Lejog on an average hybrid
Have you ever wanted to do a cycle challenge but are concerned you have not got the latest and greatest equipment?
Nigel Murphy a Bike Inn Graduate did just this, he completed Land Ends to John O’Groats on your standard average hybrid learning about his bike and enjoying the scenery! However, become embarking on this adventure Nigel’s ‘old city hybrid’ needed a few modifications to gear up for the wicked hills in Cornwall and Devon! We caught up with Nigel to find out about the modifications and how the trip went.
A long cage rear mech was essential, coupled with an 11-34 cassette and a 22-32-44 chainset on the front. Nigel reflects, “I’m sure a fitter and stronger cyclist could cope, but I needed that crawler and still blew up on a few Cornish hills”. We are sure we can all relate to this!
To cope with the terrain of paths as well as the UK’s B roads Nigel selected 36 spoke double-walled eyeleted. With 14 gauge spokes, they’re almost E-bike rims. Now doesn’t this say something about the state of the UK’s roads? Nigel selected Schwalble Marathon plus 700x35c tires with slim, although an added weight Nigel had no punctures in the whole 1040 miles. After 1040 miles in all condition’s components did wear, the new UN300 Bottom Bracket was fantastic but it did develop play by the end of the trip and the ingress of water into the bike didn’t help bearings either.
The brakes also fared well, using the basic older hydraulic Shimano MT 200’s. Nigel admits “these were my worry but exceeded expectations over 1000 miles and the pads still have lots of life. For the price, these cannot be argued with. Maybe one day I will switch to mechanical discs because I could easily have snagged an oil cable on hedges, campsites, fences, and railings”.
However, so far we have failed to mention the most ‘important part of the bike on a trip this duration, the saddle! The trusty Brooks B-17 saddle was the perfect fit for such a trip providing comfort throughout.
Nigel’s bike Geometry:
For all those ‘geeks’ who like detail or bike fit Nigel was convinced the aluminum frame had some rear flex on steep climbs and twisting descents. Nigel suggested switching to steal bike next time.
“A reach of 395mm, stack of 629mm, and a head angle of 70̊ gives a wheelbase of 1089 and a 50mm fork offset. It was ok and caused no physical problems, but I had extended the stem to give more reach and a longer wheelbase would have been nicer on long days. (I’m 1.8m tall FYI, so this frame is a little short but great as a town commuter).”
Professional Course Knowldge
Currently undergoing The Bike Inn’s Professional course Nigel was able to recognise regarding bike fit a longer wheelbase coupled with reach (including the handlebars) would allow for regular hand re-positioning for long days. Being a qualified mechanic meant if any mechanical happened Nigel would also have it all under control from fixing broken spokes, indexing gears to replacing bottom brackets.
Completing a challenge tips
For all those thinking about a cycle challenge or LEJOG Nigel prompts “Judging from the cyclists I met, you do a LEJOG on anything as long as you’re comfortable on it, it’s been well serviced and you have the time to spare.” So all you need is a bike, time, and a good sense of humor in case of any mechanicals and those long days of riding.