Your Complete Guide to the John O' Groats to Land's End Cycling Challenge - BookitList

Your Complete Guide to the John O' Groats to Land's End Cycling Challenge

John O'Groats to Land's End, an epic cycling journey of over 1000 miles, covering the entire length of Great Britain and its full spectrum of breathtaking landscapes, locations and landmarks!

What does the John O' Groats to Land's End Cycling Challenge involve?

This iconic challenge Involves travelling from the village of John O' Groats in the northeastern Scottish Highlands to the southwestern point, the appropriately-named Land's End.

The journey can be done north to south or vice versa and on foot or bicycle, though for the former you'll need several months to spare, and thus most people tend to opt for the latter!

Your Complete Guide to the John O' Groats to Land's End Cycling Challenge
Photo by Gary Butterfield

How long does it take to complete?

This depends, though it typically takes between 11 and 14 days to complete. For ours, we've opted for 13 days, which we believe allows riders to challenge themselves whilst also enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way.

How difficult is the John O’ Groats to Land's End challenge?

At over 1000 miles, and with plenty of ascents, this journey certainly isn't easy. It is arguably the toughest endurance ride on these shores, though thousands of people complete it every year, and with the right preparation, you can too!

Your Complete Guide to the John O' Groats to Land's End Cycling Challenge
Photo by Gary Ellis

How should you prepare for the challenge?

Before taking on this challenge, It is important to ensure you're properly prepared.

You should begin your training at least 8 weeks before your challenge begins. In order to avoid injuries, start with relatively short distances, and gradually increase your daily mileage as your fitness improves. It is also important to incorporate plenty of ascents to mirror the type of terrain you will encounter on the challenge.

The Booklitlist 13 day version, is designed for recreational cyclists (or above), but we also provide everyone who signs up, an 8-week fitness plan to ensure they achieve the base level needed to complete the challenge!

What is the best route for John O’Groats to Land's End?

There is no set route for the challenge. There are many possible options and participants can choose to start in Scotland and end in Cornwall, or vice versa, using whichever route they please.

However, for our version, which starts in Scotland and finishes in Land's End, we've chosen a route that we feel not only showcases some of the most beautiful locations in all of the UK (Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, the Lake District and the Cotswolds to name but a few) but uses safe, well-maintained roads, cycle paths and greenways, to give participants the best possible experience!

Your Complete Guide to the John O' Groats to Land's End Cycling Challenge

John O’ Groats to Land's End Bonus Tips

  • Nutrition

For endurance cyclists hitting the 'bonk' (a sudden loss of energy and extreme fatigue caused by dwindling glycogen stores in the muscles), is the ultimate fear, but thankfully, with the right nutrition plan, it's easy to avoid.

Eating little and often is the best approach. Energy gels, powders and bananas are useful, but you shouldn't rely on them alone or you are sure to end up with an upset stomach! Try snacks like nuts in the afternoon, and replace some of your gels with jelly sweets.

  • Hydration

Staying hydrated is likewise key to avoiding hitting the dreaded 'bonk'. You should always carry two bottles with you on your bike (at least 750 ml each).

A good rule of thumb is to carry 1 bottle with energy power and 1 with plain water and to drink at least 500-750ml of fluid for every 20 miles(more if the weather is hot).

  • Winning the mental battle!

During any endurance challenge, you're going to have to face some mental struggles. There may be times when you will feel exhausted, and the urge to give up will be strong.

However, you will overcome these moments and have a much more enjoyable experience with proper mental preparation.

It's common for participants to worry about upcoming hills rather than enjoy the moment. Try to focus on the here and now, and remember that you won't encounter any ascents or challenges that you haven't faced and overcome before!

It's also helpful to think of each day as a series of smaller challenges rather than a single one. Each day, you'll stop at several points for refreshments (and to enjoy the views), so it's easy to divide it into manageable segments that will make the whole experience easier and more enjoyable.

Your Complete Guide to the John O' Groats to Land's End Cycling Challenge
Photo by Chris Kendall

Challenge yourself...make memories!

If you want to challenge yourself, experience all of the breathtaking beauty that Britain has to offer, and make some everlasting memories in the process, there are a few better ways to do it. It won't be easy, but the wealth of awe-inspiring views, the unique camaraderie, and that incredible moment of euphoria when you reach the journey's end, will make it all worthwhile!