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YHA Preparing and planning for A Biking Good Ride
    31/05/2013 09:19

Preparing and planning for A Biking Good Ride

We'd like to tell you that a strict training schedule is underway but it's best we're honest. There isn't one.However, we're pretty chuffed with our overall progress. We're mastering the art of making lists of lists, ignoring weird pains from various body parts and all of us are finally bagging some miles in the saddle. It's nearly here. Tommy has completed his uni exams and hung up his crutches after a bionic recovery from a broken foot. Me, I'm counting down the minutes from my desk (sorry if the boss is reading this) and Tom is working super hard up until we leave on June 8th.

Training

In the South West this weekend, Gareth (that's me writing) and Tom, joined forces for two days riding. We wanted to do something easy and simple. To kick off we rode the Bristol to Bath cycle path and then had the privilege of flying down the newly opened Two Tunnels Greenway route. The fun is in the name. There is nearly 1.3 miles of Victorian train tunnel that burrows out from the city of Bath into the countryside. It's a dramatic ride and can easily be confused with flying a space ship underground.

The LED lights are brilliant and they light up the longest cycle tunnel in Britain! From here we followed the Avon and Kennet Canal to Bradford on Avon, then turned around, rode back to Bath and on to Bristol, with a quick stop for cheesy chips and a pint of local cider at the Cross Guns in Avon cliff.

The next day we packed a few more miles in and cycled from Bristol to Gloucester, then back and then collapsed. We followed the long distance route 41. It's mostly flat and it hugs the river Seven. We happily pedalled through idyllic villages into hamlets, across market towns. It then became very clear as to why we're doing this ride. Britain is awesome. Even when fixing punctures. 

Meanwhile in London, the same weekend, Tom my was also out for his first proper ride. We got an update on Sunday evening.

After a big day at Field Day Festival on Saturday, I rose at 8am, scrawled some horrendously vague directions on the back of my hand and pedalled to my parents’ place for a family get together. 30 miles, 2 hours 14 minutes and a sore backside later - my Brooks saddle is still as solid as a rock. However, the sun was shining and I had the carrot of a BBQ and a bottle of cider ready for me on arrival. I still need to pick up a few things for the trip, so that’s happening this week. Then on Sunday morning I’m leaving London at 4am to cycle 100 miles to my niece’s birthday party... dressed as a Disney character - any suggestions?"

We're not super fit. There's been a little more exercise leading up to the ride but it's fair to say we're relying heavily with 'on the ride' training. So far it's been a mixture of swimming, core strength work and cramming in cycling whenever possible.

Our route

There are various ways to do Land’s End to John O'Groats or vice versa and for us it was about mixing it up. Making sure we saw plenty of iconic regions but also choosing a route that is a little forgiving. We've been told the first few days in Cornwall and Devon are the toughest but we're glad this gruelling section will be done early on. There are so many resources online from the cycling community. A huge thank you goes out to all the forums that have helped shape up our plans.

We must take this opportunity to ruthlessly plug Pannier.cc, who are an official partner to YHA (England and Wales). They provide a perfect planning tool for cycle touring. We used their West Coast Route and modified it with our overnight stops. Cycle friendly accommodation is marked along the route and a very handy mileage counter helps you understand how bruised your buttocks are going to be.

So that's all for now. We're planning to write again before we set off. In the meantime, do you have any suggestions for Tommy's Walt Disney outfit? Please share them with us.

Follow us on twitter @YHAOfficial #ABikingGoodRide and Facebook www.facebook.com/YHAbeinspired

By Harry Hosteller

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