Lands End to John O'Groats FAQ
How do I get to Penzance?
You can get to Penzance by Car, train, plane & ferry (or you could cycle). We can pick you up at Penzance when you arrive on Saturday and transport you & your bike to your first nights accommodation. Penzance is about 10 miles from our accommodation in St. Just. To get to Penzance:
By Car The M5 will take you as far as Exeter, there you can join the A30 which will take you all the way to Penzance. If you are hiring a car there is a Europcar depo at Penzance train station where you can leave your hire car.
By Train There are frequent trains from London, Paddington and major stations along the way. Penzance is at the end of the line, so if you fall asleep you won’t go past your stop! If flying to Newquay, you can take the train from Newquay, then onwards to Penzance, changing once at Par station. This journey takes just under 2 hours. For train timetables tel: 08457 48 49 50 or book online at www.nationalrail.co.uk
By Air You can fly to Cornwall by taking a flight from London to Newquay Airport. The journey takes around one and a half hours. Then from Newquay you can take a coach or train onwards to Penzance. Flights can be booked by calling: Air Southwest, British Airways or Ryan Air, UK airport and ticket information, Newquay Airport information, Ebookers online travel agent. If flying to Newquay, you can take a train from Newquay, then onwards to Penzance, changing once at Par station.
By Ferry For visitors coming from Europe there are ferry links from Roscoff, in France or Santander, in Spain, both to the nearby port of Plymouth. A train or coach can then be taken to Penzance.
What happens when I arrive?
If you would like collecting from Penzance we will meet you at the station & take you, your luggage & your bike to St. Just where we will spend our 1st night. It is about 10 miles from Penzance to St. Just so if you want to cycle we can meet you at Penzance & take your luggage for you. Just let us know when you want picking up & we will meet you then. We will have a group meal at 8.00 on the Saturday night so if you are arriving much earlier you have the time free to yourself.
What happens at the end?
On the final day we finish cycling on Saturday late afternoon or early evening & spend the night at John o’Groats. We have a ‘final supper’ where we all get together for a last group meal. On Sunday morning a coach is booked for 8.30 & will take everyone back to Inverness. We should arrive at Inverness at around 11.30 where the coach will drop people off at the airport & then the station.
If you are taking your bike back with you then we will transport your bike to Inverness for you or if you chose the ‘return transport’ option then your bikes will be packed & couriered back to your address for you.
What mechanical knowledge do I need?
We don’t expect you to be an expert bike mechanic but there are a few simple skills that will be a great benefit to you. The most important skill you need to know is how to fix a puncture. It is quite likely that at some point you will have a puncture or 2 so it is essential that you carry a puncture repair kit & a spare tube or 2 with you. It is also helpful if you know how to change your brake pads and adjust your brakes & gears however this isn’t essential. Our guides will help you with any repairs & adjustments en-route.
What are the lunches like?
We arrange a buffet lunch at a pub or café each day. This will be a mixture of sandwiches, pasta, sausage rolls, salads, soup, pizza, chips etc and will be different at each place. There will always be enough to go round so don’t worry if you are at the back of the group. The lunch stops provide a good opportunity to re-group & catch up with others and compare notes.
Will I be left behind?
No, a tour leader cycles at the back of the group so that you won’t be left behind if you are worried about cycling too slowly. Throughout the group there will be a mix of abilities & cycling speeds so you will usually be able to cycle with others that cycle at a similar pace. Some people like to cycle fast whilst others prefer to take their time, stop for coffee & cake or stop to take photos etc so whether you are a ‘speed demon’ or more of a ‘tourer’ there usually will be someone to cycle with each day.
Do I need to be super fit?
No, you don’t need to be super fit but a good level of fitness is important as the LEJOG is a challenging ride. The fitter you are & the more training that you do beforehand will add to the enjoyment of your tour and improve your chances of succeeding the challenge. If you need any advice about fitness please contact us and we will be happy to discuss any questions & concerns that you may have.
What are the groups like?
Obviously each group is different but generally lejoggers are a fun, friendly, helpful & adventurous bunch. There will be people of all ages and from all walks of life. We tend to get quite a few older riders although there will always be a few younger riders as well. So far our youngest rider was 15 & the oldest 70 (we have a rider that will be 80 joining us for the tour in 2012). We think that a group of 20-25 is ideal as there will be plenty of people with similar interests & character without being such a big group that it becomes too much.
Generally the group will be split 50/50 between people travelling alone & people that travel as a pair such as 2 brothers, 2 friends, 2 partners. There will be plenty of people to socialise with throughout the day & in the evening.
How do I get my bike home at the end of the trip?
If you are flying then you will need to box your bike before you board the plane. If you chose to do this you will need to send your bike box or bag to the final destination at the hotel in JOG as we don’t have space in the back up van to carry bike boxes or bags. If you are travelling by train you will need to ensure that your bike is booked on each leg of your journey. We will transport your bike back to Inverness for you.
An easy alternative to transporting your bike yourself is to use the services of Ticket to Ride (www.johnogroatsbiketransport.co.uk). Whilst we don’t take any responsibility for any outside bike couriering services previous ‘lejogers’ have used them and have reported that they offer an excellent service.
