Sunday 22nd April saw the start of the biking adventure of a life time John O’Groats to Lands End in 12 days, finishing on Thursday 3rd May ( which incidentally was my birthday). I still don’t know how I was persuaded to do this but here I was 8.30am at the John O’Groats sign for our 1st official photograph of the ride.
There were 6 of us riding (5 girls and 1 boy who felt like he was riding with the hosts of Loose Women) and we had 2 back up vehicles which would prove invaluable over the next 2 weeks.
The route that had been planned was a total of 1006 miles (over 1000 miles, another challenge I wasn’t aware of when I signed up) the total mileage covered was to be 1019 miles due to a couple of detours care of Tim Walton our navigator, word of advice always check the route when you set off so you know you are going in the right direction!
We stayed in a variety of accommodation all of which were prebooked by Tim from unused railway carriages which had been converted into a bunkhouse style, to bed and breakfasts, youth hostels, bunkhouses and the occasional pub! One of which had no working showers so we had to get washed in the sinks!
The weather was typically British with every thing from sleet and hail to rain a little bit of wind and a little bit of sunshine oh and don’t forget the wettest Sunday in April on record for 100 years, just another challenge to try and find a route that wasn’t flooded!
We planned our days around drinks and meal stops. We would meet up with our back up vehicles, ours driven by Graham Smith to whom we will be eternally grateful . After the 1st 20mile we would change our drinks bottles and grab any energy bars or other foods we had eaten, after 40 miles we would have our lunch, change clothes if need be, wet gloves, add extra layers and of course reapply the essential chamois cream, a further 20miles and once again we would replace drinks bottles and take extra food with us to see us through to the end of the day, which was usually between 85 and 90 miles.
After 12 days of cycling we finally reached our destination of Lands End there were a number of ups and downs and one or two injuries that I am still recovering from but I have to say it was one of my biggest challenges to date, new friends were made and I’m sure another adventure is already being planned for next year.
I know what you are all thinking, would I do it again? Yes I think I would although I would do less mileage per day next time!
Amanda Bainbridge - Bramwell International Staff