Monday, 17 May 2010

Total Stats

Thought some of you might be interested in the total ride stats.

Distance cycled:  921 miles (1482 km)
Time cycling:  69 hours and 47 mins
Height climbed:  59797 feet (15483m)
Average speed: 13.2 mph (21.2 kph)
Average heart rate (Bill): 116 bpm
Calories burned (Bill): 61559

John's Photos

A selection of John's photos;

Day 7 - Dunfermline to Aviemore
Day 8 - Aviemore to Tongue

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Final Day Photos

We are all now safely home, our adventure over.   I'll continue to post some photos and stats from the ride as and when I get round to doing it.

To start with, you can find a selection of 'Benson's' photographs from the final day here.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Day 9 Summary

Well, we've done it.  An up and down route from Tongue to John O'Groats with fantastic coastal scenery.  63 miles and 1250m of climbing.  Route details and stats are here.

Here are the thoughts of the team;

Alan:  First question everyone asks is would you do it again, my answer is "yes, but not with these bawbags" , only kidding, many thanks to everyone who has sponsored me and to my late parents who inspired me when times got tough.

Celia:  Absolutely delighted to reach John O Groats this afternoon. It's been an amazing journey in so many ways. Thanks to the boys for their support throughout, couldn't have done it without you. Finally, thanks to everyone who has supported me and donated their hard earned cash to Inspiring Scotland's 14:19 Fund, your support has kept me going to the end!   

Jack:  For Sale Kuota carbon fibre 54cm bike full dura ace, mavic cosmic wheels - contact Jack !!! No really thanks to my team mates who kept me going on this journey also to an understaning wife who has come to realise that I need to get these things out of my system! Finally to all the people who have sponsored and donated money to my chosen charity Yorkhill Sick Kids Hospital thanks again.

John:  Hola Amigos , what an experience this has been physically and emotionally and I've really enjoyed both. This is supposed to be a once in a lifetime thing but if I'm asked to do it again I'll say yes. Although I did not do any cycling I felt as though I experienced every mile as they did. I now am in possesion of a travelog of Britain which is readily available to anyone who wants it. I am very proud of my Amigos who cycled and  I am proud of my photography. Thank you very much for all of your support emotionally and financialy and I hope that if I'm asked  to do this next year you'll support me once again. Take care and I love you all.

Barry: xxx kisses to all xxx thanks to everyone for all their help, big thanks to big J for the driving and the great photo's and Bill for his maps of the country x had a few great trips and Scotland was far better than that not so pleasent place south of the border.  One thing I can't slag them for is their flat country coz cornwall is hilly, the rest didn't feel like hills.  Thanks all xx

Bill:  I just want to keep on cycling! It'll be strange tomorrow not getting up and jumping on the bike.  Fantastic experience from all perspectives.  In particular thanks to my team mates for the banter and support on the road and off.  Enjoyed every minute but I'll be glad to get home to Linda.  Many thanks to everyone who has sponsored me.  I have read all your messages of encouragement and really appreciate your support.


Thanks to Calum Kegg of Noel Kegg Ltd for covering the costs of all transportation including the van.  Without this it would have been very difficult to complete the cycle within the time constraints.

Good luck to Neal  for his LEJOG next week - have a look at this.

Le Poseur at the finish

Relaxing after the finish

Having a well desrved coffee and cake in the Journey's End cafe bar at John O'Groats.



16 to go.

Chain Break

Mending Celia's broken chain on the road from Tongue to Thurso

Start of the final push

Only 64 miles to go.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Day 8 Summary

Only a short message as internet signal is not reliable..

Aviemore to Tongue today  - 122 miles and around 5000ft of climbing.  Fantastic day - scenery superb and views as we arrived in Tongue out of this world. 

Barry went solo today - effectively time trialing the 90 miles from Inverness to Tongue.  He picked up a police escort for part of the way after the Kessock Bridge as he was creating a traffic queue whilst shooting up the dual carriageway. The rest of us took it steady and enjoyed the views . 

