Posted by: Ian | October 25, 2012

JOGLE snaps and wrap-up

There were two reasons why I did the JOGLE: because I had to (I needed time and solitude to mull over a pile of stuff) and because I could (so long as I could make it in 11 days the logistics worked out). Heading North has been a metaphor for retreat/escape from Basho through to Emmy the Great and the idea of making it up to the top of Britain and pedalling home over many days was irresistible. John O’Groats isn’t technically Britain’s most northerly point, or even mainland Britain’s most northerly point, but its latitude lies somewhere between that of Gothenburg and Stockholm, so it meets the bill.

I loved the routine. I started each day with a full Scottish/English breakfast; began riding between 8:00 and 9:00 (apart from the first day, when I began after lunch, and the final day, when I began earlier); had a coffee and cake stop in the morning; stopped again for lunch; and then arrived at my destination by mid to late afternoon, with a two or three course dinner in the evening. My average speed over the entire journey was 16 mph. To within the accuracy of the Garmin, which occasionally lost my location for short spells, I cycled about 90 miles per day, on average, taking around 5.5 hours of ride time to do it. Despite the prodigious amount of eating, I lost around half a stone in weight.

In truth, I didn’t find the riding especially hard and I was lucky not to suffer any aches or mishaps. I think the length and pace of cycling suited me well: if I’d have been struggling to make it to my destinations while there was still light in the day then I would have had less time to relax and fatigue could have accumulated over the trip. Also, I feel that in the past few months my souplesse has been improving, which must be good for a multi-day exercise. During the course of the JOGLE I believe my descending skills improved too as a result of the smooth ups and downs of Scotland with unimpeded forward visibility that are such a pleasure after the lumpy enclosed landscape of the SouthWest and the traffic of London.

One thing I love about JOGLE is that there is no JOGLE: everyone has to make a route for themselves. This makes it endlessly open, with plenty of fresh interest to be found in doing it again. I think, though, that if I ever take a bike on the sleeper up to Inverness again I’ll probably head further west into Scotland, come down through the islands, turn left no further south than the Lake District and loop back to my start point. I can see myself becoming a multi-day ride addict. It can be an annual ritual to cleanse my soul. Maybe next time I’ll do it overseas.

Here are some snaps, beginning with one of me:

Here’s what was behind me:

Next, a few from the best stretches in Scotland:

Here’s a snap from the Dunoon ferry, as I crossed from one mental landscape to a completely different one:

Now a couple of pretty photos from Largs; I pointed the camera away from the town:

Next stop Shrewsbury:

And a silhouettey shot of Stiperstones:

I’m not quite sure which side of the Welsh border Tintern abbey is on (I’d guess it’s in England). This is a wonderful cycling road:

Here’s Taunton:

Now to Dartmoor:

Dreamy Marazion:

And finally Land’s End!

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Responses

  1. Hi Ian,

    I’ve really enjoyed following your progress on the JOGLE; sounds like you had a great time!

    As I recall from my visit, Tintern Abbey itself is in England but the other side of the road is in Wales; there’s a great little vineyard just around the corner too.

    You’re absolutely right, that road down through the Golden Valley is just spectacular; I rode it on a glorious summer day with a good friend of mine. Brings back nice memories. 🙂

    • Thanks! Yes, JOGLE was great. That road is a bit too far to get to from home but it made for an excellent stretch of riding on a sunny day.

  2. An amazing trip!!


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