I have trained Jayshil for previous epic adventures. This year he planned on cycling from the top of Scotland – John O’Groats (known as JOG) to Paris. Here is his story of this adventure:
My next goal was to cycle from John O’Groats (JOG) to Paris on my touring cycle. A journey of 1600 km covering Scottish highlands to the plains of Normandy. I have completed two tours previously and I am absolutely convinced that touring is probably the best way to travel and discover new places. Not only that, but my favourite part is discovering all the local bakeries and eating as many sweet treats I can find.
I started my trip by suffering through two long haul flights to reach London. Then I warmed up by carrying the cycle box around in airport buses to domestic flights to Edinburgh and then Wick. Outside the small Wick airport I assembled my cycle, loaded my panniers and tent to cycle 25km north to reach my starting point, John O’Groats.
I found a great camping spot at a local campsite, enjoyed the sun and hit the sleeping bag looking forward to next few days on the road. The next morning clearly did not disappoint. The sun and raw coastal scenery was not only encouraging, but you seem to underestimate how much energy all of sudden you have that kilometers and hills just seem to disappear.
In my view Scottish highlands are a great place to cycle. Locals are friendly and helpful and I couldn’t quite get over cycling into sleepy villages in early morning hours and enjoy the stillness and noiselessness.
On my fifth day I crossed into North England and continued my journey south-ward. England is completely different, as you would imagine from Scotland. Though there are still plenty of small towns and country roads if you want to avoid big cities. Here I got through my biggest challenge on tour, ie cycling into London city from Coventry.
This was my longest day in the saddle, covering 185km but was worth it. I celebrated by cycling over famous London bridges the next day, including the Tower Bridge and many other beautiful medieval buildings.
From here on it was a straightforward ride to Newhaven in the south to jump on the ferry to cross into France. I have never been to France so I was pretty excited about the place and I was looking forward to seeing the countryside.
I crossed over into a small French coastal town of Dieppe and set off in the early hour in direction of Paris city. The route I had selected took me through various farm fields and small villages through small town of Gisors into Paris.
I always wanted to cycle to Arc de Triomphe. And how could any cyclist not! As I lined up my bike in the direction of the Arc de Triomphe you seem to have a familiar bittersweet realisation that what you had set off to achieve is about to happen. It is as if you experience a natural high, a feeling of euphoria. The reason anyone would undertake such a challenge. I highly recommend touring and I still believe that it is the best form of travelling in the modern times.
PS: Thanks Ray! I had a very short time available to complete this tour and without your training plan, my body would have not been ready to handle the challenge.
Total Distance: 1620kms
Riding Days: 13
Rest Day: 1
Avg Distance: 124km/Day
Longest Day: 185kms