Nigel Brooks is a champion fundraiser who just completed the enduring John O’Groats to Lands End cycle ride, raising funds and awareness for World Bicycle Relief. Read Nigel’s inspiring story of how he came to do this tremendous challenge and his incredible trip.
“I was inspired to get fit again as a result of the London 2012 Olympics. The Olympics’ catchphrase was ‘Inspire a Generation,’ but they didn’t say which one.
Cycling to work was my first challenge – 15 miles round trip. Soon, it became an everyday part of life. Many adventures on my bikes have followed, and having recently retired from teaching, I wanted to attempt the famous ‘End to End’ – Lands End to John O’ Groats cycle ride. Thousands of people tackle the route each year, raising money for various charities and benefiting hugely from the physical and mental challenges it brings!
I joined a 10-day organised trip with 15 others to do the route from north to south in April. I wanted to share the experience with others, and I am hoping that firm, lasting friendships will be forged.
I started training for the adventure in the autumn of 2017. I am excited to raise funds and awareness of World Bicycle Relief. I think it is such a great concept to purchase the Buffalo Bicycle for people who will use them to help their lives in Africa.
John O’Groats to Lands End – Daily Journal exerpt
Day One: John O’Groats to Tain – 87 miles
Brilliant first day. It was sunny at the start, rained quite a bit middle part of day and cleared up in evening. Great bunch of people, gentle pace and no mishaps.
Day Two: Tain to Fort William – 97 miles
Another good day, with a strong head wind for most of day. A few challenging climbs but they were made so enjoyable by spectacular scenery and great company.
Day Three: Fort William to Inveraray – 88 miles
Superb day. Went a different route today than the planned route through Glencoe, a place I wanted to visit. A 40-mile detour was worth it. The section along Glen Orchy was some of the best cycling I have ever done. At end of ride, a great castle and rainbow.
Day Four: Inveraray to Irvine – 77 miles
A mixture of weather: some glorious sunshine followed by heavy downpours. It properly rains here! The route included a ferry crossing from Dunoon to Greenock, across the Clyde. So glad to be sharing the experience of this cycle with others. A humbling experience to know that Rosie Hunter, our sole lady in the group, has raised over £8000 for her charity and two others over £1000.
Day 5: Irvine to Carlisle – 109 miles
It’s the last day in Scotland. The final session of the day was quick, and crossing the border was a good moment. Getting tired, but still keeping in good shape.
Day 6: Carlisle to Preston – 101 miles
Some of the best scenery greeted me as we headed toward the Lakes and Dales.
Day 7: Preston to Stourport-on-Severn – 117 miles
Our longest day of cycling on the trip. Passing through Wigan and Warrington was punctuated by lovely scenery and gentle rolling roads. The final 30 miles seemed endless.
Day 8: Stourport-on-Severn to Weston Super Mare – 98 miles
What a difference a little help from a tail wind can make. The route was relatively flat all day and all the groups made excellent progress. What a good way of seeing the country.
Day 9: Weston Super Mare to Launcestonm- 104 miles
Blimey, what a day. Anybody who has done either of the top to bottom of the country will know this stage is hard. The road for nearly 30 miles was flat but as soon as you get into Devon and Cornwall the roads are tough. One more day left, over 800 miles covered and donations already enough to purchase 10 Buffalo Bicycles has been a huge bonus.
Day 10: Launceston to Lands End – 87 miles
Last day of the adventure, and it was a sunny start. It made us all appreciate how far we had travelled in rubbish weather. The hills in Cornwall are hard, annoying and strength-sapping on a bike. And after nearly 900 miles, it was going challenge. I loved the Moors, getting into a great tempo up a long climb and racing along at some of my highest speeds of the trip. Pelting rain rather dulled the final miles, but the welcome site of the Lands End tourist centre greeted us. Susie and my son Andrew greeted me. I had made it!!!!!
We all met in the pub to share a beer. It took about 2 hours to warm up. What an adventure it had been. Would I do it again, yes, and yes again. I had enjoyed the journey, the scenery, the friends I made, the meals I shared, and the bike that had not skipped a beat. No punctures to anyone, no major issues. Brilliant.
As I set off on the last day, I hoped that I had raised enough to purchase 10 Buffalo Bicycles , one for each of the ride. That total was reached, and I felt very proud that my pedalling had helped 10 people’s lives.