The choice of bike you ride when cycling Lands End to John O Groats may be limited to what you allready have, most people do not have the luxury of a choice of bikes. It is possible to ride LeJog on any type of bike as long as the cycle is well maintained, decent rolling tyres and a gear range to get you up the hills.
My choice of bike was my trusty cycloross, a 2016 Cannondale CAADX, I have owned the CAADX for a number years and have found it to be comfortable, adaptable and able to handle any terrain the National Cycle Network has to offer. With increased clearance when comparing it to a standard road bike, lower gear range and more upright seated position and the option for wider tyres, a cyclocross bike in my opinion is one of the best options. The added benefit of eyelets for pannier racks also reinforced my decision.
I found that my Cannondale CAADX was a comfortable and dependable bike to eat up the miles over the 21 days.
LEJOG on a Road Bike
A road bike is also a very good option however this may limit the routing options you have. While a cyclocross bike offers an added bit of flexibility, a road bike would not withstand the day to day of the National Cycle Network. Some of the NCN routes that I cycled went from pristine tarmac to muddy tracks which were totally unsuitable for a road bike. Even some of the UK road network is not suitable for road bikes, the poor road surfaces in many areas mean that you risk punctures and wheel damage form the pot holes and extreme roughness of the road. A true road bike may also be unable to take a pannier rack which may be important when taking on a multi day ride like LEJOG. If you are planning to stick to the roads and not use the National Cycle Routes like I did then a road bike may be a good option. Also if you are riding with support and you do not need to carry any luggage then a road bike would suit.
Riding Lands End to John O’Groats on a Hybrid Bike
A hybrid bike is probably the best option, the upright seating position, straight handlebars, pannier options and wider tyres make a hybrid a worthy option. They can handle almost any terrain, offer speed when needed and with the added option of bar ends gives the rider a range of seating and hand positions.
In my opinion, a mountain bike while capable should be a last resort, the lower gear ratio and thicker tyres may limit speed, however if adjustments are made with slicker tyres then a mountain bike could be considered. One thing to note is that if you are riding as part of a group and others are riding a Hybrid or Road Bike, a Mountain Bike may struggle with pace.
Riding LEJOG on an E-Bike
Throughout my journey I came across a number of riders on E-Bikes. An E-Bike is an ideal bike to cycle LeJog if you are concerned about the distance and the hills. In my experience many hotels, guest houses and AirBNB’s will allow you to recharge your battery. One thing of note is that you will need to make sure that range is considered when planing your route. The thought of being stuck in the remote highlands of Scotland without charge is not something I would like.
In summary, which ever bike you choose, cycling Lands End to John O’Groats is possible.
Tips for Choosing the right Bike to Cycle Lands End to John O’Groats
- Comfort – Make sure you are comfortable and the bike is adjusted to you.
- If you have purchased a new bike, make sure you get as many miles in before you set off to get used to the bike and its set up.
- Consider the route you have chosen and will the bike cope with the terrain. If you are cycling the Sustrans Route for example, a road bike may struggle on some sections.