LEJOG tandem record attempt now live

Will it be second time lucky for record hopefuls Dominic Irvine and Glenn Longland?

by Sarah Barth   May 3, 2014  

Dom_and_Glenn_2

An attempt to break the long-standing record for non-stop cycling on a tandem from Land’s End to John O’Groats is on this weekend, with Dominic Irvine and Glenn Longland heading off tomorrow for 840 miles of non-stop cycling over just over two days.

You can follow the team's progress throughout the attempt on their live GPS tracker.

The record, which has stood for nearly half a century, by Pete Swinden and John Withers was set at two days, two hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds in 1966.

Dominic and Glenn hope to beat it, and in the process raise funds for Heart Research UK, having already been pledged £8,000.

In 2011 we reported how the Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell didn’t quite manage to beat the record, when he and Jerone Walters were forced to stop just 70 miles before the finish line.

Dominic said: “A huge amount of teamwork has gone into making this record attempt possible; from the MSc Applied Sports Sciences students at the University of Winchester using science to help improve our riding, to the guys at Orbit Tandems who specially designed our amazing bike, as well as our coaches, medics, route-planners and my amazing physio Dr. Claire Ryall.

“With the dedication and training we've all put in, myself and Glenn have a real shot at breaking this record. The weather also looks favourable, with a light tailwind forecast for most of the way, so we’re very excited to get going on Sunday.”

A typical End-to-End touring ride takes about ten days, though riders doing it for fun usually take a longer route than the 840-mile track Irvine and Longland will use.

The solo men’s record is just over 40 hours (40:04:20, set in 2001 by Gethin Butler) so on paper the tandem record looks vulnerable, tandems usually being faster than solo bikes.

In 2012, Dominic and Ian Rodd rode the full distance, but missed the record by more than eight hours after Irvine became ill early in the ride. They are thought to be the only team to have ridden the distance non-stop since Swinden and Withers.

After that attempt, Irvine described the record as “unfinished business” and now he’s back with one of the legends of British time trialling, Glenn Longland.

Longland was the first rider to average more then 25mph in a 12-hour time trial when he set a record of 300.8 miles in 1991 on the way to winning the British Best All-Rounder time trial title for the second time.

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24 user comments

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Crazy to be able to do it that fast.

I live about 100miles from lands end and it took me nearly 20hours more-or-less non-stop to blimmin' DRIVE home from John O'Groats.

posted by localsurfer [169 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 17:38

32 Likes

Good luck to them, but I do wonder about the decision to do it on a bank holiday....Traffic on Sunday will be bad enough, but when they hit Perth and anything on the A9 north, it is going to be totally jammed up.

IF they are still on target, they will be lucky if there is not a road closure on the A9, blocked by an accident, EVERY bank holiday, without fail....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 19:59

31 Likes

The gold standard of LEJOG is the tandem trike ride of Albert Crimes and John Arnold in 1954 of 2 days 4 hours over a route thirty miles longer than today. Nothing since, on any machine, has matched that amazing ride. Others may have been faster but none better.

greenjersey's picture

posted by greenjersey [2 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 21:07

28 Likes

The solo men’s record is just over 40 hours (40:04:20, set in 2001 by Gethin Butler

No it isn't. It's 44:04:20.

The legendary Andy Wilkinson did it on a Windcheetah recumbent in 41:04:22.

Anyhow, good luck to them. The record is achievable.

posted by SteppenHerring [225 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 21:13

21 Likes

Best of luck to these two. I'll try and be around as they pass through our town.

Hopefully this time there won't be some arse in one of the support cars who starts shouting at us telling us to stay away when we try and ride with the guys for a while (behind, not in front) to give them encouragement like last time.

That guy was a complete bell end.

posted by samuri [17 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 22:28

19 Likes

samuri wrote:
Best of luck to these two. I'll try and be around as they pass through our town.

Hopefully this time there won't be some arse in one of the support cars who starts shouting at us telling us to stay away when we try and ride with the guys for a while (behind, not in front) to give them encouragement like last time.

That guy was a complete bell end.

Erm, I think you'll find that was probably to protect the integrity of the record - Guinness are notoriously strict when it comes to ratifying and monitoring record attempts and that could have been viewed as assistance/accompanyment for all you know. Have a think about it before throwing insults around, it wasn't some sports relief charity bike ride.

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [311 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 23:35

14 Likes

Bang on there G-bitch, there was a rider that had to be told to drop back a few times when I was on the LeJoGLe record attempt with Hoppo. I wasn't in the follow car at the time, but apparently, he kept coming past the car and getting to close to him.

Guinness need to be strict after one person's attempt, where he drafted and was held upright by other riders, just to complete his "record"....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
4th May 2014 - 4:55

20 Likes

You're both right to point out that there is a set of rules around these record attempts, and it's very important to ensure the ride is done "alone and unpaced".
The Observer in the following car was quite right to tell samuri to move away. The riders were probably quite aware that you were putting their claim in jeopardy. Encouragement is great, but is only allowed from the roadside.
Incidentally, it's actually the Road Records Association who look after cycling records such as Land's End to John o'Groats. Guinness will sometimes pick up on the rides afterwards, but on the whole they are looking to produce entertaining reading & viewing, and so will probably be more interested in something quirky rather than this sort of effort.

posted by manwiththree [1 posts]
4th May 2014 - 7:44

12 Likes

When did the intrepid duo start this caper exactly?
Much respect btw, racing 50m was my tandem limit - fighting broke out beyond that point!

