Explore Bipolar 'Highs & Lows' Cycle 2012
Please click on 'The Route' (right) for a daily route description.
Leaving Lands End on 31st May 2012 we aim to ride the length of the UK, arriving in John O'Groats 19 days later, having travelled just over 1050 miles through England, Wales and Scotland.
This is no ordinary End to End Cycle - it is a ride by mountain bike, mostly offroad and avoiding tarmac and especially main roads wherever possible. We've digitally plotted the route with the aim to keep to the lowlands wherever possible through England and Wales. Whilst we will be averaging about 56 miles per day we want it to be achievable, and whilst we know its going to hurt, we don't want to set ourselves up to fail, by including too many high mountain sections.
Having said that, there will be plenty of mountainous/hilly stuff - Cornwall and Devon have some of the steepest sections and it will be pretty mountainous through The Malverns, part sof northern England and Scotland. The theme of the ride is 'Highs and Lows' and we will visit one of the lowest points in the UK at Portishead en route, which is 5 metres below sea level at low tide (work that one out if you can!). We also aim to ascend Ben Nevis in the Grampians, which at 1344 metres is the highest point in the British Isles.
Those of us in the core team who aim to ride the full distance all enjoy mountain biking, and often don't manage to squeeze in much more than a couple of hours on our bikes at the weekend. So we will need to do an awful lot of training to prepare ourselves for so many hours and days in the saddle. This event is very much a team event, to be enjoyed by all that take part. It will certainly be a challenge, but it is not a race, and the main aim is to get as many people to the end of their section of the ride as possible.
First training ride - Leith Hill Jul 2011
Why not join us?
We don't know exactly how many will join us on the cycle yet, although we hope to have about 20 riders each day. There are 5 of us in the core team and already 3 others have verbally committed to join us for the entire ride. We would love more friends or friends of friends to join us for the duration or for shorter sections of the ride. We are sure that the 9 day England End to End or Gretna green to John O'Groats (Scotland End to End, also 9 days) will be favourites!
We will also be including a family day, when kids of all ages can join us for a day of pedalling (see full route below) ... so the pace may be a bit slower on that particular day.
We would love you to join us for a day, a weekend, a few days or a week or fortnight...
What do I have to do to join the ride?
Firstly, you need to have a decent bike that is well maintained and can handle backroads, bridleways and offroad sections. Some sections of the ride will be on backroads and canal towpaths, whilst others will be much more rugged offroad terrain. The type of bike you need might depend on which section of the route you are planning to do.
We are asking all participants to commit to raising £100 per day of the ride - so if you are doing a week, you will need to raise £700 through sponsorship for Biploar UK.. for a weekend you would need to raise £200 and for the full ride £1900.
Once you commit to ride with us we will ask you to make a £50 donation to the charity upfront, in order to secure your place.
If you would like to join us please get in touch to register your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there other costs?
Yes. You will be expected to cover all other personal costs on the ride, including transport to the start and end point of your section of the ride, accommodation, food and drink along the way. Also any other items such as bike maintenance, spares, clothing, equipment etc.
As a team, and once we know how many people will do the ride, we will endeavour to keep costs to a minumum - for example we hope to have a support vehicle (or two) provided by a sponsor. We also hope to arrange as much accommodation as possible on a free of charge or discounted basis. However, when committing to the ride you should assume that there will be costs for B&Bs, meals in pubs, drinks along the way and in the evenings, packed lunches etc + connecting transport.
How will accommodation be booked?
Once you have committed to riding part or all of the route, we will liaise closely with you regarding accommodation. Some we might be able to book for everyone (farms, activity centres etc), others you will need to book yourself (B&Bs, hotels etc). In all cases you will be responsible for paying for your own accommodation.
What about transport to the start and end?
We will organise transport from Bentley in Hampshire to the start point at Lands End and back to Bentley at the end for cyclists who have done the whole ride (plus their bikes). Again the cost for this will be split between all those doing the full ride.
Other participants will need to make their own arrangements for joining sections of the ride and for getting back at the end. Again, we will liaise closely over locations, timings and accommodation.. but ultimately the responsibility is with the individual to ensure they have necessary transport in place.
Anything else to consider?
Some sections of the ride along canal towpaths require permits. Mostly these are free (though some do charge), but have to be applied for in advance. Where permits are required, it will be highlighted in the detailed route notes. It is the individual's responsibility to obtain their own permits.
