I began planning this trip back in January 2015, which for some is close to the trip (I’ve read accounts from people who’ve planning it a year in advance) but for others leaves too long a time to wait. I deliberately chose September thinking that it would be slightly cooler and cheaper as it’s just coming out of holiday season. The former has been pointless to consider since it’s been a bit of a weird summer, and the latter seems to have worked OK as I’ve been snapping up B&B rooms at around £35 a night.
I’m a fairly organised person so this whole trip has been operated from a spreadsheet (obviously) so I can keep track of my total miles, elevation, B&Bs booked and whether I’ve paid or not. I’m definitely a credit card tourer at the moment, and a fully planned one at that, and I’m not afraid to admit it! At this point in my life camping out isn’t an attractive option, though this may change in the future. I can imagine that not having to worry about doing the right miles to get to the hotel each day reduces the anxiety over what’s got to be achieved every day but I’d much rather know I have somewhere warm and dry to stay especially since I’m doing this alone and unsupported. Another aspect of being a credit card tourer is a fitness thing. I’m not good enough to carry a huge amount of weight on my bike yet. Getting used to panniers was a learning curve and it’s taken me a few day trips to settle on a pannier set which lets me take a change of clothes and bike maintenance bits but doesn’t let me overload. If I had to take a tent and sleeping bag too I think I’d struggle to the point of not enjoying it at all.
Deciding where to stay was a mixture of picking an achievable town and googling B&Bs in the area. Whilst keeping that area in mind I used Beds for Cyclists to search for any recommended lodgings at affordable prices. Their database isn’t the be all and end all of places to stay but it’s only by using it that websites likes theirs can improve and expand. I say all this before I stay in some of the hotels, so all of that might change by the end of the trip! The availability of decent but affordable B&Bs has influenced my route, particularly the last part of Scotland, so I can imagine plenty of people would do the entire thing differently. But I like to think that’s what makes LEJOG/JOGLE such a beautiful thing to do; your experience is always going to be different to someone else’s. In fact, that sentiment can be extended to all self-planned trips. As mentioned in my Inspiration page, I complete London to Paris in September 2014 and this was 100% organised by the British Heart Foundation. It was fantastic and I don’t have any criticisms of the abilities or the experience but I don’t think I was prepared for the logistical anxiety a self-planned trip brings. I keep having to remind myself that I’m doing this for fun and because I chose to.
Our greatest challenges are the ones we set ourselves.