Grand Depart Packing & Prep

I have used a website called to map out the exact route we need to follow to complete the actual stages of the tour.  Now I don’t know if I was doing anything wrong but I could not get Google Maps to do a similar job.  It always wanted to take you on the shortest path between the two points.  I also tried right clicking and adding points at shorter intervals but that was taking forever and Google Maps only lets you do that about 10 times, so I had to find alternative websites.  I have heard of people using Google Earth to plot routes, but I find the distinction between Google Earth and Google Maps a bit confusing. worked well though and you can then ask it to print out directions and it will also show you your ups and downs (elevation) which is a good indication of when you will be smiling and when you will be grinding teeth 🙂

I also have a Garmin 800 and I have never used it to plot a route.  I have just used it to show me where I am, then when I was in France I just used a paper map to plan where to go next.  

Again if you were to leave the device to plot a route you would just go the shortest way between the points, so I downloaded the Garmin BaseCamp software and created custom routes and uploaded them to the device.  On the device these get stored as courses.  Like I say it is the first time I have done this so we can see how it will work on the ride. 

When we cycled and walked the National Three Peaks (Ben Nevis, Scarfell, Snowdon) we needed to carry a bit of kit with us.  We were away for six days and we needed clothes to relax in at the end of the day and clothes to walk the mountains in as well.  Jervis and Roger had panniers and the rest of us had some sort of large saddle bag.  I think for this trip I am going to try and travel really light and just use a ruck sack.  We just need a toothbrush one set of cycling gear and one set of clothes to relax in on an eve.  Underpants don’t weight that much so I am sure I will be fine with a bag 🙂

The temperature has taken a little bit of a dive again so I need to ensure I have enough layers and I have my Buff with me.  I am still getting slightly annoyed with this wind when on the bike, it does not seem to be letting up at the moment.  We have had one nice cycling week since Christmas, and thats it.  It better start changing soon!

As I stated in my last blog, my Pacific Coast maps have arrived and I am very impressed.  They are waterproof and tear resistant and have all the information you will need to get to your destination.  They just show the intended route in detail and not the area surrounding the route.  So if you are planning on doing some touring off the Adventure Cycling suggestion you will need to buy standard maps of the area.  The Adventure Cycling maps come with additional information such as the locations of:

  • Digs
  • Food & Drink
  • Services (post office etc)
They also have a section on the conditions you are likely yo encounter such as the amount of traffic on roads and the weather.  There is another section that gives you a history of the area.  This section I will find very useful try to act all informed and intellectual in my on route videos.  Taking of videos I was going to create a video to showcase the maps but our friends at have already done that so there is no point in me doing another.  The video is below.

Today I supervised some students that were practicing their bronze DofE Award.  A really nice day to be outside.  The students were just walking so I cycled alongside, let them navigate, let them make a few mistakes, then see if they could get us back on track and even though it was just walking pace, it was still 20 miles and 3100ft of assent.  So we could of gone up Ben Nevis…… nearly another 1000ft maybe 🙂

I still don’t have a road bike after my crash, so Mark at PedalSport, King Cross, Halifax has kindly lent me his winter bike to do this Grand Depart tour starting tomorrow.  So it is going to be 120 miles, 50 miles, 120 miles and finish with 100 miles.  As it is not my saddle and not shaped to my bum bones I know I am going to be in some discomfort over the next few days!

Meeting at Robbo’s at 0600 for bacon buts and tea (I hope).  Updates to follow!!!!

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