A great one for the bucket list is the John O’Groats to Land’s End (or the other way round) cycle trip. Presuming you have time on your hands, a bit of money spare to take time away and spend nights in B&B’s it doesn’t have to be a conquest of ultimate fitness, but it can be and is a conquest of achievement.
I did it at the age of 63. I was going to do it in the following year as I recalled a conversation with a friend back in the 1960′s which went “What will we do when I’m 64″ after the Beatles song was released!
Luckily I did it when I did, in May of the proposed year I got a herniated disc which would have meant cancelling, maybe permanently.
The secret to it is in the way you see it, rather than looking at it as a thousand mile cycle trip, see it as doing a cycle ride every day for whatever number of days you like. In my case this was 23 days, so around 45 miles per day, about five hours cycling.
My top 5 tips..
1. Other than the approximate route, don’t over plan or over complicate. It’s basically getting yourself plus Bike to John O’Groats, sitting on it and starting to peddle!
2. Don’t pre-book Bed and Breakfasts until the day before you expect to get somewhere. One day at 35 miles could be a lot harder day than one of 60 miles.
3. Where possible avoid main roads, the Lane’s are safer and quieter plus you see a bit more of our beautiful countryside.
4. Use a decent Touring or Hybrid Bike, get puncture proof tyres (I didn’t get any with mine), decent rear panniers and travel as light as possible
5. If you’re techy, get hold of a Garmin. You can load all your history onto their website and relive it for years to come (Google Maps – Street Level).
Not only do you see the varying landscapes of our Country, you also see the various people and for me this was one of the highlights. You come accross so many ‘doing their own thing’, many of whom are of similar age, either walking, cycling, camper vanning for Motor Cycling. It amazed me how many people just ‘get up and go’.
The locals you meet along the way are also often a delight, the differing accents and the friendliness from them when you tell them what you’re doing and ask you in for a cup of Tea!
In 23 days I saw Mountains, Marshes, Hills, Forests and crossed many Rivers. Surprisingly, even after very little training, I came away from it unscathed and no aches and pains.
The reward is one of memory, nothing more, nothing less.
I did it solo but you may wish back up or to go with someone. No matter when and how you do it, it’s a huge box to tick!
You can read about the whole of my trip along with routes and information at my other web site here