Final Words….

Well no alarm clock this morning was a bonus and not having to eat & drink everything in sight made life a little easier this morning, things were much steadier paced. The bikes don’t know what to do with themselves….

My cycling partner (Rich) for the last 10 days has departed on train leaving Newton Abbot for Leeds, I’m resting in Devon for the next few days.

Summary of Ride

  • 10 Days
  • 3 Countries
  • 21 Counties
  • 940 miles
  • 53.06hrs of cycling
  • 55,000 calories per person
  • 41,473ft of climbing (more than Mount Everest)
  • Average Speed 17mph
  • Max speed 41mph
  • 1 puncture
  • 0 mechanicals
  • 1 fall
  • 1,000,000 potholes

” This ride exceeded all expectations in all areas. It has taken huge amounts of time planning this tour and the physical effort that is needed to get the training miles in to put me in a position of completing this distance without seriously damaging myself has been tough. Above all the mental strength to get through this ride has to be 100%, any doubt would be so easy to stop riding. Sacrafices had to be made away from the family on evenings and weekends to ensure I get the miles in. I knew I could do the 100 miles in a day, but after completing this mileage on the 4th day could be a different story. There are a huge number of factors that could go wrong with this challenge, so being in good shape & treating the bike with respect is all so important.

We were very fortunate with the accommodation throughout the UK in the way we have been looked after, this made our life’s much easier. I have to say we have eaten like Kings every evening & anything that was available through day

The Support Crew from John O’Groats to Lancaster (Chuckle Brothers in their Enterprise Van) were a laugh a minute, but they were fantastic to spend time with, I am sure that they have lots of video footage, as they were often seen at the rear and alongside hanging out of windows with cameras. Trying to organise the back of that van with half the Chuckle Brothers household goods in there was some task, but was all part of the fun. The Happy Campers met in Lancaster and supported to Land’s End, they were also a fantastic Crew meeting at stop points with fresh sandwiches and warm pies (could not ask for more) always had a weather report and have to say both support teams run like clockwork never missing a stop.

It was great to get support off so many people during the ride, not to mention the 4 cyclists we bumped into 4 times (last seen near Preston) who set off just before us at John O’Groats. I had the opportunity to ride with Si for 40 miles through Exeter, seeing the Wife, Roma and friends made an appearance at a bar in Launceston to cheer us on.

I best mention the person I was no more than a tyre width away for 10 days – Rich, he is a solid rider, and a top lad, I could not find any weaknesses in his cycling. It’s amazing to think that I had never ridden with him before, but I had a sense that he would be a close fit to my ability and that was the case, we were both very strong throughout almost racing at times averaging 25mph. He had a task of looking after the Garmin, although this was great at the start, it started to fail towards the end, so our map skills & sense of direction came to good use, the teamwork could not have worked any better. The social aspect worked a treat, apart from Rich can drink beers and I can’t… Superb riding partner Rich!

Highs – Setting off from John O’Groats in the sun. Cycling to Inchree, racing to catch ferry to Isle of Arran, visiting Greystokes, cycling through Cheshire & Shropshire Hills, sunset in the Mendips, having fun with support crews, those 3 course evening meals. Seeing the Family.

Lows – Waking up at 6am and seeing the wind & rain, realising we had 100 miles to do, the fall heading for Lochranza, 3 lanes of fast traffic heading for Kilmarnock, Garmin 810 towards back-end, trying to find the bridge over river Avon.

This was a challenge I have wanted to do for years, now I was determined to it due to family members battle with cancer, I am sure my Uncle Joe (well done Tankie) and Mum will be proud of me”.



“Writing this on the morning after the last day, I can honestly say that getting on my bike again today would not have been the end of the world,something I would have scoffed at saying this time last week.

Though I trained reasonably well for the ride my biggest regret was not doing any back-to-back rides. Most people with a reasonable fitness could ride a 100 miles but doing it day after day initially drained me (I guess riding the first few days as a 45km time trial didn’t help). Slowly my legs acclimatised to the challenge and felt less like concrete every morning. It became apparent that the mental challenge was the biggest one to overcome. You could be the fittest person in the world but if you haven’t got It upstairs it isn’t possible .

The first 5 stages I was riddled with self-doubt; “Are the legs feeling good, why didn’t I use a bigger cassette, will I be warm enough, will the bike hold up, what hills are on the route”. My biggest concern was how my backside was coping. After stage 2 i was worried my Race seat was probably not the best choice. Again though, like my legs, as the ride went I noticed it less. Interestingly, myself and Dan realised it took the legs AND bum a good 10 miles to warm up.

