UK Coast to Coast - Charity ride??

Basically, does anyone fancy riding coast to coast across the skinny bit of England in early June for a fantastic charity?

I got a Coker 5 weeks or so back with the intention of doing Land’s End to John O’Groats on it this summer. I knew it’d be pushing it to get ready in time, but a recurrance of a minor knee injury 2 days ago is making me think twice about the wisdom of a doing that, especially since I was planning on doing it for charity and pulling out after 30 miles wouldn’t be on.

So, Plan B: Coast to Coast
It’s a much shorter ride and I’m certain I can do it without snapping any knees. Also, I’m hoping that some of you lovely people will be able to join me since we could do it over a weekend. It’s beautiful country around here, and I know it’ll be a fantastic ride, maybe even as legendary as Snowdon (but less cold:p )

The charity I’ll be raising money for is the Lotus Children’s Centre in Ulan Bataar, Mongolia. Have a look at I’m going out there to work for them over the summer, from late June on. It’s basically an orphanage for street children, and takes it some of the most vulnerable people out there and does a fantastic job. I’ve been out there twice before and the poverty is really sickening, and with these guys you know your money isn’t paying for a suit to drive around in a 4x4, it’s actually saving people’s lives. We could raise tons of money if a bunch of us did it!

So, in conclusion, would anyone care to join me if I go ahead with this, is it worthwhile etc? It’d be either the weekend of the 3rd or the 9th of June. It would be easy to do the shortest route in 2 days (90ish miles, basically Newcastle to past Carlisle) or 3 for the longer one across the lakes if my calculations are correct (correct them if they aren’t!)

Come on, you know you want to:D

Matt (green haired guy, see you at BUC!)

I’d like to, but I’ll be dancing virtually every weekend in June - it’s high Morris season.

Good luck.

I’d love to but I’ve only got a 20", I don’t think I’d be allowed that amount of time off… I wonder how long it would/could possibly take on a 20".
Sorry, but good luck!

Go for it, can’t join you this year, but did this ride on my coker a few years ago with Paul and Roger. Rogers ride report is at

Its a great ride, we did it in two days but I think 3 would have been more sensible.

would love to but it’s in the middle of my exams and i only have a little 20"

Good luck!

I do understand that Morris dancing must always come first Mike;)
It’s a bad time of year for all us studenty types I know, I’m just lucky my exams finish early this year.
As for doing it on a 20", well it would take a while, but it would be epic and you would go down in the annals of unicycling history! You’re probably faster than me at the moment anyways…
Anyone else fancy having a go?

Same here, I’d be willing to do it on MY 20" but there’s the exam issue…


I did the C2C a few years ago on my Coker. I did it 4 days, but it could easily be done in 3. If you want another option on a C2C route, then have you thought about “The Trans Pennine Trail”? This runs from Southport to Hornsey and is 215 miles. Mark Wiggins, Alan Chambers and myself did this lovely route last year and took us 4 days to cover the distance.

If you would like to talk to us about either of the above routes, then track me down in a couple of weeks time at the BUC.

You’re supporting a very worthy charity and I wish you every success in your challenge. Even if you don’t need advice on riding a C2C route, I’d still be interested in talking to you about your experiences in Mongolia.

p.s Most of the older unicyclist would be able to point you in my direction.

Just to say thanks to everyone for getting back to me. Sarah - I read the report of your, Paul and Roger’s ride before, that’s what made me think about doing CTC, that was a cool report It sounded like an amazing ride over the lakes!
Steve, that sounds like a good route, especially if it’s just me as I’ve basically got 2 weeks free anyway so the extra distance would make it more of a challenge. I’ll definitely speak to you about it at BUC :slight_smile:
Cheers everyone,

Re: UK Coast to Coast - Charity ride??

Before you set off on your journey (which ever one you decide to do) You
will need to do quite a bit of planning. When Rog, Paul, Sarah and Claire
did it there was also a 4 strong support team behind them (me, Jack, Len and
Susan his wife) plus a van, car and caravan. You will need to book b&b’s for
the 1st night, 2nd night and any other nights. Plenty of water then some
more and some again. Energy bars and food (more than you can carry hence the
van). When they did it they ate on the hoof and drank on the hoof, when they
weren’t riding they were eating and drinking.

