Equipment list

Not long anymore now… in approx. 4 days, I’ll start pedalling. I guess I’m more or less on schedule with my preparations for the tour. Still got many remaining “to do’s” on my list, but most of the planning is done, things are arranged, and most of the gear packed. And even if I haven’t got a clue yet how I’ll be able to get the bike box for the flight into my car (or better: how I’ll be able to drive with my car to the airport with the bike box covering most of the inside of my car, including the driver’s seat), also the main character of this trip is kind of ready for action: my fully demounted bike. Now only EasyJet will have to get it safe onto the other side of the Channel, and I’ll have to prepare on spending half the night on London Gatwick airport in order to put the bike together again and to transfer my gear from a massive travel bag into the single panniers. Despite that I’m optimistic to be able to cycle the first few miles from Penzance to Land’s End and back to Penzance after the train ride on Saturday late afternoon already.

For everyone who is interested in what type of equipment I’m going to bring along and cycle with, check out the following list. If you are planning something similar and need more advice on individual aspects of the list, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’m happy to help out with anything you might be uncertain about – plus I’ll be able to tell you after the ride which items of the list weren’t necessary to bring along with and what things I might have missed.


Bike, Parts, Tools:
– Cannondale T800
– 1x cycle computer
– 1x rear light
– 3x bottle holder
– 1x pair of click pedals
– 1x pair of mudguards
– 2x SIGG 0.75l drinking bottles, 1x 0.6l SIGG bottle
– 1x 3l Camelback
– 1x rear & 1x front rack
– 1x bike lock
– 1x bike stand

– 1x pair of waterproof front panniers [Axiom] (25 l)
– 1x pair of waterproof rear panniers [Axiom] (35 l)
– 1x Axiom handlebar bag
– 1x Topeak saddlebag
– 1x waterproof dry bag (30l)
– 1x Helium Dry Sack (6.5l) for camera, important documents etc.
– ziplock bags and plastic bags
– tension straps and similar

Spare Parts & Accessories:
– 2x brake shoes
– 2x brake cables
– 2x gear cables
– 1x Schwalbe foldable replacement tire (700×35)
– 2x replacement inner tubes
– 1 set of screws
– 5x replacement spokes
– 5 chain connecters
– 1x replacement chain
– 2 metres of wire for repairs
– 1 set of tie-wraps/cable ties

– 1x air pump with adapter
– 1x Swiss Army knife (inc. scissors, tweezers, compass)
– 1x all-in-one tool (incl. allen keys, screw drivers, spanner, spoke adjustment tool, chain tool, etc.)
– 1x chain lubricant
– 1x Rema TipTop tube repair set
– 1x tire remover
– 1x cleaning cloth
– 1x old toothbrush for cleaning

– 2x cycling shorts
– 1x cycling trousers (longs)
– 2x thermo t-shirts [1 for sleeping]
– 2x bike jerseys short sleeved
– 1x long sleeved bike jersey
– 1x long sleeved thermo shirt
– 1x long sleeved outdoor shirt
– 1x wind stopper fleece jacket
– 3x underwear
– 1x thermo underwear (longs)
– 1x thermo undershirt
– 1x gloves for cycling with finger cover (Gore water repellent)
– 1x gloves for cycling without finger cover
– 1x trekking trousers (zip-off; incl. belt)
– 3x pairs of cycling socks
– 1x pair normal socks
– 1x microfiber towel
– 1x handkerchief
– 1x fleece hat
– 1x head & neck bandana (Bavarian rhombs – white & blue)
– 1x cycle helmet
– 1x waterproof helmet cover
– 1x pair of sunglasses (= replacement glasses)
– Gore Bike Wear “Countdown” Packlite waterproof jacket
– thin fleece
– 1x pair of water-/windproof overtrousers
– 1 pair Sidi bike shoes
– 1x pair Timberland trekking shoes (for time off the bike)
– 2x knee bandages
– 2x ankle support bandages

Sleeping Gear:
– 1x tent (Sierra Designs – Electron, 2-person tent)
– repair kit for tent / Seam Grip
– 1x Thermarest
– Thermarest repair kit
– 1x sleeping bag (Cartinthia, G-Loft Lite 850 [Comfort +25°C – +5°C; Tolerance: +5°C – 0°C; Extreme: 0°C – -12°C)

Cooking Gear:
– 1x expedition cooker [MSR Whistler International] (burns kerosene, white gas, camping fuel)]
– 1x petrol bottle (0.7 litres)
– 1x cooking pot (Coleman)
– 1x spoon, 1x fork
– 1x lighter & 1x box of wind- and waterproof matches
– container with salt and pepper
– food (e.g. power bars, dried fruits, chocolate, expedition food, bread, rice, pasta, etc.)