It doesn't get easier, you just go faster.....maybe

pward's picture

posted by pward [88 posts]
4th May 2014 - 13:31

13 Likes

Good luck to their attempt. Applause I'll be following on the tracker.
Is there a link to the planned route/schedule somewhere?

andybwhite's picture

posted by andybwhite [206 posts]
4th May 2014 - 13:41

16 Likes

They started at 6am this morning

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
4th May 2014 - 14:59

17 Likes

They seem to be entering a motorway but are not moving. Have the police stopped them?

Tovarishch's picture

posted by Tovarishch [49 posts]
4th May 2014 - 15:33

6 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Guinness need to be strict after one person's attempt, where he drafted and was held upright by other riders, just to complete his "record"....

perhaps you might like to read his published book about his ride, I'm sure if Guinness had any problems with the ride they would have mentioned it by now.

He rode it, Guinness ratified it, it's up to others to attempt to even get close to it - so far nobody's got even half way there....

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [373 posts]
4th May 2014 - 16:27

13 Likes

Yeah, no wonder people can't get near it, drafting, people sheltering him from the wind, so many other things.

I don't need to read his "look at me" book, because the way he got the record cannot now be done as Guinness have changed all the rules.

You just have to watch his videos to see that it should never have stood as an official record.

Anyone who doubts what I say, just watch this, video evidence of drafting, sheltering, groups all around him.... http://youtu.be/bfRK5Suza1s As you can clearly seen, that was NOT a solo attempt.

He did a great time and well done to him, but if that is a solo record....it shows how Guinness enforce different rules and change them to suit themselves

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
4th May 2014 - 18:00

8 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
I don't need to read his "look at me" book, because the way he got the record cannot now be done as Guinness have changed all the rules

It's actually a really interesting read, it also shows how he trained for his lejogle ride - and points out how he had less than 4 hours sleep in 5 days..... I particularly liked the anecdote of how he trained for exhaustion and mental fatigue by cycling around the same small dual-carriageway to get used to riding when so tired (it's amazing what happens when you actually prepare for the conditions you will face when attempting stuff like that!)

before my lejogle, Ben suggested that being able to ride 2 days of 'ride-pace' without being destroyed was the best way of being able to gauge whether I was ready or not - i.e if you can do 2 days of x miles, you can do 10 etc - and lo, it worked....

regardless of whether the rules were changed or not (he doesn't work for Guinness so it's not his responsibility) its a phenomenal achievement, and being probably the only other person this decade to have completed lejogle I think I can vouch for what an achievement it is!

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [373 posts]
4th May 2014 - 18:09

7 Likes

Without googling, I know of a few who have also done it

Jon Turner 2011
Michael and Jennifer Rea 2013
Lee Fancourt 2013

and Glyn Davies sets off on 28th June, aiming to do it in 14 days

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
4th May 2014 - 18:29

7 Likes

DNF
2 months (on a tandem)
just 1 way

and I can think of plenty who've tried

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [373 posts]
4th May 2014 - 18:52

14 Likes

Is this an RRA attempt? Can't work out whether they're on schedule or not from the tracker or Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/tandemchallenge2014?fref=photo )

thegibdog's picture

posted by thegibdog [82 posts]
4th May 2014 - 20:37

5 Likes

Slightly behind schedule because of headwinds this morning and a puncture.

Going on their schedule https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/t31.0-8/10321497_...

They should have hit Whitchurch at 21.40, They are currently at Lee Brockhurst, it is 22.00, so about 10 miles off schedule, easy made up with a nice downhill stretch, but they are on a route I am unfamiliar with.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
4th May 2014 - 21:02

12 Likes

themartincox wrote:
DNF
2 months (on a tandem)
just 1 way

and I can think of plenty who've tried

Fancourt states here he did LeJoGLe Worried http://bikepackersmagazine.com/world-cycling-race/

2 months on a tandem...still completed it

Jon, I've just looked him up, came all the way back to Shap from JoG with a dodgy bike, so yup, he didn't finish it.

I know of at least another 2 who've done it in the past couple of years. Nothing on record pace, but they have completed it. I will have to go look them up

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
4th May 2014 - 21:08

5 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
I will have to go look them up

really don't worry about it Wink (but if you do, I'll be surprised if you find any within a month Wink)

Lee's fb page says it was just the one way - i rummaged lol

my point was that Ben who has done it, regardless of what guinness did afterwards, did an awesome effort to do it - because he trained correctly, and prepped for it, and this was all in his book.

The book is a very interesting read - and dare i say it, almost essential reading for anyone who is serious about attempting the record - and unless you read it, I wouldn't knock it based upon non-consumption or others views of it/him.

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [373 posts]
4th May 2014 - 21:48

6 Likes

Hell yeah he did an amazing job, his training must have been sh*t hot. I have no issue with the time and his methods, just with the ratification. Nothing against him as a person.

I know what you are aiming at with the last sentence, I've never met him and have respect for him as a cyclist. As I said, the only issue is the record.

Hence why I have never read the book, because it is all backed up by the record, if it had just been a "I rode LeJoGLe" it wouldn't be a story worth much reading....

LeJoGLe is easily done within a month though. It is when you get into the realms of record pace to 12 days, thats when it gets tough.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
4th May 2014 - 22:01

9 Likes

From the Facebook page:
"Bad news, unfortunately we've had to call off the record attempt this morning after 26 hours and 450+ miles. Glenn collapsed through exhaustion - he'll be ok but he's on his way to Carlisle Hospital to get checked out. Everyone is gutted. Thanks so much for all the messages and support."

thegibdog's picture

posted by thegibdog [82 posts]
5th May 2014 - 8:18

9 Likes

Sorry to hear that..Glenn get well soon!

Martin Balk

posted by Mart0023 [18 posts]
5th May 2014 - 9:25

0 Likes