Sometime around about Christmas 2004 I stumbled across Ian Clare's LEJOG website which detailed his End to End bicycle journey across the UK. It both looked and sounded great (particularly from the comfort of my computer chair), so after very little thought whatsoever I decided to have a go at it myself, however Wendy (her indoors) wasn't too happy about me going all that way on my own so I asked our son David if he wanted to join me on the adventure as well, which he did.
Having got the official thumbs up, we planned to go in September with the hope that missing the school holidays would give us a better chance of getting accommodation enroute, and so I started to sort out the logistics of it all. The list included the train down to Penzance (which I was unable to book until late July), the return flight home from Inverness, which was booked in January (I'd read so many stories about booking problems with ScotRail, that we decided to fly home instead), our first few nights accommodation and, most importantly of course, the route itself.
Our route would be fairly similar to most of the others we had seen on the various websites linked by Ian, but was also dictated by where some friends were living plus, a strange compulsion we had to go across both the Severn bridge and the Forth Road bridge. We also wanted to get out of Cornwall on the least hilly road so we decided to just stick to the A30 which, because we were on it over a weekend, turned out to be no worse (traffic wise) than riding around in London.
Having decided to go for it, I now had to tackle the slight problem of being over weight and not very fit (David had no such problems, being young and stick-thin), so I started to do some training rides of 30+ miles and gradually built them up to regular 70+ mile rides, which stood me in good stead on the trip. I even managed to lose a fair bit of weight whilst doing the training and I think anyone with a reasonable level of fitness should be able to manage the End 2 End.
I completed the journey in 13 days, covering 938 miles in total. Unfortunately, David was suffering from an old leg injury, which forced him to retire just before we reached Manchester but, I know that without the injury, he would have easily managed to finish the journey too.
Barry was riding a Ridgeback Storm with a pair of Altura Skye panniers and a bar bag.
David was on a Ridgeback Tempest also with a pair of Altura Skye panniers.
We both had the following stuff:
2 changes of cycling tops, shorts, and 3 pairs of socks
Waterproof Jacket + Trousers
Cycling shoes, Helmet, Gloves, 2 water bottles
Front and rear LED lights
Cat Eye computer
Multi-tool, Mini pump, 2 spare tubes, Puncture kit
2 T shirts, 2 pairs pants
2 pairs of trousers (one pair sent home)
2 pairs plain socks (sent home)
Mobile + charger, Lightweight trainers
Sunglasses, Sun Lotion (I only remember putting this on a couple of times)
Wash kit + deodorant (I remember putting it on lots of times)
Maps (loose pages from a road atlas), Route card
D locks and keys
Barry also carried the:
Chain lube, Pedal spanner, spare cables
First aid kit
Camera + charger, PDA + charger
Binoculars (they too were sent home)
Most people who do the E2E ride are also collecting on behalf of some charity or good cause, and we were no different.
Besides, why shouldn't someone else benefit from all the pain and effort we put in to get there.
I was collecting donations for WHITTINGTON BABIES, a charity which supports the neonatal unit of the Whittington Hospital in London, and managed to raise £1420 for them.
David was collecting on behalf of DIABETES UK and he managed to raise a magnificent £745 for them.