First aid, toiletries, other general items
First aid:
– 1x Adventure Medical First Aid Kit (incl. bandages, plasters, after-bite, emergency blanket, safety-pins etc)
– 25 water purification tablets
– 6x Imodium
– After Bite Xtra gel
– Germolene antiseptic cream
– Polysporin Antibiotic Heal fast cream
– Paspertin drops
– 20x Ibuprofen pain relief
– 8x Paracetamol
– 10x Tempil
– 8x Strepsils
– insect repellent spray (Care Plus Anti Insect/DEET)
– sewing kit
– safety pins

– tooth brush
– tooth paste natural
– razor with 1 blade
– shaving oil
– 1x 18-in-1 biological soap (Shampoo, body soap, laundry, dishwashing etc.)
– toilet paper

Documents & money:
– ID
– driving licence
– vaccination certificates (copies)
– travel documents (flight tickets, insurance papers)
– contacts/address book
– photocopies of all documents
– cash & credit card, etc.
– copy of LEJOG planning documents

Other items:
– Moleskine notebook & pen for notes
– spare batteries (head torch, rear lights, Garmin)
– 2 mobile phones (old one with long-lasting battery, new one with organiser) incl. charger
– 1x camera incl. 2x 1GB SD cards, charger, spare battery
– USB cable (connecting Garmin, camera)
– 1x 2GB USB stick
– 1x MicroSD adapter
– whistle
– head torch
– maps & route information: UK Road Atlas 2011 2.5:1 inch incl. campsites (à only relevant pages), route description, Sustrans National Cycle Network map
– Garmin Oregon 400t incl. Great Britain Topo map
– Polar heart rate monitor
– approx. 5 metres of rope/cord
– 2x carabiner
– Duct tape
– Books: “The Audacity of Hope”, “The Lost Symbol”
– Bavarian & German flag
– UK adapter

Please help me supporting Oxfam Germany!


Dear friends, family, colleagues and other supporters, 

After more than three years, the time has come again: As mentioned in the previous post, my bike is calling, and I’ll go on a cycling tour again.  

An appeal for everyone – Please support my fundraising action:

Even though challenges and possible pain can be expected, I’m pretty sure that I’ll enjoy the tour very much. Despite that, or actually because of it, I want to use this “non-everyday-activity” to support a charity. The fact that I’ll be able to cycle all over Britain for two weeks just like that, reminds me of all those amongst us who have to cope with completely different issues than answering questions such as “How to get from Gatwick Airport to Land’s End?”, “Are 14 days enough for the planned tour?” or “Should I bring my tent or sleep inside in B&B’s and Youth Hostels?”.

One of the independent, non-governmental aid organisations whose aim is to minimise poverty and injustice through advocacy campaigns, development programmes and emergency response is Oxfam. Whilst very well-known and popular in the UK, Oxfam is based in 13 other countries as well. One of these other affiliates within the confederation is Oxfam Deutschland (Oxfam Germany). More on (German site) [site of Oxfam International:].

In connection with my cycle tour, I want to support the efforts of this organisation, such as help after the Pakistan flood or the Haiti earthquake, improvement of labour conditions in third-world countries, campaigns against the negative aspects of climate change, and a lot more. And as more people are able to have a greater impact than an individual person, my target is to collect 1 Euro per mile that I’m going to cycle. That adds up to 1,000 miles = 1,000 € (approx. £830 or US $1,320). Whilst I’ll take care of the 1,000 miles (approx. 1,600km), I’ll very much depend on your help to reach the ambitious target sum.

