Day 1 – Monday June 4th

June 4, 2007 by

Ready to go.Land’s End to Camelford

Derek: Today was the first real day of our ride. We were up nice and early (too early for me – mostly due to fighting cats, pigeon’s, and fast cars right outside my bedroom window, not to mention the very noisy air con unit that kicked-in every 20 minutes or so).

We drove the final 8 miles to Land’s End, to discover a very nice hotel located right there – maybe next time!! After getting our forms signed, etc, we set off at abouit 8:30 in the morning.

Our original plan had as arriving for an early lunch in Redruth, but in fact we were there by about 10:30. So, we decided to cycle back up the really steep hill we decended to get there, and hop back onto the A30.

Surprisingly, the A30 was actually a good road to cycle on – the hills that had scared us the day before on our journey down weren’t half as bad as they appeared.

Unfortunately, things weren’t quite so nice in the afternoon – we moved off onto quiet country lanes which in themselves were nice, but they did suffer from a multitude of nasty “bumps”, this was compounded by the fact that the wind that normally comes from the south-west at this time of year decided to come from the North today, which was exactly where we were heading.

This definitely caused me to struggle for the final 10 miles or so – so much that I had to resort to using the granny ring just to get to our bed for the night.

Mike: We started our just after 8.15 in grey and bleak conditions, the wind was whistling and felt, shall we say, brisk (some might say, freezing)

The first couple of hills warmed us up nicely and we cruised through Penzance before we knew it. We pretty much stayed on the A30 except for a detour (deliberate) around Hayle and reached Redruth by 10.30am. Redruth was originally planned as our lunchstop so we stopped for 30 minutes and re-fuelled.
Lesson of the day – when you put your cycle helmet on, make sure your sunglasses are not already on your head
The bad news was that Redruth was at the bottom of a steep hilll so we had to climb it to get back on the A30.

We continued along that road until the A3076 and met up with Phil, Shannon and Ben who had been to Padstow and brought us some pasties (Veggie for me). We adjourned to a nearby pub for some refreshment and rest.

Shannon and Ben returned to the metropolis of London while we continued on to Camelford via St Columb which meant B roads. The thing with Cornish B roads, while they are quieter they have the occasional sheep in the middle (especially at the bottom of hills!), more significantly, they are steeper than A roads.

The last hill up to Camelford was a real challenge, it went on for miles and after 65 miles it was hard work. We met up with Phil at the Lanteglos, which is an oasis in the middle of hills. A hot bath and some “recovery rub” later and I was much refreshed.

Tomorrow beckons….

Phil: general support person: A good day has been had in the support function choosing where to stop for breakfast coffee and lunch was about as tricky as it got – thank goodness for that.

Weather wise – it got a lot warmer during the day – eventually the sun was out all the time.

Looking forwrad to supper and tomorrow, the boys look good and have found the going not as awesome as they thought, there is always tomorrow.

Beer of the day

Today’s local tipple, from Lanteglos, is Duchy – Phil personally doesn’t like this beer, Mike isn’t overly keen and says it has a tangy aftertaste, and Derek describes it as a cross between cider and Bass shandy.


Day 0 – Sunday June 3rd

June 4, 2007 by

Today we were travelling down to Penzance from Reading, Overton, etc.


The plan was to meet at Overton at 11am and then head down in convoy from there. Phil, who was joining us from Woking, was catching the train to arrive at about 10:30 – unfortunately, the reliable train service surprisingly let us down, and left Phil on a bus to Overton, which gave him a good chance to nod off (and miss the calls to arrange to meet him at basingstoke). 

Next stop was Penzance, but before we got there we decided we needed some lunch. So, we chose a modest little village (Ashill) with a local pub in which to fulfill our culinary desires. On entering said establishment, we realised that we had been transported into a scene from the Leage of Gentlemen, being greeted by the 200 year old barmaid. The establishment was a charming little place from the 1970’s, complete with antiqued furniture, artexed walls and ceilings, wood panel walls, a carpet that was suffering from a manic pattern, and a heating system set to a modest 75 degrees centigrade (at least!).

We were by far the youngest patrons of the pub (even if you count our combined age…) and, not only did every one know each other, we are fairly sure they are all related to one another. 

Having said that, the service was good and the food was fine.  We were pleasently surprised by the veg which were firm and well cooked – we had expected soggy greens that we had been on the stove since Christmas.  Ho hum. However, 3 of us had vegetarian Lasagna, but this did come with Yorkshire Pud as per the carvery!

