LEJOG Interview: Peak Tours

From my readers comments, there seems to be a lot of interest in wanting some more “real life” feedback on the companies and tour guides that operate LEJOG or JOGLE annually as well as individuals or groups of people who decide to sign up to the famous end to end and what their motivations are to complete this epic cycle challenge.

So I have decided to put together some feedback after some kind people agreed for me to interview them so to better understand their motivations in completing this adventure. First up is Peak Tours.

 

 

Peak Tours were the company I completed my LEJOG tour with and I managed to grab some time with their tour organiser and MD, Steve Coackley to discuss all things about LEJOG and other useful snippets of information to do with cycling…

 

Can you provide a background to Peak Tours – how and why you started the business?

Steve: “The idea for setting up Peak tours was bourne from a love of cycling and the outdoors. I had previously worked in finance and longed for an adventure so I decided to quit my job and cycle around the world which took me across Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and the USA. On returning to England I found a job with an adventure travel company which in turn led me to set up a business based in the Peak District, Peak Tours. We provide cycle hire, cycling holidays and walking holidays.

Longing for more adventure, I started LEJOG tours and now also run Coast to Coast, Way of the Roses and Dover to Cape Wrath tours. There are many new cycling tours in the pipeline venturing into Europe and hopefully will be going worldwide before too long”.

 

What was your first bike and how old were you?

Steve: “A budgie when i was about eight”.

How did you get into cycling?

Steve: “It was not until my mid twenties that i rediscovered cycling by chance. My girlfriend at the time had a brother who was throwing away his old bike and I did not like to see it go to waste so took it off him, fixed it up and it went from there!”

How many times have you completed the famous End to End/LEJOG?

Steve: “I have only cycled the entire route once. All the other times have been as backup, cycling some but mostly driving the Peak Tours van. As a business I have now organised ten End to Ends with another 7 or 8 tours planned for next year”.

How much training do you do before setting off for a LEJOG?

Steve: “I keep fit generally so I don’t stick to a specific training plan – i just get on my bike and go”.

Have you completed both versions of the end 2 end? If so, what’s easier, LEJOG or JOGLE?

Steve: “I have never done a JOGLE. The prevailing winds the UK receives is supposed to make this direction much harder”.

Do you have a preferred LEJOG route to take?

Steve: “Yes but this has changed over the course of this year as we have looked to cycle away from any busy sections of road. Local knowledge and speaking to past customers that live in some of the areas that we have passed through has enabled us to find some superb cycle paths and quiet country lanes that we didn’t know about at first. the route has changed quite a bit since we first started”.

 

Most scenic part of the LEJOG trip?

Steve: “My personal favorites are through Shropshire, the Lake District, Glen Coe and Sutherland (in the far north of Scotland)”.

What’s the hardest part of the trip

Steve: “The first 3 days. the short but steep hills of Cornwall and Devon are a shock to fresh legs but it gets easier once past Glastonbury”.

Any recommendations on places to stay along the route?

Steve: “There are many good B&Bs that we use along the route. A few of my favorites are Pilgrims at Glastonbury, Clun YHA, Buchan guesthouse in Moffat, Woodvale in Balloch and of course the Crask Inn near Lairg”

Apart from your bike, what other must have essential piece of equipment can you not live without when completing LEJOG?

Steve: “I’m sorry to say my laptop! – i need to keep on top of things while i’m away”.

 

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my LEJOG Blog. I hope you’ve found it interesting and feel free to post your thoughts and comments. Once again, thank you for visiting Simon’s LEJOG blog

 

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