The UK has more cycle routes than you could ever wish for. Any type of cycling can be catered to. If mountain biking is your thing, then why not head to Swinley Forest in Berkshire or pretty much anywhere in Scotland or Wales.
Road bikes are another matter – there are plenty of routes to take, but one route gets cyclists more excited than a child on Christmas day. Land’s End to John O’Groats. Cycling from Land’s End, the most south-western point of the UK all the way to John O’Groats, the most north-eastern point of the UK is considered by many British cyclists as the ultimate cycling challenge. You can find all the information you need for this (planning, nutrition, route etc) in guides such as Getting Active on a UK Holiday.
Officially clocking in at 874 miles, most cyclists take anywhere between 10 and 14 days to complete such an epic journey. If you’re thinking about taking on this challenge but want to get further than the edge of Cornwall, you’ll need to put in some serious training before you set off. Take a look at these useful (and slightly amusing) cycling tips to help you out.
Below is a quick and straightforward guide to training and the preparation involved.
Being Realistic –
The first step to completing this challenge is to realise where you are now. If you can barely cycle to the shops and back, it’s unlikely you’ll be ready to cycling the length of the country in a few weeks.
Determine your level of fitness. If you cycle at least 50 miles a week and are comfortable cycling this distance in one go, you could be ready to go in a matter of weeks. If on the other hand your bikes main purpose is for hanging up washing, then training will take at least a few months.
Improving Endurance –
Whatever your current fitness levels, start small. Even if you are more than capable, don’t cycle 50 miles on your first day of training. Instead cycle what you can comfortably cycle, plus another 10 to 15% of the overall distance. This will quickly build up your endurance and stamina.
Preparing for the Journey –
Along with improving your fitness, you’ll need certain items for your journey. If you don’t already, you’ll need a decent lightweight road bike. Take a look at the range at Halfords or Leisure Lakes to see if any of these are suitable for you.
Clothing is another essential aspect to consider. Unless you specifically have to dress in some uncomfortable clothing for charitable purposes, stick to lightweight, breathable cycling clothes (Evans cycles have a great range).
Most importantly, invest in a good quality helmet. If you’re serious about cycling you’ll be spending a lot of your time on many roads, so there’ll be plenty of risks. A good helmet has the potential to save your life so choosing a sturdy and reliable one is very important – Amazon has a great range of helmets (can see some of them here) from many brands including Raleigh, Giro, MET and more.