London Edinburgh London: what exactly is it?

It’s hard to explain London Edinburgh London. We do our best in this short guide.

London Edinburgh London isn’t a race. Nor is it a tour. But it is more than an event.

It is what its inventors in France call a randonnée. 

Just to be clear, London Edinburgh London is not a race. There is no prize for coming first – or last – and we publish our official list of finishers in alphabetical order.

You have a time limit of around 128 hours to ride the 1530-kilometre course. If you make it back to London in that time, you earn your place on the finishers list and you get a medal. If you make it back to London out of time, you still get a medal. If you fail heroically, we’ll probably give you a medal for that too. Easy, eh?

A significant part of the challenge is the fact that, once you are on the road, you are self-supported. We provide you with a routesheet and a gpx track of the route. There are no LEL-specific signposts, marshals or arrows. There is no crew support and we are unlikely to collect you if you break down.

London Edinburgh London is a unique test of your fitness and resilience, your endurance and initiative, your navigational abilities and your cycling skills. It is an adventure like no other. One that any rider who prepares well – thoughtfully and resourcefully; it's about far more than physical stamina – can finish.

The route is sometimes tough and often breathtakingly beautiful. It takes in the centre of three of the world's most characterful cities. It transports you along windswept plains and through remote hill ranges, across landmark bridges and down verdant country lanes.

Thanks to the UK's Atlantic weather, you might experience 35°C sunshine and blasts of freezing hail within the space of 12 hours. And, depending on how you harness it, the wind can transform your ride into a total joy or an unimaginable ordeal.

Spaced between 50 and 100 kilometres apart, there are 21 control points along the route that you must visit. This is so we can check you are staying on track, but we guarantee that the controls will become a very welcome sight indeed. They break the ride into manageable chunks, both physically and psychologically. They offer hot food and drinks, hot showers, dormitory beds and incredible crew support – all included in the cost of your entry fee. Please do bring a bank card with you, though, for emergencies and treats alike.

London Edinburgh London is the flagship event of Audax United Kingdom, organisers of randonnées in the UK. The event is validated by Les Randonneurs Mondiaux, the worldwide randonneuring organisation.