A Change of Plan..?

I may have just completely changed my mind about something.

I set this website up mostly because I wanted to record and publish my preparations for cycling Lejog (Land’s End – John O’Groats) in spring 2010. Ever since I started trying to work out my route, I’ve found that I really have no interest in cycling anywhere south of Manchester. I had a look last night to see how much the train will cost me to get from my house to Penzance, and the minimum amount is a whopping £105!! It strikes me as a little arse-about-face to pay that amount of money to travel south, only to spend about 5 days cycling north to get to where I started from. It’s not just illogical ( although I admit I’m not a great fan of logic), but the only function it serves would be able to say “yes, I have cycled the length of mainland UK”.

What if I was to do the same mileage (1000 miles), cycling from my house around a load of places I fancy visiting on a bike? It may not sound as impressive as cycling end-to-end, but miles are miles and it would give me so much more scope for a varied route off the path well-beaten by generations of End-to-Enders. Thinking about doing a non-traditional cycle challenge is bringing up all sorts of wacky and tempting ideas, such as riding about re-enacting scenes from Monty Python’s ‘Holy Grail’ in the places they were filmed, to going on a ‘mystery tour’ where my direction of travel each day is decided by chance, or staying in haunted sites or working my way between ancient stone circles….
When route-planning is thought of in this light, it makes doing Lejog seem a little, well…unimaginative.

So on the one hand I’m excited by the prospect of having a much more flexible route, but on the other I am concerned about not having completed this classic challenge. It seems to me that there is something in the psyche that rates travelling between two farthest points on a land mass higher than riding around a little more haphazardly. It’s all in the mind though, it’s just that it’s a little harder to visualise a route that doesn’t go from A to B but from C to B via X and P.

1000 mile cycle challenge does sound quite good though… I’ll have to think about this a little more before I decide not to complete Lejog. Damn difficult call to make though.

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2 Responses

  1. Joolz, I think you make some very astute points.

    It’s mentally easier to do a standard route and the achievement is more readily understood by other people (it’s a nicer soundbite) but you’ve really got to think about what your motivation is for doing a trip first.

    I think I’ve actually made a very similar decision myself. Instead of faffing and paying to transporting a rickshaw to one end and then back from the other, I’ll just do a journey under it’s own steam.

    I have no idea where I’m going to go but I think it may approximate the route shown on your map.

    • Thanks Tim, so you were planning LEJOG on a rickshaw?! Brilliant mode of transport 🙂

      I’m still deliberating over whether to do Lejog or not – money is extremely tight so the train fare will really sting. I do know that if I decide to do an alternative challenge, it will have to have some sort of ‘theme’ or ‘hook’ to it; as you say it’s good to have a decent soundbite (esp. when raising money for charity) and motivation is really important when it’s pouring with rain and you’re stuck in a bog with a broken chain and no phone signal 🙂

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