Monday, 1 June 2009

Last Blog - reflections and Stat’s

It’s now two days since we finished the ride, and I have had a little time to relax and reflect. Looking back, the cycling itself was not that taxing, yes there were some almighty hills and yes 92 miles in one day fully loaded is a long way, however I had trained really hard and was in pretty good shape for what was ahead. I was able to get to each bed and breakfast without being completely knackered, although sometimes a little tired. The thing, which made it much harder mentally and ultimately physically, was the weather, which if you have read the blogs below you will appreciate was not very good.

Notwithstanding the hardships the weather created, I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of it. And I could not have done it with a better travelling companion; we did not have one cross word the whole trip.

The last day ended up being a little hectic, as we had to get back ASAP. The journey home would not have been possible without the help of Will, who drove all the way from Fort William, met us then drove us to Inverness to catch our plane to Bristol. Cheers Will, you are a star.

The final stats

Distance 1006 miles
Time 84:23 in the saddle.
Calories 66225
Ascent 50674 and thus 50674 descent
Max speed 43 mph
Average speed 12.3 mph

Lasting impressions. How much countryside there is between LE and JOG. It’s quite easy to avoid major built up areas, and even possible to pick green routes right through the centre of major conurbations. I was dreading Warrington, but the route we chose was very pleasant. The cycle ways are excellent.

The state of the roads overall are terrible as are many of the cycle ways. The clear exceptions are cycle ways in Scotland which go on for miles are perfectly flat, many pretty new, but seemingly go from nowhere to nowhere and are thus unused except by long distance cyclists who happen to find them as they are not signposted. Other good cycle ways are those going into Preston, Lancaster and Carlise.

Litter – it is evident that we are a nation of litterlouts. I can’t recall one place that we stopped be it in a town centre or in the middle of no-where where there was not any litter. I expect that a lot of it is from people doing long distance cycle rides, as there were hundreds of lucozade sport bottles. Come on guys, take your litter with you.

Pros of the trip – my travelling companion, the experience, the support of my family back home, the amount of sponsorship I have raised (last count was £4300 and rising). Lovely people in B and B’s along the way and Andrew's cousins in Glastonbury and Monmouth, and Will in Fort William who met us in JOG with a glass of bubbles, then drove us all the way to Inverness airport.

Cons of the trip – the weather (which also added to the challenge and experience – so possibly a pro as well), tractor drivers, logger drivers, women in 4X4’s and young blokes in red cars. Pot holes. Forty towers in Fort William. Leaving my family behind. Neck pain, some days very painful.

I enjoyed ever minute, but the cherry on the cake was getting back to my wife and three little ones.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Job done

Just what it says on the tin.


May 16th - 29th 2009 - Lands End to John O Groats unsupported cycle ride. See details at

Mid Clyth - Only 28 miles to go

Pretty uneventful day today cycling wise. Weather was light rain (yes rain again ) and two challenging hills. A long, long shallow climb which actually went into the clouds. And a very steep climb which tested the legs somewhat.

Todays ride was a bit like going through the motions. It was the last full day. We have come so far, in quite awful conditions, but have enjoyed ever second. All good things must come to an end, and I miss my family desperately.

The weather gods are having a real laugh at us. Almost as soon as we finished the days ride, the sun came out. It had been a cold day up until then.

We are now within spitting distance of the end. Only 28 odd miles to go. I think that will give us a total of 1006 miles.

todays lesson - its not over until the big hills are cream'd.

Saw quite a few e2e's in the early stages of their adventures. Hope that they enjoy theirs as much as we have ours.

dist 73
ave 12.1
max 35


May 16th - 29th 2009 - Lands End to John O Groats unsupported cycle ride. See details at

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Alness (rain, rain, rain, more rain then wind )

Day ten, I think, and what a stinker. Rain fell from the sky in buckets from 7.30 until 1.00, and it was ice cold. We had trouble changing gears as our fingers were so cold. Had lunch to warm up, the rain had stopped but the wind had picked up and changed directions, yes directly into our faces. Just to make it more interesting, straight after lunch we had to negotiate a 15% hill which went on for a mile. I still didnt push, but admit to two short rests.

Thus today was a hard hard day, mentally and physically, but we won.

I was looking forward to the great glen, but as it happens we didnt see much, the rain was that strong, plus I had to take my glasses off and cycle without them.

On the plus side my neck was not so sore today.

