Saturday 2 April 2016

JOGLE, as traffic-free as possible

Hi, I'm Alan Hill

In autumn 2015 I cycled from John o'Groats to Land's End. A week earlier we'd returned from a cycling trip in Slovenia, where we'd biked 400 kilometres from Bled to the Med. We cycled with just spare clothes, camera and drinks bottle while our suitcase winged its way to the next night's hotel! Softies!

On arriving back home home I was horrified to see I'd put weight on over the trip, and this called for drastic action. Within a week I'd hatched a plan to cycle the length of Britain, carrying camping gear, and with a commitment to cycle off road where possible. When the tarmac was unavoidable it would be unclassified roads next, followed by B roads, and A roads as a last resort. I'd been knocked off my bike by a tractor 18 months earlier, and was still pretty nervous on busy roads.

I took out a subscription with the Ordnance Survey; this was well worth doing as I could print off sections of maps for the places with complicated route finding. A torn-up road atlas did for the easier parts. I contacted David Piper for any tips. He was someone who had done the LEJOG several times, and created a route which used a lot of off road sections. I had a bit of inside knowledge on some Scottish off road routes which I planned to throw in the mix.

I did make the occasional route adjustment as I went along, but largely stuck to The Plan. By the time I reached Land's End I'd managed 34% off road, 37% on unclassified road, 18% on B roads and 11% on A roads, some of which were Scottish single lane A roads, and deserted!

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