The ride was planned to perfection by Operations Chief and riding partner Dan Tate. We would categorically not have completed the ride without the help of two support crews. Clive and Neil on the first half and Graham and Sue in the 2nd half. They were our chefs, soigneurs, psychiatrists, drivers and general helpers. At my low points I would often forget these people sacrificed their own time, holidays and money to come and help us and here I was derided in self-pity just because I was a bit “knackered”. They never missed a stop, always on time, picked us up on the bad days and wrapped us up on the cold days. A big thank you to Neil, Clive, Sue and Graham, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Also a big thanks to Dan. I’ve known Dan through work for the last 3 years. However, I would be lying to say I wasn’t nervous before the holiday particularly as we have never ridden together.
Going away with someone for 10 days is a big deal, particularly when we’re riding bikes and spending every minute of every day together. Would he be too fast, would I be too annoying, were all legitimate questions. Thankfully we were like twins on the bikes (we basically did “through and off” for 950 miles) and got on like a house on fire off it. I would describe Dan as Calmness personified.

Highlights – Beautiful landscapes, eating crap all week, the bliss of finishing each stage, putting the hammer down into Inchree, the one day of glorious weather, Neil’s stories, cycling through Tintern, Isle of Arran, Sue’s cereal bars, seeing Anna and Roma, getting cheered on by strangers (dan’s friends) hot showers and the finish line.

Low points – Every morning, reaching my 3 pint a night limit and realising I couldn’t have any more, 3 lane dual carriageway outside Kilmarnock, Kirkstone pass (yes I know it’s a beautiful climb.. But it still hurt), Garmin (see below),

… And a special mention

Most cyclists these days are well acquainted with Garmin products.
I can only speak for the Garmin 500 and the Garmin 810, the latter I bought specifically for this ride. They are pretty much the only thing on the market so you can put aside the clunky,
out dated technology when they are working well.

However, as friends and 1000’s of forum users seem to agree, they do not work as they should all of the time…. And the 810 really surpassed itself this time. For the money people pay it’s just embarrassing how unreliable they are. This was definitely the most disappointing aspect of the entire trip”.



All that is left to say is, never under-estimate any type of challenge and treat with respect.

Time to relax and reflect on this achievement, until the next challenge, what ever that could be, you may see Dan & Rich take on another challenge, watch this space……….

Thank you for all the support with this ride and hope you have found the blog interesting to read.

Dan & Rich

Stage 10 Launceston – Lands End

Fantastic Cornish food served in the local pub, then a walk up a 25% hill to bed (just what the legs needed)

Last day of cycling, and the rain was back again big style (streams flowing down the roads)

Launceston must be the hilliest place on the map, so first 15 miles were relentless miles climbing hills. Then we reached Bodmin Moor and not able to see 10 meters infront was not fun due to the mist.

Bissoe was our destination for lunch, as the weather started to improve, we were desperate to get some dry clothes. Proper Cornish pasties for lunch ( yum yum) Last push to the end, about 30 miles to go:


Starting to pick up signs for Penzance, meant we did not after use the ever trusty Garmin, our pace increased knowing we were starting to reduce miles to single figures, we arrived in Penzance at speed, last 10 to go and just a few lumpy hills. This was the time when all the emotions started to set in understanding what we are about to complete. Sennen is the last village before Lands End & the finish line is in sight, yes, yes, yes, yes

Arriving into Lands End

image image

And Dan & Rich have completed the journey from John O’Groats to Lands End


Over 6,000ft climbed on the final day.

An amazing finish to the day, summary of ride and final words to be added soon…..

Stage 9 Cheddar – Launceston

Ciders & cheese in the cider barn as the sun goes down over the Mendips after Rich returned from the Neighbours house, we were no better off with the garmin, but the Lady had A new install of Garmin Express on her Laptop ( not sure she will use that)


Another long day ahead to navigate through Somerset & Devon lanes awaits.

I would say we have arrived in Devon judging by the jersey (Great to meet Si) Si cycled on the front and led us on his Devon Tour towards Okehampton passing through his fav place Exeter (only adding an extra 15 miles onto route :-0 but saved us navigating & saved the legs, so good work Si). Also surprised to see my wife & Roma at the midway point, was a great feeling (not seen for 9 days)


The tiredness started to kick in with 10 miles to go to reach Cornwall, our last County of just a few to name! Energy bars & gels at the ready, We finally reached Cornwall, a nice steep hill up to Launceston (riding around for 20 mins trying to find destination). Another surprise on the cards with friends cheering from a bar spurred us on to reach the finish. Big Thanks

112 miles covered today with 5,100ft of climbing

So this is our last night before we make our way to Lands End tomorrow for the finale, (Cornish pasties for lunch) let’s keep the fighting spirit, we can do it

Come on, last push Lads…….

Stage 8 Leominster – Cheddar

It makes a change, the weather was great today, anyone would think it was summer!!!

Bikes felt much smoother and less noisy due to a bit of TLC yesterday. we were also feeling full of energy after dinning in Milano’s last night.

So into Ross on Wye we headed through the Wye valley over some lumpy hills, cycling through Monmouthshire – Wales and dropped into the lovely village of Tinton, here is the Abbey;


Now we are searching for the Severn Bridge to get back into England, yes we found it:


That was the easy part. We cycled through the Ind Estate/Bristol Docks heading for a bridge to cross the River Avon, due to Rich technical garmin issues, we happen to fall lucky with sense of direction and tagged the cycle route alongside M5.