Bed and breakfast last night was the worst one on the trip. The accommodation itself was acceptable, but the lady of the house made Basil Fawty look good. She was lovely to all the other guests but treated up like something on the bottom of her shoe. Given where the b&b is located it should be called Forty Towers.

road kills spotted - red squirel, badger, deer, rabbit, frog, barn owl, the idiot who invented the end to end challenge (I got him )

dist 86
time 7:08
ave 12.1
ascent 4350
cal 4725
max 33.7


May 16th - 29th 2009 - Lands End to John O Groats unsupported cycle ride. See details at

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Fort William - the great glen

After yesterdays heavy cold rain, thought that things could only get better. We had a flying start to Invereray., then a 7.5 mile climb, not steep but it just went on and on. It only took two miles to come all the way down though, felt really short changed.
Then the heavens opened, with a full on attack by hail stones the size of frozen peas. They bl**dy hurt, so we had to take cover, under a tree and watch drivers go past laughing their heads off. (simpletons ).

Both of us have suffered today. I have had a bad neck pain again, together with a head ache. Andrew has had back pain and bum pain. It hurts but only two full days to go, so onwards tomorrow.

I fell off the bike today. Just after the hail, I got my foot caught in the mud guard, and down I came. Nothing hurt, just pride.

As the days go on, its getting harder chuck out 80 odd miles every day. It would be much much easier if the weather was more kind to us. The rain is like ice up here.

There are hills up here, many are very long. None have caused any real problems. In fact,. Touch wood, the hills have not been any real issue since monmouth, except for a bit of a killer at Bridges. The real test for us was the small back roads in Devon, they hurt your hands and shoulders on the way down (from hard breaking ), and were challenging getting up them. I still have not got off and pushed the bike up any hill.

Tomorrow we cycle the full length of the glen, and will find nessie.

dist 80
ascent 3001
ave 12.5
cal 4252
time 6:24
max 31

pros made good time, the landscape, hail was funny.

cons, neck pain, head ache, weather, head wind, despite being funny hail stones the size of frozen peas hurt when standing still, when doing 15 mph its like being shot with a paint ball gun.

until tomorow

May 16th - 29th 2009 - Lands End to John O Groats unsupported cycle ride. See details at

Monday, 25 May 2009


Very mixed ride today. A good early start, knocked out 50 miles, by 12.15, and got on the ferry seconds before it left. Had a great baked pot, with chick curry in Dunoon, then set off again. Brilliant first hour, lovely views and pretty flat. Then the heavens opened, and dropped frozen water on us. I didnt put my water proof bottoms on quickly enough so my shoes filled up with water. It ended up being a cold and very wet hour and a half. The stage coach inn with its hot baths was very welcome.

A special mention is necessary for Stuart and Ineke Fisher. Our hosts at the Bridleway bed and breakfast next to the lakes. Our stay with them was just brilliant and the food, just superb. I challenge anyone to find a better cooked meal, it really was that good. They washed our clothes, got up really early so we could get going and have up a super packed lunch. And to top it all, I have just seen that they have donated the entire cost of our stay with them to our respective charities. I an truly humbled.
If anyone wants to stay in a bed and breakfast in the lakes, this really is the place to go. Have a look at their web site

time to get some grub

distance 77
time 5:52
ave 13.05
max 32.5 ,
cal 4183

pros lovely landscape in middle bit,.and good progress. ,
cons - freezing cold rain for the last hour and a half, ran into the back of Andrew but luckily all ok.


May 16th - 29th 2009 - Lands End to John O Groats unsupported cycle ride. See details at

Stair - posted a day late, no signal in stair.

Abducted by aliens on sat night. Woke up on sun morning and was on a strange planet with a round yellow thing up high which gave off heat. After a few hours it began to burn. Hope the aliens take of again tonight, i will grab my sun block on the way up.
Good relaxed ride today, and got to our stables by four, despite having to mend my first trip puncture.

no one lives round here, all the towns seen deserted, spooky.

Just need to clarify a blog re lancaster - obviously not every one there is miserable, its just that all the people we met on that particular day did not do such a wonderful place justice.

The middle part of todays ride was just magnificent, 20 miles along the Nine.

Bodies are begining to suffer a little. Back and neck pains are setting in, together with blisters where clothes rub. Bum is holding up at the mo except for some slight nappy rash.

We have now cycled 663 miles, been cycling for 57 hours, and used up about 37000 calories.

todays stats
dist 73
ave 11.8
time 6:06
ascent 3394


May 16th - 29th 2009 - Lands End to John O Groats unsupported cycle ride. See details at