Early on I noticed that Red the Rocket, as he is now called but I’ll refer to as R for ease, was exceptional on his bike. Perhaps as I liked the long distance stuff I egged him on. He didn’t mind as long as cake or Marmite crisps were involved!
Around the beginning of 2017 I thought it’d be wonderful to do Land’s End to John o’Groats (LEJOG) with him. We’d been on several short cycle camping trips as we call them and R loved them. Like I said, I thought, no more than that, something for the future.
Then in July 2017 a lady from the US kipped on our floor. She was staying to do one of my events to keep an award going; the Plains, Trains & no more Automobiles 209km audax. She was over in the UK to do the London Edinburgh London 1400km audax a few weeks later which I was also taking part in. In the meantime, to while away the time, she was also doing LEJOG. R picked up on this and came to me in my office under the stairs to ask what it was. I showed him on my map of the world behind me (I love maps), and he asked if we could do it. I rubbed my hands together. The seed was sown!
The Grand Tour Overview
End to End in 30 days with climbing to the top of the UK (amoung other things) thrown in for good measure. MY SON IS AMAZING!
Route planning began early. I wanted to come up with an interesting but sympathetic on the legs as possible route. Cornwall and Devon were the hardest bits. Many people think the Highlands is going to be the killer but actually it is the beginning with it’s short, sharp, steep ascents. I came up with a route that was as interesting, quiet, and low on the SSS ascents as possible. It still had some of the latter but the plan was to do short days to start. I fettled this route right up to the last moment.
R was rapidly growing out of his bike. I didn’t have a bike that was suitable without brazing new bits on, new components as they were worn, etc. So I decided to add an extra dimension to the adventure; build Bamboo Bikes, on the kitchen table of course!
Also I have future ideas so who better to test those DIY skills on than yourself and your son?
Everything was coming together, mainly in the last week or two, before our Grand Depart. We were going to travel heavy and unsupported using campsites or quiet spots for wildcamping (see header picture, wind was pretty noisy though), plus a few stops at family, home and with Warmshowers hosts.
Eventually the time was upon us….