end to end
by Paul Jones
Conquering that hill. Joining the 100mile club. Entering your first sportive or race. Cycling abroad. All these are somewhere on people's lists, maybe not all but they're accolades which get you past a point in your cycling career that makes you go another step further. But what's the ultimate tick off the bucket list? LEJOG/JOGLE is bound to be one of them. Cycling the spine of Britain. Who can say they have that on their palmares? Paul Jones' End to End takes us on his journey with some history thrown in too...
LEJOG is the route Paul chose to do. I did ask the question to the cycling community on Twitter is there a preference on which way to ride. One answer came back one way is more hilly than the other. Surely though you're cycling the same elevation but just at different stages of the challenge? Straight away we could resonate with Paul who was an ex-headteacher. Being in the teaching profession ourselves, it was nice to read about someone further down their career with the same passion for cycling like us.
Usually, this brutal cycling route is completed with support. There is a few companies out there who will take care of all the logistics for you but for Paul, it was all about doing it solo and taking the whole experience in. It wasn't a world record attempt, it was to rediscover the love for life after years of being under the pressure of the teaching profession.
As mentioned, Paul decided to begin from Land's End in the South West tip of England ending at John O'Groats right at the Northern tip of Scotland before you fall back in the sea! Hitting Exeter and Bristol first, Paul then cycled parallel to the border of Wales via the West Midlands before hitting Scotland and it's rolling roads. But it's not written as a typical diary. You are taken on a history lesson of all the most notable people who have ridden this route before. For instance, Eileen Sheridan who cycled it all in just 3 days or Michael Broadwith who hold's the men's record in an incredible 43 hours.
The research Paul has managed to gather is quite impressive. I feel like I am now qualified in LEJOG not to cycle it though, but to teach a module in it's story. Language and the style of writing is very articulate and even I learnt some new vocabulary. But it's created in a way that it urges you to do some googling yourself to find some extra homework.
Do I need to tell you what happens in the end?! Well this ain't an Agatha Christie novel but it's a great story none the less. We could all retell stories from our own achievements but Paul clearly demonstrates LEJOG/JOGLE is a stand alone story. An adventure that if done solo and your body has recovered, will make you pick up a pen yourself and begin to write your own memoirs. A great and must addition to your cycling library.