Most of us are pleased with ourselves if we manage 80 miles on a Sunday morning ride, however some people like to push themselves further……… much further.
In the first of our epic rides focus, we look at the UK route that anyone wanting cycling bragging rights has to complete – lands End to John o’Groats!
The UK End to End is the ride from the most northerly part of the UK – John o’Groats at the tip of Scotland, to Lands End in Cornwall, the most southerly tip of England. The ride takes you through all the different extremes of the UK, with Scotland’s barren forest roads and southern hills, the Lake District, a bit of suburbia around the Midlands and finally Devon and Cornwall (which are much longer than you expect!)
The ride even has it’s own dedicated website/news site:
Like the RAAM, epic rides are often done only once, but will be remembered forever.
With 4250 miles and multiple routes, riding across an entire continent might be slightly longer than the length of the UK and with nicer weather (sometimes), but events like this really show just how big the world is and test you to the core.
Over the years it’s been walked, cycled, ridden by tandem and driven by many but it has also been done by a Harrier Jump Jet, turbo charged JCB digger, wheelchairs, ‘celebrity cars’ and a motorised bath tub. Someone even posted himself and literally became 1st class mail! Each participant receives a ‘transit verification form’ which is stamped at either end and along the way. It can be done either way, but a lot of people opt for the bottom to top route, as we tend to have a prevailing southerly wind, which can help those tired legs from time to time!
- Men’s record: G Butler in 1 day, 20 hours, 4 minutes and 20 seconds (that’s nearly 19mph!).
- Women’s record: L Taylor in 2 days, 4 hours, 45 minutes and 11 seconds.
- Youngest: Bow Jango Cann (honestly) aged 7 and 9 months.
- Andi Rivett holds the record for running from Land’s End to John o’Groats; he completed the journey in an amazing 9 days and 2 hours knocking a whole day off the record.
So who fancies 867 miles in a week? Averaging 124 miles a day is no easy task, in fact just once would be enough for most people!
As it happens PBK.com team manager James Smith and star rider Richard Wilkinson decided to give it a go:
“A phone call from Richard Wilkinson and suddenly I was taking part in the end to end. Officially it is 867 miles, that’s if you stick to the A roads and take the direct route but being averse to dual carriageways and certain details we decided to avoid them where we could unfortunately this added on over 100 miles. Click here for the full report.”
Land’s End is more than just a starting or finishing point, it is a place of natural beauty and spectacular scenery with fantastic visitor attractions, shops and restaurants, plus of course the famous Land’s End Hotel. Here are the boys ready to begin:
It went a little something like this:
- Day 1: We arrived nice and early to allow for bike building, preparation and photo shoots for the chosen charity Pancreatic cancer research. Once complete we donned our t shirts for the start and then had a few more photos before handing the t shirts back then we were off.
- Day 2: After a good nights sleep we were up and ready to go from the Travel lodge inn Inverness with another 140 miles to Kinross in front of us. Again we decided not stick to the main roads and quickly found ourselves climbing through an isolated forestry.
- Day 3: So I had already cycled further than I had ever done before and I was not even half way. The other guys were also starting to suffer with each day taking a little longer to get on the road. Today we would cross into England as we approached Carlisle.
- Day 4: Wow this looked tough on paper and it proved to be just as tough in real life.
- Day 5: Finally this should be a flat day but there was no way we could really avoid the busy roads today.
- Day 6: A great day with rolling hills and flat fast sections, now starting to feel better knowing there was only one day to go. This was the nicest Bed and Breakfast by far…
- Day 7: So only 110 miles and we were done. An epic adventure which proved to be more than just a training ride.
Riding these sort of events isn’t something to do on a whim, you need a great support team and you need some solid miles in your legs. Luckily Team PBK.com have been busy lately and so clocking up miles has been no problem, doing it for a great cause also makes it even more worthwhile.
“An epic adventure which proved to be more than just a training ride. It was a true character building slog, every day and especially the last I went to new depths of tiredness.”
Let us know if you’re planning an epic ride of your own, it doesn’t have to be a whole island, just something which tests you and pushes you further than you’ve ever been…