Every year, thousands of people head to Cornwall to begin the mammoth 874-mile cycle from Land’s End to John o’Groats. Here are a few things you might not know about the route.
1. The current record for the journey is 9 days
The current record for the journey is 41 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds, although this was technically completed on a recumbent tricycle. The Road Records Association declare the record time on a conventional bicycle to be held by Gethin Butler, who clocked in at 44 hours, 4 minutes and 20 seconds in 2001.
However, we advise prospective riders to manage their self-expectations carefully; for most cyclists, it takes anywhere between 10-14 days!
2. It’s more than just a cycle route.
Cycling is just one of the ways of going through this journey. Two people hitchhiked the journey in a record time of 17 hours and 8 minutes. A golfer from Kent decided to turn the route into the longest ever golf hole; he walked the route whilst hitting golf balls along the way, in order to raise money for charity.
3. The journey has been conquered in a straight line.
In 2014, a team of 4 set out to reach John o’Groats in a straight line, which they managed to complete in 28 days. The team included Team GB Paralympian Nick Beighton and Tori James, the first Welsh woman to climb the summit of Mount Everest. To date, they’ve raised £20,000 for charity even made a movie about their journey, As the Crow Flies, which won People’s Choice at the Kendal Mountain Festival in 2014. To document your own ride, consider camera rental as a cheap way of taking.
4. The oldest person to complete the journey was 81 years old!
The oldest person to cycle across the country was Tony Rathbone, aged 81 at the time. Kudos to you, Tony.
5. A peloton of celebrities have completed the ride
A Sport Relief team cycled this route in a team relay in 2010. Cyclists included comedians Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard and David Walliams.
6. It’s one of several renowned British cycle routes
Every year, thousands of people cycle in mass events, the biggest of which is Deloitte’s Ride Across Britain. The average number of miles you can expect to cycle daily on the Ride across Britain is approximately 107, which makes it a worthy warm-up for Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
7. Two wheels are too many for some
Several unicycling competitions have taken place where people have completed the journey on unicycles! The fastest person on a unicycle completed the journey in just over 6 days.
It might seem like a challenge but it’s certainly one for your bucket list! Sadly, the costs of buying a bike that’s up to the task are often prohibitive. Why not rent a bike that’s light, strong and trustworthy to take on the challenge?
Find the Right Bike
Bike hire is a great way to get yourself a good quality bike that can withstand the long journey, with a saddle that won’t have you chafing from day one. It’s not worth the risk of using a bike that you’re not sure will stand up to the test. When you’re stranded on a roadside, miles from help, you’ll not thank yourself. Bike rental gives you access to higher quality bike – and thereby a smoother ride – for a fraction of the cost.
Don’t Forget To Take In The Views
As much as this is a test of your physical endurance, it’s also a great chance to see parts of the country that you won’t get to see every day. You’ll start from Land’s End in Cornwall, with stunning cliff-top views, and end your ride passing through the Scottish Highlands, known worldwide for their stunning scenery and wildlife.
The last thing you want is to get reasonably far into your journey for you to realise you’ve left vital gear at home. However, apart from your cycle hire and repair kit, remember that you’ll be riding with your luggage for 874 miles; if you’re really not sure you’ll need it, lose the extra weight.