LEJOG: A family cycling challenge
It’s year two of school routines for Family on a Bike and the annual six week void has been looming large. Now some families might be able to while away the long summer holiday playing happily in the garden but we know we can’t. Just the thought of spending six weeks cooped up at home with three young children makes us feel a little crazy. Friends who’ve already caught wind of our plans tell us it’s already driven us mad, mad enough to plan a summer attempt at one of the UK’s great cycle challenges, the End to End or LEJOG as it’s known to cycle buffs.
Having cycled New Zealand End to End in 2004, we’ve set our sights closer to home this year. But this time instead of riding 4000km in six months trailing two toddlers, we’re attempting a 1500km ride in six weeks with two young boys (age 5 and 6) on tandems while our toddling princess (age 2) gets her turn at long distance trailer touring.
LEJOG is not a French fun run
For those of you unfamiliar with LEJOG, the first thing you should know is it’s not a French fun run. LEJOG is Lands End to John O Groats, a classic 1000 mile challenge ride from the most south-westerly point on the UK mainland to the most north easterly.
The record for achieving this is less than two days; most cyclists take about two weeks; but we reckon riding unsupported en-famille we’ll be lucky if we can make it in six weeks. Achieving that means covering 25 miles per day, 7 days a week for six weeks, which in itself doesn’t sound unachievable until you imagine the practicalities of doing that accompanied by three young children, while carrying your clothes, food, drink, camping gear, toys, nappies and other essential cycle touring paraphernalia.
Anyway, we’re up for the challenge and even if we don’t know if we make it from one end to the other, we know we’ll have fun together pedalling a trail across the country we call home, discovering a little more about it as we go.
Will we make Lancaster? Or beyond?
Family trips like this present many challenges in both planning and execution and we already know what’s likely to be hardest about this one. It’s not the cycling, the camping, the terrain, weather or children; it’s the fact that five hundred miles after leaving Lands End and ten miles North of Lancaster we’re going to pass our own front door and just know we won’t be able to resist stopping off for a cup of tea and a night in our own beds. What we don’t know is whether we’ll ever get up and out again. So while our goal is LEJOG, the big question is will the reality be Lands End to Lancaster or beyond?
Join us as we blog our way up the country and find out.
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