It’s all pretty easy – even it’s is all in German:
For holders of a German bank account: Just click on, then click on the big, red button “Jetzt spenden”, enter your name in the first field, select the amount you want to donate in the second field (or “Freie Eingabe” if your amount isn’t shown), and feel free to enter a message in the last field; then click on the now slightly smaller red button “Jetzt spenden”, and that’s it! You’ll be able to pay through direct debit from a German bank account

For all those of you who don’t have a German bank account, I’ve set up two other alternatives which will make it possible for you to make your donation from outside of Germany:

Option 1:
You can transfer money onto a German bank account which I’ve set up solely for that purpose (it can also be used for payments from abroad!). I’ll forward your donation including other entries to Helpedia online then. Therefore, please include the following two things in the reference/purpose of payment section of your bank transfer which I’m going to copy onto the Helpedia site:
“name” as you want to have it displayed on the website
“comment” (e.g. “Save journey” or similar)
The details of that purpose-bound bank account are (IBAN and BIC are to be used for foreign bank transfers):
Owner of the account: Martin Karl
Account no.: 40233330
Sort code: 74250000
Name of the bank: Sparkasse Niederbayern-Mitte
IBAN: DE33742500000040233330

Option 2:
Alternatively, you can transfer the amount you want to donate onto my PayPal account. As in option 1, please include your name and comment as you want to have them displayed on the Helpedia site.
The data of my PayPal account which you need:
email address:

Both options mean that you can’t make the entries on the donation site itself – however, obviously you can fully rely on the fact that I’ll pass on your donation without any deduction and in a timely manner to Helpedia and consequently to Oxfam. By that, your donation is going to be directly displayed online and adding to the total amount donated so far. Just have a look at the site from time to time and check out how far we’re still off the target!

As the start of the tour isn’t that far away anymore, please don’t hesitate too much – and please pass on the link to your friends, relatives, colleagues etc. too!

Of course, all donations go straight to Oxfam Germany, without any deductions of Helpedia.

Let me say thank you very much for your support already now! THANK YOU!!

The route

At this stage, presumably the most interesting piece of information is a detailed description of the planned route.

After my Calgary-Anchorage bike tour I thought that the planning process for such a tour could be minimised as a lot of the things to plan and prepare aren’t new to me anymore. In parts, I guess that’s true. HOWEVER: What I’ve completely underestimated is the planning of the route. Whilst there was only one real decision to make how to get from Calgary to Anchorage back in 2007 (taking the ‘long’ route on Cassier Highway via Whitehorse or going on the Inside Passage via Juneau) and for the rest there existed one single road which I was able to follow for hundreds of miles, my journey through the UK will be completely different. Hundreds of roads, trunk roads, major routes, minor roads, scenic routes, direct routes, hilly, remote, … And all of them add up to approx. 1,600km/1,000 miles in the end. It’s impossible to find “the best option”.

For my part, I’ve chosen the route – God knows whether I’ll actually more or less follow it as planned or if everything changes as the ride moves forward – considering the following:

  • I wanted to cycle through all three parts of Great Britain, England, Wales and Scotland (I’ll only be in Wales for 20 or so kilometres, but I’ll be there!)
  • I wanted to make it as scenic as possible without losing myself too much in detours and minor roads where it’s necessary to check the map every 5 minutes in order to navigate correctly – with combined input from the British national cycling organisation CTC, loads of websites about recent trips, and a book I bought back in 2008 already, I hope I found a good compromise between directness and scenery while and avoiding the busiest roads of the country. (There’s no point in following the national cycle path network as this often includes paths that are not tarred, partly even muddy, plus there’s not a marked route included in the network such as the “Land’s End to John O’Groats” route. Obviously, I might still end up on cycle paths from time to time.)
  • Due to personal memories, I wanted to include a few “specials” which always are equivalent to “detours”.
    However, I want to go through Leeds, my former home town, and spend an evening there. Getting to Leeds means the biggest change to “standard” routes up north as most people obviously simply stay west of the Pennines and continue “straight on” towards Scotland.
    My two favourite national parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District NP including two pass roads (to Oughtershaw and Kirkstone Pass), needed to be part of the route as well. [Not sure if I can arrange it to stop by at my favourite pub with the best chocolate fudge cake in the world, the Old Hill Inn in Chapel-le-Dale…]
    And some minor detours in Scotland which I’ll think about when I’m actually there – the actual most northern point of the British mainland, Dunnet Head, will certainly be worth a few miles extra.

