We finished a week ago today & I have had time to reflect on what, if anything I would do different for next year?? (Having second thoughts about this now!)
I certainly wouldn't intended to cycle nearly 100 miles everyday. We were getting up early having breakfast & then on the road for the best part of 10 hours a day. We then got to our hotel, showered, dinner & then bed. Saw nothing really of the country as you have to stare about 2 ft in front of your wheel as the side of A roads are in such poor condition. One of the worst things about the ride is that constant eating. We stopped every hour & ate flap-jacks or soreen sandwiches. Both of which I will never eat again!!
A big bonus were premier-inns where we stayed most nights. Excellent value for money & the staff couldn't have been more friendly or helpful. They let us use their washing machines. We had to drive up to 50 miles when we finished cycling some days. I wouldn't recommend this & try & stay near where you stop or even better cycle to the hotel every night
I have been asked many times how hard was it. If you take Devon & Cornwall out of the ride, it is relatively easy (?) or should I say flat. I can't begin to describe how difficult the first 2 days were. To show you some comparison. We cycled 92 miles on the first day & according to my heart rate computer I burnt over 10,000 calories. Between Bristol & Worcester we cycled 96 miles & as it was flat I only used 4,000 calories. This should show how difficult the hills are!!
Scotland was OK, we climbed for nearly 30 miles to Glencoe, but the slope was so gradual that I was in top gear most the way up. The kick in the tail was the last day into John O'Groats where there are 2 real savage climbs. The new piece of road out of Helmsdale (I think it's called) was two & a half miles of hell, but you then descend for the same distance followed by a really step descent (I reached 45 mph - A motorcycle came next to me & showed me!) & then another quarter of a mile ascent - killer. It was then plain sailing into John O'Groats.
We only had 1 puncture between the 3 of us & that was Alan on the last day. We did all have self sealing inner-tubes & Alan had a couple of others but they self sealed. The last day he had to change his inner-tube. Nikki started on her hi-bred bike, but after 4 days changed to my spare road bike, & found it a lot easier. I certainly would recommend a road bike if you are doing this supported by a back up vehicle. If you are unsupported & carrying all your own stuff then a hi-bred might be better?? I had a mechanical failure of my front de-railer, but stopped at a cycle shop in Carlisle & got it repaired. Had to change my brake pads & fortunately I took some spare ones with me. Other than that the bikes went well & it wasn't too demanding on them. Alan did have to buy a new saddle in Bristol as his other one became unbearable. Mine dear reader was fine, I suppose I had more padding than Alan??
Really annoying fact. I only lost 4 lbs in weight...........bugger!
The important thing is we have raised a considerable amount of money with your help for some worthy charities.............thank you for your support