Cycle Great Britain
After coming up with and completing my Cam Triathlon in Spring 2016 I officially had the adventure bug and I wanted more. It was now July of that year and the obvious and easiest British adventure to head off on before autumn hit was Lands End to John O'Groats (LEJOG). So off I popped just 6 weeks later.
Having never cycle toured for more than 2 days before, or more than a few hours solo, this was a different scale of adventure. The Cornish hills were punishing and I soon realised the importance of going light weight. So that meant my lap top got sent home (why on earth I thought I'd need one on a cycling adventure, I have no idea!) plus a few extra bits of kit.
After making it 800 miles up through England and into the Cairngorms in Scotland I abruptly hit the edge of my comfort zone. Having cycled all day through pouring rain, soaked to the bone and so cold that it was painful simply holding onto the handle bars, I found myself going the wrong way and was now questioning what on earth I'd gotten myself into. Shattered, in pain and with no idea how far it was until I could get warm, all I could hope for was that surely around the next corner there would be a cafe, a hotel or some sign of life. As I turned the bend and out before me stretched the wide empty valley all hopes were dashed. For a good hour I cried into the rain as I kept pushing on.
Once I finally got to a B&B, even after sitting by the fire for an hour I was still shaking, so I decided to call it. The rain was not stopping and I felt at the time it would have been silly to continue, so I took the tough decision to opt out and got a train up to Inverness and then Thurso. While I did continue and ended my ride in John O'Groats, I hadn't successfully cycled all the way there, which meant I had unfinished business...
A year later in 2017, having successfully walked JOGLE that spring I was back for round two. This time there was no question I would make it.
Again leaving from Lands End, this time I cycled further, covering 1,200 miles up to John O'Groats. An altogether less dramatic adventure, yet I still managed to push my boundaries cycling my longest day in the saddle yet, at 118 miles from Bath to London. I even got in a stop-off on Holy Island further north, checking in with my friend to discover how they roast their own coffee on the island at Pilgrims Coffee House.
Taking a different route this time, I took my time in Devon, fitting in a morning's sea kayaking with a friend of a friend and stopping off at a festival en route to share my experiences. Further north I took an easterly route, discovering the long flat, and very narrow roads of the East of England. Once into Scotland I joined up with Rory Southworth, who I'd met via Instagram and has become a close friend, to cycle for a day and half together before going our separate routes to the finish line.
In the isolated but beautiful highlands I discovered my favorite road of the expedition. The smoothest tarmac, gently undulating hills boosted by a punchy tailwind and glorious sunshine. From Lairg to Tongue I couldn't stop smiling. 4 weeks later I cycled into John O'Groats having successfully cycled the full route from start to finish, conquering the Cairngorms along the way and making some awesome friends as I went.
If you missed following my adventure live here’s a summary of my posts during that time, plus a few extra bits.
We are so lucky to have such a varied landscape, beautiful national parks and a whole variety of different delicious local artisan foods to try along the way. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt through my adventures about getting outside, exploring new areas and most importantly, having fun!