And before I show you the route and the map, some “technical” explanation: I used the pedestrians’ option in Google Maps for planning the route. As this doesn’t let me “walk” on motorways, but as I’m going to cross three motorway bridges which have cycle paths adjoined to it, I needed to split the displaying of the route into 4 different parts – that’s the one and only reason for dividing it. The dots on the map can also be ignored, I just needed them to move the route the way I wanted it to be.

Here you go:

Part 1 [327 km]:
Land’s End – Portbury/Easton-in-Gordano/Pill Avon Gorge M5 motorway bridge cycle path
ascent: 3,624m (GPSIES)/3,335m (Garmin); descent: 3,692m (GPSIES)/3,397 (Garmin)

To see details, check out part 1 on Google Maps and/or on Garmin connect

Part 2 [16 km]:
Shirehampton-Aust (Severn Bridge motorway M48 cycle path)
ascent: 32m (GPSIES)/11m (Garmin); descent: 54m (GPSIES)/25 (Garmin)

To see details, check out part 2 on Google Maps and/or on Garmin connect

Part 3 [702 km]:
Chepstow-Erskine Bridge
ascent: 7,630m (GPSIES)/5,906m (Garmin); descent: 7,648m (GPSIES)/5,922 (Garmin)

To see details, check out part 3 on Google Maps and/or on Garmin connect

Part 4 [502 km]:
Erskine Bridge-John O’Groats
ascent: 4,890m (GPSIES)/3,173m (Garmin); descent: 4,849m (GPSIES)/3,148 (Garmin)

To see details, check out part 4 on Google Maps and/or on Garmin connect

–> total distance: 1,547km + approx. 13km motorway bridges = 1,560km
–> total ascent: 16,176m (GPSIES)/12,425m (Garmin)
–> total descent: 16,243m (GPSIES)/12,492m (Garmin)

My Land’s End to John O’Groats route via Leeds – all significant waypoints incl. distances and planned road info:

