Read time – 10 minutes
We recently threw some of our resident cycling experts in at the deep end: Megan, David, Gina and Ollybravely decided to tackle the gruelling Land’s End to John O’Groats on two wheels, for charity.
We’re delighted to report – THEY MADE IT! On the evening of Monday 6th June, the team arrived at John O’Groats bathed in glorious Scottish sunshine, having ridden the length of Britain in just 10 days. What’s more, they absolutely smashed their £5,000 fundraising target and have so far raised over £7,000 (including Gift Aid) for Re~Cycle. Well done guys – we’re all so proud of you! They did it! See
the video… Re-live the highs and lows of their journey below with the team’s daily diary.
Exodus LEJOG Challenge
Last but not least – Day 10
Journey: Lairg – John O’Groats
Distance covered: 96 miles
Number of punctures: 0 We did it!!! Today was a surprisingly long slog as the headwind picked back up, our legs felt heavier than ever and Olly was still pushing on with his gear-less bike. We spent the morning cruising the shores of Loch Naver and marvelling at the perfectly still reflections before pausing to visit Exodus client, John, for tea and doughnuts at his house.
Rolling down a hill to the John O’Groats sign we were all a bit over-excited, so much so that Megan promptly fell off while trying to touch the sign and whoop all at once! Watching the sunset over the North Sea and listening to Olly play the bagpipes was a fitting end to our incredible end to end cycling adventure. Now, who said whiskey?!
Journey: Fort Augustus – Lairg
Distance covered: 80 miles
Number of punctures: We’re back to zero punctures today but… Our penultimate day and it’s certainly been one of highs and lows. Cruising the shores of Loch Ness at the crack of dawn, seeing Golden Eagles hover above us, some incredible descents (70kph, eek!) and meeting Dave who is skateboarding the same route over 6 weeks, were all massive highs.
All a bit too good to be true, we were pushing up a steep climb 20 miles in when disaster struck. Olly’s bike broke underneath him and with a very specific/irreplaceable part, we were left with no option but to convert it into a single-speed. So, Olly is without gears for the rest of the trip. Our final day should make for some interesting riding! Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
Journey: Crianlarich – Fort
Augustus Distance covered: 84 miles
Number of punctures: 2 (2 wheel blowout on the cycle track with a pothole filled with sand!) 🙁 Our rigid 7am start went out the window today as we were lured by the pull of our first cooked breakfast and a mini lie-in. On the road by 8.30 we made good time and were in Glencoe surrounded by Indian tourists and selfie sticks before we knew it.
Marvelling at the ‘Skyfall’ landscape, we took our time exploring backroads and putting the drone camera to good use. Long and bumpy roads this afternoon made for a tough old slog, however, the Scots seem to be a very forgiving bunch when it comes to cycling and we managed to make it through a whole day with nothing but shouts of encouragement out of car windows. Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
Journey: Lanark to Crianlarich
Distance covered: 85 miles
Number of punctures: Our first of the trip! Fixed in 5 mins by #AskDaveCycles Everyone said Scotland would be the highlight and after today we’re pretty sure we agree. Crossing the Erskine Bridge we soon joined a totally secluded cycle path that wove its way along the shores of Loch Lomond.
Feeling the heat as we powered through what was supposedly the hottest day in years we paused on a small beach to have a quick swim in the idyllic waters. Today really felt like we were in a different world and tucked up in our Highland hotel surrounded by dusty taxidermy, we almost forgot about our wooden-plank legs and weary muscles. Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
Journey: Penrith to Lanark
Distance covered: 96 miles
Number of punctures: Still zero! Day 6 and we leave the salubrious confines of the Penrith Travelodge with our very own motorbike escort, aka Dave’s Dad aka D.D, who will be accompanying us all the way to the end.
Luxuriating in the newly found quiet roads we finally find time to have a chat and enjoy cruising along with conversation, riddles and quizzes as well as the boys finding time to practice their low riding positions. Entering Scotland in the sun (!!!) we can’t quite believe our luck and of course, celebrated with haggis all round. Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
Journey: Wigan to Penrith
Distance covered: 88 miles
Number of punctures: 0 (we don’t mention the P-word!) Day 5 and we realise that we are very much in the North as we spend a large chunk of the morning seeking out the perfect pie to fuel us for the constant battle with the headwind that we are now getting used to.
