I caught up with Nick Mitchell, MD of Pedal Nation,a young company with a passion for cycle touring specialising in two UK routes, Lands End to John O’ Groat’s over fourteen days and the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) over four days.
Both tours are challenging but they are designed to be within the reach of the newcomer to cycling. It’s been fantastic to see the likes of Sir Chris, Queen Victoria, Trotty and Bradley doing brilliantly in the 2012 Olympics and they are a credit the sport; we wanted to grab the impetus of the Olympics and encourage newcomers to come and have a go at a challenge such as the LEJOG or the TPT.
It is most definitely achievable with determination, a realistic training plan, a decent well- maintained bike, and a good sense of humour (critical) you will find you have most of the tools you need to complete the ride. We take care of all the logistics, carry your bags and sort out the lunch all you have to do is ride your bike. We can’t promise it will be easy but it will be great fun and you will make some super friends along the way. Get in touch with Pedal Nation on: 079 768 768 90 or email us for more details through www.pedalnation.com
How we tour
We love to tour on quiet lanes, back roads, cycle paths and places where there is little, or ideally, no traffic. We are not hung up on having the best or latest gear, the lightest or the quickest bike. For us it’s all about the journey, getting on the bike and having some fun along the way. You do not have to be an experienced cyclist tourist to join us. A reasonable level of fitness, a love of the outdoors and a sense of humour should see you through. (Nick is a Sheffield Wednesday fan so he obviously has a sense of humour!)
Pedal Nation Partners
We take our financial obligations to our clients very seriously and from the outset we wanted to work with a long established tour operator. We believe we have found one of the best in our partner for 2012 and 2013. Our partner is High Places, established in 1988 and a company who operate tours in 20 countries with over 100 departures. Working in partnership with a fully bonded tour company means that our client’s money is fully protected. We rely on High Places www.highplaces.co.uk to deal with all the administration associated with the tours leaving us to do what we are best at, preparing for and leading our clients on the best long distance cycle tours in the UK and Europe.
Interview with Nick from Pedal Nation
what was your first bike and how old were you?
Nick: “Orange Raleigh Chopper 1971”
How did you get into cycling?
Nick: “By accident – I wanted something to do in the summer of 2002 and decided on the End to End”
How many times have you completed the famous end to end?
Nick: “LEJOG 9 times JOGLE- 1”
How much training do you do before setting off or are you THAT good to not bother with any?!
Nick: “First time in 2002 no training whatsoever, in later excursions in completing LEJOG, I have spent a couple of weekends in the Peak District on 60 to 70 mile rides. Other than that none, it might be easier if I did !”
As you’ve completed both versions of the end 2 end, What’s easier, LEJOG or JOGLE?
Nick: “LEJOG is far better, the scenery gets spectacular as you go north and the traffic and navigation easier, you can also get the prevailing south westerly wind”.
Do you have a preferred LEJOG route to take?
Nick: “The route I designed for my LEJOG book, which is on its second print run, it must be the Olympic buzz. The route goes via Lands End, Penzance, St Austell, Golant, Glastonbury, Monmouth, Clun, Shrewsbury, Runcorn, Slaidburn, Keswick, Carlisle, Moffatt, Glasgow, Balloch, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Fort William, Inverness, Lairg, The Crask, Bettyhill, Thurso, John o’Groats. This route also takes in 11 Youth Hostels for those riders who enjoy the company of other like minded people”.
Roughly how many punctures have you encountered?
Nick: “One or two, and a broken bottom bracket at Drumnadrochit on the first 2002 ride”.
Most scenic part of the trip?
Nick: “Strathnaver to Bettyhill, spectacular and loads of history involved with the Highland Clearances. The Welsh Marches north of Hereford are really special and the Forest of Bowland north of Blackburn”.
What’s the hardest part of the trip
Nick: “First day in Cornwall, loads of short and nasty hills, the last 40 miles from Bettyhill to John o’Groats especially in a north easterly gale”.
Any recommendations on places to stay along the route?
Nick: “The Crask Inn, eccentric but brilliant. Mike, the landlord alternates between delivering a lamb and serving a pint”.
Any favourite stop-overs you always stay at?
Nick: “Derek and Sheila’s butty wagon, Lea Cross on the outskirts of Shrewsbury (Sheila died sept 2012). Holiday Inn at Runcorn”.
Apart from your bike, what other must have essential piece of equipment can you not live without when completing lejog?
Nick: “Sense of humour and earplugs for those nights in a YHA dormitory”.
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