This is a fairly essential piece of kit if you are following a written route of the ‘turn left after 1 mile’ variety. You might get away without one if you are purely following a map. But even then it’s nice to know how far you have gone.
Personally I find a bike computer essential to help me calculate how far I have been, how far I have to go and how long it will take me to get there. Mine also has a heart rate monitor so I can keep an eye on how hard I am working. I have a tendency to push too hard and need to make sure my heart rate doesn’t creep up too high for too long. It’s not a problem over a short training ride but on day long rides it means I run out of energy before the end of.
For the trip I also purchased a satellite navigation device (‘sat nav’) for the bike. In fact my wife insisted when I said I wasn’t taking any maps because they were too bulky. It would have been a very useful aid if:
Since my End to End I have learnt how to set up and use my sat nav properly. I now find it an invaluable aid. Gone are the fumblings with paper routes and desperately trying to remember whether it is L or R at the next T. And if you are riding in the dark it is ideal - just follow the line on the screen. I have ridden Land's End to John O'Groats twice since my 2009 trip the other way and both times I relied solely on the sat nav for navigation, the last time not even taking a paper route as back up.
If are foolish enough to risk travelling without a map, like me, and you don’t have a sat nav, a more basic bit of equipment that might be useful is a compass. If you do get lost it’s better to know you are at least heading in vaguely the right direction.
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Lands End to John O'Groats [or John O'Groats to Lands End] Cycling Guide - Home > Beginning > Planning > What will I need to take with me on my ride? > stuff to put on bike >