Thursday, 1 September 2016

Lands End to John O'Groats.


We have here a brief account of the amazing journey of James Dowding, our Bristol Velopost manager, as he cycled from one end of Britain to the other for charity.

_____________________________________________

So I've just got back from my charity cycle ride from Lands End to John O'Groats.



It was predictably a very difficult start to the ride, Devon and Cornwall is as hilly as everyone says and covering over 100 miles for the first two days was a real challenge.  I was effectively cycling a county a day which was awesome but knackering.   With a 10 hour day on day 1 and 9 hours of riding on day 2, I made it back to Bristol in 2 days (that was great as it meant a free night in my own bed)!  
The weather for the first two days was glorious sunshine but incredibly windy, it broke 30 degrees at one point and pedaling into a head wind as well was no fun.  I was feeling really sick from putting in so much effort. 
Day 3 was a much easier ride as I had a relatively flat day on some easy roads with no wind and the weather held out as well.  Day 4 was the worst of the trip; the midlands are awful and it poured with rain solidly for the whole 8 hours of riding to get to my overnight stay at Preston.  The roads were awful and super dangerous and in the heavy rain I took a wrong turning off my pre planned route and ended up 10 miles off course, not a good day at all! Day 5 was equally as wet but thankfully I had a great tail wind pushing me along! I made it to my destination in good time if completely soaked, plus this was half way and I had made it to Scotland!

From here on out it was almost like being on holiday, I had done over 500 miles in 5 days and had purposely stepped down the millage once I got into Scotland to allow myself some time to take it a bit steadier and enjoy being in one of my favourite parts of the UK.  The roads in Scotland are so much quieter and nicer to be on as a cyclist. 
On day 7 I began having a bike issue - there was a really loud squeaking and grinding coming from the drive train.  I spent all of day 7 trying to work out the problem while riding, by which point I think the damage had been done as it got worse and worse.  I finally figured out what it was and attempted to limp the bike the remaining 250 miles to John O'Groats.  I think the heavy rain had removed all the grease out of the free hub in the rear wheel and was now running dry/  I dumped a load of chain lubricant into it to try and eak the remaining miles out and thankfully it just gave up the ghost as I was rolling into John O'Groats on the last day!

Day 10 then and with my last day excitement came the wind!  The strongest headwind I have every cycled into and it didn't lighten up for the whole 95miles.  I have never been stood up cycling flat out and getting nowhere for so long as I was that day!  At one point I was cycling as hard as I could and only achieving 12mph (my average speed needed to be 15mph every day to make good time) so this was not looking good.  But I dug deep and arrived just after 4:30pm on Friday 26th August. I was shattered but so pleased with what I had achieved on the ride.  I had just enough energy to stand for a picture and grab a coffee before finding our hotel and having the earliest night I've ever had! 

The trip was so memorable and I met some lovely people on the way, but more importantly we managed to raise £600 on Just giving and over £300 through outside donations for the St Peters Hospice.  I'm so proud to have cycled all that way and raised so much money for a great cause.

If anyone is still interested in donating the address is:

No comments:

Post a Comment