We have spent the last few months digitally plotting the route outlined below, so GPX files will be available for riders to download onto their Garmins if they have them. Only part of the route has been recce'd so far, but we hope to recce a few more sections before the big ride. However we are not planning to recce the whole thing.
|Day||Date||Start Location||Nightstop Location||Route Description|
|1||Thu 31st May||Lands End||Truro||One of the shortest days (44 miles) but some surprisingly steep sections, via Bartinney Downs, Cambourne & Redruth. 54% offroad, 938m total ascent.|
|2||Fri 1st Jun||Truro||Launceston||53 miles, mostly minor roads (23% offroad) includes Camel Trail & bridleways over Bodmin Moor. Total ascent 1058m.|
|3||Sat 2nd Jun||Launceston||Wellington||Longer day (66 miles), mostly on minor roads (28% offroad), skirting the north of Dartmoor, then follow the Grand Western Canal to Wellington. Total ascent 1193m.|
|4||Sun 3rd Jun||Wellington||Olveston||Longest day of entire ride (79 miles), but flat with few acsents. 38% offroad and total ascent of only 487m. Stop at lowest point in UK near Avonmouth.|
|5||Mon 4th Jun
|Olveston||Staunton||Family day - over the Severn Bridge, then backroads and forest trails through the Forest of Dean. 46 miles, 33% offroad & 904m of ascent. Join us for a sction or for the whole thing. Camping planned in Staunton.|
|6||Tue 5th Jun
|Staunton||Wombourne||Some proper offroad riding today as we take to the trails through The Malverns, then continue north to Stourport On Severn. From here follow the Staffs & Worcs Canal to Wombourne. 54 miles, 56% offroad & 973m total ascent.|
|7||Wed 6th Jun||Wombourne||Northwich||A long but relatively flat day today (67 miles and only 375m of ascent). Continuing north on the Staffs & Worcs & Shropshire Union Canals to Audlem, then backroads to Northwich. 69% offroad.|
|8||Thu 7th Jun||Northwich||Slaidburn||A long day (70 miles). Picking up the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Wigan we continue via The Forest of Bowland to Slaidburn. 1089m of ascent and 21% offroad.|
|9||Fri 8th Jun||Slaidburn||Appleby||Continuing through the Forest of Bowland, past Whernside and over the Great Asby Scar. 54 miles, 1626m of ascent and 20% offroad.|
|10||Sat 9th Jun||Appleby||Longtown||Our half way point on the ride this morning. A steep ascent of Knock Fell then long descent along the NE edge of the Lake District and over Hadrians Wall. 57 miles, 1102m of ascent and 57% offroad.|
|11||Sun 10th Jun||Longtown||Tibbie Shiels Inn||After crossing the border into Scotland, we follow minor roads, bridleways and forest trails with some steep ascents in the afternoon. 52 miles, 1403m of ascent and 57% offroad.|
|12||Mon 11th Jun||Tibbie Shiels Inn||Castlecary||One of the toughest climbing days of the trip. From St Mary's Loch, through the Ettrick Forest via Broughton & Forth to just NE of Glasgow. 62 miles, 1489m of ascent & 40% offroad.|
|13||Tue 12th Jun||Castlecary||Kinghouse, Strathyre||A picturesque day and mostly offroad (71%) through the Trossachs NP & following Loch Venacher & Loch Lubnalg to Kinghouse, Strathyre. 56 miles, 1070m of ascent.|
|14||Wed 13th Jun||Kinghouse, Strathyre||Kinlochleven||Great scenery as we pass the Glens of Ogle & Dochart before joining the West Highland Way. Passing by Glencoe we then ascend the Devils Staircase (550m). 53 miles, 1408m ascent & 65% offroad.|
|15||Thu 14th Jun||Kinlochleven||Fort William||A tough ascent awaits us this morning en route to the base of Ben Nevis. We hope to be able to cycle up Britain's highest peak (1344m) if we get permission - otherwise we will walk. We return back to Fort William for the night. Total ascent 1875m... all offroad & 24miles in total.|
|16||Fri 15th Jun||Fort William||Drumnadrochit||More incredible scenery with some tough climbs around the shore of Loch Ness. 52 miles, 1218m of ascent and 79% offroad.|
|17||Sat 16th Jun||Drumnadrochit||Invershin||Another long day in the saddle - arguably the toughest of the ride with 70 miles to cover and 1259m of ascent. We follow the shores of several lochs. 60%offroad.|
|18||Sun 17th Jun||Invershin||Forsinard||An easier day with less climbing and more backroads and forest tracks via Lairg and Loch Choire. 52 miles, 735m of ascent and 46% offroad.|
|19||Mon 18th Jun||Forsinard||John O'Groats||Our final day - and a relatively easy day in the saddle, with forest tracks in the morning and country lanes taking us to our ultimate goal, the furthese NE tip of mainland Britain. 52 miles, 567m of ascent and 31% offroad.|