Tuesday, 28 September 2010

..what to do first?

Having not done the Lejog before and with a mountain of planning, organisation and sourcing to do its really hard to decide what to do first. What i'm beginning to realise is that something which can feel like a very personal and momentous feat, is something that is completed by thousands of people each year, on every manner of transport, both quickly and slowly. What I'm also beginning to understand is that 1000ish miles is a bit of an abtract thing- unless you actually sit down with a map and calculate how far places are, its hard to understand the reality of the distances involved.

Yesterday I read all about how Eileen Sheridan (apparently a coventry cyclist) completed the whole journey in just under 2 1/2 days in 1954, makes my 20 day journey seem leisurely! There are thousands of accounts which spring up as soon as you type 'Lejog' into google. Most of these are helpful and full of useful information- a good one is PedalPower Adventures which details an amazing journey, but I think my favorites so far are George and Bens account of them 'borrowing' their way across the UK and the Jogglefool blog which was one of the most honest and funny accounts that I have read so far- have a read you'll laugh- I promise!

This first week has mainly involved planning my training routes, alongside impulse buying of 'essential' Lejog goods. So far my Lejog kit has extended to include a pannier set, a cycle computer and a very fetching T-Shirt (free from vistaprint) emblazoned with 'Coventry recycled Cycles- Lejog 2011'- so there's no backing out now, i have the t-shirt....and incidentally the mug (which was also free!).

I still haven't picked a bike to go on yet, I can't afford and don't want a new one, i'm hoping my John Atkins will make it with a service and a prayer, its a little battered and tired, but then so am I! The training proper starts tomorrow, so if i'm still conscious when i get back i'll let you know how it went.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The beginning of the beginning of the journey...

Well, this is the beginning. I'm not sure how many, if any people will read this, but i wanted some way to record the whole journey that'll end up with me standing on the very tip of scotland- a wonderous place that i'm ashamed to say i've yet to visit.

I'm 7 months from starting the journey from this sign all the way up to John O'Groats- if you squint at the picture thats 874 miles of cycling...at least. At the moment 7 months doesn't seem very long, i've a head full of things I need to prepare, everything from choosing a bike to how many packets of noodles i'll need...and how much they'll weigh...and what i'll look like after 20 days of noodle consumption. It seemed like a good idea a week ago, three weeks, just me on a bike, my tent and the open road, today i spent some time looking thinking about bum-ache and now it all seems a little less rose tinted!

The journey is important to me for lots of reasons,the opportunity arose because after several years of trying I finally left a job that I loved, hated and which proved unhealthy; so without a current occupation I have the free time to go. I'm also recovering from ME and really need something to aim for- I still unsure what recovery is, whether you ever become what you once were and whether aiming for Scotland is wise, but I want to try- I have a feeling that the journey is going to amount to far more than the 20ish days spent pedalling my battered old John Atkins bike up and down the hills of the UK. Finally, I guess I wanted to let people know the potential of cycling and the amazing things you can acheive on a (recycled) bike. I know i'm not the first person to discover Scotland on a Cycle and in a tent, but I have ridden bicycles forever and can't think of a better way to discover the world...can you?

Over the next few months i'll be updating and counting down, so check back and see how things are going.