To celebrate by forthcoming 40th birthday, early in 1997 I decided that I would have a go at cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End and plans were therefore put into place to attempt the ride in the August.
In order to make the journey worthwhile I decided to do it sponsored in aid of ‘The Winged Fellowship’, a charity with which Sarah, my wife was associated, and who provided holidays for disabled people. Once the first pledges started to come in there was no turning back.
My father had successfully completed the ride some 10 years earlier to celebrate his 50th birthday, so I looked to him to help me plan the route.
Most people tend to do the journey from south to north to take into account the prevailing south westerly winds but I decided to attempt the ride the other way for the following reasons:-
- Living in the south it would be a good motivator to always be cycling towards home.
- Attempting the ride during summer the winds were less likely to have an effect.
- We had already booked a family holiday in Devon for the second week of my holiday so logistically, it made good sense to end in the south.
I started to cycle to work a few times a week in May 1997 and a couple of longer rides at the weekend, however, there were no major expeditions in excess of about 50 miles.
When the time eventually came to make my way northwards I felt reasonably well prepared although a little apprehensive about the days ahead. Nevertheless I knew that if I could make it through the first 3 days I would then pick up my support crews who would hopefully help me through to ‘journeys end’.