Bitter sweet today. On the one hand it will be good to finish the ride, forget the morning ritual of pulling on Lycra and hitting the...
Gaz, Mark and Carl’s End to End
Friends Gareth Hinde, Mark Tickle and Carl Johnston will be embarking on a 900+ mile bike ride from Land’s End to John o’ Groats on Saturday, April 23. They aim to complete the ride self-supported in 13 days. Daily mileage will range from 65 miles to 100 miles. They will travel through Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Monmouthshire, Herfordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria, the Scottish Borders, Lanarkshire, Argyll and Bute and the Scottish Highlands. If you fancy joining them for a few miles on the road, you’ll find the route and itinerary below, together with daily blog updates…
The grimpeur. A climbing specialist par
excellence who always lets his legs do the talking. And they never shut up. He will be like a catwalk on two wheels on this cycling expedition, having just invested in several thousand pounds worth of brand new pink and blue Rapha kit and a bottle of very expensive hair conditioner. Part of his preparation for this trip has included a spa weekend and, just like most young men from the former Lancashire mining town of Leigh, he regularly enjoys a ‘full-on facial’ comprising steam, exfoliation, creams, lotions, masks and peels. Don't be fooled by his penchant for hair products and beauty salons though. Oh no. Fuelled by 'cheesey' beans on toast and lattes, it's impossible to imagine anyone getting the better of this nine stone waif as the group traverses Dartmoor, Shap Fell and the Scottish Highlands.
Probably the jolliest of the LeJog Jolly Boys, Gaz is extremely excited by this challenge. It is, after all, being done in honour of his 50th birthday. He has NEVER been to Cornwall - but he is a master of mathematics. He invented the equation which determines the correct number of bikes any self-respecting cyclist should own. That sum is of course n+1 - where ‘n’ is the number of bikes currently owned. Gaz currently owns 9 - so is obviously one short. His steed of choice for this challenge is a brand new and fully-laden tourer - a two grand Trek Domaine. Built like a tank and twice as heavy. The bike's no lightweight either. Though not a natural climber, Gaz won't flinch at the prospect of a 6,000ft 'day out' - which is just as well. This ride will involve around 50,000ft of ascent.
The Boss. The Beast. Gargles broken glass for breakfast and rides into brick walls for fun. Likes nothing more than arranging a Sunday morning ride and being woken by the sound of howling wind and lashing rain on the bedroom window - then reading the steady stream of texts from his ride partners as they abandon the task in hand and leave him to face the elements alone.
Rule#5: Harden the f**k up
He has, however, been overtaken by a man dressed as a chicken (once), been dropped by the Warrington Road Club chain gang (more than once) and turned a 4-up TT into a 3-up TT in less than 500 metres. His vocabulary includes expletives that would make a sailor blush and he's never short of a few choice words for motorists who pass too closely - or cyclists who fail to obey the protocols of the road. An expert in the field of navigation, he never, ever gets lost or becomes remotely angry when his Garmin very occasionally fails him. A true leader of men, he once tamed the Tickle Monster and lived to tell the tale. Expect this rider to have more good days than bad.
Saturday, April 23 - Land’s End - Looe
Sunday, April 24 - Looe - Exeter
Monday, April 25 - Exeter - Cheddar
Tuesday, April 26 - Cheddar - Monmouth
Wednesday, April 27 - Monmouth - Shrewsbury
Thursday, April 28 - Shrewsbury - Home
Friday, April 29 - Home - Penrith
Saturday, April 30 - Penrith - Moffat
Sunday, May 1 - Moffat - Loch Lomond
Monday, May 2 - Loch Lomond - Glencoe
Tuesday, May 3 - Glencoe - Inverness
Wednesday, May 4 - Inverness - Altnaharra
Thursday, May 5 - Altnaharra - John o’ Groats