bike, in the end we went for a hire car back to Manchester where we had pre parked one of our cars, but if you are on your own this may not be the cheapest option.
If you were to join the main LEJOG routes, you will find plenty of other people to bump into along the way... it's interesting to track the progress of others.
In terms of saving weight by bivvying - the lower weight of a bivvy bag is often not worth the bad nights rest you may have.
(I rode from Venice to Amsterdam with friends in 3 weeks, camping, big day over the Stelvio pass, 2760m).
Feel free to email me or whatever, too tired to write more for now.
Take chamois cream. The worst part of Lands End - JoG for me was soreness from being in the saddle ~8 hours a day, day after day. It can be agonising! If you're going at an easy pace hopefully your legs will cope ok.
As others have said, take Jelly Babies / other high energy nibbles and eat these constantly, on top of 3 big meals during the day.
Enjoy, good luck!
I recently did my first short cycle touring trip and camped. My total camping kit - tent, sleeping bag, stove, etc weighs less than 5kg. I didn't notice the weight and the extra comfort of a tent is well worth it compared to bivvying for more than a night or two.
> A more serious reply:
> The one thing that caused us the most hassle doing LEJOG this year was working out how to get home.
Thats the exact problem I had. In the end it was cheaper and easier to hire a car one way than to take the train. Mental eh.
Booked 8 weeks in advance, cost £30 from Thurso to York
I've done quite a bit of cycle touring.
My number one would be, get a Brooks saddle. It may seem counter intuative, but the softer the saddle, the worse the pain. Brooks saddles are harder than normal, but this means you slide around more on it, thus not costantly having pressure on the same part of the anatomy.
Other than that, never use a backpack, always panniers (sorry if that's self evident, but don't know how much you know about touring basics)
Start off easy and build up (I always go for a 30 miler for the first couple of days to work the legs and the arse in).
Hotels are much easier than camping. We used not to book, which makes for a more flexible tour, but abroad, in a strange town, hunting a hotel room on a Saturday night at 10.PM when all you want is some food and a beer is no fun. Now we work out the route in advance and pre-book all the hotels.
Don't kill yourself. Set sensible limits. I notice your route is about 60+ miles a day. That's doable, but in my experience, cranking out that sort of mileage is not very enjoyable. It all starts getting to be about covering distance rather than enjoying the ride.
Have a rest day. I'd go for one a week.
Don't worry about rain. You'll get it, and no matter what you use, you'll get wet (though that said - I now use a carradice poncho - heavier than your cheap, flappy plastic or nylon ones, mudguards and gaitors, and I've stayed the driest I've ever been - only a little sweat build up inside).
Never delay eating or drinking. If you are hungry, stop and eat. If you are thirsty, you should have stopped and drank about half an hour ago.
Go with a friend. There's nothing like chatting as you ride along. It's good for setting a pace, also. By that I mean, it slows you down rather than speeds you up. If you hadn't already guessed, I prefer to enjoy the ride.
Don't take too much gear. I find about three t-shirts, a single fleece, two pairs of trousers, about four pairs of sock, a lightweight, windproof jacket, raingear and a hat. Regarding underwear, I tend to take three of pairs of nylon, sports type underwear and wash the ones I've been wearing nightly - same with the T-shirts. T-shirts and trousers should be sythetic, so they dry easily. I also take one pair of jeans and a couple of cotton t-shirts, just to relax in. I take one pair of cycling shoes, and a pair of crocks for wearing off duty.
Take a camera (small one) and take lots of pictures. You want to remember it.
Learn how to fix your own bike. Luckily, I know bikes like the back of my hand, so I can fix them no problem. If you don't, watch some youtube videos, read up on the internet, take the plunge and dismantle your bike and put it back together again. There is nothing worse than something breaking and you having to phone a taxi to take you to the local bike shop, assuming it's open.
Toolkit - allen keys (make sure they cover all the various size bolts on the bike) chain splitter, tyre levers, crank remover, small adjustable spanner, spoke tool, puncture repair kit AND a couple of spare inner tubes.
Had four punctures in a day once. If I'd just gone with the innertubes, I'd have been screwed. Take some zipties. They are invaluable in a bind for fixing a lot of things).
Enjoy. There really is nothing like cycle touring.
I've probably missed out a load of things, but my tea's on the table, so have to go.
I bought a twin Altura set from GoOutdoors. Can't remember exactly what size, but around 25l. Definitely not top of the range, but work fine for me. I put my gear in the bags and strap the tent to the top of the rack. Space is a bit tight, but that means you don't take loads of stuff you don't really need.
In addition to the excellent stuff from Gotte, I'd recommend having a general plan to each day. A lot of people have trouble eating and cycling at the same time so build in food stops.
Something like: ride for a couple of hours, find a cafe; ride another couple of hours, find another cafe; etc. Knowing your route in advance means that you can figure out where cafe stops are likely to be - if there's a long uninhabited stretch of road then take the cafe stop early, i.e. be flexible.
Also if it looks like a big rain shower is heading your way then letting it pass whilst sat inside with a hot cup of tea and a piece of cake is better than getting soaked.
For lightweight camping kit (remember the lightest kit is the stuff you leave at home!) check out the mountain marathon sites/forums. It's worth checking out if anywhere on your route will accept packages for you: send a parcel with spare clothes and the like along with a pre-paid envelope to send the smelly stuff back.
We found that we would have a cooked breakfast where possible, then break the ride into two hour sections with a stop around that point for food. We both had Brooks saddles and went for saddlebags or rack packs instead of panniers to keep the weight down.
My advice would be to just get the miles in as much as you can beforehand, doing at least one multi day ride before you set off.
I wrote a blog about the trip and the preparation - http://2012lejog.wordpress.com
I dont know how strong wheels are today, but learning to change spokes was very useful. A heavily loaded bike going over even a small hole in the road could lead to a few broken spokes and a real hassle if you dont know how to fix it yourself !
I've had some memorable touring holidays. I usually camped but would have a night in a hotel every 4/5 days to get "cleaned-up".
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