To do that ride in 2 days is one hell of an achievement and it will
physically drain you. There are some very steep hills going over the
Pennines and through the Lakes. Up to date maps are essential! Don’t rely on
the Sustrans guide map, OS maps of the entire route are a must. It is
traditional to ride west to east. A couple of reasons for this, the hills
are short sharp uphills with long descents west to east and also the wind
tends to blow west to east which on a long ride like that makes a big
difference. Be prepared to share the ride with bicycles too, this is a
relatively busy route at the time of year you mention. I live just off the
C2C at Beamish and I will not walk or ride there over any weekend during the

Anyone thinking of doing this ride, you need a Coker to stand any chance of
doing this. I would say it would be impossible to do it on a 20" (prove me
wrong if you must)

Good luck with your ride, be prepared and you will do it. If you don’t put
the planning into it I don’t fancy your chances.

Talk with Rog at BUC he will be able to give you more advice on the set up
for your Coker.


It sounds fantastic.

I have a feeling I can’t make either weekend, this summer is a bit mental, otherwise I’d be up for giving it a go.

There’s also various Scottish coast to coast routes, although I think all of them involve off-road, so are way harder.


Sorry to hear you’re busy Joe, Scotland sounds like fun though! hmmmm…
Thanks for the advice Andy, support and adequate food will be quite big issues if I go it alone, but then again I’d have more than 2 days so could take it easy. I’ve been training quite a lot, and have started to do about 8 miles a day now on the coker and hopefully get that much higher as time goes on. It’d still be very knackering though, I’ll have to do a few proper long rides soon to get use to it.
I think if anyone does manage to make time to go we’d go across from past Carlisle to Tynemouth, following Hadrian’s Wall. Much easier in 2 days and nowhere near as hilly.
I’ll definitely to speak to you all at BUC, I haven’t done anything like this before so I need all the help I can get!

Support crews are nice, but by no means an essential, especially if you’re staying in B+Bs. In some ways they make a long ride cheating really, because you’re saying ‘I can ride 150 miles’ but really you mean ‘I can ride 150 miles as long as a car a van and a caravan are following behind me’ which kind of defeats the object of riding somewhere. There’s always towns/pubs/petrol stations on rides to get water and extra food, and it’s pretty easy to carry thousands of calories in your camelbak in easily eatable forms like malt loaf, energy drink powder etc., enough to get you through a couple of day’s riding for 10 hours plus.


Would haveto agree that surport is not essential, but will increae the milage you can cover in a day. Pauland I have done unsurported long rides with 26 inch whels and did about 30 miles a day , the C2C was 80-90 mile days over some big hills. we couldn;t have done it in 2 days with out the back up team who made food and water appear magicly right on the route so no time lost finding fuel. We also found a cottage right on the route for our over night stop ( this was luck, it was owned by my boss! (and i worked 300 miles away)) so no time wasted gettingto accomadation . On other big trip we have had to stay some miles off route and it all adds to the time riding.

on training for big rides- personally I’ve gone for the build up the miles approch. i was doing a 40+ miles ride about one a week for several weeks before C2Cas well as my normal comute and some shorter fun rides of 20 miles or so. Before I started training for big rides I was happy doing 12 miles in a ride on my 26 inch muni

Re: UK Coast to Coast - Charity ride??

: Support crews are nice, but by no means an essential, especially if
: you’re staying in B+Bs.


:In some ways they make a long ride cheating
: really, because you’re saying ‘I can ride 150 miles’ but really you
: mean ‘I can ride 150 miles as long as a car a van and a caravan are
: following behind me’ which kind of defeats the object of riding
: somewhere.

Sorry but I don’t see it that way. It’s not just food and water but the
constant support along the way. Plus carrying spare clothing, water proofs,
nightware, beer (for the support crew) etc.

: There’s always towns/pubs/petrol stations on rides to get
: water and extra food, and it’s pretty easy to carry thousands of
: calories in your camelbak in easily eatable forms like malt loaf,
: energy drink powder etc., enough to get you through a couple of day’s
: riding for 10 hours plus.

Well thats up to you. From seeing how Rog, Sarah, Paul and Claire managed
with carrying what supplies they did, I would think they could’nt of done it
without support. If you are super human? I suppose it could be done. There
aren’t that many shops, pubs, petrol station en route. Yes you will pass
through towns but what happens when you think you have enough water for the
next 10 miles and the next shop is 20 miles? Or a town or village you were
expecting to have a shop, pub or petrol station doesn’t?

I don’t think anyone would think any less of someone who does a ride like
this with support than someone who does it single handed. I did’nt say it
couldn’t be done single handed, I offered, from experience, what I thought
was sensible advice. Considering Matt’s original post plus the others saying
how far he has been on his Coker I don’t think he could do it alone, unless
he does it over a considerable lenght of time.