Next, on to Penzance. We had to split up as Ben and I had to meet Shannon at Bodmin Park train station – a picture postcard train station complete with passing steam train. I can highly recommend their hot chocolate and fudge brownies, but don’t mention this to Mike 😉 

Phil and Mike carried on to Penzance directly to find the hotel, and we joined them shortly after, via a short in-town detour via the local slip-ramp into the sea, and numerous very tight looking alleyways that they call roads.

The A30 is very, very long!  Some folk have described it as undulating – they clearly need psychiatric attention.  It’s nothing but hill after hill after hill, some of them many miles long.  Derek described them as evil. Well, we see just how evil tomorrow. 

The hotel is, er, very interesting. The rooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, one with as many as 4 single beds (party!), one with seperate rooms for loo, sink and shower (oh, and one for the bed too). In general though, it’s clean and pleasant, and they allowed us to lock the bikes away in the function room overnight for safety. 

The weather throughout the day has varied just as much – Reading and Overton were hot and sunny, but the closer we got to the start point, the heavier the rain has become. Fortunately, at 7pm in the evening, it seems to be clearning up and is looking like a good day tomorrow. 

Beer of the day

For this evenings tipple, we’re sampling a pint (or two) of the local beer – Tribute. Mike, being the expert in these areas, described it as Yummy. Ben, however, described it as hoppy nosed and dextrously balanced with a smooth aftertaste and a hint of lime. Whichever way we looked at it, the beer flowed down well and was gone before we had sufficient chance to review it properly. 

The Final Countdown…..

June 2, 2007 by

Time has gone so fast – far too fast.

Today it’s packing and prep day. Making sure the bike’s are all ok, getting mine down to Mike’s to go on his car, packing all the essentials and making sure that everything is ready.

Tomorrow we make our way by car convoy down to Land’s End so we can get some sleep(!!), and then start the ride nice and early on Monday morning.

We’re both aiming to update our personal blogs throughout the journey, so please check them out. We’ll also keep this one up to date as best we can.

Wish us luck!


May 15, 2007 by

With roughly two weeks to go, we have most things organised. 

The accomodation is booked (with a few exceptions)

Our branded shorts and jerseys are ordered (although will not arrive until the 3rd day of the ride)

We have corporate sponsorship to help with the cost of the accomodation etc

All we have to do now is a) raise lots more money and b) be capable of sitting in the saddle for upto 100 miles per day, every day, for 10 days!

Route Update

December 13, 2006 by

After much deliberation, we have come up with a slightly amended route. This may still yet be tweaked, but the key way-points should stay the same, as should the dates.

Just follow the link on the right to view the latest route.

Slight change of direction!

November 10, 2006 by

After much consideration and taking advice from several people, we’ve decided to make a slight change to our route.

We’re now going to do it backwards. That doesn’t mean cycling backwards of course – we’re mad, not stupid!

The route will now take us from Land’s End to John O’Groats instead of vica-versa.

The reasons for going the other way (it all being down-hill going north to south, and also not having a very long trek home afterwards) were slightly outweighed by the fact that cycling through Cornwall is supposed to be a bit of a mare, and also at that time of year, the prevailing wind is from the South-West and neither of us relished the idea of cycling over 800 miles against a prevailing wind.

So, we now have a cunning new masterplan and route which takes us from Lands End to John O’Groats via Bodmin, Exeter, Chepstow, Shrewsbury, Leyland, Penrith, Elvanfoot, Tarbet, Spean Bridge, Tain and Wick (a very conservative 849 miles!).

We’ve also decided now that we’ll only stop at the O2 sites in Preston Brook and Glasgow as Bury turned out to add quite some distance to our route.

Welcome one and all!

October 24, 2006 by

Welcome to the Blog for Mike and Derek’s cycle ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

We’re going to be tackling this epic journey of almost 900 miles on push-bike, between June 4th and 14th 2007. Our aim is to raise funds for a few select charities. The Sponsor Us! page on the right details the charities we’ve chosen to support, and you can also find more information about them under the Charities section on the right.

Our plan is to maintain this blog to record our preparation and progress on the event, and also to provide updates on fundraising, etc. Additionally, we’ve each got our own Blog to record our own personal experiences throughout this event.