Highlights of the day:
  • The log house near Inverness
  • View of the Cromarty Firth from the road above Alness
  • Soup and fire at the Bridge Hotel, Bonar Bridge
  • The road from Lairg to Tongue
  • The rainbow over Ben Kibreck
  • The deer standing watching us at the side of the road
  • The view over Tongue as we dropped to the hotel
  • The sunset over Tongue
The downside;
  • Inconsiderate drivers on the Lairg to Tongue Road
I also need to mention that John had a meditation moment at the end of the day watching the sunset over Ben Loyal.

This was the last full day of cycling before John o'Groats  - only 65 miles tomorrow so an early afternoon finish.  Watch the blog for details.

Route details and stats here.


View of Ben Loyal from our hotel in Tongue.

Ben Kilbreck

Fantastic scenery in Sutherland on the way to Tongue.

Bonar Bridge

Lunch in the Bridge Hotel, Bonar Bridge - great fire.

Ben Wyvis

Celia's Supporters

Fantastic to see so many supporters from the Calman Trust on the Kessock Bridge. It was uplifting to see all the balloons and banners. The tablet was great, send more to John O'Groats!!

Alan's dream house

Gordy's but and ben

Thanks for the loan of your house Gordy and thanks to Mardi for looking after us.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Day 7 Summary

Great start to the day when John produced five bags off Jelly Beans - they certainly kept us fuelled throughout the day.  7.30 start from Dunfermline with 114 miles ahead of us including an ascent  of the Drumochter pass before reaching Aviemore.  Roddy, the spin doctor, was with us for his first century ride - and a wee bit apprehensive about how things would go.  In the end he acquitted himself well and sailed into Aviemore with the team at just after 5.30 pm.  First stop of the day was Perth for breakfast  - at this point Celia decided to push on alone and managed to reach Aviemore before the rest of us.  Super woman indeed.  Overall a fast day, with Drumochter not posing any real challenges, and finally the wind turning to the SW.

Highlights of the day;
  • John's Jelly Beans
  • Barry's incident with a horse in Kinross
  • David Robertson meeting us (again) in a lay-by on the A9 just after Perth
  • The chain gang along the A9 from Perth
  • Drummond's restaurant in Pitlochry not charging us for our lunchtime soup, coffee and cakes - much appreciated
  • Drumochter - the highest point of the trip.  Freezing cold mind you.
  • The descent from Drumochter after Dalwhinnie - super smooth roads with a tail wind
  • Roddy's first century ride
  • Aviemore pool giving us free access
  • Gordy putting us up in his house in Aviemore - many thanks
Low points;
  • The poor quality cycle path over Drumochter
  • The junk tossed onto the cycle path from the Lay-Bys at Drumochter
Route details and stats here

Aviemore Pool

Thanks to Claire who gave us access to the pool in Aviemore for a much needed sauna and shower.

Celia goes solo

Celia pushed ahead solo today whilst the guys ate their way to Aviemore.

Highest Point

Drummonds Pitlochry

Many thanks for lunch on the house.

In the fair city of Perth

Day 6 Summary

Just back from a meal in the Seven Kings in Dunfermline - provided and paid for by Bellhaven Brewers. many thanks to Bellhaven much appreciated.

Today's stage,Carlisle to Dunfermline, took us over 112 rolling miles and 1500m climb. With no significant climbs (Beattock was hardly noticed) we made good fast progress. Having found that we were wasting too much time preparing to leave and eating during the day we started cycling at 7.30 and had breakfast mid morning down the road in Lockerbie and lunch in a bakery in Carnwath. This all meant we arrived Dunfermline fairly early at 6pm.
Lots of highlights today as we traversed our home territory. In no particular order;
  • Crossing the border into Scotland  (Jack was quite emotional)
  • Breakfast with fellow Water Rat David Robertson in Lockerbie 
  • Spin Doctor and Water Rat Roddy Mackenzie joined us on the bike at Abington.  He'll stay with us for tomorrow's stage
  • Linking up with Celia, Alan and Jack family in Carnwath
  • Crossing the Forth Road Bridge - where Alan was joined by Barrie in a a celebration ritual previously enacted on the Severn Bridge
Weather?  We started on a clear cold morning in Carlisle and finished in sunshine in Dunfermline.  In between mostly bright but we had hail snow and rain showers between Abington and Carnwath.  And still a NE wind!