Great cycling chasing the camper to the mendips for directions, but once arrived, the descent into Cheddar was fantastic.

Arrived at a rather large house for the night, the Lady owner (never met) was out, left a message for us to let ourselves in 🙂 (how trustworthy in Somerset) We made ourselves at home..

Will have to try a Cider or 2 in the barn across the road this evening,,,

Note: Rich is just in next doors house (probably let himself in) trying to upload Garmin routes, hope he returns…….

Stage 7 Shrewsbury – Leominster

Another great evening for food in Harmer Hill & thanks to Denise for washing & drying our clothes at 22:00hrs..

Sun shining in Shropshire ready for a short day of approx 50 miles, nice feeling!


The narrow back lanes passing through the rolling Shropshire Hills have probably been the best yet, fantastic day for cycling.

Due to the tight narrow bends, we just managed to avoid a head on collision with two rather large horses and very shocked lady owners, but all ended well 🙂

Just your average family home we cycled passed:


Another day complete in 2hrs 50mins checking in Leominster at 12:40 meant we could give the bikes a little TLC and explore Leominster.

Tomorrow we will be entering Somerset County & trying a selection of cheeses….

Stage 6 Lancaster – Shrewsbury

Today started well staying dry until we reached Preston (wettest City in the UK) and yes it hammered it down, not only that, navigating through Preston can be a bit tricky.

Entered a place called Barton and unbelievably we passed the 4 cyclists again who set off from John O’Groats 10 mins before us, thought we should get a pic;


The best part of the day was cycling through the outskirts of Warrington and Cheshire going through a toll on a country lane.

Happy Campers were on top form with pork pies, sandwiches, homemade flapjack and a bit of radio 2 left us feeling in good shape.

All in all, a good cycling day with 108 miles covered averaged 17.5mph

At long last we have a short day to look forward to tomorrow….


Stage 5 Dumfries – Lancaster

Well, what a day, longest stage so far of 112 miles with the toughest climb thus far.

We managed to pick the back lanes up almost straight away heading for Gretna, and a sense of relief when we saw this sign – back on home soil!


The rest of day was all about Lake District, but before we reached the lakes, we stopped for lunch in Greystokes (quirky) Dan stopped here before on Coast to Coast, how bizarre!

Onto the Lake District passing through Glenridding before we hit Kirkstone Pass (in the 100 greatest climbs book) 1500ft, 6 miles of climbing up to 20%. This was brutal after already ridden 70 miles at this point. (Almost broke at the top) The decent was pretty spectacular (the chuckle brothers could not keep up in van) passing through a busy Windermere.

Never thought I would say it, but great feeling to hit Lancashire been a Yorkshire Man and all that..

We met the next Support Crew (Happy Campers) in Lancaster. Sad to see the Chuckle Brothers leave the tour back on their travels to Leeds, big thanks to them..

Another long day tomorrow heading for Shrewsbury…..

Stage 4 Lochranza – Dumfries

Lochranza hotel looked after us last night with great food, Not bad views either


Very early start this morning to catch the early ferry to Androssan. That Scottish weather was not kind to us once again (windiest day so far). Managed to catch ferry on time taking us back to mainland Scotland, chance to get breakfast on board…

Navigation through Irvine, Kilmarnock was a bit tricky to say the least, ended up on the A75 – 3 lanes of traffic doing about 80mph, not nice, we finally picked up the narrow lanes along the river heading for Dumfries, probably the best route we have used. Ironically whilst using this route in middle of nowhere we passed 4 cyclists who started at John O’Groats just before us, also seen in Inchree, they stayed mainland heading through Glasgow.

Amazing how the sun is shining when you finish cycling for the day, let’s see what Dumfries has to offer!

So far we have clocked up 375 miles, hoping to be back in England tomorrow….

Stage 3 Inchree – Lochranza (Isle of Arran)

Alarm clock sounded at 6:15am, ready for an early start. Looked out of the window & the lake had disappeared. We had heavy rain, strong winds in true Scottish style (winters day).

the weather continued to be great to ride in (not) for best part of the morning until we reached our lunch time stop, a couple camping on this grass verge kindly got the picture with the chuckle brothers.


Felt really great to get some dry clothes on & it was now a race against time to get the ferry to Isle of Arran, dealing with a nice 13% drag out of Oban and through Tarbert.

Great sight to see ferry with 20 mins to spare


Stage 2 Tain – Inchree

Today started off with the sun shining giving us perfect conditions.

We used the back lanes to Muir of Ord, fantastic route, just had to avoid a few tractors along the way.

Then the peaks started to arrive, but with the decent into Drumadrochit, it was well worth the climbing. The scenery at this point was rather nice..


Had lunch on grass next to 3 cows, these were special cows, as 3 tour buses arrived to look at cows sleeping!


The weather continued to be good as we passed through Fort Agustine, Fort Wiliam and reached destination in Inchree, here is the view from the camp

105 miles covered, average speed 18mph, 6300 calories, over 4000ft climbing

Island hopping tomorrow to Isle of Arran….