The way it works is that we will transport your bikes back to Inverness where a member of the Ticket to Ride staff will meet us at the airport/station & take any bikes that are to be posted or they will collect bikes from JOG. The bikes will then be boxed (this usually means that they will remove the front wheel, pedals, saddle & handlebars) and posted to your address. The price for this service is £55.00 per bike. If you would like to use this service please let us know & we will book it in for you.
What happens in the evenings?
Once you have arrived at your accommodation you should have chance for some time to relax, have a shower etc before the evening meal. We usually arrange somewhere to eat for the evening meal so that we can all get together & you won’t be left alone if you would like to eat with others. Quite often will simply arrange a certain pub to meet up & just drift in when you are ready whilst at other places we have a set time to eat – it just depends on the location.
Does the support vehicle follow the group?
No, the back up van doesn’t drive behind the group at all times but the van shouldn’t be too far away if you require assistance. In the morning we have a group brief and set off cycling, meanwhile the backup driver will collect all the luggage from the various B&B’s & hostels. Once all of the luggage has been loaded, the support vehicle will leapfrog the group stopping when necessary. The backup driver will be at the lunch stop should you need anything from the van & in the afternoon will go on ahead to ensure that your luggage is in place before you arrive.
How much luggage can I take?
There is limited space in the back up van to store luggage. We therefore request that you try to keep your luggage size to a minimum & try not to bring too much with you. Washing clothes can be done en-route so you shouldn’t need to bring a clean set of clothes for every day. The ideal size for luggage is 70 x 50 x 30 cm and a weight of 10 to 15kg (or less).
What training should I do?
The more the better. We will provide a training guide for you so that you can build up your cycling strength and prepare for the ride in the correct way. It is important that you cycle 2 long days back to back whilst training & also that you cycle on some hills. We hold 2 training weekends at the start of the season in April so that you can meet with others in the group, ask any questions you may have & also test yourselves amongst the hills of the Peak District.
What bike should I use?
The most suitable bike for this trip is a hybrid, touring or road bike, however it is entirely up to you what type of bike you use. Some people may be riding mountain bikes, others hybrids & others on racing bikes.
Please ensure that your bike is fully serviced & in good working order before the start of the trip.
If you are riding a mountain bike then it is advisable to use slick tyres or if you are using a lightweight racing bike it would be better to use a wider tyre if possible as the route does include narrow lanes & some roads have a lot of pot holes. Tyre inflation & rubber composition is important & a tyre width of 25mm or more is recommended for this tour. Please ensure that you have hard wearing tyres with plenty of tread.
You are going to cycle 1000 miles so it is important that your bike won’t let you down. You may want to fit new brake blocks, tyres & inner tubes before you start the ride & also bring 3-4 spare inner tubes, pump, puncture repair kit & multi-tool to carry with you each day. It is essential that you are able to fix a puncture.
It is also advisable to have lights from & rear lights on your bikes & try to be a visible as possible.
What gear should I take?
We provide a suggested kit list so please contact us if you would like a copy sending to you.
What is the male / female ratio?
This varies with each group. There are usually more guys than gals but an average would be about 1/3rd ladies & 2/3rds gents.
What are the Accommodation Options?
I have tried to offer a variety of accommodation options to cater for different budgets and to offer a few alternatives for anyone that wants to join us for a Lands End to John o’Groats tour. Throughout the tour we stay in fifteen different locations and may use up to seven different B&B’s in each location (sometimes we will all be in the same hotel). The standard of each B&B will be different in each place but I always try to be fair when allocating rooms as some rooms are better than others. Please have a read through the following information to ensure that you choose most suitable option for you.
A mixture of hostels and B&B’s
This is the most cost effective option as you will stay in hostels on approximately five or six nights of the tour and B&B’s on the remaining nine or ten nights of the tour. Whilst you are staying in a hostel you are likely to be staying in a dormitory room of 4-8 people (same sex). Usually the hostels that we use are in old historic buildings and are full of character. There is usually a good social atmosphere in the hostels and they all have hot showers, bedding, communal areas and breakfast is provided. The downside is that you are sharing with others and there is a higher chance that there may be more snorers so ear plugs are recommended and also a towel. You don’t need to be a YHA member to book this option as we have a group membership.
B&B’s only option
It is fairly obvious that if you chose this option then you will stay in a B&B/hotel every night. If you are with your partner then you can have a double room each night of the tour. If you are with a friend/relative then you would have a twin room each night of the tour. If you are travelling alone and chose this option then you will be roomed with other members of the group (same sex) and stay in a twin (occasionally a triple) room throughout. Usually you will have an en-suite bathroom but occasionally you have a separate bathroom.
Single room option
Here you are guaranteed a single room each night of the trip. You will have a mixture on en-suite rooms and rooms that have a private bathroom or a shared bathroom. Sometimes you will have sole occupancy of a double room.
Sole use of a double room option
Here you are guaranteed single occupancy of a double room. You will almost always have an en-suite but there may be the odd occasion where you have a separate bathroom.