Roger planned that ride and considering how much experience he has with long
distance riding, does that not speak for its self?


The way I’ve always done this is that you should always have enough food on you to get you to the end in an emergency. Chocolate bars, cake etc. are easily bought and eaten. Any time you get to a place to buy food, buy something, even if you’re not hungry and stuff it into your camelbak. Particularly if the food in question is cake. Similarly, fill up the camelbak at any possible water stop. As for waterproofs, spare clothes etc. I always carry those in my camelbak anyway, spare clothes are the same as extra layers in case it’s cold, which you need to have with you.

Support crews are great in a few situations, firstly if you have a large number of riders, the chance of a mechanical becomes much higher, so it’s nice to have a support crew to save everyone waiting for it. Secondly, if you’re not 110% sure you can ride the distance, having a support crew means you don’t end up walking 20 miles to the nearest train station or whatever. Thirdly, they mean you can easily carry camping gear, which involves far less organisation than b+b’s. Some hardcore people do coker rides plus camping, and I’ve done bivvy rides, but it isn’t something I’d recommend for a first really long ride. They also allow you to take loads of spare clothes and be un-skanky.

If you have mates with bikes you could persuade to ride with you, this can be a good middle ground in terms of organisation, Sam who did Lands End-John O Groats last year did this.


I agree that support would make things a helluva lot easier, but I’m also fine with camping too. My intention was to take a bivi bag and just sleep somewhere quiet near the road once it gets dark if I end up going alone. When I go cycling I can’t afford campsites etc all the time so just tend to sleep in fields/bus shelters etc. That way if you don’t make the distance you intended in a day then you’re still alright, just a bit smelly:o
Food and water should be fine, I’ll take some purification tabs for an emergency, and if there aren’t many shops it’ll just mean I’ll be a bit hungry and make less distance. It’s not dangerous so it doesn’t bother me overly.
I’m hoping to set up a blog soon, I’ll post the address when I sort it. Maybe a web page if I have time. Gotta sort this thing out soon, see if anyone’s going with me etc. I’ll post when I’ve sorted things. If anyone out there fancies joining me I’m still looking for people to ride with…

Another option for replenishing your camelbak in an emergency is to start knocking on doors. I did the C2C 3 years ago over the August Bank holiday weekend, which unfortunately coincided with the hottest weekend of the year. I tried to keep my camelbak toped up when I knew there was going to be a distance before the next refuel. Because of the heat I ran out of liquid sooner than planned and so had to resort to knocking on doors for some water. This wasn’t a problem once I eventually found someone in!

I’ve done long distance rides, both with support and unsupported. When I’ve gone unsupported it always seems a greater sense of achievement than having a safety net accompanying me, just in case, or to help (food and drink) along the way. Saying that, I like to involve my family when possible with my unicycling. When I do long distance rides, these are never races, but social rides. Everyone’s different and it depends on what you want to get out of the ride. I’ve done over a dozen rides of 70 miles plus in one day and unsupported and loved everyone of them. But ask the ones that did the 100 miler, the Trans Pennine Trail (215 miles) and several Manchester to Blackpool rides (only 60 miles) with me, what they thought about having a support supplying food, water, emergency first aid and transport on the ride? On last years Blackpool Run there were 9 Coker riders, and so more chance of mechanical and physical breakdowns. As it happens, Super fit Des needed to bale out on route do to knee problems. On the 100 miler Sam Dobbie had a nasty crash and couldn’t continue riding. We also get very spoilt by Wendy when she supports us with endless yummy goodies!

Like I say, everyone’s different and we all get different things out of riding, as our goals are also very different. Each to their own!! The idea is to have fun and enjoy yourself, whether you want to ride unsupported, or have someone there for you if needed. It doesn’t take anything away from the fact that you’ve just done something very special and ridden all that way on one wheel.

p.s. Looking forward to BUC, but I won’t be ridding there.

Do you have a cunning way of carrying a sleeping bag that isn’t in a rucksack, or do you do something silly lightweight without a sleeping bag? I’ve bivvied in just a blizzard survival bag + sleeping bag liner, when muniing, it was quite cold (it snowed on me), I did survive, but it was definately a matter of survival rather than anything like a comfortable nights sleep.

I think my next experiment is going to be with a decent sleeping bag and my normal bivvi bag. I’m doing some testing with a seatpost mounted rack to put the sleeping bag on in the next week or so, if that works, it might be a good solution to camping on a coker for minimally organised / skint people that means you don’t need more than your camelbak on your back.


I’m glad you confirmed that, otherwise I wouldn’t have slept tonight for wondering :wink: