2012 Deloittes Cycle Ride - Land’s End to John O Groat’s
Martin cycled 100 -135 miles each day, clocking up a grueling 985 miles and raised an incredible £1,600.00 for our Building Fund Appeal.
"Why don't you do the whole thing?" The question was posed to me in March 2012 by a partner in Deloitte, the consultancy firm. Deloitte sponsors a Land's End to John O'Groats cycle ride each year, taking 9 days to cover a route of around 970 miles. Back in Autumn 2011, I'd agreed to join the event for one of the nine days, being the stage from Ludlow to Manchester. I'm no expert cyclist - my cycling experience until this year consisted largely of rides taking not much more than an hour, around the flat countryside of Cheshire. So I thought one day of 100 miles' cycling would be quite enough.
But then in March 2012, I found myself unexpectedly receiving and taking up an offer of redundancy, and with no plans to resume full-time work, I now had ample time put in the cycling miles - hence the challenge to do "the whole thing". And so it was on the morning of Saturday, 8th September, just after 7.00am, I set off from Land's End (with over 500 others), to cycle to John O'Groats.
A week and a bit later, on the afternoon of Sunday, September 16th, most of the 500, myself included, duly arrived in John O'Groats. We'd actually covered 985 miles (there were a few diversions, due to roadworks, landslides etc.). Most days, we covered just over 100 miles, but there was one epic (and spectacular) day of 135 miles, from Glasgow to Fort William.
Actually, it was surprising how quickly we all fell into the routine: woken before 5.30am each day by loud music blasting into our little tents, breakfast and then onto the bikes shortly after 7.00am, then riding through the day, with a couple of stops along the way for food and drink, arriving at the next overnight stop sometime between 3pm and 5pm (a bit later than that on the 135 mile day!), then evening meal and back to tents to rest and sleep ready for the next day's cycling.
The biggest challenge turned out not to be the cycling per se, or even the hills (of which there are plenty from Cornwall and Devon through to the Lake District and then up into the Scottish Highlands): it was the Great British Weather. It started well, with sunshine in Cornwall, but then more usual British weather arrived - heavy rain in Lancashire (some of the cyclists suffered hypothermia!), and then gale-force winds in the Lake District and Scotland - nice when they chase you, not so nice when they attack you from in front or side-on.
But overall, it was a memorable experience, and thanks to the generosity of friends, relatives and former work colleagues, more than £1600 was raised for Barnabus. My wife is a doctor and worked as a volunteer for Barnabus back in the days when the team operated out of a bus (that's how things were before the drop-in centre existed!), so I know about the tremendous work Barnabus does. It's a privilege to be able to contribute to it.
Published on Thursday 13th December 2012
Barnabus, Lands End, John O'Groats, cycle