Into the highlands tomorrow and probably an increase in climbing.  Day 7 - only 2.5 days to go, can't believe it.  Might struggle to get internet connection from now on so posts might become a bit more infrequent.

Route details and stats here.

Nearly forgot - Barry fell off again.  Nothing serious - just failed to unclip. Apart from that no other incidents to report.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Thanks to Belhaven Brewery

Many many thanks to Belhaven Brewery for providing an excellent meal for the team in Dunfermline. Special thanks to Kirsty for her superb table service - much appreciated.

Forth Road Bridge

Forth View

Spin Doctor joins the famous five

Home Territory

Jack's Breakfast

Visiting Rat

David Robertson joins us for a late breakfast in Lockerbie.

First House in Scotland



Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Day 5 Summary

Last day in England and over half way to John O'Groats.  Shortest ride so far and likely to be the shortest of the trip - Chorley to Carlisle.  Started cyling at eight and negotiated Preston in the rush hour - not too pleasant but manageable.  Finished at 5.30. The route basically followed the A6 to Carlisle and proved to be fast with fairly light traffic.  Along the route we passed through Preston, Lancaster, Kendal, Shap, Penrith and Carlisle. The main feature of the day was the climb over Shap, at 1400ft, the highest point we'll touch in England.  The climb was achieved without too much trouble with Celia reporting a spot of snow falling on the way up.  Problems - Jack had a flat and Barry broke his front derailler.  Overall distance 100 miles and 1500m climb.

Route details and stats here.  Garmin clocked up 3 miles whilst we were having lunch! So averages etc not reliable,

Here's Jack at lunch in Kendal

Shap Conquered


Graham on Shap

Professor Dart's Lunchtime Snooze - Kendal

Stretching in Kendal

Benson aka John

With trusty map and camera at the start of day 5 - Chorley to Carlisle.

Day 4 Summary

Is the weather ever going to change?  Overcast, cold and NE wind - mind you we only had rain during the last hour and a half today.  The easiest day so far and all feeling fine at the end  - 114 miles covered (Ludlow to Chorley), 1700m climb and just over 8.5 hours in the saddle.  Apart from aching quads, necks and shoulders and the odd blister and bit of chaffing we are all coping well .  Barry though has an achilles problem which isn't slowing him down as yet. We also had our second fall - this time it was Celia who took a bad tumble onto the pavement just after we left Nantwich. 

A few comments on the route - initially we took back roads out of Ludlow but this soon proved problematic after we hit a hill at over 20% - not a good choice.  We reverted to main roads which proved to be OK with the traffic creating few difficulties.  The route through the Liverpool/Manchested corridor was fine with only a few points where traffic was an issue - Northwich and Leigh areas.  The toll (12p) for the bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal was waived - maybe too much hassle after Barry sailed passed the barrier without even a second look at the toll booth.

Worth mentioning food.  We burn around 8000 calories a day on the road - so when we are not cycling we are busy stocking up on calories.  We munch and drink whilst in the saddle but stop at least a couple of times for proper food.  Today we set off without breakfast and cycled a few miles before breakfasting in Much Wenlock  (nice place populated it seems by rather elderly people), lunching in Nantwich and taking dinner at the end of the ride in Chorley - the two main meals for £10 option was taken up gladly by a few of the team.

Forgot to mention yesterday that Jack's pal Graham had joined us for a few days. He was with us yesterday and today and will also do tomorrow's stage.

Route and stats are here.