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I have just uploaded my planning routes for a ride of the E2E next year. It is based upon my route from 2016 when myself and John Davies completed the route to celebrate our 60th birthdays.
I did the planning and sorted campsites etc. I found this helped a lot as we had a strong frame work to hang each day on and could adapt to suit any changes or problems that arose. I did a lot of reading of others accounts of the ride and several; thing became obvious from all of those reads;
Cornwall and Devon are difficult
The A30 is a potential death trap
Glasgow is also difficult
the road alongside Loch Lomond is virtually a motorway
We also had some points that we would like to incorporate into the ride;
We wanted to see and enjoy the scenery
We wanted good campsites with the amenities
We had to be self supporting (camp every night - carry everything)
So we planned as many side roads as possible, unfortunately as people heard about our ride we had a long list of "must pop in for a cuppa" requests (DEMANDS!!!).
The route that is online is virtually what we did and found it was perfect, a good balance of quiet roads, but making a northwards progress and seeing things along the way. There is a Utube video online https://youtu.be/da56K3YZROI this is the actual ride that shows a couple of variations from this route to allow for those "must pop ins".
We lived in Bristol at the time and so went home on day 4 allowing a resupply and laundry. We sent "Red Cross parcels" onto a friend near Wigan so we could resupply. We stayed in a B&B in Fintry that allowed us to send on a parcel there. The plan covered when we could eat out or if we needed to make meals on site, we then 4 days of supplies with us in case we couldn't feed locally.
We also found that this covered a lack of shops in some parts and that in the wilds of Scotland shops CLOSE and if it says 5 O'clock, that's IT - goodnight.
Despite the news that appears to have everyone running round as mad axemen or what ever we found exactly the opposite. People couldn't have been nicer, we got route advice, locality advice and of course cups of tea. It was about the time of the Scottish referendum and we had a very pleasant hour discussing the why's and wherefores of the results. Some European students on an Environmental course discussed global warming at great length and detail in Tyndrum. A very entertaining evening watching the European final in a pub in Dingwall, ask no questions???
In the planning stage take a good look at the days you will be going through places and any consequences, sports fixtures, market day etc etc. We went through the Lancashire urban sprawl on a Saturday and it was quieter that during the week. It was awful, I grew up here and knew some back lanes away from the worst of the traffic but it was a down day without doubt.
The next most important aspect of the ride is getting home. First BOOK THE TRAIN, we had 4 spaces for cycles and 10 people trying to get their bike on. Also as the train started from Wick we rode back to Wick to get on the train. I'm glad we did as by the time it got to Thurso it would have been full and another 6 people were trying to get their bikes on. This was a great trip such stunning scenery and it was very very cheap.
We took the train to Inverness and stayed the night (again this worked out great as we then realised how tired we really were) and then hired a van 1 way to home. This was cheaper than the train back to Bristol. Look around as 1 guy we met had a cheap flight, including his bike to London City airport so do spend some time planning your return.
So my advice is;
DO IT - you will NOT regret one moment.
Stay away from the A30 and several other roads
Check availability of food and drink (eat out/meals on camp or B&B)
Look at the towns you visits for busy days
Cover all aspects of weather I got a sunburned leg in Lancashire and in Scotland a chest infection because of the cold & wet!!!
Pack everything - take it out throw away HALF and then repack.
Get the bike a FULL service and check everything - we helped several people who hadn't and their rides ended at the side of the road.
ENJOY IT - take loads of pictures and video to enjoy it again and again and.. (Covid should have taught us that we never know)
And finally - DO IT
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