Route planning

Planning a LE-JOG route is quite good fun in the internet age.  You can fly around the country on Google Earth, and use tools like to design routes which you can copy onto a GPS system.  You can experiment with routes and check how bad the hills are!   Quite a few people have done this ride before and put up GPX trails of where they went.

One problem is that my GPS system (ok, actually my brother’s!) can only store 50 points per route, and 20 routes overall.  I’ve found that you need about 250 points to accurately track all the roads on each day of the LEJOG route.  Apps like gpsbabel can simplify routes down so they use fewer points, but you also lose accuracy.  This isn’t much of a problem in the highlands of Scotland where there are only two roads.  But trying to pick your way through a city with waypoints that are a mile apart won’t work.

I don’t really want to buy a new shiny GPS system just for this trip, so I’ve decided to stick with a combination of lower-resolution GPS routes plus pages torn from a roadmap.

On my training rides, I keep having to stop and get my map (or food) out of my panniers.  This is a pain, so I’m definitely going to invest in a handlebar bag so I can check the map or grab something to eat without stopping.  A waterproof map cover is a must in the Scottish weather!

By using the bikehike site, I’ve been able to scope out what kind of hills I’ll be hitting.  Day 2 through Dartmoor looks one of the worst, with 400m climbs.  In constrast, Arthur’s Seat in the centre of Edinburgh is only 100m high.  I’ve been hunting for good hill-training routes, and have settled on the road from Sanquhar up to Wanlockhead as being pretty representative of the Devon hills.

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