After finally escaping the busy dual carriageways of Lancaster and Preston we heaved our tired legs up the infamous ‘Col de Shap’. 12 miles of climbing while trying to ensure the wind didn’t topple us over the edge was a bit hairy but rewarded by curry, chips and a pint of Lake District ale at the end. Our Northern food adventure continues… Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
Journey: Ludlow to Wigan
Distance covered: 96 miles
Number of punctures: erm, still 0! Porridge-fuelled and power back we were sprightly cyclists this morning despite the full-on whack of our old friend the headwind; we’re starting to wonder if JOGLE-ing would have been a wiser decision!
Working our way through narrow country lanes we had our first fall as Gina took a graceful tumble into a ditch. Pausing at Shrewsbury Dave got a little bit excited about finding the first real coffee of the trip which got him through to the best lunch stop yet. Sunning ourselves in an orchard, taking turns in the inflatable ‘lazy-bag’ the heady delights of Wigan felt a long way off… Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
LEJOG team reach Cheshire
Journey: Wells (Wookey Hole) to Ludlow
Distance covered: 109 miles
Number of punctures: 0 We were warned today would be the toughest one and we’re pretty sure previous LEJOG-ers were right. Setting off skirting the hilly delights of the Mendips with creaky legs, we had our first experience of anti-cyclist rage as we were shouted at ‘get back on that round thing, and off the roads’, which we presumed meant a velodrome.
The sighting of herds of alpacas soon lifted our spirits and the experience of trying sports gels for the first time gave us a much-needed boost (although we couldn’t believe how disgusting they were!). Gina’s parents and pet dogs waiting for us in the rolling hills of Ludlow was exactly what we needed after such a long old slog! Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
LEJOG-ers reach Shropshire
Journey: Launceston to Wells (Wookey Hole)
Distance covered: 104 miles
Number of punctures: 0 – 7am and surprisingly sprightly we start pedalling looking forward to ticking off two more counties on our great UK journey. Bidding farewell to Cornwall, we rolled through the Devon hills only to be fairly swiftly hit by our first taste of the dreaded headwind.
It remained with us throughout the day, however, we conquered it with a very slick cycling formation, each bearing the worst of it while executing an exceptional banana relay to ensure the front cyclist was well-fuelled. The perfect end to the day was arriving in Somerset and being waved in by Megan’s family and some familiar Exodus faces, Phil Normington and Valerie Parkinson – great to see those guys! Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
Evening of day 2 spent with a few familiar faces
Journey: Lands End to Launceston
Distance covered: 86 miles
Number of punctures: 0 – hoorah! Day 1 and we were all up before sunrise, a little eager to go! The sun was on our side as we powered through meandering country lanes enjoying our fresh legs and the sea air. It was an energetic start to the day and we got perhaps a little over-confident as we decided to do over two-thirds of the day before pausing for lunch. Our scant attention to the elevation maps gave us a sharp shock post-food as we started to realise the extent of what we’d let ourselves in for.
Passing through Bodmin Moor, Olly distracted us with history lessons and we paused at a viewpoint to chew the cud about what lay ahead. Literally (as picture shows). A typical British summer shower five minutes away from our overnight stop and being waved in by an Exodus flag was a fitting end to a wonderful first day. Follow the team’s progress over on twitter.
The Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge traverses the length of Britain, from the most southwesterly point of Land’s End all the way up and over to the northeasterly finale at John O’Groats. It’s a journey of almost 1,000 miles, and our cycling enthusiasts have set themselves the challenge of pedalling the whole thing in just 10 days.
They’re raising money for Re~Cycle, an incredible charity set up to send used and old bikes Africa, where it becomes an invaluable resource. A bike can enable people to cover distances impossible on foot – from children suddenly able to get to school, families now able to get to a clean water source, to doctors and nurses able to cover more ground and help more patients.
The agency of having a bicycle for transport makes a phenomenal difference to someone’s life. It may seem a small measure, but it’s a simple, practical way to help people escape a lifetime of poverty.
Follow the Team!
Looking for cycling tips, inspiration and advice? They’ve cycled most of the world between them, in all weathers, on all kinds of bikes and are going to pass that expertise over to you on Twitter! If you can’t wait to chat biking, get inspired or blag yourself some fantastic cycling goodies, get yourself over to @ExodusCycles now. Follow @ExodusCycles
Ask Dave Cycles!
Got any biking queries? We’ve got our very own Dave on hand to answer any and all questions you may have. So whether you are new to cycling and in need of some guidance or a veteran looking for some extra expertise, drop him a line. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask Dave: the Videos!
Want to learn more? Dave has been filming his own series of cycling tips and How-To videos on youtube. Here he is running through
how to fix a puncture.
See our UK based cycling holidays below and take part in your own challenge.