description (place/town): road (“from here”): km [approx] (at dest.):
Land’s End A30 0,00
Penzance A30 14.63
Long Rock A30 17.00
Marazion (by-passed) A394 Marazion Bypass, then B3280 20.37
Leedstown B3280, then B3297 30.08
Redruth through town centre, then A3047 45.63
Scorrier (by-passed) A3047 48.65
Chacewater A3047 52.00
Three Mile Stone A3047, then A390 55.65
Truro A390 60.00
St. Austell A390 82.52
Liskeard A390 114.36
Tavistock B3357 142.21
Two Bridges B3212 155.36
Moretonhampstead B3212 175.26
Exeter B3212, then B3181 196.46
Broadclyst B3181, then A38 204.33
Wellington (by-passed) A38 236.52
Taunton A38 247.08
Bridgwater A38, then A39, then B3141 264.00
Bason Bridge B3139 276.99
Wedmore B3151 286.90
Cheddar A371, then left on minor road 292.62
Shipham A38, cross A368, then left onto B3133 296.78
Congresbury B3133 304.79
Clevedon B3124, then right on minor road 314.30
Gordano Valley through Clapton-in-Gordano   321.60
Portbury/Easton-in-Gordano/Pill A369, then onto Avon Gorge M5 motorway bridge cycle path 327.00
Shirehampton A403 330.00
Avonmouth, Aust Severn Bridge M48 motorway cycle path 346.00
Chepstow A466 351.00
Monmouth A466, then A49 378.74
Hereford A49, then B4361 407.00
Leominster B4361 428.00
Ludlow B4361, then A49, then B4365 445.00
Pedlars Rest B4368 (northeast), then B4378 456.06
Much Wenlock A4159, then A5223, then minor road 476.50
Telford B4373, then A518, then minor road 489.71
Newport B5062, then A519 502.51
Forton left on minor road via Shebdon, Fair Oak, Podmore 505.20
Baldwin’s Gate A53 527.41
Newcastle-under-Lyme A53 536.00
Stoke-on-Trent A53 540.44
Leek A53 555.00
Buxton A6 575.86
Chepel-en-le-Frith A624 584.00
Glossop B6105, then A628, then A6024, then A616 598.50
Huddersfield A62, then A58 625.00
Leeds A65 653.81
Addingham/Bolton Abbey B6160 684.83
Buckden minor road via Oughtershaw 720.07
Hawes A684 739.80
Kendal A5284, then A591 780.16
Windermere A592 (Kirkstone Pass) 794.16
Patterdale/Glenridding A592, then A5091, then right onto minor road (via Matterdale), then B5288 811.44
Motherby B5288 826.09
Greystoke minor road via Oughtershaw Blencow, Hutton-in-the-Forest, Low Braithwaite, Durdar, Blackwell 829.55
Carlisle A7 857.50
Longtown A6071, then B7076 871.00
Gretna B721 877.65
Annan B724, then A75, then A780 891.76
Dumfries A76 918.97
Sanquhar A76 961.00
Cumnock A76, then B7073 988.00
Kilmarnock A735 1,012.27
Lugton B777, then B775 1,029.15
Paisley B7050, then A726 1,044.22
Erskine A726, then onto A898 Erskine Bridge cycle path 1,053.82
Old Kilpatrick A814, then A82/A814 1,057.00
Dumbarton (by-passed) A814 1,065.18
Helensburgh A814, then A83 (east) 1,078.00
Tarbet A82 1,107.50
Crianlarich A82 1,133.59
Tyndrum/Clifton A82 1,142.16
Glen Coe A82 1,189.50
Fort William A82 1,214.74
Fort Augustus A82 1,266.00
Drumnadrochit A831, then A833, then A862 1,296.51
Beauly A862 1,318.15
Muir-of-Ord A862 1,322.00
Dingwall A862, then A9 1,331.77
Evanton B9176, then A836 1,341.00
Bonar Bridge A836 1,376.00
Lairg A836 1,392.41
Altnaharra B837, then B871, then A836 1,425.43
Bettyhill A836 1,464.43
Thurso A836 1,513.43
Dunnet Head A836, then minor road (to Dunnet Head and back), then A836 1,534.79
John O’Groats arrival at destination 1,560.38

Land’s End to John O’Groats bike tour (September 2010)

After more than three years, the time has come again: My bike is calling, and I’ll go on a big tour again. Not quite as big as in 2007, but big enough to be looking forward to it very much already. Initially planned for summer 2008, I’ll now be able to realise the following (at least I’ll give my best to realise it): From the southwesternmost point of England (Land’s End in Cornwall) to the very north of Scotland (John O’Groats – almost the most northern point of the British mainland [I’ll obviously also make a stop at the northernmost point, “Dunnet Head”]).

Other than in 2007 during my Calgary-Anchorage bike tour, I’ll most likely not be meeting any bears on my 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) through the UK, however, I’ll have to face British weather… not sure what’s better. Furthermore, I had to realise (quite surprised, I have to admit) that I’ll total an ascent of more than 12,000 metres (approx. 16,000m when using a different method of calculating). On the first section of my Calgary-Anchorage tour across the Rockies through the Canadian west, which was pretty much the exact same distance, I’ve only had to cycle uphill an accumulated 7,000 metres (10,000m)!

In any way, I’ll set off from Munich on the 10th of September, fly into London, and start my tour at one end of Britain on the 12th of September – together with just my bike and my tent. On Sunday, 26th of September, I’ll fly back to Bavaria from Edinburgh. This leaves me with exactly 14 days on the bike.

Through this blog, I’ll try to keep you updated on the progress of my tour and to share some stories of my way up into the north, especially by uploads of GPS tracks and pictures. If I don’t manage to get online during my tour, I’ll catch up on it right after having returned back home. But I’ll certainly make information and updates available during the planning process before the tour already – beginning with details on the route.

Also, I want to raise some money for a charity (Oxfam Germany) in connection with this tour. For that, I’ll need your help, therefore please find more details on:


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