Now two years on I completed my LEJoG on my old Trek Pilot, have sold it and have two replacement bikes.
My Bike for Life (a very special Shand Stoater Plus) would be my first choice for a self supported LEJoG. Very reliable, incredibly low maintenance, very comfortable, very practical!
If I was riding with support and quickly then I’d go for my new Road Bike. A Whyte Suffolk. Very nice and quick but with 28mm tyres, disc brakes and mudguards for British summers!
In my earlier post Bike for Lands End to John O Groats « 42 Bikes I said I would be using my existing Trek Pilot 1.2 for the LEJoG (if I do it).
Of my bikes it is the obvious choice. I could not manage the hills on my fixie, I would love to do it on my Bullitt Cargobike (just to say I did it) but could not manage it fast enough for the time I can make available. My Trice XXL recumbent trike is another possibility but I think for me at the moment it will feel more of an achievement on 2 wheels.
However, what if I decided the Trek Pilot was not going to work, or if it was not available then what bike would I choose?
I am not interested in choosing a bike that will be too specific so that it won’t get used for anything else. That means I would not choose a really fast Sportive bike for me as I am not planning to ride many/any Sportives.
So if I was not using my Trek Pilot I would be looking for a bike that would be great for LEJoG but also for lots of things afterwards. That means I would be more interested in something suitable for fast long rides as well as moderately loaded tours and general transportation all year round. In other words a modern equivalent of my Trek Pilot but with the lessons I have learned over the last 5 1/2 years as well as the advances in technology.
If I were replacing the Trek I would want to keep:
- Drop handlebars for multiple hand positions and possibility of reducing effect of headwinds
- Pedals that work with SPD clips on one side and plain shoes on the other
- Brooks B17 Select Saddle
- Space for mudguards
- Rear rack at least as an option
- Space for at least 28mm tyres
- Steel frame instead of Aluminium (lower environmental impact and more comfort)
- Ability to fit mudguards and rack separately at the rear dropouts
- Ability to fit front low riders or front rack
There are a few technologies that I find really attractive
- disk brakes (for power, modulation and low maintenance)
- hub gears (Alfine 11 speed or Rohloff) for the long life, reliability and ability to change while stopped
- Gates Belt drive for cleanliness & long life
- Much larger volume tyres (seems to me the comfort really starts to kick in at sizes over about 35mm)
- Dynamo front hub & dynamo lights
At the moment not all these can be combined (eg Rohloff & drop handlebars don’t yet have good options).
At the moment two bikes that I like the look of that fit most of my criteria are the:
This ticks all the boxes but will cost around £2,000 all in.
Cheaper but no Gates Belt Drive option
Of course neither of these are going to be the fastest bike to ride for LEJoG (for which I would be looking at a carbon Sportive bike from the likes of Trek, Specialized or Giant). But they will both be usable for far more different things in the long term as well as being more comfortable for the actual event (plus I do like the fact both are from small British Companies even if the frames are not built in the UK).
What would be your ideal bike for LEJoG and what would you be able to use it for afterwards?
[Update] In the end I rode LEJoG on my Trek and it was good. After LEJoG I made a whole set of bike choices that culminated in my Bike for Life project (which starts here) and has ended up with a bike that I would choose for most long distance rides (unless in a great hurry).