Unicycling LEJOG... unsupported!


On Thursday I finished unicycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats unsupported – that is, with no support vehicle of any kind; just me, a bag and a unicycle (and fortunately, someone else to talk to for most of the trip). I know there have been quite a few LEJOG threads this year, but to my knowledge this hasn’t been done before. I started on September the 5th, so it took 26 days in total; I started at 10:15AM and finished at about 6:10PM. A very slow time since I took a roundabout route, but I’m happy with it. It ended up being about 1040 miles. Amusingly, John O’Groats was completely deserted; even the sign had been removed.

As you can imagine, Sam and Roger blazed past us (albeit by a very different route) on their record breaking attempt. I suppose that we were attempting completely different things though we were travelling to and from the same place, though.

I began the journey with a friend, but he unfortunately had to leave at Dundee. I spent about 5 days on my own (from Dundee to Inverness) but my girlfriend cycled the last 3 days with me on a touring bike. It was pretty difficult to resist offloading some of my rucksack’s weight onto her bike; it ended up weighing somewhere between 16 and 20 kilos (depending on how full my Camelbak was).

The website for the tour hasn’t been updated since my friend – the webmaster – had to go back to work after Dundee and has been incredibly busy. However, we have a ton of video footage and we’re planning to make a short documentary out of it for student television. When it’s done it’ll be available on the website, too! In the mean time, there are some good updates and a few videos. Check them out!

Any questions are very welcome; there’s so much that happened on the journey I don’t really know where to begin describing it, but I’ll happily answer anything asked. :slight_smile:

Website: www.tour2009.co.uk

Did you have any rest days or did you ride those hours every day? surely not? Where did you sleep and stay? did you camp as well?

Amazing feat. Massive respect. I know how much harder it is to ride with weight on your back, and the extra weight on the saddle. Congratulations.

We didn’t have any rest days – though on one day I only cycled from Nairn to Inverness (about 20 miles). I think the average daily mileage was about 37-38 miles; really not that high. We usually started between 9 and 10 in the morning and finished between 6 and 7 – breaks included. We had a mixture of accommodation; we camped some nights, stayed in B&Bs on a few, and also managed to stay with a good number of friends and family for free (for which we’re extremely thankful!)

You’re right, though; with the added weight of a rucksack it’s much more difficult (and slow!) to ride. We couldn’t even freemount – we had to find scenery to clamber up. It was pretty hilarious. :slight_smile:

Thanks very much!

Fantastic! Thats certainly one way to get my full respect! Congratulations on the ride, it looks like it was an incredible experience.


Congratulations! I have been wondering how you were doing.

I know how hard you were doing this was you were doing. We may have done it faster than you but I think your acheivement is equally hard. To ride and carry your kit at the same time is incredibly hard.

You got some photos?

Well done!


Well done! Glad to hear that you made it all the way! That’s the proper way to do it - and I think pretty likely the only time it has been done unsupported.

Sounds like you had a hard time with your friend not making it. I wouldn’t fancy doing it alone.

Did you find you had all the stuff you needed and nothing you didn’t, or was there anything you would remove given the chance? It sounds like you had pretty heavy packs!

John o’Groats is a funny place, isn’t it - there were a few people around when we got there shortly before 6pm, but the sign was also not there. It is a private sign, not a real road sign, so they must removed it at night or something.

Welcome to the exclusive End to End Unicyclists club :slight_smile:


Impressive, well done!

Thanks, everyone. :slight_smile:

There are plenty of photos in the gallery section of tour2009.co.uk; there are also quite a few more that we’re hoping to upload soon.

Sam: It was a little lonely for the five days I was alone, but I met so many people who were interested in what I was doing that it wasn’t too bad. I definitely preferred it with someone else, though!

We had absolutely everything we needed; we pared our packs down to essentials only, but they still weighed a heck of a lot. There really wasn’t anything we could remove, save for media equipment (cameras and such). We needed frequent breaks to ease the pain that the extra pressure on the saddle caused.

Haha, I arrived at 6:10PM; the place was completely deserted – and just as it was for you, there was no sign. It felt sort of anticlimatic, but I was very relieved and happy at the same time. The giant, derelict hotel near it was an archetypal haunted house, though.

I called the number on the sign – apparently the people who take photographs, like the Land’s End one, also own the sign (at least at John O’Groats). When I called, I was simply told that the guy had left for the evening. D’oh!

Still, we got some little pictures of our own. Here are the starting and finishing ones! Max and I at Land’s End, Harriet and I at John O’Groats.



You got to meet Dave Gorman! Did you see his show or cycle with him at all?

We found out about his End to End stand-up show in Carlisle, after we’d overtaken him somewhere around Lancashire, so we didn’t have any chance to arrange to find him.

You also got a good Welcome to Scotland sign. I am pretty sure we never saw one, on the A7.

The old hotel is awesome. Just wait until Unicycle.com relocates there - Roger took quite a fancy to it!


Haha, we did! We stayed at Kendal youth hostel, and while playing around in the car park (it feels so good without huge backpacks!) someone from the adjacent Brewery Arts Centre came and chatted to us, mentioning that Dave had a gig there the previous night. Upon hearing that he’d be in Carlisle next we looked up his tour manager’s contact details on Facebook, and Max found out that he had a mutual friend with him. After contacting her we waited around for a while, and fortunately the friend got back to us saying she’d successfully contacted Dave’s manager.

So the next day, about halfway (perhaps a little more) to Carlisle, Dave himself called us and we lovely about the whole matter. We got into Carlisle, then went to meet him in the dressing (sort of!) room before the show. We also managed to get tickets as someone had cancelled their reservation. The next day, we cycled out of Carlisle with Dave and his human sat-navs (only for about half an hour; it’s a nightmare keeping up with fit cyclists on non-geared 36" unicyles). A great time was had by all. In fact, Dave put a great mention of us onto his website, accompanied by this picture:

I saw one, and the rider looks familiar… :smiley:

Hahaha, I meant to say; that was the one we passed, too. The A7 has the good one. :slight_smile:

Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment. I think I’ll still keep doing supported tours, but man, this is great.


Hmm. I don’t think that can have been me. I must have been in ‘the zone’ at the time, and not looking up! :o

Also, I never thought about the implications of wearing tubular bandages for all of our photos. Good times.


Nice work doing that! I hate riding with a big rucksack on - three weeks of it is pretty heroic.

That was a big disappointment when I did E2E. Neither my friend nor I had been to Scotland before, so crossing the border was a bit of a psychological goal. We had no idea we were in Scotland until we reached a town and realised we’d left England quite a few miles back, so it was a real anticlimax. It seems the Welsh border is plastered with “Croeso y Gymri” signs - or perhaps I’ve just always crossed that border on bigger roads.


LEJOG - which route to take?

This is just such an awesome ride - congrats! I really got to love the UK while riding it.
Being an old fart turning 70 next year, it took me a bit longer but I truly enjoyed it.
Where can I find the route you (or others) have followed?

Here is mine including a song and GPX tracks:


GPX track:

This is just such an awesome ride - congrats! I really got to love the UK while riding it.
Being an old fart, it took me a bit longer but I truly enjoyed it.
Where can I find the route you (or others) have followed?

Here is mine including a song and GPX tracks:


GPX track:

Nice work!

Here is a link to a story on Hans’s LEJOG tour on Cycling UK’s website (formerly known as ‘CTC’, the Cyclists’ Touring Club) – it was linked from their weekly member’s email today and I thought it was familiar. It is pretty good mainstream cycling exposure.


Congratulations on a great touring feat, and a really beautiful video! Makes me want to do that ride myself someday (but my crotch says no)!