I don’t know if anyone has completed a naked end-to-end on a bike. Someone has walked it naked (apart from boots, a hat and a rucksack) but it took them seven months because they kept on getting arrested and spent two spells in jail en route. A couple of lads started in their underpants with no money or equipment whatsoever. Their mission was to complete the end to end in three weeks by relying upon the generosity of the Great British public. They had to blag everything from food to bikes to accommodation to clean pants. I’m all for reducing the equipment list but that might be taking minimalism to an extreme! It makes a great read though. I've put a link to the book on the right (or above).
But, for those of us that want to wear clothes on the ride:
This is very much down to personal choice and depends on what you are used to cycling in. Some people like to wear normal casual clothes that they feel comfortable in on or off the bike. Others like to wear technical cycling clothes designed specifically for the job. I once saw a rider in a time trial skin suit and a rider in corduroy trousers and an Argyll knitted tank top on the same sportif (in fact the latter was passing the former up a very steep hill).
Not that I would recommend corduroy trousers and an Argyll knitted top for your trip. In fact I personally favour the technical cycling kit option for a number of reasons:
Shoes are another factor to consider. I have cycling shoes with cleats that attach to the pedals on my bike. This makes pedaling more efficient and requires less energy over a long distance. But it does make walking awkward when off the bike.
So I had to find a lightweight, easily packable pair of shoes for travel and evening wear, if required. I must admit that I struggled but in the end hit upon karate shoes. The pair I chose had a thin, hard, flat soles and the uppers were of silk and lay completely flat when not worn. They were a non descript black and cost less than £5 online.
There are cleated cycling shoe/pedal systems with a recessed cleat so the shoe retains a flat sole, which are comfortable on and off the bike. These are very popular with regular tourers because they negate the need to carry additional ‘off the bike’ shoes. This requires the capital outlay for both new pedals and new shoes though and was out of my budget. But if you are intending to move to a cleated system or need to replace your shoes or pedals anyway it is a system worth looking at.
Regardless of whether you wear cycling specific or normal clothes you should aim to wear a number of thin layers that you can strip off or pile on depending upon the temperature and weather. One layer should be a rain jacket or cape because the chances of riding the entire length of Scotland and England (and maybe a bit of Wales) without being rained on are small. Very small.
The other necessity is padded shorts. If you prefer baggy shorts or trousers you can purchase padded short/trouser liners [no not a nappy]. If you have no padding take extra butt cream (see stuff to put in bags section).
This is a list of the clothing I took with me:
The shorts, tops and socks were duplicated in case I was unable to wash and dry them overnight. It meant I could wear a clean, dry set and strap the damp kit to the outside of my bags to dry [unless it was raining – obviously].
I set off each morning before 6:00am so even in early July it was chilly. So I would start each day with my shorts, top, arm and leg warmers, gillet and windstop/rain top on. Then, as the day warmed up I would take off first the windstop/rain top, then the leg warmers and gillet and finally the arm warmers. If I was cycling late the reverse process happened in the evening.
You may notice as your tour progresses and you get tired that your body is less able to regulate your temperature. This means you will remain chilly for longer each day and strip off less and less. Certainly on my last day I cycled nearly all of it in my arm and leg warmers and a gillet despite it being a sunny (if windy) July day.
Remember that you have to carry your clothes so weight is an issue. Even if you are wearing most of it you still have to carry the weight. And packability is also an important factor. Some lightweight clothes (like fleeces) can still be very bulky and you need to be able to stow them all in your bags.
Wash your kit in the shower. Rub some soap or gel into the pad and other smelly bits and then dump it underfoot at the beginning of the shower. Tread it, like grapes, throughout the shower, trying not to trip or slip. Once you are clean give the kit a final rinse to make sure the soap is all out and then wring out as much water as possible. Once you have dried yourself lay your kit out flat on the towel and roll the whole thing up as tightly as possible. Repeat with a fresh, dry towel if you have one. Leave for a minute or two so that the towel can absorb any excess moisture. Unroll and hang your kit in an open window to finish drying over night (or put on a radiator if there is one on).
Lands End to John O'Groats (LEJOG) or John O'Groats to Lands End (JOGLE) Cycling Guide > Beginning > Planning > What will I need to take with me on my ride? >