John O'Groats to Lands End
So here it is, the tale, the sonnet, the poem and true epic of complete cycling calamity. In this blog entry i convince my mate that LEJOG is a spa retreat in the Highlands, smash my body apart, bankrupt myself, go hungry, get eaten alive by winged demons and age about fifty years....oh and have one of the best experiences of my life!!!
So I did it, somehow I managed to traverse the United Kingdom, top to bottom, without killing myself. Truly a miracle. Along the way I realised the touring set up I had so carefully put together over the previous months was perfect…..perfect for one of the following….cargo ship, Challenger Tank, C-17 military cargo plane or a Camel train….with a tremendous amount of Camels. In other words my bike was disgustingly overweight….perhaps this explains why most people carry out numerous test rides before embarking on a trip like this. I had always pondered over this very strange human notion of the so called “ planning “ stage. The sickening amount of weight was delightful when combined with my custom tourers new gearing set up that left me desperate for lower gears up the 15%+ inclines through Scotland, Devon and Cornwall. Unbelievably I got off pretty much scot free and only ended up with: two knee supports, two ankle supports, horrendous throbbing in my neck and wrists, stabbing pains in my feet…..oh and hands that are now simply immovable claws. Needless, to say I’ve learnt a lot.
After reading the above you’re probably thinking this trip was a bit of a disaster and of course from an anatomical perspective it was a bit like a game of “physical detriment Top Trumps”…a game I’m bloody good at. However, for me the pain was meaningless. Instead, once again I’ve fallen even more in love with bicycle touring. Life on the road is like nothing else, as people rush to their daily nine to five, you simply meander down the road, taking in all that’s around you, not knowing what’s waiting round the next corner. You may not have the salary of those who race past on their way to work, but you have time, something far more valuable. Time to take in this beautiful world we live in, time to delve deep into you’re inner thoughts and truly understand who you are and what you want out of life. These experiences are priceless.
I was completely blown away by this incredible island I call home. Scotland, for me, was by far the highlight of the trip. The scenery was completely breathtaking and from a photographic perspective the Highlands were the most rewarding to shoot. As a result the majority of this blog is dedicated to my time up North, where I spent the most time glued to my camera. Enjoy. Escape. Explore.
The true hero of the trip. My dad. This incredible individual continues to be my inspiration. He drove me and Mo almost a thousand miles from Canterbury (Kent) to John O'Groats....less than two weeks later he was picking me up from Lands End. More to come on Godzilla above in an upcoming blog entry.